According to reports, journalists were briefly detained during a protest by the wives of Russian soldiers demanding their return from Ukraine.
According to media reports, about 24 people, mostly journalists, were briefly detained at a protest in central Moscow as the wives and other relatives of Russian soldiers mobilized to fight in Ukraine called for their return home.
Relatives of soldiers gathered Saturday to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, just outside the Kremlin walls. September 2022 marks 500 days since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the “partial mobilization” of up to 300,000 reservists to fight in the war against Ukraine.
The call-up was widely unpopular, with the wives and relatives of some reservists campaigning for them to be discharged and replaced with contract soldiers.
Saturday’s demonstration was organized by one such campaign group, The Way Home, which posted on Telegram on Friday and called out “wives, mothers, sisters and children” of reservists across Russia. ” called on them to “come to Moscow to demonstrate.” [their] Unity”.
“We want our husband back alive,” one of the demonstrators, who gave her name only as Antonina for fear of reprisals, can be heard saying in a video published by Russian independent news agency SOTAvision. Ta.
Antonina insisted that she did not want compensation from the Russian government if her husband was killed, saying instead: “I will either go to a monastery or I will follow my husband.”
Saturday’s demonstration was the ninth and largest of similar weekly gatherings organized by The Way Home. Telegram, a popular Russian news channel, estimated that about 200 people took part.
According to Reuters, about 20 people were released after being detained during the protests, including a Reuters reporter and an AFP video journalist covering this story.
Police detained 27 people during the protests, most of them journalists, according to OVD-Info, an independent website that monitors arrests of Russian politicians.
Police detained a group of Russian and foreign journalists, all male, outside Red Square and took them to a police station.
Most were later released, but one male protester remained in custody as of Saturday evening, SOTA said.
In addition, a number of people were detained in other parts of central Moscow protesting the mobilization, OVD-Info said.
Allies of imprisoned Kremlin foe Alexei Navalny and Russian opposition politician Maxim Katz expressed support for the protests on Friday, and the Moscow prosecutor’s office early Saturday morning warned Russian citizens of “unauthorized He warned people not to participate in large-scale events.
Calls from wives and relatives for mobilized Russian reservists to return home have been ignored by state media, and some pro-Kremlin politicians are trying to use them as pawns of the West. Protesters on Saturday angrily rejected the accusations.
Maria Andreeva, whose husband and brother are fighting in Ukraine, told SOTAvision that she sees the fighting in Ukraine as “a great tragedy between two brotherly ethnic groups.”
“This is a situation that hits us to the core, because almost all Russians have relatives in Ukraine, near and far. It seemed like I was dead and the next world no longer existed. [conflict]” Andreeva said.
Saturday’s protests come weeks before Russia’s presidential elections scheduled for March, with President Vladimir Putin’s victory almost certain.
After laying flowers at the monument, Andreeva and others headed to Putin’s campaign headquarters to convey their demands to him.
Last month, another Russian presidential candidate met with relatives of Andreeva and other soldiers seeking to return home. Boris Nadezhdin, a former local lawmaker who has openly opposed the war in Ukraine, criticized the Kremlin’s decision to let Ukraine remain as long as the fighting continues.
“What we want is [the authorities] We should treat people who are fulfilling their duties in a decent manner,” Nadejdin said.