“We got screwed and you’re screwed,” the appeal on “The Way Home” Telegram channel says.
It claims the Kremlin has not fulfilled its promises and is betraying citizens by leaving soldiers in action beyond a “partial mobilization.”
The Telegram post is part of a series. In early November, the relatives called for protests in Russian streets on Nov. 19, because soldiers were being forced to stay on duty.
Those protests appeared to never have happened. But soldiers' relatives are not keeping quiet.
“We remember how the president promised that reservists would not be called up,” the latest Telegram message says. “The promises turned out to be empty. Many will never return.”
According to Newsweek, a decree from Putin earlier this year leaves all Russian military personnel in the armed services until he says otherwise in another decree.
A RAND Corporation report in June said the only exceptions are for troops reaching mandatory retirement, heading to prison or receiving a medical discharge.
Knewz reported in recent days that some soldiers are intentionally sticking their hands out of trenches, hoping to get shot and win the discharge.
The Telegram message also notes Putin has declared 2024 the “Year of the Family” in Russia.
“Ironic, considering that wives are howling without their husbands, children are growing up without families and many are already orphans,” the message says.
The Kremlin reportedly is trying to placate upset relatives with money.
The Russian opposition news outlet Verstka claims regional offices have orders to pay salaries to soldiers’ wives as fast as possible. The theory is that the wives care more about money than their marriages.
The British Defense Ministry reported a group of women called for their husbands to be rotated away from the front line against Ukraine, but police stopped the demonstration within minutes.
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Requests for more public protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg have been turned down.
And with Russia holding presidential elections next March, the decisions may be political.
The Institute for the Study of War notes even though Putin has an 82% popularity rating in Russian polls, officials are “inexplicably concerned” about protests bubbling up.
Yet the independent agency openDemocracy describes mothers and wives as “the only legitimate critics of the military.”
“The apparently indefinitely extended combat deployments… is increasingly seen as unsustainable by both the troops themselves and by their relatives,” a British defense statement added.
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