Surviving disaster: ““Psychological stability is more important for surviving any sort of crisis than food and guns."

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, even if you not concerned with the new Cold War (although you should be), read the parts about surviving under stress, and about “survivalists” being wrong.

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 his 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:


( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFVKt7ElOe8 - video with voiceover below )



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 slavyangrad.org/2015/06/19/run-from-here-run-while-you-are-s, 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.


...


YE: 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 www.liveleak.com/view?i=328_1435823437. 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 www.liveleak.com/view?i=46a_1431630461 – that is, in fact, to destroy their country and genocide their nation.


...


YE: 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. ...



...


YE: 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…


...


YE: 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 www.liveleak.com/view?i=36f_1435446804 www.liveleak.com/view?i=2a0_1435546658 www.liveleak.com/view?i=bd4_1433956858 www.liveleak.com/view?i=b05_1433980709 www.liveleak.com/view?i=454_1423605330 >. 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):



Full transcript (Google Doc):

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MZUcKTpkL_ypGvSPxmLJpM-Z


OTHER LINKS:

Another “Razvedopros” interview:



fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/07/razvedopros-1-militiaman-murz-


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


fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/07/confessions-of-combatant.html


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. Don’t like that? Sue me ;).