Ukraine has created a hotline for Russian citizens to call, especially those that have family members involved in the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a way to cut through Russian propaganda and perhaps as a way of showing humanity during such a horrific event as war.
The hotline, which has been dubbed “Ishchi Svoikh” (Look For Your Own) according to various news outlets, was created to show just how horrific the situation in Ukraine truly is because of Putin’s belligerent move to invade the Ukraine. It seems it is particularly meant to reach out a hand to those with family in the Russian military. These family members can reportedly call the hotline to inquire as to whether their kin have become casualties of the conflict.
This choice is likely a tactic to reach out to Russian families to show them the human side of the violence caused by the Russian government’s decision to wantonly bomb another country in an attempt to expand its empire in order to create sympathy for Ukraine. It could give Russians some solace and might also create more discontentment in Russia, which is already seeing thousands of individuals protesting against the war.
The move also shows a clear divide between the motives of the two countries. Though this should be clear as one has decided to invade, Russia, and the other is simply defending their right to exist, Ukraine. Ukraine is offering pictures of casualties for Russian families to identify, perhaps giving families some closure or comfort if their missing family members have simply been captured or injured.
Russia, for its part, has offered no such platform, in fact it seems that they are purposefully obfuscating numbers of casualties on the ground in Ukraine. Though to be completely fair, it is incredibly hard to ascertain accurate numbers of those injured and killed in ongoing conflicts.
With potentially thousands of Russian soldiers already dead, this could have a significant affect on morale. This is as protests seem to already be growing in Russia, an extremely brave act in itself as the act could lead to jail terms or potentially even worse.
With Putin having such a firm grip on power, it is hard to say if there will be any affect even if a significant portion of the populace in Russia becomes disillusioned with the invasion, due to the authoritarian nature of the country. Though hopefully, with enough pressure, whether it comes in the form of hotlines, sanctions, or something else, there will be tangible results that coalesce in a Russian retreat from Ukraine because the current situation will produce nothing but needless suffering and death for people in both countries. The only people that could expect to gain anything from such grotesque conquest would be Russian officials or oligarchs collecting greedily pawing for ‘blood and soil’.