Vladimir Putin is using the Russian security service to gag mothers and wives from speaking out on the dire conditions faced by their husbands and sons on the frontline.
A draconian new law will come into effect on Thursday curbing criticisms, following his sham meeting with mothers of mobilised soldiers serving in the war.
It is a sign of the threat perceived by the regime to women opposing Putin’s war who are becoming more and more outspoken.
The new laws could see the rounding up and arrest of distraught women opposing Putin’s war because their sons and husbands have been slaughtered or face such a fate.
In staged propaganda, Vladimir Putin held a sham meeting of women posing as wives and mothers of Russian servicemen yesterday
Only one out of the 17 mothers at the meeting had sons conscripted to the Ukraine frontline
It was revealed today that only one out of the 17 mothers he met in a much-vaunted televised session at his official residence near Moscow had sons conscripted into his catastrophic war in Ukraine, and all the women were loyalists to his cause.
The women were carefully vetted so that none would voice criticisms of the war to the dictator who told them he shared the pain of those who had lost sons, it is claimed.
Many work for official bodies or have links to uber-loyalist political parties.
But he has also faced a barrage of criticism from women – barred from the meeting with mothers – who claim he has ignored them and their complaints at the way their sons and husbands are being used as cannon fodder in his war.
Especially vocal has been a new Council of Mothers and Wives which is highlighting the appalling conditions under which conscripted men are fighting, with little training, poor uniforms, useless weapons and absent commanders.
Women played a key role in highlighting the horrors faced by their male relatives in the Soviet War in Afghanistan and two wars in Chechnya.
Olga Tsukanova, 46, mother of a missing conscript and founder of a new Mothers and Wives Council confronts Vladimir Putin, demanding answers on the war with Ukraine
‘Are you a man or what?’, Olga Tsukanova asks, as she calls out Putin
New laws blocking criticisms – demanded by Putin’s FSB security service – will enter force on 1 December, applying to mothers and others seeking to highlight the catastrophic human tragedy of Putin’s war.
The curbs are a sign that Putin’s top officials fear the damage he can suffer if the truth of conditions on the frontline is openly discussed.
A leader of the group is Olga Tsukanova, 46, from Samara, whose son, 20, is lost after being mobilised.
She had already revealed that mothers are facing intrusive surveillance from Putin’s spies for opposing his war.
The new laws ‘will prohibit us – mothers and wives – from voicing all violations concerning the mobilised and conscripts,’ said a statement from the council.
‘Neither the fighters themselves nor their relatives will be able to demand that their rights to proper equipment and provision with everything necessary be respected.’
They warned: ‘Any crimes such as theft, negligence, leaving the…soldiers to their fate…can go unpunished and hidden from the people due to the fact that now it is simply forbidden by law to [discuss] them.’
Vladimir Putin held a sham meeting yesterday with women described as ‘wives and mothers of Russian servicemen’
The women posing as bereved mothers work for official bodies or have links to uber-loyalist political parties
The group has challenged Putin in recent days with its vocal and strident demands in its demands for men to be removed from harm’s way, and
The women demanded abolition of the new FSB laws and their use to persecute activists and journalists.
They call for proper investigations of men being sent to war. ‘without proper preparation… weapons, food, and uniforms’.
And they demand Putin uses his regular ‘well trained’ forces rather than ‘teachers, engineers and workers called up for mobilisation.
The women tell Putin: ‘Stop messing with people!’
They go on to demand ‘an end to political repression against human rights activists and civil activists who expose lies and corruption in the upper echelons of the Russian government system’.
The catch all laws prevent any talk or complaints on virtually anything to do with military deployments or the state of the troops, including the mobilised forces, under threat of arrest and jail.
One mother who might fall foul of the new laws issued a heartfelt video via the council.
Marina Borunova opposed the war in a video where she pleaded with Putin
Marina Borunova, from eastern Russia, and told Putin: ‘My two sons were mobilised. Dmitry, born in 1982 and Roman, born in 1986. On 29 October, Roman died by Pavlivka [Ukraine]. He has two underage sons – Konstantin, 12, and Alexander, 6.
‘His widow is now very sick, she’s got extremely high blood pressure and needs medical help almost daily. If – God Forbid – something happens to her, I am 63, my health isn’t great. Who will be raising my grandchildren?
‘Dmitry is now in Ukraine – and I beg everyone on whom his fate depends. Bring my son back.
‘So that he can raise two of his daughters, Alina, 15, and Kira 8. And raise both fatherless nephews.’
It is the first time since the war started that Russians are being so blunt in opposing the disastrous war. Yet Putin’s officials did not allow women like her to meet him.
Instead Elena Alexeyeva, 48, appeared to be the only mother in the group seen by Putin yesterday who had mobilised sons serving in war, and one was wounded and is in hospital with head injuries.
Another woman, a tax inspector, Galiya Sukhovskaya, 53, lost a son, but he was a regular soldier.
One more Nadezhda Uzanova, from Abakan, is so loyal to Putin she has previously appeared at an event – seen on video – singing the Russian national anthem on Red Square alonside him after he formally illegally annexed invaded regions of Ukraine as Kremlin territory.
Nadezhda Uzunova (marked) sits by Vladimir Putin’s side during the heavily-promoted ‘meeting with mothers and wives of the mobilised men’
Nadezhda Uzunova, an attendee of today’s mothers’ meeting, sings the Russian anthem close to Vladimir Putin during a concert on Moscow’s Red Square on September 30, 2022 to celebrate annexation of new territories of Ukraine
Nadezhda Uzunova, an attendee of yesterday’s mothers’ meeting, sings the Russian anthem close to Vladimir Putin during a concert on Moscow’s Red Square on September 30, 2022 to celebrate annexation of new territories of Ukraine
Olesya Shigina, known for shooting Orthodox patriotic films, also attended the meeting with Putin and mothers of servicemen participating in the Ukraine war, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, on November 25, 2022
Wannabe MP Yulia Belekhova attended the staged meeting. She has a son serving in the conflict but has expressed strongly pro-war views
Putin critic Leonid Nevzlin said, alluding to alleged health problems: ‘Putin looks cynical and weak at the same time, and cannot sit through the entire live broadcast.’
The women were handpicked.
‘Russia has ceased to be a real country. It is a country of fakes, propaganda and lies,’ he said.
Putin’s former speechwriter Abbas Galyamov said the Kremlin had failed to find genuine women with mobilised sons who would be ‘loyal enough’ in meeting Putin.
Putin-watcher Valery Solovey said the fiasco of the mothers’ meeting showed the secret services around Putin ‘either no longer want to take care of making it look somewhat decent, or they are already incapable of that’.
It was a sign of the degradation of Putin’s regime, he said.
Brave Olga Tsukanova had taunted the dictator: ‘Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], are you a man or what?’
In a sign of rising opposition to his war and rumoured new round of mobilisation, Tsukanova, head of the Council of Mothers and Wives, had asked: ‘Do you have enough courage to look into our eyes — openly, in a meeting with women who weren’t hand-picked for you…?
‘Women who aren’t in your pocket, but real mothers who have travelled here from different cities at their own expense, to meet with you?
‘We are here, in Moscow, and we are ready to meet with you.
‘We expect an answer from you.
‘Are you going to keep hiding from us?’
She and her council were excluded from the Putin meeting.
Desperate single mothers with only one son pleaded with Putin in videos to listen to them – but none of them met him.