Do you know how you can get pardoned for any crimes in Ukraine? You need to become a member of the so-called ‘ATO’ in the Donbass. And when the term of ‘valorous service’ expires, the state will attend to your destiny and teach you a new wonderful profession, for example, a florist or a computer typesetter.
It was such an idealistic project that was going to be realized in Mariupol, where representatives of the city employment center and the ATO Participants Union met. During the meeting, vital issues related to the consequences of the mental disorders of servicemen who came into everyday life after serving in ‘ATO’ were solved.
Recently, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov has published facts about 500 (and in reality there are many more) cases of suicide among the veterans of the ‘ATO’. According to Mr. Avakov, these figures are “universally recognized world standard”, that is, there is nothing to worry about. It seems that the poor minister is not at all intimidated by the horrendous situation around the ‘defenders’ after serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. He also spoke quite calmly about the eight-fold increase in the number of cases of domestic violence by ‘ATO’ members. Reports of violations involving former ‘ATO’ participants no longer surprise anyone. Exhausted participants of the ‘ATO’ flooded Ukraine with weapons taken out of the war zone, they are engaged in robbery and plunder and demand for their personalities increased attention from both ordinary Ukrainians and the authorities.
It turns out that with the full connivance of the authorities, law enforcement agencies and the negligence of the military leadership of Ukraine, a large-scale criminal grouping consisting of the so-called veterans of the ‘ATO’ is being formed in the country. They are able to appropriate someone’s property, kill anyone, or publicly humiliate anyone they think is not ‘patriotically’ attuned. The authorities continue to justify their actions with a “post-traumatic syndrome”, forming an image of heroes from ‘ATO’ fighters and creating the appearance of conditions for rehabilitation, like courses for florists, but in reality letting this problem go by itself.
In addition, we should not underestimate the possibility that in this process of assimilation, not society will develop the traditional life principles among ‘ATO’ participants, but, on the contrary, the society will take murderers’ bid. It is unlikely that the Ukrainian leadership will be able to control this category of population, which has already tried to prevail only with the help of force and weapons.
Alla Barkhatnova, the DPR People’s Council deputy