A Russian presidential candidate has voiced support for a plea from mobilized soldiers' wives to return their loved ones, and publicly advocated an end to the “special military operation.”

In a post on Telegram, Boris Nadezhdin wrote: “It has dawned on them that their attempts to reach out to the Presidential Administration and the Ministry of Defense through direct line messages will not be of any help.

"They have come to the realization that until there is a change in the country's leadership, their husbands will not be able to celebrate the New Year with them or play football with their sons.

“Their loved ones will not come back home," he added.

The mobilized soldiers' families had previously appealed to presidential candidates for support, shared on the "The Way Home" Telegram channel.


Nadezhdin is a municipal deputy of Dolgoprudny near Moscow, and is running for election from the Civic Initiative party though as a non-member of the State Duma, he must still gather 100,000 signatures.

Nadezhdin invited relatives of the mobilized to a meeting in Moscow on Thursday, Jan. 11 to discuss specific issues and develop a collaborative action plan.

In his post, he added: “The main problem is clear: the Special Military Operation [SVO] needs to be stopped.”

Anger has been growing for months among relatives of reservists whom President Vladimir Putin mobilised in September 2022, seven months after the initial invasion of Ukraine.

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The mobilisation is a sensitive subject for authorities, who have so far refrained from repressing what has become growing discord.

Saturday, Jan. 6, saw some 15 women brave the winter cold to place red flowers at the site in the heart of the capital.

“We want to draw the authorities’ attention and that of the public to our appeal. We have tried several means. We made a written appeal to lawmakers, officials, administrations – but we were not heard,” Maria, a 47-year-old sales manager, whose husband was mobilised in November 2022, told AFP.


“It’s not fair. They are civilians, they are not soldiers. Our husbands can’t stay there,” she added.

Usually, protests against the war are swiftly and resolutely nipped in the bud with the subject a delicate issue for the Kremlin.

Discord over the war's duration and intensity is also growing among the soldiers. In a number of conversations recently intercepted by Ukraine's Military Intelligence (HUR), they discuss ways to give up serving and avoid further deployment to the frontline while civilians panic about being conscripted.

For example, two Russian soldiers have been heard in an intercepted call complaining about not being given leave in almost two years and saying that “soon we'll gather a crowd and head towards Russia.”

“B**ch, we haven't been on vacation for years and f**k it,” one of the soldiers said.

In the latest development, on Dec. 19, Alexander Shpilevoy, mobilized from Voronezh, recorded a video calling for the rotation of military personnel and an end to hostilities in Ukraine.

Three weeks later, it was revealed that he was confined in a penal guards' facility – basically a punishment pit – in the Luhansk region.


Shpilevoy mentioned in the video that he decided to make his appeal after watching a live line with Vladimir Putin.

"Peace or the continuation of hostilities? Definitely peace. That's what most citizens want. But the mobilized want it a hundred times more than ordinary civilians. And our president does not want to give it," Shpilevoy said in a video address.

As the video started spreading on Russian social media, Shpilevoy reportedly faced threats. Upon his return from vacation to the front at the end of December, his family lost contact with him.

Concerns about his well-being led a friend to contact the military unit, which insisted he was on a combat mission.

However, on Jan. 7, the "Diary of a Cossack" Telegram channel disclosed that Shpilevoy had been placed in a "pit for punishment."

"It turns out that at the moment, Alexander is a political prisoner; he suffered for honestly, bravely, with an open visor, saying what he thinks about this Strange Military Operation and the disenfranchised position of the mobilized," the publication says.

According to Putin, 244,000 Russians have been mobilised to fight in Ukraine in a total force 617,000 strong.

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