Russian Soldiers’ Wives Slam Putin’s War

An increasing number of Russian women are joining the fight to bring home their husbands, sons, and brothers who were drafted to fight in the war in Ukraine and still have not returned, NBC News reported.

Fifteen months after Russian President Vladimir Putin conscripted about 300,000 reservists, the women say that the drafted soldiers have already served their time at the front.

NBC News interviewed several of the women who have joined the movement to get Moscow to discharge the Russian soldiers and return them home to their loved ones.

Asya, whose husband was drafted in September 2022, told NBC News that after more than a year in an artillery unit, he remains in Ukraine and she fears that he could be there indefinitely.

Speaking to NBC News by phone from her home near Moscow, Asya said she had written to federal and regional officials demanding to know when her husband would return. When no answers came, she joined with other Russian women who were facing the same situation.

The women formed a group called “The Way Home” (Put’ Domoi in Russian) which now has a channel on the messaging app Telegram with over 39,000 followers.

When it first started in August, “The Way Home” Telegram channel was still supportive of the war and expressed hope that President Putin would intervene to ensure their men returned.

But in recent weeks, with the women’s repeated pleas going unanswered, the channel’s rhetoric has changed.

The group has become increasingly critical of the ongoing conflict, questioning Putin’s purpose in continuing the war. In some Telegram posts, “The Way Home” has turned its criticism on Putin himself, telling the Russian president in a post in December that the women “have no hope under your leadership.”

“The Way Home” has tried to organize protests calling for the return of the soldiers but Russian authorities have refused to permit protests, citing COVID restrictions. Instead, the women have used other acts of civil disobedience, including placing #returnmyhusband stickers on their vehicles and clothing and wearing white headscarves to identify themselves as the wives of soldiers still fighting in Ukraine.