An open letter from the mothers of the Russian Federation
Please read this important anti-war letter from Russian mothers.
The letter was issued on Mothers’ Day, November 2022, but it only recently came into our hands. We don’t know the risk the mothers had to take to write and circulate this letter, but they took the responsibility of letting us know the truth of their situation. The many millions of us who have gone through war will know how truthful this letter is.
We have signed their petition, please add your name here (in chrome right click on the page and choose ‘translate to English’). Please circulate widely, including to the media.
We also endorse the call for protection and asylum for deserters and conscientious objectors, men and women in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus: endorse the Object War Campaign here.
Global Women’s Strike, Payday men’s network
An open letter from the mothers of the Russian Federation
We address this letter on November 27, on Mother’s Day, to Inna Yuryevna Svyatenko, Chairman of the Committee on Social Policy of the Federation Council, Nina Alexandrovna Ostanina, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children, and members of these committees, whose duty is to care for the social well-being of families, women and children in Russia.
The letter was initiated by the mothers of the Feminist Anti-War Resistance movement and an initiative group of mothers of conscripts and conscripts.
For nine months now, the so-called “special military operation” has been going on, which brings destruction, grief, blood and tears. Everything that happens in Ukraine and Russia cannot but excite our hearts. Regardless of what nationality, religion or social status we are, we – the mothers of Russia – are united by one desire: to live in peace and harmony, raise our children under a peaceful sky and not be afraid for their future.
We mothers are in a difficult and vulnerable position right now. Despite all the promises of support from the state, the standard of living is declining, poverty is knocking on the door of the vast majority of Russian families. At the same time, families with children were the most needy category of the population in the country even in peacetime.
After February 24, the situation only gets worse. The sanctions caused by the military operation in Ukraine lead to an increase in inflation, and in the context of inflation, the mother’s capital and all benefits, which were barely enough, are depreciating. According to official data from Rosstat , almost every fifth child lives in a family with an average income below the subsistence level per person, that is, in poverty. The state encourages us to give birth more, and then throws us into poverty or sacrifices our children to their ambitions. Our country reintroduced the title of “mother-heroine” for mothers of large families, here are just the official statistics tells us that motherhood (and especially having three children) in Russia practically guarantees a life below the poverty line for women. We do not need useless titles, we need real measures that provide us and our families with a decent life!
The huge money spent every day on military operations could be invested in our well-being. But instead of new kindergartens, maternity hospitals, schools and hospitals, we get only endless empty talk on TV about our “success” and “greatness”.
At least 318,000 men have already been mobilized (this figure is given by Vladimir Putin). Men were taken even though they had minor children as dependents. In many regions, the families of the mobilized had to independently collect them for death, buying everything at their own expense, up to bulletproof vests. Who will provide for families that have lost their breadwinners? We know the answer – all these hardships will be an additional burden on the already overloaded shoulders of mothers! Many of the surviving men will lose their health and capacity: our state will also entrust care of them to women, only in words promising support and benefits.
Mothers of conscripts and mobilized are forced to humiliatingly knock on the thresholds of city administrations, trying to return their sons and husbands home. They hold pickets, write collective appeals, file petitions, but no one hears them! The authorities demonstrate their true attitude towards mothers. The voice of mothers in our country is needed only during elections: when it is beneficial for the state, then they remember us. The rest of the time we are left alone with our problems, with our grief. And our government simply does not take the mutilated bodies of dead relatives. They are left in a foreign land and do not belong to their families even after their terrible death.
What is happening now has another terrible side. Economic problems and social crisis inevitably lead to an increase in domestic violence. People, broken by poverty and the uncertainty of the future, take out their problems on women and children. In addition, men who return to civilian life often carry with them severe wartime psychological trauma. And this also results in uncontrolled aggression towards the closest.
Over the past ten years, bills on the prevention of domestic violence have been submitted to the State Duma more than 40 times, but have not passed a single reading. In 2017, by presidential decree, the article for beatings was removed from the Russian Criminal Code, and only administrative liability and a small fine were introduced for domestic violence. Women, including mothers in Russia, are now in no way protected from violence in their own families. And the violence will increase every day.
Anxiety for the future of our children is stronger than ever. What will be the world in which they will live depends largely on the decisions that we adults make today. Constant allusions by the country’s top leadership to the possibility of using nuclear weapons give rise to despair and fear in our souls for the fate of our children.
Military action is always a disaster, no matter how they are officially called. This is bloodshed, violence, humiliation of human dignity, violation of freedoms and human rights. We are horrified by what is happening. We are against the participation of our sons, brothers, husbands, fathers in this, we ourselves do not want to participate in this – after all, among women there are doctors liable for military service. You, those who, on duty, had to protect the rights and freedoms of mothers and children, should not turn a blind eye to all this. Your family members are reliably protected from participation in hostilities, you risk nothing and lose no one: every day we worry about our loved ones, who are sent by force to this meat grinder. How can you support military actions unleashed against the will of many citizens of the Russian Federation and conduct these actions at their expense?
Obviously, support for aggressive military action is incompatible with the protection of the family, women and children. Today, on Mother’s Day, we call on you to remember your duty and the campaign promises you made to your constituents, and use all your influence to end hostilities as soon as possible and return our loved ones home.
We demand the withdrawal of troops from the territory of Ukraine, the return of all soldiers home, the protection of conscript soldiers from participating in any hostilities, the adoption of a law on the prevention of domestic violence, worthy material support for childhood and motherhood!
Mothers of the Russian Federation
November 27, 2022
Circulated by: Global Women’s Strike and Payday men’s network