Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
In the occupied territories the “fighters” are heroes. For Ukraine, they are thugs and mercenaries. And for Russia, they are nobodies. And the term “nobodies” most accurately reflects their real status.
In Russia there is concern about the fate of the thugs who fought on the side of the “militias” in the “people’s republics” that had been conjured up by Vladislav Surkov (Putin’s special adviser on Ukraine — Ed.) in occupied Donbas and who then departed for their rewards.
In the “Union of the Volunteers of the Donbas” they are talking about at least 17 trials of former “fighters” who are being prepared for deportation. The same kinds of problems may be experienced by many others.
The thing is, Russian law provides for immigration benefits for residents of the occupied territories. However, the chance to kill and rob has attracted not only the local thugs.
Among the “fighters” there are also immigrants from other regions of Ukraine and other former Soviet republics — an entire criminal network! And when these people are detained with invalid documents, the deportation process begins immediately.
But the “heroes” try to prove to the judges that they killed “for the Fatherland, for Putin.” And this is the very scum the “Union of Volunteers” is protecting.
The situation is complicated further by the fact that among the “militia” there are criminals with a grim past. Yes, Russia almost extradited a certain Alexander Kostin — a real, violent thug. But then it turned out that Kostin had killed not only during robberies but also when he “fought for the Donbas.” For Russian justice, this proof of additional blood on his hands turned out to be the circumstance that changed matters — especially when the “patriotic” media became involved. Kostin was not extradited.
But the Kharkiv separatist journalist Andriy Borodavka has been extradited and is now in Ukraine. And Russian journalists can only assert that “it is simply not true” that Borodavka was an agent of the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine). (The SBU maintains it conducted a special operation that discredited Borodavka before his curators from the Russian special services and resulted in his subsequent deportation from Russia — Ed.)
In Moscow, people wonder if this “indifferent” attitude to the veterans of the Donbas war means the end of the “Novorossiya project.” But it is worth pointing out that the Kremlin has been conducting a hybrid war on Ukrainian territory from the very beginning and was not going to give its participants any additional preferences.
In the occupied territories the militants are heroes. For Ukraine, they are thugs and mercenaries. And for Russia, they are simply nobodies. And this term “nobodies” most accurately reflects their real status.