Mother of Dead Russian Soldier Vows Uprising Against Putin

The mother of a Russian soldier killed fighting Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine has called for an end to the conflict, as she said she believed mothers would rise up against the Russian leader.

Valya, who spoke to BBC News using a pseudonym for safety reasons, said she is in contact with soldiers' mothers across Russia. She said many of the mothers blame the Kremlin for the ongoing conflict and the deaths of their sons.

The distraught Russian mother told the BBC's Russia editor, Steve Rosenberg, that she last heard from her son more than four and a half months ago, with little to no communication from officials on his whereabouts after he was deployed to neighboring Ukraine in February.

She received official confirmation from Russian authorities after the interview that her son had been killed in combat, the BBC said.

"They [Russian mothers] hate the government, they hate Putin," Valya said. "They all want this war to end."

Valya said she believes that eventually, the mothers of soldiers killed in Ukraine will rise up against Putin over his war, which he calls a "special military operation."

"If the mothers of all the soldiers who are fighting there and the ones who've lost sons, if they all rose up, can you imagine how big that army would be? And they will. Their nerves will snap," she said.

Valya rebuked the Kremlin's portrayal of the war on state television.

"On TV they say that everything's fine, we're winning. But our lads are being killed," she said.

"If our country had been attacked like this, we would also be defending ourselves, like they [Ukraine] are. We'd defend ourselves and we would be angry too. I realise now that Ukrainian mothers are the same as us. Their sons are being killed, they're searching for their children."

"I don't know what this is all for. You'd have to ask the government," Valya continued.

 Protest In Moscow
Russian Police officers run to detain a man holding a poster saying "No war" during an unsanctioned protest rally at Manezhnaya Square in front of the Kremlin on March 13,2022, in Moscow. Hundreds of people have been detained during anti-war rallies. Contributor/Getty Images

The Russian mother called for Putin to put an end to the war, which began more than four months ago.

"Stop. Stop all this. Stop it and protect our children," she added.

It's not the first time Russian mothers have voiced their anger over Putin's war. In March, just days after the conflict began, furious mothers of Russian soldiers accused the Kremlin of deploying their sons as "cannon fodder."

"We were all deceived, all deceived. They were sent there as cannon fodder. They are young. They were unprepared," one woman said during a heated confrontation with Sergey Tsivilev, governor of the Kemerovo region, RFE/RL reported at the time.

Tsivilev repeated the Kremlin's position that the invasion is a "special military operation" to disarm Ukraine and detain leaders it calls neo-Nazis. Ukraine and the West say the rhetoric is a false pretext to justify an invasion of the country.

According to RFE/RL, the exchange took place during a meeting between Tsivilev and residents of the city of Novokuznetsk. The location was the training base for riot police units, whose officers were killed or captured in combat in Ukraine, the news outlet reported.

It isn't clear how many Russian soldiers have been killed so far in Putin's war. Ukraine's armed forces say about 37,500 Russian troops have been killed since the war began, although Russia hasn't confirmed those figures. On March 25, a Russian general told state media that 1,351 soldiers had been killed and 3,825 were wounded.

Newsweek has contacted Russia's foreign ministry for comment.