On November 7, 2023, wives of deployed russian soldiers conducted what was probably the first public street protest in Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine. The protestors gathered in the central Teatralnya Square and unfurled banners demanding the rotation of their partners away from the frontline, the UK Defense Intelligence reports.
Since February 2022, social media has provided daily examples of russian wives and mothers making online appeals protesting against the conditions of their loved ones’ service. However, russia’s draconian legislation has so far prevented troops’ relatives from coalescing into an influential lobbying force, as soldiers’ mothers did during the Afghan-Soviet War of the 1980s.
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Police broke up the Teatralnya Square protest within minutes. However, the protestors’ immediate demand is notable. The apparently indefinitely extended combat deployments of personnel without rotation is increasingly seen as unsustainable by both the troops themselves and by their relatives.