Yesterday evening I noticed a young man heading down the escalator of my metro station dressed in modern military gear and sporting a Novorossiya patch on his arm. Today in a nearby supermarket, I saw another man in typical Donbas military dress, wearing a cossack papakha. Even on my way back from the supermarket I saw a guy wearing what looked like super-modern(i.e. Western-designed) military clothing with a Russian flag patch.
Now to be sure, all three of these people could be airsoft enthusiasts.But what are the chances they could be volunteers returning from the Donbas? Pretty slim, I’d say. For one thing, Russia has a problem with fake veterans just like in the US, if not maybe worse. After all, military-worship in Russia exceeded that of America years ago. In spite of this, there is a much wider gap between the military and the civilian population. Many males spend a great deal of money so as to have nothing to do with the military, while females typically have no interest in it whatsoever. This, plus a strong disdain toward dissent, creates a perfect environment for fraudsters. How perfect? Well Russia actually has its share of phony WWII vets. Yeah. WWII.
Given the unqualified worship towards “veterans” in contemporary Russia, and the staggering lack of critical thinking skills, this is prime time for young Russian men to pose as Donbas volunteers. Due to the secretive, irregular nature of the conflict, calling them out would be hard even for Russian army veterans. “Oh that’s not how you did things in the Russian army? Well I was in a volunteer unit. We did things differently. Who are you do question me?”
Oh yes, cowardly scumbags everywhere can take advantage of this cowardly, immoral war in Ukraine to bask in attention, con people out of money, and of course, score all kinds of tail in discotheques and courtyards all across Russia. In this climate, you’re unlikely to see anyone calling them out the way they do in the States. There they call it stolen valor. With this war, it’s stolen shame.
What ought to happen.