In Russia, women sew for the forehead

Camouflage nets, socks and briefs for "our guys"

In Russia, women sew for the forehead

Camouflage nets, socks and briefs for "our guys". Near Moscow, Russian seamstresses, threads and needles in their hands, are making this equipment in high demand by Russian troops, after a year and a half of fighting in Ukraine.

These women, some of whom are elderly, claim to be inspired by the mobilization of the Soviets during the war against Nazi Germany, which the Kremlin propaganda constantly compares to its ongoing assault against its neighbor, according to it provoked by the West.

Glasses on her nose, head bowed, Raissa, 81, carefully sews green plastic ribbons onto a large net stretched out on a wooden support, in the middle of a cellar of a residential building in the town of Zhukovsky, near from Moscow.

“It’s for our guys who are there. We are afraid for them, of course, we are ready to do everything to help them morally and materially,” said this woman in a weak and sad voice.

Around ten women are busy in the workshop which primarily produces camouflage nets to hide equipment and positions from the eyes of Ukrainian drones.

The workers also make socks, underwear and put together toiletry bags or rations of treats.

One of the managers, Elena Poteriaeva, presents one of their latest creations: a green fabric stretcher. Her teammates, she said, specially padded the object's handles.

“That way the soldier won’t hurt his hands carrying the wounded man,” she said with pride.

Their factory is part of a network of around ten workshops in the Moscow and Tver regions which says it produces up to 300 camouflage nets per month, then delivered by volunteers traveling to Ukraine.

It also happens that soldiers pick up equipment themselves before joining the front.

Initially, Poteriaeva said, a group of local grandmothers spontaneously started knitting socks for the soldiers last year.

Then, as the fighting continued, their production was organized. The Zhukovsky town hall provided them with this basement where a photo of President Vladimir Putin and Soviet posters hang.

These proclaimed patriots want to show that a part of Russian society is mobilizing for the soldiers, while many Russians are keeping their distance from the conflict, while those who oppose it risk very heavy prison sentences.

“We support our guys and we believe that what they are doing is right,” says 50-year-old Elena Poteriaeva.

“We feel like soldiers from the rear with a goal to accomplish. I really hope that we will celebrate the victory with our warriors,” continues this energetic woman, an aeronautical engineer by training.

Her comrade, Natalia Chalygina, a 52-year-old philologist, also thinks that you need “strong backs” to win.

“In times of war there are those who help, those who wait and those who harm. So we have to tell our guys loud and clear that we are there, that we help them and that we support them,” explains -she.

They show AFP a video shot by hooded Russian soldiers who thank them.

The workshop buys the necessary materials from several companies across Russia and says it is financed entirely by donations from individuals.

A system which, according to Natalia Chalygina, is organized over time.

Already, she is thinking about the next season, pointing to a spool of white and green fabric for camouflage in the snow.

“Winter is coming soon,” she points out.

13/09/2023 19:09:24 -        Zhukovsky (Russia) (AFP) -        © 2023 AFP