While protests against the war in Ukraine take place worldwide, the Russian pacifist movement seems to fall off the grid due to the newly introduced law on "fake news" and enhanced police control. Nevertheless, women in Russia managed to join hands in the first days of war and continue to demonstrate their solidarity with pacifist ideology. They protest against the invasion of Ukraine by fighting state propaganda, organizing campaigns, and involving more and more people in the anti-war movement.
The reason for the growth of “Feminist Anti-War Resistance” and its consolidation lies within the increasing spread of feminist ideas during the 2010s in Russia. Even though women have always been engaged in social life, the discussion of gender stereotypes and women's roles in society has begun transforming the perspective of female subjectivity and their place in society only in the last ten years. It fundamentally changed the understanding of what place women occupy in politics and social life and encouraged them to form and actively participate in local feminist organizations. These groups lay the foundation for feminist resistance in the first days of the war against Ukraine.
“Feminist Anti-War Resistance” was founded on the 25th of February, the next day after the war started. The manifest of the movement defines it as “the opposition to war, patriarchy, authoritarianism and militarism”, and calls for all feminist groups to unite. At the moment, its members account for thirty thousand adherents. Within a month, Russian feminists organized protests in hundreds of Russian cities, launched a fund supporting protestants and campaigns for spreading information about hostilities of the Russian army. Due to the increased state control and strict censorship in the media, activists try to be anonymous and help those already arrested. They provide free psychological help to all participants, and help to deal with stress caused by arrests, societal pressure and massive layoffs.
As a political force nowadays, “Feminist Anti-War Resistance” shows better consolidation than any other opposition in Russia. Its adherents have been organizing protests addressing moral, social, and economic issues caused by the war. In particular, one-man pickets “Women In Black” have drawn much attention of society. Every Friday, women stand in the streets wearing black clothes and holding white flowers in their hands as a sign of grief for the civilian population affected by the conflict. They organize the campaign in the streets as well as near military commissariats calling for the young conscripts not to join the army and offering help to avoid the draft. The picket became highly popular in Moscow and St. Petersburg, where many of the activists were detained by the police.
Trying to address the economic consequences caused by the military expenditure and numerous sanctions imposed by western countries, activists of the “Feminist Anti-War Resistance” mark the money with the slogan “all money was spent on war”. They also change price tags in grocery shops to raise awareness about the devastating consequences of the war. New tags contain inflated prices and information about the current situation in Ukraine.
The future of “Feminist Anti-War Resistance” is uncertain at the moment, as the government imposes more and more restrictions, forcing many members of the movement to flee the country for fear of prosecution. Nevertheless, women continue to create new methods of protest and believe in sooner peace for all.
Image: Feminist Anti-War Resistance telegram
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