Staunton, June 10 – When Soviet soldiers returned from Afghanistan and Chechnya, many of them found it almost impossible to cope with the return to civilian life and some of them became part of the criminal world because that was the only place where they could fit in and even survive.
Now, Russian soldiers returning from Moscow’s military conflicts abroad, most recently in Ukraine, are suffering from what Russians have learned to call post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or “the Vietnam syndrome,” and the authorities are taking some steps to try to limit the damage they may do on their return.
But according to experts with whom Daily Storm journalist Yevgeniya Chernyavskaya spoke, these efforts have been largely ineffective because they are not comprehensive and because of the stigma appealing for psychiatric help has (dailystorm.ru/rassledovaniya/rana-na-podkorke-mozga-kak-v-rossii-ustroena-sistema-psihologicheskoy-reabilitacii-voennyh-s-ptsr).
Still worse, and apparently as part of Putin’s “healthcare optimization program,” the amount of aid going to veterans with PTSD has fallen over the last three years by nearly a fifth in ruble terms, from 245 million rubles in 2019 to 208 million in 2022 (3.5 million US dollars to 3 million US dollars), a drop in the bucket compared to the need.
Moreover, most of even this limited amount of money is going to veterans of the Afghan and Chechen wars who are better organized and have greater influence in the defense ministry. That means that Russian veterans returning from Putin’s war in Ukraine are getting less help and are likely to have more problems themselves and create more problems for Russian society.
Window on Eurasia — New Series