Ukraine. Not only men fight against Russia. How Women Fight against Russian Occupation

, 18:49, 16.08.2023
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

The women's resistance movement "Angry Mew" operates in the areas occupied by Russian troops in Ukraine. His actions are varied. And unpredictable.

Ukraine. Not only men fight against Russia. How Women Fight against Russian Occupation

Not only men fight against Russia. How Women Fight the Russia

– I do not tell my family about my underground activity. I do everything so that they don't see a single leaflet or a can of spray paint - says Tatiana (name changed). She comes from Simferopol in the Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, and is a member of the resistance movement "Red miawka". - the soul of the deceased.

In today's Ukraine, Raging Mew is an underground women's organization operating in Russian-occupied territories and coordinated via Telegram. Women distribute pro-Ukrainian leaflets, paint graffiti, destroy Russian symbols and collect information about the Russian army.

How the resistance movement was born

"Miawki see everything!", "Occupiers, do not irritate Ukrainian women!" – this is what was written on leaflets with the image of Miwka, which constantly appear on the streets of Russian-occupied cities in the Ukrainian regions of Zaporozhye and Kherson, but also in Crimea. This resistance movement was founded by three friends from Melitopol. DW can talk to one of them on Zoom. She asks to be referred to simply as "The Raging Meow". For security reasons, she did not reveal her real name. While talking, her face is covered by a mask and her hood is pulled over her eyes.

The activist says that the idea of ​​​​establishing an underground women's resistance movement was born during a meeting in the kitchen: - March 8, International Women's Day, was approaching. We knew that the occupiers would do something and they would certainly distribute flowers to women in front of the shops. We wanted to show them that flowers won't buy us and that we know what we want, which is to return to Ukraine - she says.

One in three women is an artist. She created leaflets with the image of a young woman beating a Russian soldier with a bouquet of flowers. At the bottom there is an inscription: "I don't want flowers, I want my Ukraine." Other young women worked on the Telegram messenger. Residents of the occupied territories could download leaflets in digital form through it, print them and post them in their towns.

Ukraine: Front and role of women

Unlike the "orcs" (this is the name of the inhuman creatures from "The Lord of the Rings" used by many Ukrainians to describe Russian soldiers), the women opted for the image of "mia". – During the occupation, we constantly tried to expose our resistance, we also helped other movements, the occupiers did not expect this from women, while we still thought that it would be good if we did something, as women – says one of the founders of the movement.

Just before March 8, Tatiana from Simferopol also saw Mitts flyers on Telegram. She spent her childhood with her grandmother in Melitopol, so she closely follows the events in this occupied city in southern Ukraine and subscribes to the channel "Wściyła miawka" on Telegram. Tatiana says that already in 2014, during the annexation of Crimea, she wanted to express her pro-Ukrainian position.

But she was still a minor then. When she learned in March 2023 that the Russians had moved into her grandmother's Melitopol apartment in February 2022, which had been empty since the beginning of the invasion, she decided it was time to act. She contacted the Angry Meows and asked what she could do for them.

Flyers, graffiti and constant fear

The young woman's first task was to gather information. “At first, I just watched the Russian military and their equipment in the city. I gathered gossip from my friends who work in the local authorities and I reported everything to the “miawka” – recalls Tatiana. Later, she was asked to distribute leaflets and paint graffiti with Ukrainian blue and yellow flags and pro-Ukrainian slogans. Women usually film their actions and then post the recordings on Telegram. Their channel currently has over 7,000 followers.

Tatiana admits that it is not easy to discreetly hang leaflets and paint graffiti: "When you stick leaflets, pull out your mobile phone and take a picture, you immediately hear footsteps behind you," she says. Graffiti is even more difficult because you have to wear gloves to avoid getting paint on your hands. Then take them off and take a picture. It doesn't work in crowded places. That is why, judging by the photos from the Telegram channel, traces of "mitters" appear most often in places where there are few people.

When Tatiana's father brought Russian propaganda posters and a Russian flag home from work, the young woman suggested to the "miavks" that they burn the Russian symbols and film or photograph them. According to her, it is now "one of the favorite pastimes of kip".

How many "miws" are in action?

The movement has over a hundred active participants from various temporarily occupied cities, according to its co-founder. According to her, hundreds of other women and girls participate irregularly: they report roadblocks where Russians carry out checks and searches, buildings where Russian troops are stationed and use the local population as a protective shield, or hospitals that serve only the occupiers.

"Miawki" collects the stories of women who feel defenseless under the Russian occupation in a hostile environment. As the "mad mitt" recounts, Russian soldiers often behave audaciously and try to make contact with Ukrainian women on the street. "One young woman even wrote to me that she hardly dares to leave the house and only goes to the store once in a while," says the co-founder of this resistance movement.

Some pro-Russian Telegram entries in Melitopol draw attention to the "sucks" and describe their actions as an attempt to "intimidate" the local population. For them, these women are "sabotage squads." Others question the existence of "miws" at all. "For me, it's a sign that the occupiers see everything and they don't like it at all," replies the "mad miaw".

According to her, the goal of the resistance movement is to remind the occupiers that they are not welcome in Ukraine. "Miawki" try to counteract the power of Russian propaganda, which uses hundreds of newspapers, leaflets and posters with Russian flags and slogans.

Hope in the Ukrainian counter-offensive

Despite the counter-offensive of the Ukrainian armed forces and repeated explosions in Melitopol, the Russian military feels "at home" in the city, says "the furious mew". The women in the underground see no signs that the Russians want to leave Melitopol. But the local population is becoming more and more active. “When people see the successes of our soldiers and read about them, it gives them courage. Boys can do it, so we can too.

According to Tatiana from Simferopol, recent explosions in Crimea are causing fear among some of its Russian residents. Some have already left for Russia, others are considering evacuation should the fighting escalate. “Unfortunately, during the nine years of occupation, part of the Crimean population has come under the influence of constant Russian propaganda,” laments Tatiana.

#Russian Agression#Melitopol#Crimea

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