Putin Facing Rare Pressure From Russian Women To Return Soldiers From War

Protesters carried signs which read: "Please bring Papa home."
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Contributor via Getty Images

Vladimir Putin faced a rare sign of dissent this week when a group of Russian women called for him to return their husbands from fighting on the frontline of Ukraine.

Eighteen women gathered outside the ministry of defence’s building in Moscow to pressure the president’s newly appointed defence minister, Andrei Belousov, to meet their demands.

Pictures and videos from the rare protest show the women holding signs with phrases such as “Please bring Papa home” written on them.

Some of the women were accompanied by young children.

According to one of the attendees, a 20-year-old who called herself Paulina on the social media platform Telegram, no officials came to meet the group and none of the women were arrested.

That’s quite unusual in itself as at the start of the Ukraine war, protesters in Russia were removed from public places just for holding up blank signs.

Similar groups of Russian women have been calling for the return of their husbands ever since Putin’s first partial mobilisation of 300,000 reservists in September 2022.

The highly controversial move saw protests sprung up all around the country and many fled to escape being called up – but most men were still forced to join the war effort.

Sporadic protests have occurred repeatedly since, mainly led by women who want their male relatives returned home and replaced with fresh recruits.

The Kremlin has largely ignored such pleas.

Last November, Putin did invite a group of mothers – some of whom were bereaved after losing relatives in the war – to the Kremlin for tea in a televised occasion clearly meant to dispel any discontent.

According to POLITICO, the president told one mother her son “didn’t die in vain”, but said others died of alcoholism.

For the most part, Russia has shied away from acknowledging the hardships the general public now face because of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

For instance, the conflict has mostly been called a “special military operation” instead of a war.

Putin’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, also insists that the war has brought “unity” to the country.


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