January 08, 2024

The Women with the White Scarves


The Women with the White Scarves
A woman wearing a white scarf with a sign reading, "Bring the mobilized home! Down [with] recruitment slavery!"  Put Domoy, Telegram

In December, women wearing white scarves protested solo in the Moscow cold. They left flowers for Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine at the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier and held signs in front of different government buildings demanding the return of their husbands and sons.

Put' Domoy (The Way Home) is an over-9,000-member Telegram channel that brings together family members of mobilized soldiers to advocate for their return from the front. On November 27, 2023, Put' Domoy circulated a petition to put a one-year time limit for serving at the front, institute a commission for wounded soldiers, and expand the list of diseases that can qualify someone as ineligible for the draft. In an open letter to President Vladimir Putin, organizers wrote, "We were f*cked, and you [Putin] will be f*cked. too." 

The women-led Telegram channel has often tried to hold rallies in cities across Russia but were blocked by local authorities, who cited COVID-19 restrictions. Security forces knocked on soldiers' wives' doors in Krasnoyarsk Krai and Kemerovo Oblast. However, the women aren't just considered local threats. According to Kommersant, the wives of soldiers are one of the main concerns for the Kremlin in the March elections. In response, regional officials attempted to "extinguish [Put' Domoy] with money." 

Yet, on December 6, 15 women deposited flowers on the memorial at the Kremlin wall to fallen Soviet soldiers during World War II. Then, they picketed alone in front of the Ministry of Defense, the Presidential Administration, and the Supreme Court buildings. The women wore white scarves referencing the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, a group of Argentinian women who organized rallies looking for their children who were disappeared by the country's military dictatorship in the late seventies and early eighties. 

President Putin declared 2024 "the year of the family," enraging families of drafted soldiers. In response, Maria Andreyeva, a Put' Domoy member and a mobilized soldier's wife, told SOTA,  "They have nullified us, written us off along with our husbands."

You Might Also Like

An Anti-War Art Awakening
  • December 18, 2023

An Anti-War Art Awakening

Anonymous artist Zless creates anti-war art that juxtaposes traditional Russian symbols and the horrors of the invasion of Ukraine.
  • October 11, 2023

"Our Men Are Not Slaves; Bring Them Home"

Relatives of mobilized Russians are demanding the return of loved ones who have been at war for an extended period. Russian authorities are censoring their messages.
There Is Only Death There
  • September 28, 2023

There Is Only Death There

New statistics reveal that one in five mobilized Russians did not survive even two months in the Russian war in Ukraine.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
At the Circus (bilingual)

At the Circus (bilingual)

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
Turgenev Bilingual

Turgenev Bilingual

A sampling of Ivan Turgenev's masterful short stories, plays, novellas and novels. Bilingual, with English and accented Russian texts running side by side on adjoining pages.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955