Zombie DivisionZombie DivisionZombie Division

Zombie Division

Sasha Kern
Zombie Division
“In the pay-bill there are still the killed yet in June and July – they still considered ‘alive’ and ‘receive’ money. Some hundreds or maybe thousands of the Dead officially continue fighting, but if there will be mass de-mobilization this scheme will not work anymore.”


The walking Dead march to the battle. Rotting, scorched, without limbs and heads, while emitting a putrid stench they, nevertheless, go on the attack for the fetish of national borders. They are still shooting from the buildings destroyed by shelling or greedily eating the canned meat in between fights. The Dead are perfect soldiers – they can’t cause any real harm anymore but the battalions of the Dead do fight, advance and retreat or carry out the fortification works – in any case the results of their “works” will be “destroyed by the enemy” – that’s will be written in official reports.

Cut off fingers still pull the triggers; the legless body-remnants are running toward enemy’s tanks; armless former soldiers are digging trenches; hollow eye-sockets are checking the papers of potential terrorists. The Dead are guarding the Fatherland – they enthusiastically sing the national anthem, while wrapped in the national flag and, nevertheless, consume national product, which was bought for much higher price from the company belonging to the patriotic MP’s relative.

The dead soldier will not turn to the other side; will not betray his beloved generals and the president, who - day and night long - worry so much about the people’s destiny. The dead soldier will serve and work as long as it is needed – he doesn’t complain, desert or speak too much. And most importantly: he brings you money. Although, not too much, but a pack of banknotes will be helpfully laid to your feet by a grinning skull.

When just a handful of ashes remains from the former soldier (son, husband or father), he should, nevertheless, ‘live’ and strengthen patriotic spirit of the still really alive. He serves from his afterlife – because too many of the still alive citizens – by the very fact of their life - keep on ‘shamelessly’ reducing the potential profit of the nation leaders. A soldier must die; otherwise somebody may remain without long-awaited modern device or a travel to a fashionable resort.

Otherwise, some children of the nation’s leader like will have to post (like a boring idiot) –  in social networks some ‘apologetic’ pictures in a patriotic spirit: “I’m on Hoverla” [mountain in West Ukraine – the point of pilgrimage for various patriots and nationalists]. That’s really for such purposes the soldiers are dying and then posthumously being exploited – mostly they are the guys from the provincial depressed villages and small towns of Right Bank Ukraine and Left Bank Ukraine.

The poorest agricultural regions of the Left Bank Ukraine [particularly, Cherkassy and Poltava regions] – are a large (though, not an inexhaustible) resource for recruiting ‘volunteers’ to the National Guard of Ukraine. The local guys are being conscripted via military enlistment offices, where those guys are being offered to sign a paper (presented inside a large pack of other papers).

Thus, the country guy, without even realizing it, becomes a ‘volunteer’. Then, he is sent to Donbass [East Ukraine] to kill and die for the government and oligarchs. The military enlistment offices recruit mostly guys from provincial villages (while the nearby cities are much less affected by military conscription). The reason is quite simple: a provincial country guy will sign everything and go, wherever ordered, without even asking the unnecessary questions.

However, the failures do happen sometimes. We came recently to the village of Bogodukhivka [Chornobay district, Cherkassy region of Ukraine]. One of the local guys, when called to the army, refused to sign the paper, stating that he is a ‘volunteer’, and demanded to follow all the laws for military conscription. His example caused the wave of refusals of the guys from the same village. The failed ‘volunteers’ were intimidated with various imaginable and unimaginable punishments for that. The authorities tried to invoke their patriotic spirit, while waving the national flag and other kind of national decoration. Although, soon the guys were let alone – the authorities, finally, went off the guys’ backs – this time ‘it didn’t work as it was expected’. The plan for ‘volunteers’ conscription was then fulfilled at the expense of other villages. The neighboring village has promising name “New Life” – the road, starting from old cemetery, leads there.

In October two deserters from Ukrainian National Guard came back to “New Life” (some months before they were fraudulently conscripted as ‘volunteers’ in the same way). Together long with some fellow-soldiers they agreed to abandon their positions on the battlefront. They seized a minivan and went out of the “Anti-Terrorist Operation” zone (some abandoned their arms, while the other took it home). Igor and Anatoliy (both are drivers as civilians) have deserted for one good reason, which they define in a fairly powerful phrase: “Why, the fuck, we need it?”

At first they were told that, allegedly, it’s “Russia invaded Ukraine”, but on the ground they met Ukrainian population – totally hostile to them. Additionally, they met the thriving business on ‘cannon fodder’….

What do they say about this civil war?

“The commanders of Ukrainian regular army and Donbass militia sometimes negotiate and agree on a local level – those who came to agreement are not being shelled”.

“They [officers of Ukrainian army and National Guard] sell out almost everything, ranging from ammunition to foodstuffs. Their main task seems to get cash immediately – to get at least something – and they don’t care what will be tomorrow. For sure, they need the war to be continued – maybe, a month longer – better two months more, and the best – a year longer.”

“In August the neighboring battalion came under fire – about a hundred were killed but officially – only seven. But we personally carried the charred corpses, collected numerous pieces of bodies; but then it was officially announced – ‘7 killed’. And the same goes throughout the “ATO” zone – where the fighting goes on. While the senior officers and big bosses steal supply on a large scale, the junior officers can only appropriate the allowances and salary of the deceased. 1500 UAH [some 120$] is not big money, of course, but when there are some hundreds deceased – there accumulates an amount of money which is shared in the officer personnel”.

“In the pay-bill there are still the killed yet in June and July – they still considered ‘alive’ and ‘receive’ money. That is, some hundreds or maybe thousands of the Dead officially continue fighting – they are dead long ago, but if there will be mass de-mobilization this scheme will not work anymore”.

“What is their [officers’] logic? The more Dead – the better. It’s good for them to have a possibility to share and appropriate the salary of a dozen killed, but if it goes about hundreds killed – that’s great. The more – the better”.

When realized this logic of war, the pseudo-volunteers decided to flee: “It’s better to hide for some time at the relatives”, because – and here the main argument of country guys is voiced again – “Why, the fuck, we need it?”

Both potential “perfect soldiers” escaped the trap. But their less fortunate fellows are in unmarked graves. The killed soldiers every day and night go out of their graves to make a certain amount of ordered works, sign the pay-bill for the received money, deliver food and ammunition to other zombies who still continue their military service, strengthening the ‘national unity’ from their afterlife.

Shortly before their desertion, some Maidan ‘civil society activists’ – a group of boys and girls of Maidan NGO activists – came to ‘support morale’ of the future zombies. The activists tried to do it with the help of national flags, national-colour ribbons, collective singing national anthem, patriotic songs and a collection of drawings about ‘national unity’.

Young patriots from Kiev middle-class gladly boasted before the potential zombies with their career prospects. Someone of the Maidan activists showed them pictures: ‘my car’, ‘I’m in Germany’, ‘my girl-friend in Thailand’, ‘the cottage that my daddy completes’. By the way, the ‘daddy’ of one of the pretty girls from NGO was the direct commander over the conscripted to ‘volunteers’ country guys.

“You cannot even imagine, what does it cost – to look ‘in a proper style’” – the girl chattered light-heartedly among silent soldiers. “I think some hundreds our salaries” – recalls one of the deserted soldiers.

“Just imagine: probably, I’ll study soon in London – my boyfriend is already there” – another former soldier, who just escaped the trap, imitates her excited voice.

And while their less happier fellows march in the army of the Dead and continue their war for national idea i.e. for ‘completing the daddy’s cottage’ – the deserted soldiers try to realize what is happening around and go beyond the quickly spreading in Ukraine banal belief, stating: “We were duped again.” The motivation of the deserters is quite simple: they just don’t want to join the army of the Dead – the army of the killed soldiers, which is reflected in the iphone screen of their former commander’s daughter. They have, at least, the possibility to compare the nationalist propaganda and their personal experience. They learned how to fight; they are still curious and, therefore, would like to answer the arising questions: “who is to blame?” and “what should be done?”

They may have all the chances to answer the questions and, finally, dispel the enveloping and sticky patriotic mist with a dead-flesh smell.

Sasha Kern


Translation: Dmitriy Kolesnik

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