Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth

Moscow correspondent for @guardian. Снова там, где здесь нам не тут. Write me at

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As Putin holds a carefully organised audience with the mothers of dead Russian soldiers, I'm reupping our story with top Russian activists saying they were shut out and believed the meeting would be staged. “He doesn’t want to hear the truth."

Kremlin appears to have gone all out with the soldiers' mothers. One, from Chechnya, has two sons: one is a senior military commander and the other is a local police chief who threatened mobilisation dodgers that they wouldn't be allowed to walk the streets if he made it home.

Which is ironic because spending 15 minutes complaining about cancel culture would fit in pretty well at CPAC.

“He doesn’t want to hear the truth and can’t control himself.” Activists say they’ve been snubbed from Putin meeting. Some say they’d refuse to go. “To go with relatives who’ve agreed to their husbands and sons dying on the front isn’t comfortable for us.”

Olesya Shigina, an ultra-conservative poet, film-maker and activist, recently said: “At the front, no one is angry at the government … They have one goal there... to win." An acquaintance called her “radically pro-government”. “Ideologically, she holds the same views as Dugin,”

Nadezhda Uzunova is an activist for an ultra-patriotic veterans’ NGO -- she's also a former political advisor to the head of the Khakassia region. Another two women have been identified as members of Putin's All-Russian Front and of a local public chamber.

Putin was expected to stack the cast for this meeting and it's fairly blatant. Meanwhile, ordinary women and activists have complained that they've been shut out of the meeting because they might ask real questions about the war.


Video of a Russian man opening fire and killing the military commandant in a draft centre in the city of Úst-Ilimsk in Irkutsk region. The military commandant was the head of the local draft committee. He has died, according to reports.

Russians mobilized to fight in Ukraine are coming back in coffins. Relatives are asking why they were sent to the front so fast. Often, they’re told nothing at all. “All we have is a date and a place.” A possible inflection point at home in Russia’s war.

Russian missile impact right by the walls of Taras Shevchenko university in Kyiv as students are going to class on a Monday morning.

“It’s not a partial mobilisation, it’s a 100% mobilisation.” Midnight summons, vodka-fueled farewells, and showdowns at the draft centers. Russia says it’s recruiting 300,000 but the real number could be 3x higher.

Arrests on Arbat. Hundreds of Russians protesting the mobilization order chanting “No to War