After the last post I came across a video. At first it showed the humanity of the Russians in that they gave drink and a cigarette, but then there was some questionable behaviour.
To put this in context, in some places half of Zelenskys troops are dying in 3 weeks. Which means an average life expectancy of about 3 weeks. That is shorter than the training course our stupid government have been giving, although to be fair, the training course will be delaying their death even if all they talk about is the 99 different genders in the modern army.
So, if your life expectancy is three weeks (or perhaps several months might be more typical), then isn’t the obvious thing to either disobey “lightbrigade” or “blackadder” orders sending the troops on “one more push” like the light brigade, but without any of the glory, against the Russian guns? It would be, except Zelensky’s Nazis are shooting the poor Ukrainians who are given no choice about being canon fodder.
Moreover, as the soldier in the clip shows, they do not have even basic supplies like gloves. Their food is running out and and from the way some behaved when they saw Russian rations, they are extremely poorly fed. They do not even have the means to melt the ice to get water let alone heat themselves. Instead they have to light fires, which immediately gives away their position attracting Russian guns.
It seems to be an utter hellhole in the Ukrainian lines. The only benefit of the freeze, is that the puddles of water in the bottom of the trenches will be solid.
This Soldier, will have run like the devil to escape being shot, not by Russians, but by Zelensky’s Nazis. So, he arrives, not just afraid of being shot by the Russians, but also from his own side. He is likely scared, tired, hungry, thirsty and cold.
Important to the context here, is that these are military people. Soldiers are harsh even to their own side. Ritual abuse is part of the training program. And it is normal to chastise people who did wrong. So, the treatment of the prisoner must be considered in line with what is acceptable in a military setting, not in an office.
It starts with the prisoner in a prone position after having his hands tied and blindfolded. I assume he approached Russian lines hands up and was told to get down. He then did so and was then “firmly” treated by having hands tied and head blindfolded whilst down. This appears to be standard practice when taking prisoners. In this case it may not be necessary as the prisoner may have been running to Russian lines. But he could have been a sabateur on a lone mission to Russian lines, who having been spotted attempts to pose as a common soldier.
Listening to the first comment again, “have you run enough”, it is possible that he was running away from Russians. But it may just be that they have tracked him over several kilometers running all the way. Or he may have attempted to escape when the Russians took a position.
The first debateable point is that a prisoner is being filmed and this released publicly. My instinct that it is appalling to see someone who was forced to fight being humiliated, and being a prisoner cannot be anything but humiliating. But, it is also true, that by being filmed alive and well, there is now very little chance he will be deliberately harmed or killed (at least by the Russians. Zelensky did hit a POW facility).
On balance, so long a the video does not show abuse or humiliation beyond that necessary to process a prisoner, it is probably in the prisoner’s interest to be filmed.
The first good point is that the man asks for a drink and is rapidly given something. He is visibly shaking, possibly from adrenalin from the fear of being shot both by Russians and his own side, possibly from running, possibly from cold, having hidden or crept forward for many hours to avoid being shot by his own side. He visibly starts to relax after getting the water. This isn’t the effect of the water, it is the reassurance that his basic needs are going to be met, which isn’t something that someone intending to kill you will do. He also gets a cigarette. You can argue the health benefits, but for a man who had a three week life expectancy, the issues of smoking are irrelevant.
It is also good he also gets clear instructions “sit, don’t get up, don’t move”. I presume sitting is to stop a prisoner lashing out at his capturers. Getting clear instructions also means that a prisoner who is extremely anxious about what will happens, knows what they have to do.
He seems to speak** Russian as many in Ukraine do, so there does not seem to be communication issues.
The question : “where did you drop your weapon” isn’t what I expected. It does suggest he was spotted with a weapon and then was captured without it. Or it could be that every soldier is expected to have “their” weapon. The weapon could aid an escape. The weapon may also tell a lot about the type of soldier they are. Special ops will have special weapons.
Asking name rank, etc. is totally proper, however, I know that by givign his name, this man is now in peril of his life from Zelensky’s Nazis. I just wish they had bleeped out his name. But again, it means the risk to this individual from Russians is very small, but he is at risk if he returns to his home and his family are at risk even if he does not. It should have been bleeped.
The shouting to “repeat” I imagine is very typical in the military. The only issue I might have, is that many of Zelensky’s forces seem to have almost no training. So, it could be totally new. But it is a clear instruction, and he did mumble it the first time.
We now get onto the section which I do not like. The prisoner is asked to say something to his comrades. The prisoner assumes if he doesn’t say the right thing it might mean he is going to be killed. They respond by saying that no one is going to do that. That assurance is good, but why is he being told to make a statement to his comrades?
I do not think that is acceptable. The prisoner is clearly under duress and believes he could be killed and anything he says is meaningless. So, it is a form of humiliation.
However, I think I do believe what he says is genuine. It is possible he agreed to the video being released, but if he is still a prisoner, it is impossible to see how that was done without duress. It is not good.
Then we have the question: “Glory to Ukraine” and he responds “Glory to Russia”. This signifies that he has completely capitulated to his captives and is offering no resistance. We don’t know what happens to anyone who refuses to say “glory to Russia” as there are no videos, so does that mean those prisoners are abused? This video is not a good idea. It raises too many questions. If a video of each prisoner captured was released, I would accept that, so long as it was the basics like name & rank. This would reassure relatives and ensure good treatment.
The problem with outright condemning the video is that this kind of ritual abuse in a military context is probably pretty common. So, would those involved, both prisoner and capturer, consider it abnormal? If this was a British Sergeant Major with a new recruit demanding they shout “God save the queen”, would that be excessive abuse? No doubt Russian soldiers regularly shout “Glory to Russia” or some equivalent. And they are used to abuse if they do not shout it loud enough, even if they don’t agree.
Comparison to Zelensky Forces treatment of Russians
Whereas the above treatment was good, but not perfect. I have yet to see any video from the Zelensky side showing any humanity at all to Russian prisoners. After the videos I have seen, it is amazing the Russians still respect Zelensky troops and treat them with humanity.
It is possible that the few videos I have seen of Russians being held, represent a very small rotten tip of the ice-berg, and that we just do not see other videos.
It is also possible that the videos of Russians treating their prisoners well, are very atypical, but in the context of the hatred I’ve seen from Zelensky’s side, and the “matter of fact”, “this is something we have to do – we don’t hate them” attitude of Russians. I have little doubt that the video above is not atypical.
So, whilst this video is arguably mistreatment of prisoners, I am very loathe to condemn the Russians given their much much better behaviour than Zelensky’s Nazis
**I have a limited ability to recognise Ukrainian versus Russian.