Information Warfare: Russian Wives and Mothers Protest the War


May 18, 2024: In Russia, the wives, mothers, sisters, and girlfriends of Russian soldiers in Ukraine or on their way there are angry. While men protesting the war often get arrested and prosecuted, the women use more subtle methods. The women have found a novel way to protest. The women stand on or outside their homes or open a window and say nothing but bang pots and pans together on Saturdays at an appointed time in their area and make noise for a few minutes before going silent. Russia monitors its internet and can identify protesters there. But women banging pots and pans to make noise to protest the war are another matter. The women arrange these, noise against the war, sessions by word of mouth or via encrypted email services like WhatsApp and Telegram. The anti-war noise protests are spreading and more Russian towns and city neighborhoods hear the noise on Saturday afternoons.

Russian women also organize groups to protest the war in person. They do this in ways that don’t encourage the police to arrest them. The police don’t want to arrest women anti-war protesters but will if ordered. Some women have been for arrested for actually, or allegedly (probably both), firebombing military mobilization centers. Other women volunteer, generally in Moscow or other large cities, to help refugees from the Ukraine War or attempt to meet with political officials about the war. Other women put anti-war posters or place flowers at war memorial sites with notes attached describing the flowers as a protest and an effort to prevent their men getting killed in Ukraine. The government has also retaliated by threatening to send military age men related to protesters to combat zones in Ukraine. Currently the government is saying nothing about the women protesters and is just hoping it will all go away. It isn’t and the protests increase in size and frequency. The protesters often have to plan for some of them to look after the children of protesters who want to leave more for a protest. The protesters do the same for women who have a husband, brother, or son return from the war wounded and in need of constant care. Most of the soldiers appreciate the assistance and are not in favor of a war that involves Russian soldiers ordered to invade a neighboring country and risk getting killed or wounded there.

A growing number of Russian military age men have deserted the military or fled the country to avoid being mobilized. Because of this Russia cannot find enough Russian men for the military and are turning to hiring men from other countries with promises of high pay and short service contracts. Eventually reports came back that these men did not receive the high pay promised and had their short service contracts extended by the government. The women protesters warn Russia military age men about these scams while the government tries to suppress any news about these unethical activities.

The anti-war protests have included women of all ages that have no men in their lives liable for military service. The impact of the war on Russia ultimately hurts all women and women organize to oppose the war any way they can, even if it means the possibility of being arrested or otherwise punched by the government.




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