The war resister who wants to challenge Putin – NRK Urix – Foreign news and documentaries

The war resister who wants to challenge Putin – NRK Urix – Foreign news and documentaries

Boris Nadezhdin invited two categories of people to a dark and empty restaurant on the outskirts of Moscow on Thursday evening.

The most important of them were the wives of soldiers who were called up in the fall of 2022 to the war in Ukraine. The others were journalists. With some exceptions, only Western media attended.

Nadezhdin wanted to show her support for the women who are demanding that their mobilized men be allowed to return home. Some of them have been at war for nearly a year and a half.

Those of you who do not want to be photographed can sit on the left. “Those of you who don't mind can sit on the right,” Nadezhdin told the women.

Many were excited, some a little scared. Some Russians working for Western media did not come because they were afraid that the FSB security police would come and register the participants.

Boris Nadezhdy at the meeting held on Thursday evening, where wives of soldiers and journalists were invited.

Photograph: Evgenia Novozinina/Reuters

He challenged Putin on state television

Boris Nadezhdin is the man who spoke before President Putin on the state television channel NTV. Twice even.

“We must start negotiations on how to end the war,” Nadezhdin said on the “Meeting Place” program in September 2022.

He said that establishing a good relationship with Europe is more important than waging a colonial war in Ukraine.

In May last year, he referred to the presidential elections scheduled for March 17 this year and said that the country should choose a president other than Putin.

The presenters protested, smiled and inserted commercial breaks. Western commentators have analyzed whether the events indicate a “new openness.”

But no, Nadezhdin's result on state television remained unique.

Boris Nadezhdin.  Program called

The program “Møteplassen” on the state television channel NTV several times invited Boris Nadezhdin to participate in the debates. Now he is no longer invited.

Image: screenshot

Angry and disappointed women

The ladies here are patriots. But the war made ordinary women turn against the authorities, Nadezhdin said when he opened the meeting.

Maria's husband and brother were among about 300,000 soldiers mobilized in September 2022. That is, they received a call-up and are therefore not voluntary contract soldiers.

My husband has been in the trenches since last February. He did not see anything about rotating forces. Nor my brother.

Maria asks what their fault? She almost feels terrible and wants them home.

Maria Andreeva

Maria Andreeva tried several times to arrange general meetings for the families of mobilized soldiers. Each time they were rejected due to the risk of contracting coronavirus. At the same time, state institutions organize public meetings all the time.

Photo: Alexander Zemlyanichenko/AP

Antonina has a 45-year-old man who suffers from chronic gastritis, or gastroenteritis. He was also summoned nearly a year and a half ago.

He thought he would be exempted, but at the mobilization center they claimed the documents might be “forged.”

He has not yet received any treatment for his stomach problems. But he is now in a hospital near the front because he was wounded in battle as a tank driver.

Send him home, Antonina says when I ask her about her message to Putin.


Antonina said the man was first handed a bulletproof vest with blood on it. The tank driver asked to be transferred to lighter duties, but his request was rejected.

Photo: Yuri Linkivitsj/NRK

The women are part of a loose network that calls itself “The Way Home.” They themselves say they count 39,000 soldiers' wives.

The basic requirement is to dismiss those who were summoned approximately a year and a half ago. They also have their own channel on the Russian messaging platform “Telegram”.

Screenshot from Telegram: He rose

Screenshot from Telegram: “Someone” pasted the word “fake” next to the name of the Telegram channel of the “The Way Home” network. The channel was heavily criticized by pro-Putin commentators on television and Briegram.

Image: screenshot

Collect signatures

This meeting is unique. Other presidential candidates do not take the time to listen to voters, at least not to those critical of the war. Boris Nadezhdin himself says this.

He needs 100,000 signatures before January 31 to be registered as a presidential candidate.

This is the demand of the candidates who have a party behind them. It has the support of a small and somewhat unknown party, “Borgerinitiativet”.

Nadezhdin tells NRK he thinks it will work out.

Boris Nadezhdin at the Central Electoral Commission to submit the necessary documents for his registration as a presidential candidate.  The photo was taken on December 26.

Boris Nadezhdin was present at the Central Electoral Commission on December 26 to begin the registration procedure as a presidential candidate.

Photo: Reuters

But don't those who sign that they support an opponent in war risk getting into trouble?

They don't risk anything. The Russian Constitution stipulates that everyone has the right to criticize the current authorities. They can say that Putin is wrong, and that he is leading the country into a dead end.

This is what the former Deputy Speaker of the Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, said. He clearly knows full well that the Constitution is no guarantee against being persecuted for speaking out against war.

There is also a law that punishes statements that defame the Russian Armed Forces with up to 15 years in prison.

President Vladimir Putin is with the wives and children of loyal soldiers at the front during a Russian Christmas celebration in Novo Ogaryovo on January 7.

President Vladimir Putin is with the wives and children of loyal soldiers at the front during a Russian Christmas celebration in Novo Ogaryovo on January 7.

Photo: Reuters

But if he gets 100,000 signatures, will the Election Commission accept it?

In my long political career, I have often collected signatures that were not approved, resulting in me not being registered.

Last summer, I ran as a candidate for governor of the Moscow region. And you know what? It turned out that I had very few signatures because many of them were “so bad.”

No chance

This is just one of the many ways to stop people outside “the system.” The “system” in this context is the parties represented in the National Assembly, the Duma.

Boris Nadezhdin has no chance of becoming the next president of Russia. But the 60-year-old is not giving up, and the desire to help soldiers' wives seems sincere.

Many wonder why he is allowed to criticize the war and Putin as he does.

Perhaps this is because he does not have the same ability to mobilize and organize as opposition politician Alexei Navalny. He was placed in a concentration camp in northwestern Siberia.

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Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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