By Vitaly Portnikov
Translated by Olya Lutska and Edited by Isis for Voices of Ukraine
It’s the dirtiest war in modern history
When, at the beginning of Russian actions in Crimea, Vladimir Putin told reporters that, “the Russian soldiers will stand behind the people – not in front, but behind,” many commentators took these words of the president to be a figure of speech. But lately Putin has started to share with journalists (more openly than during the previous years of his presidency) not emotions, but his plans.
Russian troops who stormed the Headquarters of the Ukrainian South Navy Base were actually hiding behind women and children. And just in case he can’t get women anymore, Aksenov’s “militias” should step in to ensure the safety of Russian soldiers.
Of course, the building is outfitted with a Staff tractor (hopefully, it is not the same tractor that was involved in the beginning of the protest movement on Bankova St. earlier [in Kyiv, in December, 2013] and, according to the “filmmaker’s” plan, should have enabled Victor Yanukovych to freely disperse the raging Maidan).
Modern history has never known a dirtier war than that which the armed forces of the Russian Federation have carried out against Ukrainian units in occupied Crimea. I cannot imagine what those soldiers walking behind women and children feel – shame, remorse or confidence that any order and any method by military authorities is good enough when you need to fight against “ex- brothers.”
I cannot imagine what the citizens of Russia feel, and whether they do not feel fear of the fact that tomorrow (when Russia may be fighting not only against Ukraine) they will have to stand in front of the troops themselves, in order to ensure the safety of the main pillar of power.
But I imagine what I feel myself – guilt in front of all of these women and “militias” (regardless of their views), pride in my countrymen that on small islands of freedom in Crimea they resist this irrational and frenzied onslaught; and a feeling of contempt for those who have trampled the concept of military valor and honor itself and are hiding in such a cowardly way behind the backs of women and children.