«Dad, you killed someone?» six — year-old son looks at father with huge eyes. «No,» says the father. «Daddy, when the enemy stood in front of you, you killed him?» asks the son. In the children’s world of a first grader lots of things seem simple. War, enemy, hero, — so begins her story Hartwich Inna, the correspondent of German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau.
Artem Chekh recalls the scene when he returned from the front in the East of Ukraine. In Kyiv cafe Cech looks around, silent. Often it is repressing some images pop up in his mind: his friends, exploding artillery shells, the silence of the Ukrainian fields. He served a few months in the Ukrainian army near Lugansk. «I never thought about the need to take a gun in hand. The war was on TV, always somewhere far away. We’re in Europe, here it couldn’t happen. I was so naive,» says 31-year-old writer and again restless looks around.
In July, the Czech returned home to Kiev, where his wife, son, mother. And the world has changed. He was never the same. As with anyone who has returned from war to civilian life. It is not easy. He sees smiling faces on the streets, see how people drink coffee, sees how they are celebrating. «What they really know about war?» he says, feeling aggression to them. «They know nothing, they don’t want to hear about it. The war for them — a short message on Facebook». Cech understands that this is considered wrong and feels helpless at such moments.
The war in Eastern Ukraine is still ongoing, despite the ceasefire. Almost daily in the so-called anti-terrorist operation zone — the zone anti-terrorist operation Kyiv authorities called the operation against Pro-Russian separatists in Donbass — there are wounded and sometimes even killed. «In turn, many combatants returning from war suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the Research center of humanitarian problems of the Armed forces of Ukraine, about 80% of veterans suffer from PTSD. However, the government can not solve this problem», — writes the German newspaper.
Despite the fact that «the necessity of psychological assistance to ex-combatants is quite detailed in the various government documents on many levels, yet this aid will reach the destination is, how to tell the Ukrainian social workers, for several months.» Sometimes it is too long, as many have time to be disappointed in the world.
«Almost every major Ukrainian city is a gathering place for veterans of the fighting, and usually it is in the departments of conventional hospitals, where the attention is often focused exclusively bodily health, — the volunteer tells of the Psychological crisis service of the Ukrainian Association of specialists on overcoming the consequences of traumatic events Galyna Tsyganenko. Often psychologists just not enough, and sometimes they are not qualified». According to Tsyganenko, many former fighters faced with a «borderline state in which they do not understand what is right and what is not, in the end, many do not know how to behave». «But at the same time, we should not all be pathologival, not everyone is suffering from this disorder,» she continues.
Other Ukrainian psychologists say about «a ticking time bomb that could explode in a couple of decades, if the former soldiers did not receive psychological help during and after the fighting.»
Meanwhile, many former combatants pull back to war because they can’t imagine life without war. «It’s much easier to get respect and admiration at the front than at home to wash smelly socks» — says Vlad Demchenko, a former producer from Kiev, went to remove the war in the East of Ukraine, and then joined radical nationalist «Right sector». War, he said, was for him something of a «magnet», and «now it always pulls back.»
Psychological counselling after returning from combat in Ukraine, unlike, for example, from Denmark, Israel or the United States, is not required. «On my return I received a paper in which the question was asked, I’d like to get psychosocial support. I don’t put a «tick», — says Artem Chekh. — Maybe I should have said Yes…»
Artem supported the protests on the Maidan, he was horrified by Russia’s annexation of Crimea, was outraged by the news of the rebellion in the East of Ukraine. «I couldn’t watch from the sofa it all. I wanted to go to defend their country,» he says in an interview. He enlisted in the army, he was sent into battle. To be a hero, yeah! About people in Ukraine speak: «Heroes». — «On front see other side of the coin: people who get drunk before loss of feeling, and then shoot. People who are poorly prepared for the fight. Ukrainian heroes… But who wants to hear the truth?»
Czech and on the front wrote a short message, columns, blogging. About everyday life between the fighting, about his «new family», a team of four. «In Kiev I only knew the scientists in the war I was in contact with different people. About all I ever write, every life is a book,» he pauses and thinks again.
To something serious in the literature it is now ready while adjusting to everyday life. Survive writer in Ukraine is still not easy, only those who have achieved international success as Serhiy Zhadan, Andriy Kurkov, Oksana Zabuzhko is a well — known authors of the country, don’t worry. «Now I’m writing a zombie story for my son and his friends. It’s fun,» says Czech, and briefly smiles. This «tale for children» and the support of family to help him with «rehabilitation», as he calls it.
Not everyone can count on it. Many marriages break up, people lose jobs, find temporary solace in alcohol and other drugs. «The most important thing is to give veterans feel that they need that they will be heard,» says psychologist Tsyganenko. What actually want. Not just those that returned from the war in the East of Ukraine, said in conclusion the German journalist.
Frankfurter Rundschau. A ticking time bomb of Ukraine 17.01.2017