Saturday, January 14, 2023

‘History of Afghantsy Being Replicated in Russia Today,’ Okun Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 11 – In the 1990s, Russians were terrorized by criminal groups consisting of veterans of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, men who on returning home found that no one respected what they had done but who were ready to use the weapons and military skills they had acquired to get what they felt they were owed.

            Today, the veterans of Putin’s war in Ukraine are following in their footsteps, Andrey Okun says. Neglected by the government and not respected by the population, these men, who are likely to become know as “the Ukraintsy” just as their predecessors were called “the Afghantsy” are turning to violence and crime (

            These fresh recruits to the criminal world think, the St. Peterburg journalist says, that “everyone around them owes them for their sacrifices and losses. They are disappointed with peaceful life, and they wince as they watch other Russians remain in such a state while their comrades perish in a foreign land.”

            Moreover, their reality is “very different from the paradises they were promised for participating in the promotion of the ‘Russian world.’ No money, no fame, no recognition.” Now, they are engaged in petty crime, but “no one can guarantee now they will want more for themselves in the future.

            The Russian government seems oblivious to this threat, Okun suggests. It has refused to support calls for providing returning soldiers with more psychological assistance. But “unfortunately, the PTSD of those returning from this war won’t disappear but rather likely spill in a bloody river across Russian soil.”

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