In the Russian press and on Russian television, the message of a Russia described as threatened by attacks ordered by Kyiv and supported by “spies from within” is increasingly emphasized. In the border regions, citizens are organizing to support the increasingly assertive security forces.
A group of volunteers is engaged in cutting branches and logs for Russian soldiers who need them to make fire. For Lilly and her comrades, there is only one way to live their Russian nationality: to support the army. Lilly has been involved in various “patriotic” groups for a little over a year now, and she has been multiplying her activities in support of the soldiers. These groups patrol her city and the region, training to defend the borders, detect suspicious behavior, and fight back.
For them, it’s not about arresting someone; the norm is to call the police. These citizens are supposed to play a complementary role with the police and/or the military. There are also other groups presented as “citizen volunteers” that play a much more advanced role. These groups train people in tactics, how to enter combat correctly, how to hold a position, where and when to move, and when not to move.
They also receive medical and weapons training. In medicine, they teach them how to give first aid and how to properly evacuate the wounded. The group does not use violence and has no right to restrict freedom of movement. All routes are coordinated with the security forces, the police, or the army. Each departure and each patrol are coordinated, and they must report everything.
Citizens thus play a complementary role to the police and/or the army. Some citizens have become more adamant in their support for the security forces since the dispatch of Russian soldiers to Ukraine began and consider that there is no other way to live their Russian nationality than by supporting the army.
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