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Memories of an ordinary volunteer fighter #3

Updated: Aug 14, 2022


From the first day of my mobilization, I had herpes, which made my lip tear and bleeds when talking. Due to constantly being outside in minus 10-15 degrees Celsius on windy nights without shelter and proper warm clothes, the skin on my hands and face began to dry and peel off. Even thoughts froze in my head from the cold. It was hard to get dressed because my whole body was shaking. My fragile hands of someone who had worked only with a keyboard were constantly torn to blood by a machine gun or other hard and heavy things. For a whole month, I have been blowing out of my nose not snot but some thick pus with blood. During meals, due to temperature changes, the nose is constantly running. I sleep on a spring-loaded bed with my ass almost touching the floor. And I sleep for 4-5 hours, which are interrupted by air raid alarms or by sudden night formation. And in addition, as I write these lines, I have hemorrhoids that make me want to howl, and this pain cannot be stopped.

I’m not complaining, because I know that many Ukrainians feel much worse and harder than I do. I just explain in what physical state I perceive the circumstances and the place where I got. Maybe it’s just because of my condition that I feel like crap, or maybe it’s really that bad.

It stinks in here. First is cigarette smoke. I found myself amongst the morons, maniacally obsessed with smoking. They smoke at the formation, at training, in the toilet, on the stairs at my radio station. And they smoke all the time. There is not a single meeting where a cloud of smoke would not rise. Since I don’t smoke, I constantly try to avoid that suicide squad on the leeward side. But they persistently approach me.

It is very important for them to communicate with me personally, exhaling their smoke in my face. Some make it a clichéd expression of body language, “I want to be honest with you.” His foot gets between my legs, his lips get closer to the kiss distance, and he begins to utter with a breeze some very important and bold, in his opinion, nonsense. And at the same time, he gives me a whole bunch of aromas of his insides. And we eat a lot of onions here.

Secondly, it’s also as if I’m back in the sandbox. I am 5 years old again and the boys around are joking once again about weenies, poop, and naked girls.

I already have heartburn from the toxic masculinity I’m drowning in. Most of this mobilized society is adults, sane people who have families, jobs, projects, and so on. But periodically, everyone switches something in their head unintentionally, and they begin to show their “masculinity”. A continuous stream of cursing makes it hard to distinguish the actual conversation. Concentration on the shitty stuff, some degenerative chatter about fucking, humiliation, and abuse. I don’t think they behave this way deliberately. This is something on the level of instincts.

Since most of them are smokers, chronic cough and spitting at their feet are added to this stream of information vomiting, and the more vulgar and loud they are, the more “masculine” they should be perceived. Moreover, they snore terribly. Some people even try to stop their ears, as they can’t start snoring because of someone else’s snoring. And from the constant diet, which is mainly porridge, we constantly fart. Just a frenzied cannonade from every corner of the barracks.

Watching the average manhood, I just don’t understand how our species can form intersex alliances. Men are indescribably disgusting in every aspect.

And I haven’t even started reflecting on the topic of army orders yet. We are military personnel. Therefore, we obey the charter and listen to the officers.

But watching the actions and decisions of the officers, I got the impression that these are creatures with quantum uncertainty, who are simultaneously in several parallel timelines and do not have time to track the sequence of events in all timelines.

There is no other way to explain why some orders contradict others. Why the rules are explained after a reprimand for their violation? Why sign first, and then read the terms and conditions that you have signed up for?

Once we were lined up on a warm sunny day in front of local authorities and solemnly handed winter camouflage jackets to the camera. And it was already 15 degrees Celsius outside. We’d survived the biting cold, and only then did they decide to insulate us.

Officers constantly promise something but do not fulfill it. They intimidate, but they are the only ones who are afraid of their threats. They make impossible demands and are surprised at the fulfillment of their tasks, forgetting about the instructions they issued.

These are all little people, who joined the army young and did not see life outside the army, they come to assert themselves at our expense. Their command is just a 50-year-old boy’s game of power and respect.

But as I was told, any army is chaos. And it must be chaotic because it is designed to act in chaotic conditions of war. And chaos multiplied by chaos gives the order. But I won’t believe this shit until I see it. And I suspect that this multiplication will simply destroy the multipliers.


(About the Ukrainian chance on the cultural front, about one of the most desirable, but “corrupting” weekends, and about the portraits of Territorial Defense members.)

When the air alarm sounds, we gather on the fortified first floor of the barracks. An employee of our accommodation, a woman of pre-retirement age in a giant beret and even larger glasses, turns on video recordings of the church service on her smartphone. And when the sirens subside, the same woman turns on some russian singers or russian TV shows.

My colleagues often have some russian songs on the call sounds. And when I call some of them, instead of beeps, I hear some russian pop or rap music.

They watch russian comedy shows and russian movies, TV shows, and bloggers. They even choose the russian localization of movies.

They sing russian songs. They joke russian gags. They tell USSR jokes about ethnic stereotypes, life of the party, and so on.

And even I can’t help but hum when I do something thoughtlessly:

“Soldier has a day off, buttons in a row…” [an old military russian song — Ed.]

Watching all this, I have a question — what the fuck? We are at war with the freaks who produced all this and imposed it on us in order to legalize the act of their rape of Ukraine. To erase our identity and deny our existence.

Why are we losing so much on the cultural front? Where are our information bayraktars? Where is our bloggers’ air defense system?

Language and culture are always relevant. Because if we do not have our own means of self-expression, it will be very difficult for us to distinguish between our own and others, and the enemy will not conquer us but simply consume us.

Therefore, both now and after the war, Ukrainians will have to make even more efforts to create a flow of Ukrainian information at all levels. Movies, music, literature, porn, stupid jokes, and popular science lectures. This is the key to our survival, on a par with a strong army and a stable economy.

Fortunately, global sanctions have created excellent prerequisites for reducing the presence of the russian information product outside of russia. This is our chance. We must grab onto it and go crazy until the Ukrainian language becomes international.


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His wife will spend the transferred funds on parcels to his place of service. Thank you!

Ukrainian Text by Oleksa Melnyk, a volunteer fighter, translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team — Jun 18, 2022

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