NewsFrom Prison to Frontline: The Harsh Realities of Russia’s War Veterans

From Prison to Frontline: The Harsh Realities of Russia’s War Veterans

The Russian confessed why he went to war in Ukraine at all.
The Russian confessed why he went to war in Ukraine at all.
Images source: © Telegram
5:22 AM EDT, March 10, 2024

Thousands of Russians have voluntarily signed up to fight in Ukraine, motivated by beliefs, personal reasons, or the lure of a different life rather than ideology. This harsh reality now contrasts with the dwindling number of those who still dream of an empire rebuilding under their president.

A shocking list titled "Kill, rape, eat human flesh" was discovered on a Russian's phone, shedding light on the disturbing mindset harbored by some.

Footage from a rehabilitation center or hospital features Russian war veterans revealing reasons for their enlistment. Though some speak of wounds and disfigurement, they also mention escape from prison and the chance to support their families as their gains from war. The grim situation reflects the Russian authorities' exploitation of such individuals.

One soldier recollects his pre-war imprisonment, viewing the conflict as an opportunity to break free and fight for a semblance of freedom, albeit through a harrowing path designed by Russian officials. Initially, recruitment targeted prisoners through the Wagner Group before expanding to the regular army.

These prisoners joined "Storm-Z" units with the slim hope of earning freedom if they survived. However, the high fatality rate amongst them is an open secret, underscoring the low value placed on their lives. Conditions in prisons and special colonies were deliberately exacerbated to make military service appear more appealing.

"My daughter now receives free meals at school," the wounded veteran shares, highlighting a tangible benefit of his grim choice. Freed from prison, his children now enjoy state care and faceless stigmatization, breaking away from the cloud of having a criminal parent. Yet, the promises made to these soldiers often fall short, and the support they were assured fades away quickly.

Russia's neglect of its veterans, dubbed "stormtroopers," is glaring. The Ministry of Defense withholds compensation, and medical professionals turn away injured soldiers. Similar to their lives before the war, their struggles are overlooked, leaving them to fend for themselves, carrying the burdens and scars from their service.

Further illustrating the cruelty of Russian forces in occupied territories, the narrative adds another layer to the unfolding tragedy, one far removed from the dreams of those who hoped the war might offer a fresh start.
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