Glory Hunters or Gold Diggers? The Shadowy World of Russia’s ‘Volunteers’ Fighting in Ukraine – The Moscow Times

Alexander was quickly deployed to the frontlines in Ukraine after he joined a Russian unit for volunteer soldiers in October because he wanted to “defend his motherland.”  One month later, he was badly injured by artillery fire near the Ukrainian village of Makiivka amid intense fighting in the east of the country.  He told The Moscow Times from his hospital bed that 72 of the 98 soldiers in his unit were killed in the incident.  All the dead were what are referred to in Russia as “volunteers” — an umbrella term for the tens of thousands of men who have chosen to join the military specifically to take part in combat operations in Ukraine.   “We are true patriots,” said Alexander, 31, who declined to provide his surname.  Many of these men apparently believe the Kremlin’s messaging that Moscow is battling “Nazis” who control Kyiv and are waging a “genocidal” campaign against Russian-speakers. “Our grandfathers fought against the Nazis in World War II and now we are fighting against Nazis in Ukraine,” said Vladislav Malov, 47, a volunteer who recently returned to his hometown of Nizhnekamsk in the Russian republic of Tatarstan.  While ideology likely is one motivation for these soldiers, incentives such as high salaries, bonuses and opportunities for promotion and medals — as well as pressure from families — are also believed to play a major role.
— Read on www.themoscowtimes.com/2023/01/15/glory-hunters-or-gold-diggers-the-shadowy-world-of-russias-volunteers-fighting-in-ukraine-a79766


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