In a rare public demonstration in Moscow on November 7, 2023, wives of deployed Russian soldiers gathered for what is believed to be the first street protest since the invasion of Ukraine. The protestors, situated in central Teatralnya Square, displayed banners advocating for the rotation of their partners away from the frontline. This event marks a significant development amid growing discontent regarding the seemingly prolonged combat deployments of Russian troops.
- Unprecedented Protest in Moscow:
- On November 7, 2023, wives of deployed Russian soldiers took to the streets in Moscow, conducting a public protest in Teatralnya Square.
- Banners were displayed during the demonstration, demanding the rotation of soldiers away from the frontline.
- Social Media Appeals and Draconian Legislation:
- Since February 2022, instances of Russian wives and mothers expressing concerns about the conditions of their loved ones’ military service have been observed on social media.
- Despite the daily online appeals, Russia’s strict legislation has hindered the formation of an influential lobbying force among troops’ relatives, contrasting with the influential role played by soldiers’ mothers during the Afghan-Soviet War of the 1980s.
- Swift Police Intervention:
- The protest in Teatralnya Square was swiftly disrupted by the police, indicating the challenges faced by those attempting to voice dissent in Russia.
- Despite the rapid intervention, the immediate demand of the protestors for the rotation of deployed personnel highlights a growing perception of the sustainability issues surrounding prolonged combat deployments.
- Perceived Unsustainability of Extended Deployments:
- Both the troops themselves and their relatives increasingly view the apparently indefinite combat deployments without rotation as unsustainable.
- The demand for rotation suggests a broader sentiment within the military community that challenges the current deployment practices.
The street protest by Russian soldiers’ wives in Moscow, while promptly suppressed by authorities, sheds light on the mounting discontent surrounding the extended combat deployments of Russian troops. The demand for rotation underscores the perceived sustainability challenges faced by both soldiers and their families. This event could potentially signal a shift in public sentiment and prompt further discussions on the conditions of military service in Russia.