"This war did not start when Russian special forces invaded Donetsk and Luhansk, nor did it begin with the annexation of Crimea. In the modern historical perspective this war began with the free Ukrainians' rebellion against the criminal regime of Yanukovych and Russian FSB agents' lame attempts to quell the revolution. First victims of this war between Russia and Ukraine were Maidan activists - kidnapped, tortured, beaten and murdered, and the Heavenly Hundred, laid to death by the snipers."
“The skirmishes in the east of today represent the enemy’s attempt to strike back after losing the critical battle in Kyiv and almost everywhere else in Ukraine. Today the enemy is vying for the revanche in the east.”
Eastern front is looming ahead. One, maximum two days for our task group members to get to know each other and to do some last-minute shooting practice, and we are heading out into the welcoming embrace of the Eastern front. “Downbass” and “Lugandonia”, as they mockingly call these “lands of the gadflies”, await us. But the bad public image of the area does not matter; we still have to fight for these lands. I do not know, if and when I will be able to chat in the Internet again, so I leave this lengthy text in my place. One always has a strong motive for doing two most unnatural things in the world – risking his life in defiance of self-preservation instinct and taking the life of others. I do not know if I ever will be able to explain my motives (it is war and I am well aware of the danger to my limb and life) and I do not want someone else to explain them in my place, putting alien words in my mouth. So, here are my words about this war.
What is this war about and when did it start?
First of all, this war is not fought between two neighbouring countries for the disputed territory. As well, this is not the war between the central government (or “Kyiv junta” of the Russian idiot box) and “rebel region” for the unity of the country, on one side, and the “independence of DoMbass”, on the other side.
Some Russian supporters of terrorists do not know how to spell "Donbass" correctly. It seems, they want the "independence" for a mysterious territory called DoMbass.
That said, the sides in this war are real rebels-separatists and real imperial center or “junta”, if you prefer. Only the rebels in question are not the terrorists in the east who capture buildings and kidnap journalists off the streets in Slovyansk and Donetsk. We, the Ukrainian people, are these rebels, and the imperial center has been around for the last four hundred years. This center is located in Moscow’s Kremlin and the junta is represented by the totalitarian government of the ageing KGB agent, who piled up so many oil and gas bucks that it caused him to go out of touch with reality. In his personal reality he sees himself as a great emperor, “saviour and unifier of Russian lands”. In Donbass we fight not for control over the lands of Donbass, but for the independence of Ukraine. Moscow also does not fight for the control of Donbass, it fights to gain a weapon against the existence of free Ukraine.
This war did not start when Russian special forces invaded Donetsk and Luhansk, nor did it begin with annexation of Crimea. In the modern historical perspective this war began with the free people’s of Ukraine rebellion against the criminal regime of Yanukovych and Russian FSB agents’ lame attempts to quell the revolution.
First victims of this war between Russia and Ukraine were the Maidan activists – kidnapped, tortured, beaten and killed, and the Heavenly Hundred, laid to death by the snipers. The skirmishes in the east of the present day represent the enemy’s attempt to strike back after losing the critical battle in Kyiv and almost everywhere else in Ukraine. Today the enemy is vying for the revanche in the east.
But the ultimate beginning of the war took place much earlier than modern days, many generations ago. One can start the countdown from 1918, when Bolshevik Moscow started its war against Ukrainian National Republic in the same way modern Moscow is doing today – by invading Donbass and Harkiv. Then, same as today, Moscow’s agents proclaimed a multitude of “independent republics” in Ukrainian lands and bands of imported Russian militants advanced inside the country, while Bolsheviks were lying straight-faced, that these armed militants were not Russian, but instead represented the forces of the said “independent republics”. In the meantime, main Russian military intervention forces were loitering at the Ukrainian borders, and Ukraine, same as today, was trying to defend itself with the forces made up of volunteer students, the strength of her army reduced to nil in the prior years.
A polytechnic student was tortured to death in Horlivka recently. Had he been born at the turn of the prior century he could have met a similar fate at the hands of Bolshevik forces at Kruty. The UPA rebels, massacred by NKVD, the dissidents rotting in Siberian prison camps – all of them were the soldiers of this war. So, we, the soldiers of “Donetsk Front” are only a minuscule part of the endless line of those, who fought for the freedom of Ukraine.
Possibly, the real starting point this war lies with the attempts of Vygovskyi and Mazepa to take Ukrainian Rus away from the world of Moscow (a relatively young empire then, but already ominous) and return it to the free people’s world, to European civilization. In this respect, it is no coincidence that the current cycle of rebellion started with a failure to sign the agreement with European Union, and united flags of Ukraine and EU became the revolution’s symbols. Recently, the Muscovite Horde invaded Georgia and called this abhorrent act the “peace enforcement”. Now they wage similar war against Ukraine. The goal of this war is to enforce Russian dominance in politics and culture. Our “sin” before Russia is great – we boldly tried to leave the big Russian prison of nations, so the KGB guards hysterically demand our return and their overseers shoot us in the back, using the snipers in Instytuts’ka and mines under Slovyansk.
Unfortunately, there is no deep forest around, so we can not just run away from it all. We have two choices – to face our violators and fight them or go back to prison camp. For me the correct choice is obvious.
Also this war is civil. A civil war for civilized society. A war of viewpoints, when the citizens make their stand against the slaves. In this respect the Donbass war is just another piece in the mosaics of the like stands in different parts of the world happening over many centuries. This is zombies and slaves against free people, and free people must knock them back.
I am asked to risk my more or less well organized and happy life, and for what?
The list of things worth fighting for with a weapon in hand is too long for a single entry. I could say that I fight for my home and do it in the far-away Donbass to prevent doing it in the streets of Kyiv. This is the truth of it. I could also say, that I fight for the united Ukraine in her lawful borders. And this is the truth of it, too. I could say, that I fight for the existence of my Ukrainian culture, language and history. And this will be the ultimate truth of it, because our enemy on principle does not recognize our right to our own identity, separate from Russian “elder brother”.
But first and foremost I fight for the social contract. In particular, I fight for a model of society, where free citizens from birth have non-alienable rights and freedoms, which can not be taken away by any tsars, presidents, dictators, bureaucrats, bandits or police. I fight for the state, where citizens decide what powers they grant to the state, and the state does not try to cut off more and usurp the power of its citizens.
I risk my life for:
- the freedom of speech. I want to be able to speak and write my mind openly, without fear, in the city square or university classroom, in the Internet or in the newspaper.
- the right to get truthful information from the source of my choosing, without restrictions and zombification attempts by a propaganda machine.
- the right to elect my government, control its decisions and change it when it fails me.
- the equality of everyone before the law, for clean, non-corrupt law enforcement, so that no one can put themselves above the law.
- the right to conduct business freely, without paying protection money to the state or the mafia, for the right to pay taxes by clear and lawful rules and for the right not to be forced into bribery.
Truly, all these points are simple, elementary things. And it is worth trying to imagine or, in many cases, remember from your own past what happens to your life without these simple things. Then the understanding dawns, the understanding as to why one has to defend these simple things with arms and why it is better to risk your life for them rather then forfeit the real life for slavish survival and illusory safety.
It is also true that in Ukraine no place exists, where all these simple things are possible. Even in Kyiv we at first only managed to defend the rights and freedoms, which were won in 1991, and which were in relative safety in the previous 2 decades. To save these freedoms from blatant rape we had to go to Hrushevs’kogo Street. There we managed to claw out the archaic right for the popular democracy and the right to exile our “prince” via popular vote. There we also defended the chance (just the chance!) to obtain the full-scale freedoms in the nearest future and form our social contract. For this we paid with Heavenly Hundred. However, the continued existence of this social contract and our freedoms is possible only if no external forces come to us and force us to accept their version of the law, and their social contract based on slavery and rule of the strongest force on the block. Since such an external force did come we were thereby forced to meet them in Donbass and stop them.
Whose war is it? Are the “cursed lands” of Donbass really worth the blood of our best people?
Donbass‘ land is not a resource in itself. It is defiled, torn down, it brings no profits. The land itself does not justify dying for it. Even less worth dying for are those locals, who steal weapons from our soldiers, willingly offer themselves as living shields for foreign invaders, hysterically scream in the media about “punishers of the junta” in reference to Ukrainian army, glorify the Berkut and demand that Yanukovych shoot the protesters on Kyiv’s Maidan or level out the Maidan with tanks.
If the fighting was really over Donbass, the prize in the war would be two regions, massively infested with soviet nostalgia, poverty and distress. A substantial part of their population can not understand their own needs and preferences, carrying a disgusting virus of slavish obedience and disregard for the law. If the fighting was really only over Donbass, it would probably behoove us to let go of Donbass and help those of its residents, who do not share in the petty criminal mentality of its “liberators”, to resettle in other areas of Ukraine.
But this war is not over Donbass. Our enemy is not going to stop at mere two regions of Ukraine. For them Donbass is just a convenient piece of land for staging further invasion and taking Kyiv or even Lviv. Even now this formally local war is fought all over Ukraine. Donbass stands out only because the war there has already entered the stage of using army and artillery, while elsewhere it is limited to sporadic street fights and hunt for the groups of enemy militants. In these street fights the agents of the “Russian world” shoot our people in the streets of Odessa and bludgeon them with baseball bats in Kharkiv’s center. The terrorists with explosives are caught in Berdyansk and even in the center of Kyiv. The ones who manage to evade capture go unchecked and blow up the gas pipe in Carpathian mountains. All this happens even now despite the fact, that the enemy’s main military forces are contained. It happens despite the fact, that we are not even thinking of giving up Donbass. One can imagine all too well what will happen if we give up our position in Donbass. In this case the enemy will instantly try to move into other Ukrainian lands and start direct military aggression there.
“New Russia”, which in fact comprises half of Ukraine, is only a small milestone for Kremlin, a “sympathy prize” to be kept if the plan for obtaining the full control over Ukraine fails. That is why every voice raised for “not shedding the blood of our brethren in Donbass” (meaning the blood of Ukrainians from Halychyna, Volyn or Kyiv), or for “giving up these hellish cursed lands and their idiotic populace” is not a voice raised for peace, but a voice raised for war. And that war will envelop Ukraine whole. Every ill-begotten patriot of his own little town, who cares not for what happens on the other end of Ukraine, is holding Kremlin’s hand by taking a stance like “who cares about Donbass? When they come to Kyiv (Lviv, Lutsk) we are going to beat them to pulp”. Such a position only raises the chance that Kremlin, after establishing control over Donbass, will really move onto Kyiv, Lviv and Lutsk. It will keep coming relentlessly unless stopped by us. And its coming will be marked with massacres.
It is no accident that this war is called a hybrid war. This war really is a hybrid of civil war and war for independence of our country. The civil war is waged between the citizens of Ukraine and the Soviets, even though these Soviets are formally the citizens of a different country and even if they hold non-Soviet passports. Many of them still proudly say that “my address is Soviet Union”, sing praise to the most bloody and disgusting regime in modern history and yearn for the return of times when they happily worked for food and everyone remembered their place or suffered prison or deportation, disturbing voices of dissent suppressed. Sadly, peaceful coexistence of Soviet zombies and free people, of willing slaves and free citizens is impossible. The Ukrainians, and the “Colorados” fight for the same space, encircled by the border of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of 1991. We fight for this whole territory. There will be only one to win and install their rules. That is why this war is MINE.
Why do these enemies deserve to die and who gave me the right to decide their fate? What is the difference between US and THEM?
We have a lot of luck with our enemies. We do not fight a morally ambiguous war against a “somewhat bigger evil”. Our war is against THE EVIL, starting with a big fat E, like the war against J.R.R. Tolkien’s Mordor. Our enemies fight for so-called “Russian World” of Putin and Gundyaev (Patriarch Cyril of Russian Orthodox Church). This “Russian World” is, in fact, a completely alien world, fundamentally different from the world of free people. In Russian World the freedom is not a god-given right bestowed upon you at birth. In Russian World the freedom is bestowed upon you by your superiors and its amount is proportional to the level of your loyalty to the tsar and the system. Because of this unequal distribution of freedom, some may freely kill others in the street without fear of prosecution, while others may not even enter this street with protest poster for the fear of being thrown into jail. In this Russian World objective reality has been replaced with the Ministry of Truth. Led by medal-clad Kyselyovs, the Ministry of Truth is tasked with building its own doctored version of world, to be fed to everyone in order to make them submit to the laws of this alternative reality.
There is no doubt: anybody trying to force free people into the life of malignant illusion must be stopped. What else is there to do with an aggressive zombie? The only way to stop such a zombie is killing him, this being not the question of your cruelty, but a question of zombie’s biology. We have no choice, but to fight: it is us, with our imperfect, but very real and free world, or them, with their illusive Eurasian Mordor.
On the personal level our enemies are not much better then on the global political level. Sadly, we deal with real goblins here. Their personalities are defined by territoriality, xenophobia and intolerance for everything unfamiliar. They hate the “benders” about who they know nothing. They hate Ukrainian speakers, because in their eyes those who choose to speak Ukrainian are definitely the hated “benders”. They also hate hippies, gays, greens and the “four-eyed bookworms” who are better educated then them. In other words, they hate everyone, who is different from them in any respect, no matter how small that difference is. Those who are not afraid of them they hate with special passion.
It is also true that we, the objects of their hate, bear no love for them. But we never tried to force them to conform to our views and become like us. We only wanted one thing from them – that they live and let live. For a long time an uneasy truce existed between us, but now it has been broken and the goblins have been set free by their masters. Remember their ravings during the days of Maidan, when they were promised absolution from any crime? Now they are given even more freedom to break and plunder, but only in the territories to which they can hold onto by the force of weapons. There is our task – to make these territories shrink to null. At least, we can do it within the borders of our country.
It is not possible to negotiate and reach agreement with goblins using normal civilized means. They only start listening if they fear for their lives. They do not have political demands, political program, minimum and maximum requirements. All these are from the world of civilized people. Their world is much simpler: in all about who will be cowering in fear of the other – you or them. There are no alternatives or shades. Our usual tolerance and wish to live and let live is perceived as weakness and stupidity in their world. They do not want peaceful coexistence with us, and once they feel at an advantage, the deal is off and all the rules are void. Their behavior in the occupied areas is the best testament to their world image.
Understand: personally, I am not against peaceful resolution of any conflict, even with goblins. But the goblin can agree to the world in which there is a place for people who are different from himself only and only if the alternative is death. Therefore, if we want peace, we should create some conditions for this peace. They are not fussing over us, we should return the favor. We did not start this war, we did not draw the first blood and we were very patient for a long time, even when our lives were endangered by this patience. But we must end this war, with victory over them.
Some may ask: what about your tolerance for differing cultural and political views? First of all, an incessant desire to squash, plunder and kill without retribution is not a “political position”, but a hallmark of psychopathic behaviour. Second, tolerance must be paid with tolerance. If the tolerance is not returned, but is met with kidnappings and murder, it must not be given. To tolerate kidnappings and murder means sacrificing the lives of innocents, who become the victims of these acts. On moral ground, us and them are not “equal” – an obvious fact once you compare our treatment of war prisoners with theirs. They are morally inferior and dangerous to others. Removing this danger by killing them is not the “murder of innocents”, but the saving of innocents from becoming the victims of vicious killings and torture.
Why use volunteers?
Volunteers go to war because no one else can fight. Our modern state was created by refurbishing Soviet system and giving it a new “western” polish to cover up the ugly ulcers of corruption. For two decades this corruption was eating the state out from inside. As a result, the state now does not function very well, governmental processes being only an imitation of governmental processes in truly democratic countries of western Europe. And, being only a paper-cut imitation, this state fell as soon as the citizens rebelled against its rotten policies. The new state, based on social contract and popular vote is not there yet, we have only won a chance to build it. So, in short, the government is not effective at purging the terrorists in the east, because it barely functions. This breakdown of state’s efficiency is especially strong in the military. To start with, the Army, Security Services (SBU) and the police have never served their purpose in the last two decades. Instead they have been a source of personal enrichment for a long line of people, who were appointed to lead the military and police due to their family or business ties to presidents, prime-ministers and smaller political fishes in the positions of power. The newly formed National Guard consists of the very same conscripts of Internal Forces who only a couple of months ago could do nothing against citizens on Maidan and ran off once the said citizens managed to burn down a single armoured vehicle. So, what can they do against the “Strelok” and his militants, armed to teeth with newest Russian weapons and staffed with undercover professionals from Russian army?
For a quarter of a century our army’s sole purpose was to serve as a big storage for assets to be plundered by various military officials. So, why does anybody expect to have task forces with enough training and resources to go against a serious adversary? No, we should quit entertaining the opinion that we have a battle-ready army, militia and security forces. We do not have those. What we have is a motley collection of uniformed people. Some of these people are ready to go to war against all odds, some are ready to take and execute the orders of their superiors. But most of these uniformed people can only imitate military activity. In the times of peace such imitation may look harmless – at least, nobody dies. But in times of war it results in bloody losses, like Volnovaha.
That is why the only real battle-ready forces at this point are represented by volunteer forces, even if they lack professional training and do not have enough ammunition. In war, motivation always was and is to remain one of the main factors. Strongly motivated non-professionals have been known to deal non-motivated professionals, as evidenced by the numerous storm attempts of Maidan.
This approach will clearly cost us, and the losses of non-professional volunteer forces in face of factual Russian troops posing as “Donetsk partisans” will be numerous. But we should remember that our “professional” army and internal forces troops are professional in word only. They consist of eighteen year old conscripts and contract military who had very little chance to learn anything useful. They will be decimated as badly as volunteer formations, once things get hot. So, what is the difference then? The difference is in public perception of our future losses. It is one thing when a person who willingly signed up for the danger, falls. But when an unwillingly drafted dies, it is a completely different thing. After Volnovaha this difference came into focus and made it clear, we may yet face another pitfall on the way to our victory. This pitfall is the grief and grudge of the conscripts’ families, who did not ask for their sons to be drafted in the first place and who now feel that their sons are in mortal danger. This is war and multiple deaths of the young conscripts await us. It does not take many such deaths for the families of such conscripts to demand an end to hostilities, surrender of Donbass, and submission to Russia’s demands. It will not take much for them to start placing blame on Ukraine for the danger their sons face. This pitfall may strike a killing blow to Ukraine’s morale.
But the families of volunteers will not demand such things no matter how many volunteer deaths happen. On the contrary, a new volunteer will pick up the weapon of their fallen friend, and the morale will remain high, cemented by the need to finish what the fallen had started. This is because our deaths will happen as a result of our own free choice. During Maidan we, the people, went against a seemingly overwhelming adversary and have created effective medical services, effective police and even our own university without any help from any government (if anything, the “government” tried to undermine our efforts on that front). Now it is time for us to create an effective army to protect the civil society.
Finally, two last arguments. First, this war is civil to a degree, and civil war is won only by the forces, whose members have strong political convictions and always have their goal in sight. They must be compelled to fight not by fear or obedience, but by the strength of their belief and motivation. Second, methodologically this war is a guerilla war. To successfully fight against the guerillas, regular army must have a strong advantage in numbers and technology. And today this is not the case. One of the reasons for the slow progress of anti-terrorist operation in Donbass is the simple shortage of people – there is not enough of them to control the perimeter. The calculus of war is thus – one needs to put a much larger number of personnel in Donbass then one currently has a hold of. Because of this, every volunteer who agrees to go there saves one more scared conscript from being dragged there by the government. Not everyone is psychologically ready to fight, but the war must be won. So, we, the volunteers, must create a critical mass of military there, to avoid mass casualties among youngster conscripts.
When will the war end and is there even a chance for Ukrainian victory?
I do not know when the war will end. I do not know when the last invader will be kicked beyond our eastern border. I only know that this has got to happen. Maybe this autumn we will even take back the Crimea which will rebel against Mordor by that time. Maybe, the free people of Russia will join us in rebellion, and we will chase the enemy off to Kuban, and then have a communal parade in the Red Square, singing the famous “la-la-la”. Alternatively, it is way possible that this autumn we will be solemnly meeting Putler’s “peacemakers” in the trenches under Kyiv, and local warfare in Donbass will seem like peaceful days to us.
Currently the number of volunteers is small and their equipment, arms and ammunition are suboptimal. What chances do they have against the united horde of professional killers from Russian GRU, ex-Berkuts, local organized crime bands, Kadyrov’s militants and their local “soviet” helpers? Objectively these are not the best odds. But I have seen worse – in Lithuania in 1991, in Chenchnya in 1995 and us, recently on Maidan. In each case, the adversary was overwhelmingly stronger and better equipped, but had to give up because we had no choice but to win. At this point it is clear that we can not run from this war. Should we run from Donbass the war will follow us everywhere until we fight back.
We fight for the truth of free people against the lies of Mordor. And at some point the free people will overpower the goblins. In historical perspective freedom always wins, because freedom is the best motivation. It is up to us to make this victory happen in Donbass, so that future generations of Ukrainians will not have to pay for their freedom with another Heavenly Hundred. That is why I choose to volunteer for this war in the East.
(by Evgen Dykyj, translated and edited by Anna Palagina)
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