Russian national team ice hockey goalie with Finnish nationality forced to do military service in remote northern region


Ivan Fedotov is used to fighting on the ice, but the top athlete now faces a completely different fight.

Representatives of the military commissariat arrested Fedotov on Friday as he was about to leave the St. Petersburg ice rink. The hockey player who has been part of the CSKA Moscow team for two years was then sent to a local military recruitment center and soon after to the northern Russian city of Severodvinsk.

It is believed he will end up in Novaya Zemlya, the heavily militarized archipelago in the far north, the Fontanka newspaper reports.

Fedotov has reportedly been wanted by Russian military authorities for some time and suspected of insubordination.

According to Fontanka, the ice hockey player fell ill after his detention in St. Petersburg and was hospitalized soon after. When a lawyer saw him on Saturday, his condition was “not very good”.

“He was in a sort of half-sleep,” the lawyer said. “They would have given injections, but we don’t know which ones,” he told the newspaper.

Fedotov refuses to enlist in the Russian armed forces. Yet he could now face 12 months in uniform, most of it in harsh conditions in the Russian Arctic.


The over two meter ice hockey player was born in Lappeenranta, the Finnish town near the border with Russia. He has a Finnish mother and grew up in Finland. However, his dual nationality did not save him from Russian conscription.

Fedotov is not the first person forced into conscription in Novaya Zemlya. In early 2020, the military commissariat detained activist Ruslan Shaveddinov in downtown Moscow and put him on a plane north to Severodvinsk and then Novaya Zemlya.

Shaveddinov served in difficult conditions at a place called Chirakina, about 300 km north of Rogachevo, the main town of the archipelago.

Place of service for Ruslan Shaveddinov.

“The unit number was 26984, and there is no running water or electricity,” Shaveddinov explained after his 12 months of service. “The water comes from local streams or melting snow, and the electricity comes from an old tractor generator. On site are both officers and conscripts and they all live in a ‘box’, which is freezing cold in winter and has a leaky roof,” he said.

“Once every two months a helicopter arrives with a bag of flour and supplies,” he added.

In Soviet times, it was not uncommon for “disloyal” young men to be sent to the remote archipelago to serve in the local military construction brigades.

Among the new “disloyal” will now be one of the best Russian athletes.

Ivan Fyodotov’s contract with CSKA expired in June and he was thought to sign a new contract with an NHL club. CSKA is short for Central Sports Club of the Army and is often referred to as the “Red Army Team” due to its close ties to the Soviet Armed Forces. The link with the military remains to this day.

Several experts now fear that more Russian hockey players will be prevented from leaving Russia to play in the NHL. “It could set a precedent,” sports commentator Elliot Fridman tells

Fyodotov played several games for the Russian national team and participated in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

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