Former Russian soldier resists Putin’s invasion: “I see no justice in this war”

Former Russian soldier resists Putin’s invasion: “I see no justice in this war”

Pavel Filatyev, a former Russian paratrooper who served in the Ukraine war, recounted the army’s desperation in a lengthy 141-page memoir. “I see no justice in this conflict.”

Pavel Filatyev, photo from Facebook

Pavel Filatyev, photo from Facebook

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“I see no justice in this war. I find no truth in it.” As he says it, Pavel Filatyev knows he’s risking jail. The former Russian paratrooper still wanted to condemn Putin’s attack on Ukraine with one long memorial posted on his social pages. His mother had urged him not to expose himself, and according to his attitude, he had to deal with the isolation of former comrades.

“I’m not afraid to fight – he explained in a long interview with the Guardian, recounting his days on the battlefield – but I need to feel that what I’m doing makes sense. But I don’t think there is one here. The government stole everything from the Ukrainian people and we Russians know what is happening is unfair.”

Two weeks ago, Filatyev made his thoughts public in a 141-page memoir he described his experiences in the war day by day.

Because according to Ukraine, Russia’s war is in a strategic stalemate

The former paratrooper only returned home after being wounded in combat and contracting an eye infection. “We were under enemy fire – he explains – and I was wondering what we were doing, what the point of this war is. I thought, “God, if I survive, I’ll do whatever it takes to end this pointless fight.”

For 45 days he wrote his thoughts in the diary pages, which were then published, describing in detail the hunger, lack of ammunition and looting expeditions to Ukrainian cities.

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“I know I probably won’t change anything and I probably acted stupidly for getting into trouble – he pointed to the Guardian’s microphones – but I couldn’t stay silent any longer.” His diary entitled ‘ZOV’ after the graffiti on Russian army vehicles was published in the independent Moscow press. Filatev left Russia earlier this week for security reasons.

He is the first Russian soldier to leave the country for openly criticizing the invasion of Ukraine. His example led another Moscow military man to point the finger at Putin’s operation: Captured by Russian investigative site iStories, he admitted on camera that he had killed in cold blood a Ukrainian civilian from Andriivka who was trying to flee.

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Stories like that of the former paratrooper are important in understanding the reality that soldiers sent to the frontline live. When the invasion began, very few realized that this “special mission” would become a full blown war.

Filatyev, who fought in the 56th Air Assault Regiment, in his diary pages related the deep unpreparedness of the group and the weariness of sudden and endless conflict.

“It took me weeks to understand that there was no attack on Russian territory – he stressed – and that we just invaded Ukraine.”

“Neither of us knew if it would come until the next day. Following this logic, we have done things that will seem absurd to those who have not experienced this drama. I don’t want to justify looting and theft, but I think it’s important to understand what’s behind it, to know how to stop it all,” he said again into the Guardian’s microphones.

“I am with insufficient equipment and without knowing what our goal was. Then in Mykolaiv I was injured and got a serious eye infection that almost blinded me,” said Filatyev. The injury allowed him to return home. To leave the battlefield, many other soldiers shot themselves.

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After the publication of his memorial, the former paratrooper stayed in different hotels for weeks. He only had a black backpack with all his belongings. Earlier this week he decided to leave the country.

“I thought I was useless away from my country – he explained -. I said: ‘Okay, now I’m going to America, but who needs me there?’ “. If I cannot help my people, no one will need me or my. Words”.

Former Russian soldier resists Putins invasion I see no justice

“I don’t understand why he hasn’t been arrested yet. I was convinced it would happen, but no one did anything. I’ve talked about this war more than anyone, but no one has responded. I don’t know how to behave.” Although Filatyev has decided to leave the country, he is afraid of what will happen in the coming weeks.

“I’m overcome with emotion, I had to leave for telling the truth. People ask me why I didn’t put down my guns. Well, I’m against this war, but I’m not a general or secretary of defense. I’m not even Putin and I don’t know how to stop all this. I wouldn’t have changed anything.”