Russian Wives of Soldiers Plead for Peace with Presidential Candidate

Russian Wives of Soldiers Plead for Peace with Presidential Candidate

Boris Nadezhdin, a vocal critic of the Kremlin and a contender in the upcoming Russian presidential election, expressed his opposition to Moscow’s military actions in Ukraine during a meeting with a group of soldiers’ wives. The meeting, held in a town near Moscow where Nadezhdin serves as a local legislator, focused on the wives’ plea for their husbands’ discharge from the front line.

Nadezhdin, 60, is actively gathering signatures to qualify for the presidential race, aiming to challenge President Vladimir Putin in the March 15-17 vote. At the meeting with wives and relatives of Russian servicemen deployed to Ukraine, he criticized the government’s decision to keep them in active duty for the duration of the conflict.

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“We want them to treat people who are doing their duty in a decent way,” Nadezhdin emphasized. The wives, particularly those campaigning for the discharge of reservists called up in the fall of 2022, have been actively seeking support through petitions, picketing government buildings, and other forms of advocacy.

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Despite facing challenges from government-controlled media and accusations of being Western stooges by some pro-Kremlin politicians, the women rejected these claims vehemently.

The mobilization of 300,000 reservists ordered by Putin in 2022 faced public backlash, leading to widespread dissatisfaction and prompting many to flee the country. In response, the military has been trying to bolster forces in Ukraine by recruiting more volunteers, claiming around 500,000 signed contracts with the Defense Ministry last year.

During the meeting, Nadezhdin reiterated his call for a swift end to the conflict in Ukraine, echoing the desire for peace expressed by the country. He expressed optimism about his presidential bid, citing increasing support for his peace initiatives and receiving donations from thousands of people.

Nadezhdin acknowledged the challenges independent candidates face under Russian law, requiring them to gather at least 300,000 signatures from 40 regions. Another candidate advocating for peace in Ukraine, Yekaterina Duntsova, was recently barred from the race due to technical errors in her nomination paperwork.

While the election commission has approved three candidates from parties represented in parliament, including Nikolai Kharitonov, Leonid Slutsky, and Vladislav Davankov, critics argue that Putin’s tight control over the political system makes his reelection likely in March.

The constitutional reforms orchestrated by Putin allow him to seek two more six-year terms, potentially extending his tenure until 2036. Despite these challenges, Nadezhdin remains determined, fueled by what he perceives as growing public support for his bid for a more peaceful and inclusive political landscape.

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