DPR medic on surviving disaster: ““Psychological stability is more important in any sort of crisis than hoarding food and guns.”

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Source: “Razvedopros” show (link to original). Translated by Tatzhit.

PREFACE:

This interview has a lot of great insights on how people behave in
crisis situation and how to ensure your own survival in the face of a
natural disaster or simply personal ruin (although there is a lot of
discussion of USA-Ukraine-DLPR-Russia conflict as well). So, this is worth showing even to people who are 
not concerned with the new Cold War (although everyone should be), simply for the parts about surviving under stress.

EPIGRAPH:

The biggest problem was psychological: people were not ready for
stress. We had panic attacks, various mental problems, constant
quarrels for all sorts of reasons … And the corporate mass media never
actually talked about such a scenario being possible, they never tried
to make people psychologically stable. On the contrary, they tried to
make people infantile, consumerist, destroy their separate personality …
I seriously advise people to find time and watch something, find a
method of managing stress that works for them. Even if, God willing, we
escape war – the death of loved ones, losing a job, various stresses are
just as hard on people and people take them just as poorly as
full-blown warfare. People don’t think about it before it happens, and
when it happens they are unable to deal with it and unable to handle
themselves. So, everybody, especially those poor survivalists who are
hoarding tons of canned food and guns – I recommend they spend a portion
of the time they spend doing all that stuff and actually work on
themselves and their psychological state. Trust me, psychological
stability in a crisis situation is much more important than a whole
roomful of canned goods. If you can’t control yourself, you will die
with the canned food, if you are stable, you will survive without it.”


 

BACKGROUND AND CONTENTS:

Very famous Russian blogger/ex-cop Dmitry Puchkov has an interview show.
He had several interviews with Donbass self-defense militiamen. The
man telling this story, Yurii Evich, is a doctor who had to provide aid
to militia and civilians throughout the conflict.

The interview is very interesting, but also very large. Therefore, I’m
first presenting the most interesting parts (“selections”) in text form,
then the whole thing as a video with voiceover.
A link to full
transcript will be added in the end, as well as other relevant links.

SELECTIONS:

Yuri Evich (YE): I treated both the military and civilians of Donbass
during almost the entire time, specifically from April 2014 to March
2015. In April, <when Right Sector men were bused into Donetsk and
the street clashes started>, I realized that there will be a great
need for medical help, and very soon.

<after helping at a few rallies> I already had the honor of
commanding a small medical unit of a few dozen medics. I got the order
to come in with the with the column and treat the injured during the
takeover of the State Security building, and that was the point where
our peaceful protest turned into open struggle for our human rights. …


Dmitry “Goblin” Puchkov (DG):
 
So judging by your accent you are from somewhere there…


YE:
That’s right, I’m from Ukraine … I went to graduate school in Donetsk
University, that’s where I got my MD, and then I continued my education
in Crimea – at the time Crimea was still part of Ukraine.

The situation was rather simple: during the first rallies there was a
group of medics that came to the rallies, helped people that had heart
trouble etc … The promotions basically went to people who had military
experience, and those who had basic leadership skills and were able to
lead people under stress – that was the main thing because it’s hard to
evaluate somebody’s medical knowledge in such a situation, so the main
thing was who keeps a cool head. Also, there were many women – doctors,
nurses, medical assistants etc., and the majority of male doctors joined
up later on.
So what we saw is that among the medics, women, on average, showed more patriotism, heroism, and willpower than men.

And this is a question to medics – because a doctor is always considered
a military man, who is obliged to help his nation in case of a
catastrophe, civil war, and such. What happened to is this situation was
completely the opposite. … Those who were on the side of Kiev simply
left to the enemy-occupied territories, and there weren’t many of those.
The majority of pro-Kiev doctors were so-called “successful
businessmen” who did medicine for the well-paying job. As a classic said
“the business owners and fascists always march hand in hand”. I guess
“businessman” in this case is a definition for somebody who does not see
a higher purpose for a doctor than earning money.

But as I said, those were the minority. The majority of people I’ve seen
were simply under-developed as persons. They did not have higher moral
motivation.

In order for a person to go to war, he has to have with values
higher than serving himself – because even the motivation of saving your
children does not really work, because taking your children and fleeing
somewhere is a lot better than leaving them and going to war. So, in
order to go to war, one needs to have higher motivation – such as
Motherland, Duty, the memory of their ancestors, etc. And right now most
people don’t have these motivations, they are being suppressed. You
know Maslow’s pyramid – where the basic level is physical necessities,
and higher levels are abstract, etc. So, right now, the higher levels of
this pyramid are being cut off. Mass media at all levels are
propagating only individualism – I would say that most people are not
atheist****, they pray to a God, it’s just that God is themselves. And
the when they feel that they could be killed – that’s the ultimate fear
for them. And that creates a huge problem for the survival of society at
large.


 

I was organizing medical units all around the area and the whole time,
up until the start of large-scale armored warfare, I did not see a
single military medic from Russia. Honestly, I was convinced that
somebody will come and show us what to do, and the reality was much
scarier than I thought. I will honestly say that the locals were so sure
that Russia will send covert help, and that every volunteer with a
Russian passport was considered “James Bond in disguise” coming to
rescue them – because even simple miners in Donbass couldn’t understand
that such a giant country would not send anybody to help fellow Russians
on its doorstep.

American senators, EU bureaucrats came to Maidan, hundreds of agents
came, and Russians did not send anybody. Okay, maybe there were spies
and such specialists, that I don’t know, but until summer, when it was a
full-on the armored warfare, we did not have any sort of medical help
or training.

The biggest problem was psychological: people were not ready for
stress. We had panic attacks, various mental problems, constant
quarrels for all sorts of reasons – this was all because people were not
psychologically ready for mobilization, for fighting. Here I of course
want to say that the corporate mass media never actually talked about
such a scenario being possible, they never tried to make people
psychologically stable. On the contrary, they tried to make people
infantile, consumerist, destroy their separate personality. At the same
time, we didn’t even know any psychological methods that would allow
people to neutralize stress and basically “shed” it in such situations.
Fortunately, I have a few friends from various psychotherapy
institutions and we’ve used the methods they developed for the civilian
applications. We used the things they taught us and we had good results.
This is very important and I recommend everyone who listens to read
some psychology books, to prepare for such situations, if you have some
friends or you know somebody who fought at the war – to talk to them. … I
seriously advise people to find time and watch something, find a method
of managing stress that works for them. Even if, God willing, we escape
war – the death of loved ones, losing a job, various stresses are just
as hard on people and people take them just as poorly as full-blown
warfare. People don’t think about it before it happens, and when it
happens they are unable to deal with it and unable to handle themselves.
So, everybody, especially those poor survivalists who are hoarding tons
of canned food and guns – I recommend they spend a portion of the time
they spend doing all that stuff and actually work on themselves and
their psychological state. Trust me, psychological stability in a crisis
situation is much more important than a whole roomful of canned goods.
If you can’t control yourself, you will die with the canned food, if you
are stable, you will survive without it.

Hoarding, I would say, is a very ancient instinct that developed from
rodents. … Yes, I would say that in the majority of cases if a person
has his own house, has firewood, has a source of water, then he is more
psychologically stable and more likely to survive. But the capability to
take stress and act correctly is primary, and the house, sources of
water, etc. are secondary. So developing yourself has to be a priority
and leaves one prepared for everything. Preparing for one thing is
pointless – a person is ready to shoot zombies, but should anything else
happen, like losing a job, going to jail, or facing cancer, he’s
powerless. To survive extreme situations, psychological readiness is a
lot more valuable than hiding food – I always thought hoarding is just
deceiving yourself, and what I’ve seen completely confirms this.

Modern warfare is concentrated around cities, and in the cities
there are always various hospitals. Yes, many doctors leave, but many
civilians leave as well, so in the context of war, civilian medical
institutions can actually more or less take care of the injured, as long
as there are not too many. Thus, for the medics that first take care of
the protesters, and then take care of the militia, the first task is to
evacuate the injured and take them to the hospitals – because in the
context of warfare, ambulances are not able to go into combat zones, and
sometimes they are not running at all, due to lack of fuel. The second
thing is to obtain medicine. Because the first thing that happened – the
Kiev government did everything to stop shipments of drugs and medicine
to Donbass. The locals were declared second-class citizens, unworthy of
living, so they basically blocked all deliveries of insulin and such.

DG: So everyone in “separatist” areas – even though people initially
just wanted federalization and their rights being respected – these
people are basically targeted for extermination. Despite being still,
technically, citizens of Ukraine. So on one hand, Kiev blocks deliveries
of food, water, power, insulin, baby formula to these people, and on
the other hand claims that it is not trying to exterminate these
populations and they’re mere hostages. <Can you imagine another state
blockading food, water, medicine, power to, say, schoolchildren being
held hostage by terrorists? Just goes to show that Ukraine is an ethnic
conflict – ed.>


YE:
That’s how fascism always works – by finding enemies. Jews, Gypsies,
Muscovites, etc. Fascism cannot exist without a targeted group that’s
being exterminated, that’s the whole ideology. No other logic actually
matches these events.



 
DG: Yes, most people don’t understand that what happened in Ukraine is
basically a rehearsal for what’s going to happen in Russia. When I say
this, people look at me like I’m crazy and say “This will never happen
here”. In Ukraine, they were saying the same thing during Maidan –
“We’re not Syria, we will never have a civil war”. People claim that
“Maidan will not happen here because Russians have a different
mentality, yadda yadda…” You know, these people are obviously
incompetent if they claim Russians and Ukrainians are radically
different.



 
DG: … What about foreign agents?


YE:
I have seen people, even among the POWs, that had American and
Polish IDs. I have heard people talking in English on radios in the war
zone. Of course there were quite a few agents, of course there are
mercenaries as well, and they’ve been there since the start. … And
this is not surprising at all – any country tries to expand its
influence as much as it can. For Poland, Ukraine is still a neighboring
territory, some of it historically belonged to them for hundreds of
years, and trying to get some of these regions back is of course normal
for them. And for America, this is even simpler – America is policing
the entire world and Russia has been their primary enemy for the last
century.


DG:
Like you, I was born in Ukraine and a grew up there. I have
relatives and friends in Ukraine, now I can’t talk to any of them – they
tell me that we have attacked them, we are killing them, we are
starving them, etc. and no communication is possible. You feel like
you’re in separate worlds and talking separate languages. I can’t even
understand how their brains were so reformatted in such short time. At a
flip of a switch, a whole nation became hostile to us.
Those people are Russian speaking, <genetically> the same as
Russians, but they hate Russia – this is a very impressive result by
very serious people. But if you know how this works, then maybe it could
be reversed? Do you know the details of methods that they’re using, and
can we use these methods against them?


YE:
First off, these methods are used on a mass scale – force-fed via
all TV channels, the Internet, etc. They are targeted to each group of
the population specifically; you know, if you watch a commercial and
think – “this commercial is so stupid” – it is probably targeted to
another group, but advertising that is targeted to you will work on you.
… You don’t need to brainwash everybody – as long as you can convert
10% of the people, they would promote this idea themselves and
eventually reformat or silence everyone else. Moreover, you don’t need
to make everybody aggressive – you just need to make some groups
apathetic, to think that this is not their problem, they’re not
political and they should stay out of it. So, they keep staying out of
it and suddenly they get apprehended by cops, conscripted into the army,
and sent to die the front lines <against the non-brainwashed> –
despite them believing that if they stay away from politics, politics
won’t affect them. Anybody who’s interested can meet some specialists,
read about manipulating the mass consciousness of a whole society… The
important thing is that in the absence of firm values and firm anchors
in people’s minds – you know, God, patriotism, the memory of their
ancestors – any person can be manipulated to act against their own
interests to do whatever the manipulators want, and they’ll be honestly
convinced that they are acting on their own. …
Unfortunately, there is no real understanding of history now. People
don’t study it, aren’t interested in it, and for our money we pay in
taxes, the state-sponsored liberals shoot horrible ahistoric movies that
completely twist it around. We’ve seen the results of that in Ukraine
and here we may see the same – large numbers of people will think that
they are doing a good thing and they will come to the streets to fight for “their” ideals – that is, in fact, to destroy their country and genocide their nation.

I would say this – Russians may, historically, never be ready for
war, sure. But what happened now… I mean, everybody saw what happened
during the Maidan coup, everybody saw nationalists and Nazis coming to
power in Ukraine, and hoping it will all just go away by itself – such
behavior is okay for a pregnant schoolgirl, but for a government running
a huge nation that’s inexcusable.


DG:
So, this talk we’re having gives the impression of serious problems
and various unfortunate occurrences in the ranks of the militia. So how
come the Ukrainian Army, which is much more numerous and much better
armed, cannot do anything with em?


YE:
Mostly, huge difference in motivation. Militia is entirely made up
of volunteers – people who consciously came to defend their homes and
the Russian volunteers who came to help them and are also motivated to
protect their friends and comrades there. The other side is mostly made
up of forcibly conscripted people from the temporarily occupied
territories that are largely unwilling to go die for Poroshenko. Second,
for the Russian people, the understanding that they are on the right
side is extremely important. … So our side understands what they’re
fighting for, that they chose to fight voluntarily, and despite the
weakness of our ideology there is a big advantage in motivation. Third,
when somebody is constantly brainwashed, and especially since the enemy
use stimulators and they don’t punish drinking nearly as much, a lot of
their soldiers are fighting in severely altered state of mind, and in a
war situation that’s obviously very detrimental. The fourth thing is
that they initially underestimated the strength of the resistance, and
in the very beginning, when the resistance was mostly armed with
baseball bats and Molotov cocktails, they expected to crush us with
relatively minor forces and they underestimated. So the militia got
weapons, got combat experience, and the UAF got the experience of being
repeatedly beaten – and it’s hard to continue fighting after a string of
defeats that never ends. So I think those are the four main reasons,
and the other factor is that they are always held up by their fear of
Russia actually intervening – not just in their propaganda pieces, but
for real.

However, what happened is no cause for celebration, all that euphoria
about reunifying with Crimea is misplaced. Crimea without a land
connection to it is simply a couple million hostages – they can cut
power and water to it at any time. We don’t know if the bridge will ever
get built, and even if it does, whole peninsula cannot be supplied
through one bridge. …

One more thing, people ask me frequently about causalities. During
the first truce in Gorlovka, <despite the constant shelling>, we
had fewer than 20 militia KIA – because they are in cover, they wear
armor, and because the fascists were mostly shelling civilian areas at
random. As far as civilians, probably around a hundred, still not too
much <out of a city of a quarter million – ed.>. But the morgues
were all filled to the brim. Why? Because the civilians were dropping
dead like flies. Mostly older people – due to lack of good food, running
water blockade, blockade of medicine deliveries, constant very heavy
stress, hiding in damp basements in cold weather…

The main conclusion is that people make their own fate. I recommend
to anybody who is interested in having a guaranteed future to develop
themselves not as a pure rifleman – to see an enemy, much less to shoot
at him, is quite rare in this age when wars are mostly waged by
artillery and guided weapons – but to increase their life skills, their
psychological stability, medical skills.
One needs to understand politics and ideology to avoid
accidentally joining the fascists that are dismantling your country. A
lot of people joined the Maidan revolution under anti-oligarch ideals –
many of them were for the allied Russian nation, for equality and unity
of all ethnicities, and then they suddenly ended up in the ranks of the
Right Sector and subverted by their propaganda. And as I said, shooting
at the enemy is a rather rare, but the ability to drive a car, to repair
it, to deploy a tent, to start a fire in the forest – such things are
actually useful in any sort of the situation, not just in war, and make
somebody prepared for everything. Skills, knowledge, and psychological
stability are the things that one needs to learn – not to waste ammo at
the shooting range, that’s far less useful in general.

….

Everybody needs to understand that there is no choice “should we
stay at peace or should we go to war”. We are under attack already.
Murders of Oles’ Buzina, Oleg Kalashnikov, <8 or so other prominent
officials killed over the last few months> – that’s just the tip of
the iceberg, known because these people were famous. In fascist-occupied
Ukraine, people are being killed by the hundreds and thousands simply
for not hating Russia or having their own opinion <Links
1 2 3 4 5
>. And as soon as they’re done over there they will come over here.
War is already on – the fact we are unwilling to join it simply means we
are being killed without resisting.




Also, we have to understand that the current paradigm we have is not
working. We have a strong army, but it did not protect our brothers in
Serbia, it did not protect our allies in Libya, in Syria, did not
prevent the takeover of Ukraine, and I’m not sure it can protect us if
the same thing is done here in Russia. <Can you imagine Russia having
the capability to stage a French-Canadian coup in Ottawa, for example,
then fund Canadian usurpers and train anti-American Canadian army?>.

So if the Army cannot protect us we need to work on something else –
create some entities that could protect Russian interests not just
internally, but around the globe. Because the enemy says – “okay, we’re
cleansing Russians in Tajikistan, that’s not Russia, right?” – so Russia
doesn’t do anything. We need to find an antidote to this, the sooner
the better.



So: Our cause is just. We will win. The enemy will be defeated. But for
that we need to mobilize, we need to prepare, we need to train, we need
to understand what’s going on – that we are already at war and winning
it would require the most effort each and every one of us can give.

VIDEO (English voiceover):
 


(I recommend clicking the gear symbol at the bottom-right and increasing playback speed to 1.5-2x, saves a lot of time and still very understandable).

Full transcript (Google Doc):

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MZUcKTpkL_ypGvSPxmLJpM-ZsD5uCAjs07oUVaTiF3E/edit?usp=sharing

OTHER LINKS:

Another “Razvedopros” interview:

https://www.fort-russ.com/2015/07/06/razvedopros-1-militiaman-murz-if-we/

A piece that (towards the middle) talks about mental toll of combat on unprepared volunteers:

https://www.fort-russ.com/2015/07/09/confessions-of-combatan/

PS. The transcript and voiceover are not literal, of course – it’s
impossible for me to translate this monstrosity on the fly and keep it
exact, word for word. But it’s pretty close.

PPS. A YT commenter “Billy Bob Turtl” has made his summary of the video, with timestamps. I think it’s useful enough to be copied here:
With hindsight, it now seems obvious that the usurpers were prepared, to
the point of ensuring they had medical support in the field (17:44). They were certainly not just “regular people spontaneously rising up”

Civil medicine is known to differ from military medicine and these have
obvious differences and demands, but medical practice in known
antebellum conditions is an unexamined area, which merits study   (23:55).

The importance of addressing stress in extreme situations (28:44) with specific emphasis on exploring known psycho-therapeutic methods as a survival tactic.

The public display of contributing medicine made by NGOs was largely ineffective and mostly for public relations (39:00),
which demands that such contribution be better controlled and
distributed in a targetted manner, including addressing the obvious
risks of contraband.

The challenges of governing,in a crisis situation (46:32) are complex and usually overlooked.

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Who is a mercenary? (49:55)

What is the role of mass media? (52:45)
Can its methods used  be turned and used to undo its damage? Knowing
that reaching even only 10 percent of a population can result in
self-propagation of ideas that result in general apathy.

Discussion regarding the speed of evacuating injured to hospitals
without helicopters (1:02:04). Importance of painkillers, and the poor quality of such being available, in contrast with the enemies’ medications.
Also noted possible use of tailored “combat drugs” (aka “stims” ,or stimulators)
from anomalous behaviour and performance of injured opponents.
It
appears that these drugs are being field-tested on the Ukrainian troops
as guinea-pigs.

(1:10:12)
We (DPR&LNR) make efforts to minimise alcoholism, obviously – but
no one offers alternatives to relieving stress, and shell-shock is
cumulative, and such stress may be a greater problem even than battle
injuries. 

(1:12:57)
Importance of maintenance of equipment to minimise fire hazard etc.
Lack of reactive armour, lack of trained personnel,lack of spare
parts.Inability of tank units to inter-communicate due to lack of
radios.

(1:17:45)
Differences in opposing sides’ successes, even with DPR&DNR having
far less equipment and troops,  are due to: differences in motivation; 
understanding that we fight on the right side; Ukrainian  troops are
fighting in drugged state; and Ukrainians’ under-estimation of the
resistance and constant defeats.

(1:22:00) No cause for celebration, as Crimean peninsula could easily be held hostage

(1:23:45) Not aware of any efforts to motivate locals near Crimea to rise up.

(1:30:30) Greatest damage to the population is their reaction to attacks.

(1:34:10) mines will remain a great risk even long after this war, as they’re likely to not be mapped.

(1:35:30)
In conclusion, I understand people make their own outcomes. I recommend
anyone who is interested in having a guaranteed future to develop
themselves, and not as a riflemen. These days, war is waged mostly by
artillery and guided weapons –  it is unlikely to ever get to face an
enemy. One need to increase one’s psychological stability, survival
skills, medical skills, understand ideology, politics, have family avoid
joining the fascists that are dismantling our country.

So, one has to work on one’s mind.

(1:38:00)  [ the most important message, stated most clearly ]

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