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Volunteers, ATO veterans, the State: who is fighting whom?

Volunteers, ATO veterans, the State: who is fighting whom?
Article by: Andriy Liubka
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina

The state in its essence is the institution which fulfills the needs of its citizens. It is not the people who owe something to their state, but the state should meet the demands of the people. Make their lives easier, not more difficult. These basic truths cannot be executed in Ukraine for some reason. And here are the two most eloquent examples of our time:

Volunteers: do they work in the state’s stead, for the state or against it? 

With the beginning of Euromaidan, the volunteer movement in Ukraine turned into a mass occurrence. In the end, it is thanks to the volunteer that the revolution happened: they managed to organize the coordinate the protest, get rid of the unnecessary and accept that which was needed. Every Euromaidan participant was a volunteer to some extent: they came to take shifts on Maidan, sat in call centers, sorted the clothes and food the people brought, swept the floors, guarded, gave money, sacrificed their own time, their intelligence, some of them their health and lives. It was very correct to define Maidan as “a state within a state,” it had is own system of healthcare, its own security headquarters, its ow values and laws. “The State of Maidan” was much more efficient and attractive to Ukrainians than the ‘State of Ukraine’ at the time, personified by Yanukovych and other criminals.

After Maidan the volunteers barely managed to heave a sigh of relief, as Putin’s ‘Crimea project’ was launched, then Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk, Odesa started shaking. And so it happened that the volunteer movement has been at the peak of its activity for almost a year, since the start of Euromaidan. It provides for the army, the National Guard, the border service, collects humanitarian assistance for the civilian population, supplies hospitals with medicine. This is an indisputably wonderful and honorable thing to do, and we should be glad that there are such dedicated people among us. They do their volunteer work so well that they frequently replace state functions and obligations with their activities.

The government has changed in the country, what is more, the country itself has changed. It is clear that in March it was difficult to ensure the logistics of supplying the army with weapons, food, medicine and bare necessities. Which is why mothers, families, volunteers, civil activists and partial citizens gathered and gave everything the soldiers needed to them. When combat for Donbas began, our army had no night-vision equipment; as in 2014 Ukraine never would have thought that such a hybrid war would begin. Then patriots collected money and bought expensive thermal vision equipment.

But six months have gone by, war has become mundanity, was Ukraine unable to go ahead and willfully buy a thousand thermal vision gadgets within this time? Should the volunteers be the ones who buy children’s cream (which helps with calluses and blisters) in crates for the soldiers? Wet wipes, canned food, socks, flashlights, vitamins, sleeping bags? Did nobody in the government come to understand within all these months that the army even needs these bare essentials? In addition to helmets, bulletproof vests, comfortable uniforms.

Bureaucrats and officials can rest today, as the volunteers are doing everything for them. It is clear that the front’s needs are primary, but it is not enough to appoint one volunteer advisor to the President of Ukraine. They should go into the government themselves, become part of civil councils and assemblies, control the officials and hit the corrupt ones across their knuckles. Volunteers should collect children’s notes and pictures for the defenders of the Motherland, and the state should fully take up the purchase and provision for the army in their stead: it is enough to end one corrupt scheme at the customs and they will be able to collect more money to the budget for helmets, weapons and food that all the volunteers in the country are able to in one month.

State hell for ATO fighters

However, I was most shocked by the news that ATO veterans will soon be able to gain status of combatants and the appropriate subsidies. They only need two months to gather the necessary documentation. I have not heard more essentially Soviet absurdity in ages.

So it turns out that the fighters defended Ukraine (the state), and now they have to collect certificates, notes and various route correspondents in order to prove to the state where they were during combat. Let us simplify it even more: the state mobilizes and sends citizen Hupalo to the front. Hupalo defends the state honorably, risks his life, returns a hero, buys a folder and goes on an eternal tour through bureaucratic offices in order to gather all the papers to receive status. In a normal situation everything should have been the opposite: the officials are hired by the people to engage in paperwork and documenting various cases. The officials were not mobilized and remained in the rear in order to support the state. They (the state services) have all the lists of ATO participants: soldiers, drivers, cooks, press center workers, intelligence. They only need to add them to a universal database, click print and we will receive ready papers for the combatants in the ATO zone. Then the hero of the front, on his own time, goes to the military commissariat, signs the paper and gets a ready certificate. This is how the state should work, instead of sending the military to another front: this time with the hydra of the Soviet-Ukrainian idiotic bureaucratic machine.

The bureaucrat will always readily sabotage his duties if someone else does their job. It is necessary to supply the army and buy thermal vision equipment – so the Defense Minister and the Prime Minister should look for the money, not the volunteers. If a soldier fought for Ukraine, Ukraine should give him all the appropriate papers, and he himself should not be obliged to go around and fight for them in office battles. To be frank, there is nothing extraordinary about it – these are the functions of the state by definition. Enough doing everything by ourselves – we won our state, and now we will force it to work.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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