War widows are calling on Putin to mobilize massively and prevent men from leaving the country to win

A little-known association supporting the widows of Russian soldiers has called on President Vladimir Putin to order a massive mobilization of millions of men and the closure of borders to ensure victory in Ukraine. Putin, Russia’s 70-year-old supreme leader, is under intense pressure for victory in Ukraine more than 10 months after he sent troops as part of an operation he says was intended to defend Russians in eastern Ukraine.

“We ask our president, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, to allow the Russian army to carry out a large-scale mobilization,” the group of Russian soldiers’ widows said in a post on Telegram.

We call on our president, our commander-in-chief, to prevent men of military age from leaving Russia. And we have every moral right to do so: our husbands have died protecting these men, but who will protect us if they escape? “

After ordering “partial mobilization” on September 21, Russia’s first since World War II, some 300,000 additional men were conscripted, although several hundred thousand Russian men fled abroad to avoid being called up.

Given the continuing defeats and the failure of initial plans, the Kremlin faces growing discontent with hawks who advocate redoubling efforts in Ukraine. For now, Putin said last month that no additional mobilization is needed.

Homeland defense

Reuters quoted a spokesman for the group of widows as saying that all suitable Russian men should act to defend the motherland. “The next war will require completely different resources – human, psychological and economic,” he told Reuters. “Protecting the homeland is a duty.”

Putin has for months portrayed the war as part of a broader, historic conflict between Russia and the West, which the Kremlin chief says wants to divide and destroy Russia.

In his message on New Year’s Eve, Putin said that defending the motherland is the sacred duty of all Russians and promised victory in Ukraine.

The Widows Association began working about two months ago to help the wives of soldiers killed in Ukraine and has connections with the Kremlin administration, according to Reuters. “We are in constant contact with the presidential administration, and if necessary, we pass on our requests for support,” the sources consulted added.

The group cited Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, saying it was time for drastic action to push back the evil forces gathering around Russia’s borders.

“Today, all the evil in the world has united against Russia, and the entire Western world has turned against us,” the group said. “Either we or them, there is no other choice.”

In 1942 Stalin issued Order No. 227 which became known as the “Not a step back” order. It was an attempt to impose discipline within the Red Army, despite the fact that thousands of Soviet soldiers were shot by them on the grounds of cowardice.

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