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“We got f*cked over and so will you”: Families of mobilized Russian soldiers issue appeal demanding that Putin bring their relatives home

A group of mobilized Russian soldiers' families have published a manifesto demanding that Vladimir Putin bring their relatives home. The appeal was originally published on the 15,466-subscriber Telegram channel Put' Domoi (“The Way Home”), claimed to be run by the relatives of the men who have been called up [the channel has over 22,000 subscribers at the time of publication — translator's note]. Here are some extracts from the appeal.

“We knocked on all the doors. Our government has turned its back on those who first responded to its call for help. First of all, from the mobilized [soldiers] and their relatives. Excuse us a bit to shatter the illusion of ‘hope, confidence, and future’ voiced at the meeting of election officials and vice-governors. We quote: ‘Elections should have a ‘therapeutic character’: people are waiting for the [‘special military operation’] to end, they’re tired, so it’s important to show that their ordinary lives are not threatened and the country has a clear future; we need to reassure the voters rather than irritate them.’
Here’s how things really are. There’s little hope left. None of us have confidence. Many no longer have a future.
But we, it turns out, are neither voters nor citizens, and perhaps no longer human beings at all… We are being betrayed and exterminated by our own people. ‘People are tired, it's important to show that their ordinary lives are not threatened.’ They most definitely are [threatened], friends. We got f*cked over and so will you. After all, all this time we've only been shown lazy stability, reliability, security. We remember the president promising that reservists would not be called up, that only professional volunteers would perform tasks in the [‘special military operation’ zone]. And then our favourites were taken to Ukraine. The promises in fact turned out to be empty. Many will never return. Mobilization turned out to be a terrible mistake. We have been punished for being law-abiding. Our men are paying for the smokescreen of stability for the majority [of Russians] with their blood, and we are paying with our health and tears.
Special military operation

The official euphemism Russian authorities use to refer to the invasion of Ukraine.

Kursk submarine disaster

On 12 August 2000, the Project 949A Antey (Oscar II class) nuclear-powered submarine K-141 Kursk sank in an accident in the Barents Sea. All 118 people aboard were killed.

Over the course of four days, the Russian Navy repeatedly failed in its attempts to attach four different diving bells and submersibles to the submarine's escape hatch. Its response was criticised as slow and inept. Officials misled and manipulated the public and the media, and refused help from nearby ships from other countries. President Vladimir Putin initially continued his holiday at a seaside resort in Sochi and only authorised the Russian Navy to accept British and Norwegian assistance after five days.

The Russian government and the Russian Navy have been heavily criticised for the incident and their responses. 

During an interview in September 2000, Larry King asked Putin about the Kursk: “What happened to the submarine?”

“It sank,” Putin replied. The line has since been widely used to refer to Putin and the Russian government's failed response to the tragedy.

“The president's promises have turned out to be empty. We've been f*cked over and so will you.”
We know that in the future no one will be immune from our fate. Not only do we want to free our loved ones, but we also want a minimum of legal guarantees for everyone. With the general mobilisation, everything is clear. Everyone is there until the end. But no one is immune to a new partial mobilisation. They’re trying to silence us with payments and benefits, citing the 'honorable' example of the Kursk [submarine]. ‘It sank.’ Not everyone has forgotten what it was like then. But when it comes to the cost of a loved one's life, they want to tear to pieces anyone who dares to make such an ugly suggestion.
The president has declared 2024 to be the 'Year of the Family.' It’s ironic, considering that wives are crying without their husbands, children are growing up without fathers, and many have already become orphans. Meanwhile, a satanist cannibal who relapsed after his first prison sentence will be released after six months, having atoned for his serial killings in the [special military operation]. Our president does have a sense of humour after all! Our guys are in their 15th month of their redemption. They've already given the Motherland more than it can ever repay. Apparently, our homeland is being freed for the very best of society: maniacs, alcoholics, migrants, outrageously wealthy officials and their children (why aren’t they in the trenches, by the way?) It’s negative selection in action. We offered the Russian world, but how did it go? We seem to have taken a wrong turn. Here’s a question: is there still a chance to jump off?
Special military operation

The official euphemism Russian authorities use to refer to the invasion of Ukraine.

Kursk submarine disaster

On 12 August 2000, the Project 949A Antey (Oscar II class) nuclear-powered submarine K-141 Kursk sank in an accident in the Barents Sea. All 118 people aboard were killed.

Over the course of four days, the Russian Navy repeatedly failed in its attempts to attach four different diving bells and submersibles to the submarine's escape hatch. Its response was criticised as slow and inept. Officials misled and manipulated the public and the media, and refused help from nearby ships from other countries. President Vladimir Putin initially continued his holiday at a seaside resort in Sochi and only authorised the Russian Navy to accept British and Norwegian assistance after five days.

The Russian government and the Russian Navy have been heavily criticised for the incident and their responses. 

During an interview in September 2000, Larry King asked Putin about the Kursk: “What happened to the submarine?”

“It sank,” Putin replied. The line has since been widely used to refer to Putin and the Russian government's failed response to the tragedy.

“They’re trying to silence us with payments and benefits, citing the ‘honorable’ example of the Kursk.”
We hope the president will listen to our appeals, because we're still voters. We won't back down until our men are safe at home (forever, we're not interested in rotation). Here and now we are building the foundations of public solidarity against indefinite mobilization. And we call on everyone to help. Even if you don't have anyone close to you there [at the front line], you can still put down your signature and show your solidarity with us and your simple human compassion. We are starting a collection of signatures for our manifesto.”

In a later post, the Telegram channel published a link to the manifesto and the petition. The manifesto called for the withdrawal of mobilized soldiers from the “special military operation zone” and for a deadline to be set for military service under partial mobilization.

On October 28, 2022, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Putin that the “partial” mobilization effort had concluded successfully. However, the president never signed a decree officially ending the mobilization.

Commenting on the lack of an official document in early November, Putin said: “I’ll talk to the lawyers, I haven’t even thought about whether the end of the [mobilization] should be announced by decree. But it’s finished, that’s set in stone.” It later emerged that there were no plans to issue such a decree. In January 2023, Russia’s presidential administration officially confirmed that the “partial” mobilization decree was still in force.



Special military operation

The official euphemism Russian authorities use to refer to the invasion of Ukraine.

Kursk submarine disaster

On 12 August 2000, the Project 949A Antey (Oscar II class) nuclear-powered submarine K-141 Kursk sank in an accident in the Barents Sea. All 118 people aboard were killed.

Over the course of four days, the Russian Navy repeatedly failed in its attempts to attach four different diving bells and submersibles to the submarine's escape hatch. Its response was criticised as slow and inept. Officials misled and manipulated the public and the media, and refused help from nearby ships from other countries. President Vladimir Putin initially continued his holiday at a seaside resort in Sochi and only authorised the Russian Navy to accept British and Norwegian assistance after five days.

The Russian government and the Russian Navy have been heavily criticised for the incident and their responses. 

During an interview in September 2000, Larry King asked Putin about the Kursk: “What happened to the submarine?”

“It sank,” Putin replied. The line has since been widely used to refer to Putin and the Russian government's failed response to the tragedy.

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