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Many Ukrainians Do Not Want To Fight!

Views: 974 Ukrainian nationalist propaganda, reproduced in the Western corporate media, projects an image of Ukrainians as a nation united in armed resistance to Russian aggression. However, …

by Stephen Shenfield



3 min read

Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash

Ukrainian nationalist propaganda, reproduced in the Western corporate media, projects an image of Ukrainians as a nation united in armed resistance to Russian aggression. However, many ordinary Ukrainians – like many ordinary Russians — do not want to fight in this war. Here is evidence in support of this assertion, assembled by anarcho-syndicalists belonging to the Russian Section of the International Workers’ Association.  —SS

According to data provided by the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, by May 2022 police investigations had been launched against more than 2,500 people, of whom 851 were charged with desertion, 711 with unauthorized departure from a military unit or place of action, 397 with draft evasion, 256 with providing illegal assistance to individuals crossing the border, and 56 with evading conscription by causing physical injury to themselves. Court proceedings are held in secret. In addition, from February to May over 3,300 men were caught trying to leave the country in order to avoid conscription.

Many people are being forced to accept draft notices. Roundups are reported from many different cities and villages in the East, South, and West of Ukraine.

According to the anarchist website ‘Assembly,’ callup notices in Kharkov are usually handed out in the same places, including the entrances to metro stations, the shopping complex ‘Ukraine,’ the ID office on Shironin Guards Street, the Communal Market, the registration office on Shevchenko Street, and places of recreation. Callup notices are forced onto people by employees of military enlistment offices, armed soldiers, territorial defense fighters, and police officers.

According to one eyewitness, people trying to hand out callup notices at the entrance to the ‘Class’ Cinema were very loudly indignant that they were unable to catch anyone…

People are conscripted at gas stations and garages, on streets, at intersections, in stores, and at places where humanitarian aid is distributed. Some try not to accept callup notices by sitting in cars and refusing to open the windows. Some try to resist. There are scenes. There are fights. Women try to pull their men back or take away their IDs. The recruiters respond by grabbing the women by the arms, insulting and threatening them…  

Kharkov lawyer Andrey Sitnikov reports: 

They take people directly from their cars at checkpoints. They go to workplaces and take anyone who has been unable to run away. At Easter they went to hand out draft notices at the cemetery. They hand them out at the stores. And of course they go from house to house. And when they take people from cars or workplaces they do not check whether or not they have served already. They just take everyone. And at the medical commission 99% are declared ‘healthy.’  

Once we even telephoned the Security Service of Ukraine to complain about various irregularities. They said they had no time to deal with such matters… I talked with military recruiters in some counties of the province. They said that their job was to send in 200 people a week, let the army figure out who they need and who they don’t. 

In the villages, people of military age hardly go to work. They prefer not to leave the house at all. But when I visited these settlements, I saw people of military age driving good foreign cars and afraid of nothing. I talked to ordinary people and everything became clear. They explained to me that these were the children of farmers, storekeepers, and local officials. That is, they had been paid for, and an order had been given not to touch them. The privileged caste is still with us.

Lawyer Andrei Sitnikov

In Odessa draft notices have been handed to people resting on the beach (by the way, the authorities have forbidden swimming in the sea). On a video that got onto the local Telegram channel, you can see how on one beach … a man flees military recruiters, jumps into the sea, and swims away!  

In Zaporozhye, young men have been pulled off public transport, had their documents checked, and handed a draft notice to sign. There have been cases where people managed to talk themselves out of it and leave, and they were not prosecuted.

In the Chernivtsi region on the Seret River, the Ukrainian army launched drones to locate spots where people had gathered. Soldiers then set off to those spots with draft notices. Warnings were spread on the Telegram channel so that people would be on the alert and not get caught.

In Transcarpathia, in an attempt to hand out draft notices, police officers and soldiers attacked people gathered in a clearing by the Shipot Waterfall to celebrate Ivan Kupala Day. Many had to save themselves by running away naked!

A video posted on the Telegram channel ‘Politics of the Country’ shows women in Transcarpathia not allowing into their village soldiers who came to hand draft notices to the men.

Translated from:  https://aitrus.info/node/5987  (07/09/2022)

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I grew up in Muswell Hill, north London, and joined the Socialist Party of Great Britain at age 16. After studying mathematics and statistics, I worked as a government statistician in the 1970s before entering Soviet Studies at the University of Birmingham. I was active in the nuclear disarmament movement. In 1989 I moved with my family to Providence, Rhode Island, USA to take up a position on the faculty of Brown University, where I taught International Relations. After leaving Brown in 2000, I worked mainly as a translator from Russian. I rejoined the World Socialist Movement about 2005 and am currently general secretary of the World Socialist Party of the United States. I have written two books: The Nuclear Predicament: Explorations in Soviet Ideology (Routledge, 1987) and Russian Fascism: Traditions, Tendencies, Movements (M.E. Sharpe, 2001) and more articles, papers, and book chapters that I care to recall.

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