Harman Patil (Editor)

Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia

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The Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia (Russian: Союз Комитетов Солдатских Матерей России Soyuz Komitetov Soldatskikh Materey Rossii) is a Russian NGO, with a stated mission of exposing human rights violations within the Russian military.

The organization was founded in 1989. Before 1998, it was known as the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia. It is a member of the human rights organization Human Rights House. Among the activities the organization is involved in is educating Russian civil society on the rule of law in relation to service in the military, as well as informing society about what the armed forces should look like in a democratic society. The organization also provides free legal advice to soldiers and their families about their rights and conscription laws, as well as intervening on behalf of soldiers who are facing abuse and hazing from their superiors and other more senior soldiers (dedovshchina).

In August 2014 one of the members of the organisation stated that 100 wounded Russian soldiers who might have been injured fighting in Ukraine were taken to hospitals in Saint Petersburg. The Russian government labelled the organisation a "foreign agent", a move which members of the organization see as retaliation on the part of the authorities. According to The Moscow Times some considered this labeling of the group as punishment for their statements. The organization has not received any funding from foreign (non-Russian sources) since May 2014. On 18 October 2014, Russian police detained the head of local Committee of Soldiers' Mothers in Budennovsk, (73-year-old) Lyudmila Bogatenkova, on suspicion of fraud; the local Committee of Soldiers' Mothers in Saint Petersburg labelled this arrest "an act of intimidation in connection with her activities".

The Committee was awarded the Rafto Prize in 1995 and the Right Livelihood Award in 1996.

References

Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia Wikipedia


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