By Guy Faulconbridge
MOSCOW (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – A little-known patriotic group that supports the widows of Russian soldiers has called on President Vladimir Putin to order a large-scale mobilization of millions of troops and close the borders to ensure victory in Ukraine.
Putin, Russia’s supreme leader for 70 years, has been under intense pressure to secure victory in Ukraine more than 10 months since he sent troops as part of an operation he said was meant to defend Russians in the Eastern Ukraine.
“We are calling on our president, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, to allow the Russian military to carry out a large-scale mobilization,” the Soldiers’ Widows of Russia group said in a Telegram post.
“We ask our President, our Supreme Commander-in-Chief, to ban the departure of men of military age from Russia. And we have every moral right to do so: our husbands died protecting these men, but who will protect us if they escape? “
After ordering what he called a “partial mobilization” on Sept. 21, the first in Russia since World War II, some 300,000 more men were drafted, even as several hundred thousand Russians fled abroad to avoid be called back.
The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the widows’ group’s appeal. Putin said last month there was no need for further mobilization.
A representative of the widows’ group told RockedBuzz via Reuters that all fit Russian men should be mobilized to defend the Motherland.
“The next war will require completely different resources: human, psychological, economic,” he told RockedBuzz via Reuters. “Protecting the homeland is a duty”.
Putin has for months viewed the war as part of a much larger historic struggle between Russia and the West which, according to the Kremlin chief, wants to divide and destroy Russia.
Western powers deny they want to destroy Russia.
In a gloomy New Year’s message, Putin said that defending the Motherland is the sacred duty of all Russians and promised victory in Ukraine.
Ukraine and the West say Putin has no justification for what they call an imperial-style war of occupation.
The widows’ group started work about two months ago to assist the wives of soldiers killed in Ukraine and has contacts with the Kremlin administration, its representative said.
“We are in constant contact with the presidential administration and, if necessary, we send them requests to receive this or that support,” said the representative.
Calling on Soviet leader Josef Stalin, the group said now was the time for tough measures to defend against evil forces gathering around Russia’s borders.
“Today, all the evil in the world has united against Russia – the entire Western world has turned against us,” the group said. “It’s us or them, there’s no other choice.”
Stalin in 1942 issued order No. 227 which became known as the “Not a Step Back” order. It was an attempt to establish discipline within the Red Army, even as thousands of Soviet troops were shot on their own side for alleged cowardice.
Stalin “wasn’t thinking about ratings or dissatisfaction among dissidents: he was thinking only about victory,” the group said. “Now is not the time to be cowards.”
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)