A Blog by Jonathan Low

 

Jul 27, 2022

Russian Soldiers' Families Demand Putin Help Find Missing Sons, Husbands

The significance of this is that it indicates a growing willingness on the part of ordinary soldiers' families to risk speaking out and to challenge the Russian military's traditional indifference to its soldiers condition, let alone their fate. There are reports of growing numbers of Russian soldiers surrendering to Ukraine to get out of the fighting and save their lives

The reality is that the Russian government probably has no idea what happened to most of the missing soldiers - and doesn't care, since it is having trouble enough keeping track of those still able to fight. But as the war continues to go badly, the threat of popular dissatisfaction with Putin and his government is rising and could contribute to a more demonstrative level of anger, especially if Kherson and southern Ukraine are lost. JL

Katherine Fung reports in Newsweek:

In a letter to Russian President Putin, dozens of relatives are demanding help to locate their children, siblings and spouses after ministries provided mixed information about whether the soldiers are still alive, missing or dead. The mothers and wives involved are asking to meet with Russian Defense Minister Shoigu, for prisoners to be returned to Russia and that DNA tests to be conducted for fallen soldiers. "If this special operation was necessary, then it should have been thought out so that our guys would not die for nothing. I want them to give me an answer. If he died, they should return the body to me, at least something."

More than 100 families of Russian soldiers are demanding answers from the Kremlin about the whereabouts of their loved ones fighting in Ukraine.

In a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, dozens of relatives are demanding help to locate their children, siblings and spouses after different departments and ministries reportedly provided mixed information about whether the soldiers are still alive, missing or dead.

"We demand to find our relatives, to add them to the lists of prisoners of war who are missing. Search work is not being carried out, since they are in the status of missing," the families wrote in a Tuesday letter obtained by the American-funded Radio Free Europe (RFE)."The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has been blocking a change in the status of servicemen for more than five months, regardless of their constantly changing information," the letter said, adding that relatives have had to look for facts and proof themselves when figuring out where their loved ones are.

Families are not only pleading for the truth about where the soldiers are but also demanding Russia to implement regional checkpoints for families to obtain information of soldiers in Ukraine.

 

The mothers and wives involved in the effort are also asking to meet with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, for prisoners to be returned to Russia and that DNA tests to be conducted for any fallen soldiers.

One woman, identified by RFE as Anna Danilova, said she has received messages and a call from Russian servicemen that her 47-year-old husband was killed in battle, but days later, she was told by a Ukrainian soldier that her husband had survived an attack and was being treated in a hospital.

Danilova said he is listed as missing, but she has been unable to confirm his whereabouts or contact him directly.

Maria Shumova said she has been unable to find her 23-year-old son after his division went through Bucha on March 27. She said given the videos that have emerged from the Ukrainian city, she thinks it's unlikely he survived but has been unable to confirm his death.

"I do not blame anyone, but if this special operation was necessary, then it should have been thought out so that our guys would not die like this for nothing," she said.

"I want them to give me an answer...if he died, that they would return the body to me, at least something."The letter was signed by 106 relatives of Russian service members. They hope their demands reach Putin.

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