History of Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia
The Russian-wide NGO “Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia (CSMR) was established in April 1989.
1988: Due to an unmotivated decision by the country’s leaders, the possibility of postponing military service was cancelled. Some tens of thousands of youngsters were enrolled in military service.
1988-89: A wave of protests, meetings and pickets spread around the Soviet Union initiated and organized by mothers who sons were taken directly from their classrooms to serve in the army, which is a violation of the law.
The initiator of this movement was Maria Ivanovna Kirbasova. This resulted in 17600 students returning a year early from the army in order to continue their studies. The returning soldiers told their mothers about the lawlessness and brutality that flourished in the army, and about numerous inexplicable cases of deaths of soldiers during peacetime.
The Soldier's mothers, whose individual experiences were united into a single force, understood, that help and protection was not only necessary for their children, but also for other soldiers still in the army and for parents of deceased soldiers. Congresses and conferences were held in many regions and republics of the country, where the decision to establish the non-governmental organization “Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia” was taken.
September 1990: The all-Soviet, union-wide forum “Mothers against violence. What kind of army do we need?” was held in Moscow.
15 November 1990: The President of the Soviet Union, M.S. Gorbachev, issued the decree “About the realization of the CSMR’s proposals”. A special commission to investigate deaths and trauma occurring in the army was established.
December 1990: The efforts of CSMR led to the creation of a special assembly point for military men who have voluntarily left their military units in order to save their own lives and dignity, which still operates today. Assistance for the military servants in provided by members of CSMR and officers from the Ministry of Defence. By now more than 10 000 military service men have received assistance.
January 1991: For the first time in the history of the Russian army, life and health insurance was provided for soldiers and sailors.
February 1991: The ministerial council of the USSR decided that voluntary consent is necessary for military service to the Caucasus.
April 1991: The Constituent conference of the Russian-wide NGO "Committee of Soldier's Mothers of Russia " included the participation of deputies of the Supreme body of the USSR. Maria Ivanovna Kirbasova was elected Chairman of the NGO " Committee of Soldier's Mothers of Russia".
1 June 1991: The Soldiers’ Mothers’ Committee of Russia was registered as a Russian-wide public organization at the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation.
September 1991: New medical health requirements for recruits were enforced. CSMR had advocated for this for almost two years.
Through the joint efforts by members CSMR of Russia and members of parliament and human rights defenders, the right to alternative military service (civil) was strengthened which had been advocated for since 1992.
1991: Through the initiative by, and demands from CSMR, proclaimed amnesty was given to soldiers who had been forced to leave their military unites due to oppression within the military unit. The initiatives of CSMR slowly, but successfully, led to a decision to reformulate shameful army construction units. The military construction units of the Ministry of Defence were transformed into engineer-technical forces. A decision to review the geographical distribution of military service men to discontinue the placement of servicemen to distant places as it involves substantial costs for taxpayers, was taken. The youngsters must be posted in a familiar environment as the their health conditions are disastrous.
1993: The new democratic law on military service was accepted which included all amendments proposed by the CSMR.
1993: CSMR, headed by M. I. Kirbasova, participated in the investigation of the tragedy of the Russkom islands, where some sailors died from famine.
27 November, 1994: ПBefore the first storming of the city of Grozny, directly after the troops entered Chechnya in December 1994, some hundreds of military service men were taken as prisoners. CSMR had advocated for an immediate termination of the war in Chechnya. Upon the initiative of the Chechen command, the Chairman of the CSMR, Maria Kirbasova, presented a list of Russian soldiers and officers in Chechen prison. “Komsomolskaya Pravda” published the list of prisoners.
3 January 1993: The first antiwar procession was held on Red Square in memory of all who have died in Chechnya.
6 January 1995: The first group of parents of military service men entered the military zone headed by Maria Kirbasova and stayed in Grozny until 7 February 1995. Some tens of Russian soldiers and officers were released from captivity. Thereby, the Soldier’s Mother’s Committee of Russia had done what the Russian Politicians did not want to, or could not, do.
January-March 1995: Petitions from all around Russia against the war were collected. Antiwar meetings, pickets, processions were arranged in Russian cities.
8 January 1995: Planes from Ministry of Internal (and police) Affairs brought members of the Coordination Council of the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers to the city of Mozdok where they received the first reliable news of the high number of wounded and fallen Russian soldiers.
20 January 1995: A meeting was held between Prime Minister V.S. Chernomyrdin and representatives of the General Staff of the military forces of the Russian Federation.
25-26 February 1995: The Soldiers’ Mother’s Committee of Russia held the international Congress “For life and freedom” against the war in Chechnya. Close to 200 participants of the Congress agreed on a number of resolutions and actions of the discussed problems.
1995: CSMR opened a hotline in Moscow for information about military servants located in Chechnya. This initiative was adopted in most Russian regions.
8 March 1995: From the Kremlin wall in Moscow the procession “The march of parental compassion” was started on the route Moscow-Grozny, at which regional representatives of CSMR participated.
1995: The international organization for human rights appointed Maria Kirbasova as one of ten leaders for human rights promotion in the world.
1995: A movement was organized to find sons who had disappeared in the war without a trace, headed by Anna Pyazetskaya and representatives of regional branches of CSMR of Russia.
1995: ОThe Russian-wide organization CSMR received the international Shon McBride medal (Germany) and Prof. Rafto Award (Norway) for its activities for the promotion of human rights and peace.
1995-96: Some hundreds soldiers who refused to fight in Chechnya were liberated from criminal punishment thanks to CSMR efforts.
1996: The organization Soldiers’ Mother’s Committee of Russia was awarded the Alternative Nobel Price “Right Livelihood award”
1996: Cooperation between the CSMR and the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society commenced which would last many years.
1996: Regional branches of CSMR organized gatherings for humanitarian assistance for the civilian population of the Chechen republic.
April 1997: Representatives of regional branches of CSMR participated in the first international conference "Call for the Women of Ichkeria"
1998: The Soldiers’ Mothers’ Committee of Russia arranged the All-Russia conference “In the 21st century – without war and punishment”
1998: Through the initiative of CSMR, the Russian budget included a clause for expenditures for the search and identifying of deceased military servants.
July-August 1998: Representatives of regional branched of CSMR, along with Buddhist monks, initiated the “Wide Peace march in Eurasian countries”.
May 1999: Representatives of 29 regional branches of CSMR took the initiative to arrange the international congress “The Hague action for peace”
1999: Collection of signatures circulated against the bombings in Yugoslavia.
25 September 1999: The first official burial of unidentified remnants of military men killed in Chechnya from Laboratory number 124, in the city of Rostov-on-Don, took place at the Bogorodskoy cemetery in the Moscow region.
1999: Upon the initiative of CSMR and other public organizations a law for an additional pension to mothers whose sons have died during military service was enforced on 1 January 2000. The mothers received two pensions due to the loss of breadwinner and age.
Yearly since 1999 representatives of CSMR have contributed to the work of the UN Commission of Human Rights and participate at the seminar “Human Rights In Chechnya” at the European Council in Strasbourg and “The role of women in preventing conflict”.
2002-2005: The CSMR regularly send humanitarian assistance to different branches of the army.
February 2003: Tatyana Yurevna Znachkova was elected Chairman of the CSMR at a conference held for the organization and Maria Ivanovna Kirbasova was elected Honorable Chairman.
2004: Representatives of regional branches of CSMR took part in a Peace March in honour of the 60th anniversary of the Victory over the Second World War.
Since 1997 the CSMR conducts searches of missing military men.
2004: With the assistance of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society, CSMR created a site, and regularly publishes a Newsletter for the regional branches of CSMR.
May 2006: At a conference of the Russian-wide public organization “Committee of soldier's mothers of Russia ” Tatyana Yurevna Znachkova was re-elected Chairman.
Since the establishment of the ”Committee of Soldier's Mothers of Russia ”, the organization has been engaged in educational activity in the sphere of protection of the rights of recruits, military men and their parents. In all regional branches of the organization, regular consultative-informative work at offices, educational institutions and military units is carried out.