Shortly after the beginning of the Georgia conflict, a group of parents of young Russian army recruits in the federation’s third city, Perm, issued an appeal to Russia’s president, prime minister, defence minister and Duma defence committee chairman. The letter includes the following paragraphs (my tr.):
Mr. Vladimir Putin has set Russians a task – to increase the birth rate. Why, may one ask you? The war with Georgia that has begun provides a complete answer – you, gentlemen, need a lot of cannon fodder in the form of soldiers from the provinces. Eighteen year old boys who have served only two and a half months. Who gave this criminal order to send them to their certain death? It turns out that Putin called on us to correct the country’s demographics for new wars, and not for creation.
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You who hold the power first destroy and then pour a huge amount of humanitarian assistance into the war-affected areas, you restore the economies of shattered republics. Now you have called it a humanitarian catastrophe. Tell us, who is going to return the dead and war-mutilated children to their parents? Who is going to prevent a catastrophe of the family? Like a cruel joke played on us all, the war is taking place in the Year of the Family… We demand an end to the war with Georgia and the restoration of peace! “