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In videos posted on social networks, mothers and wives of mobilized Russians call for their loved ones to fight in dignified conditions. A movement that is taken seriously by the authorities.
Video after video, in front of a military barracks or just on the street, tied and taped together, wives and mothers of mobilized Russian soldiers defy the Kremlin. They all claim that their husband or son fights with dignity and that power delivers what it promises. On September 21 Moscow had promised that no mobilized man would be sent to the front.
But two months later, with the conflict deadlocked, it is clear that the Russian authorities have not kept their word. According to the Russian army, 80,000 of the 300,000 men mobilized since September are in combat zones. Many reports indicate that soldiers are inadequately equipped, with no warm clothing or food unless used as cannon fodder.
In October, a video of young men mobilized by Moscow made the rounds on social media. They denounced their living conditions and the unpreparedness of the Belgorod authorities near the Ukrainian border. “We’ve been living in horrible conditions for a week, absolutely horrible,” the video’s author began. “Most people don’t have helmets or protection,” added another.
“Vladimir Putin, are you a man or not?”
Faced with this observation, women have decided to take power in Russia and make their voices heard on social media, the only space where freedom of expression is still relatively possible in a country where the media is silenced. On Telegram, they group by city and call for power.
“In any case, we are trying to demand dialogue with the authorities so that it is not just a sham exchange, but that the authorities answer our questions directly. Vladimir Putin, are you a man or not? Dare to meet us directly and openly?” says behind the camera of her phone Olga, mother of a soldier, founder of the “Council of Mothers and Wives”.
According to Le Monde, it was the women of Voronezh who were the first to mobilize in this way on November 5.
“We are turning to the governor and the higher authorities, we are asking you to help our mobilized people. They were taken to the front and abandoned by their command,” they explained in front of the camera.
Little by little, mothers and wives from other cities joined their movement. The mobilization is mainly focused on the Russian regions near Ukraine. The mobilized from these areas were the first to be sent to the Ukrainian front.
According to Le Monde, some women have even gone so far as to camp at a military base near the Russian-Ukrainian border. For reasons of power and ideology, they do not fundamentally question the war in Ukraine. However, they are demanding more transparency about the missions being entrusted to their loved ones and demanding that they fight in dignified conditions.
A meeting with Putin on November 27?
The initiative seems to be taken seriously in the Kremlin. As Courrier International reports, Vladimir Putin is to receive relatives of soldiers on November 27, the date of Russia’s Mother’s Day. But the women who are currently making themselves heard on social networks are already denouncing the initiative, arguing that the Kremlin master will only meet with selected people who are not representative of the movement.
However, the mere possibility of meeting the Russian President shows the seriousness with which this informal movement is being taken.
“Power has no interest in stopping them. I think the Kremlin will do a little to calm down this movement, which, if not given sufficient attention, could attract other parts of the population, and in particular the anti-war protesters,” explained BFMTV Carole Grimaud, lecturer in geopolitics of Russia at the Paul Valéry University in Montpellier.
Revival of the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers
This isn’t the first time Russian authorities have had to deal with anger from wives and mothers. During the two wars in Chechnya from 1994 to 1996 and from 1999 to 2009, the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, founded in 1989, made an impression. The latter fought to recover their captured sons, but also to remove them from the front.
Questioned by Le Monde last September, Valentina Melnikova, the committee’s president, said she had returned to work in light of the conflict in Ukraine and was receiving hundreds of inquiries every day.
“We will never be able to exert as much influence as we did in Chechnya. It was a war on Russian soil and we had the ear of the belligerents. We were able to accompany mothers looking for their sons. Today, despite drones and satellites, it is a closed conflict that is taking place in Ukraine,” she warned.
Original article published on BFMTV.com
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Mothers And Wives Of Mobilized Russian Soldiers Defy The Kremlin – S Chronicles
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