‘It Doesn’t Count as a War Crime if You Had Fun’: Inside the Minds of Some Russian Soldiers

The practice of defacing military positions and occupied homes with graffiti is not uncommon. During two decades of the United States’ muddled counterinsurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, portable toilets strewn across the constellation of bases were a focal point of wartime musings. Many scribbles focused on genitalia, specific military units, bad officers and the desire to go home.

Much of the writing in the bar in Velyka Komyshuvakha struck a decidedly different tone. The barely legible scrawls focused on dehumanizing Ukrainians, a grim staple of warfare, and reinforced that the Kremlin wants to stamp out Ukraine and its culture as part of its invasion.

“Behind us the house is burning — well let it burn — one more-one less,” one phrase on the wall said.

“It was awful,” said Svitlana Mazurenko, one of the 70 or so current residents of Velyka Komyshuvakha, which once had around 500 people before many fled. She had read the writings in September, days after the Russians retreated, and confronted the text again last month as she helped clean up the bar, known among locals simply as The Bar.

What Next?

Recent Articles

Leave a Reply

You must be Logged in to post comment.