By Victor Orlov
Report from the founding congress of a new veterans’ organization – “Union of Donbass Volunteers.”
On October 10 in Moscow, the Museum of the Great Patriotic War hosted the first congress of the Union of Donbass Volunteers in the central Hall of Glory on Poklonnaya Hill. Many field commanders took part, representing militia units such as “Sparta,” “Ghost,” “East,” “Rusich,” “August,” Cossack battalion commanders, and many others, plus humanitarian organizations and doctors from many cities in the country, including Anastasia Kamenskaya, head of Save Donbass from St. Petersburg.
|Presenters at the Hall of Glory in Moscow’s Museum of the Great Patriotic War.|
The organization will take veterans regardless of their political beliefs. The main criterion is that the person fought in Donbass.
Potentially, from 30,000 to 50,000 former militias may join the organization. In any case, the Union believes that this many people participated in the war in the Donbass during 2014-2015.
|Representatives of the Novorossiyan Ghost Brigade at First Congress of the Union of Donbass Volunteers.|
The congress was held in the museum’s Hall of Glory — the main hall, with its atmosphere, as millions of heroes of the Great Patriotic War watch you from the walls.
Among the main topics of the session were adoption of the program and principles of the Union and the creation of an administrative mechanism to provide assistance to participants of action in the Donbass. Plans for a monument to the volunteers and adoption of a code of honor of volunteers were also discussed.
As stressed before the meeting by the president of Union of Donbass Volunteers, former Prime Minister of the DNR Alexander Boroday, the organization was established to address humanitarian issues. “For those who participated in the war in the Donbass, the volunteers, to get together is normal and natural,” he said. “They must unite to help each other, including in the solution of everyday problems, like healthcare and jobs.
“So we’re going to help each other, our comrades, as well as provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Donbass,” added Boroday.
|Congress participants in the Hall of Glory.|
The Congress presented badges and certificates to members of the organization.
Boroday described the importance of the creation of the veterans’ organization and explained its aims and objectives:
“My colleagues and I are creating a new public organization called the Union of Donbass Volunteers. Russian volunteers have long shown themselves as a powerful force. Russian volunteers are socially active people. People who are united on the platform of all-Russian patriotism, who are ready to fight for Russia and the Russian world. Another thing is that, in contrast to those who are just civil servants, and those who fight for the will of the state, Russian volunteers are really volunteers. They lack social protection, any form of social protection. And we believe that the Russian volunteers, especially those who took part in the war in the Donbass, should be united. They should help each other.
“In essence, we are creating a social organization. Of course, it also has charitable functions, and we will help each other. We help the families of the victims. We will wherever possible help the people of Donbass. But this is a story of ‘sink or swim.’ We must help ourselves. Together with my comrades, we have banded together in an organization to be able to defend our rights.
“In general, we have an ambitious goal, which won’t be implemented quickly – that the volunteers who took part in the defense of the Russian people, the Russian world and Russia in various local wars, would at some point have equal rights with military combat veterans.
|Doctors from “Save Donbass” organization in St. Petersburg.|
“The ‘Afghans’ united veterans and people who fought in the civil service. All the more should volunteers of Donbass unite. They need to protect themselves and help themselves.
“You know that the situation in the Donbass remains tense, so there are still volunteers. Many return from time to time. We need to help them. We need to help them, first of all, to socialize. Our organization is focused on the distribution of charitable aid.
“We think that people need both fish and bait. Many sacrificed health and jobs. There are families of victims who need help. And we must help them. To do this we must be united. “
However, Boroday says, the Union of Donbass Volunteers shouldn’t be confused with an almshouse. Yes, they will open a bamk account. Yes, they will accept help from individuals, especially Russian businessmen, but no Yandex purses will be started. Boroday warns that if someone starts fundraising on behalf of the Union, then everyone should know they are rogues.
The “Volunteers” will necessarily help the widows and families of their dead comrades. So among the founders of the organization is Elena Lazarenko, the widow of a militiaman. She believes that it is very important not to leave widows alone with their grief and their problems, as it was with her when her husband was killed in the Donbass.
|Photos by Save Donbass|
Boroday is not afraid of the prosecution of “Volunteers,” although Russian law prohibits such activities. He believes that Russian public opinion is on the side of those who took up arms to help the Donbass, so the latter will not be prosecuted.
“They have no fear. The ‘Volunteers’ were not afraid of losing their lives in the war, and after this trial the courts hold no fear for them.
“The ‘Volunteers’ are going to help their comrades who returned from the war in the Donbass. Some lost their jobs, some lost their health. There are, after all, the dead. There are families of victims who need help. In short, plenty of social problems. Today they must help themselves. We will also assist with humanitarian aid to the Donbass republics,” Boroday said.
And of course “Save Donbass” of St. Petersburg supports the idea of mutual aid among volunteers!