POW exchange. Why it is necessary to record memories of every prisoner
It is important to know this - such knowledge is an invaluable moral capital for every society for several generations to come
There is a complete list of 230 liberated people!
Military say that some have been in captivity since May 2022, without any information (because they are treated like the Ukrainians in the Gulag camps, using the same methodology: they say you have long been forgotten in your homeland, the war is over, the great Russian people brought "peace" to your lands, sign a confession, etc.) And there are people who can withstand all this: the pressure of the entire "restored Gulag" on one, oh, but how fragile, human spine...
How? At what cost? This is important to know - such knowledge is an invaluable moral capital for every society for several generations to come.
I had several conversations with former prisoners of Donetsk's Isolation camp and I can assure you that it is a different story every time, each one is different, despite the same methods of "breaking" used by the Chekist torturers; this experience cannot be algorithmic, like everything that tears a person apart "existentially". That is why each story of a survivor of Russian captivity should be recorded separately - whether it is a permanent section in the media or journalist that would record interviews with those of Ukrainians who returned from Russia and are ready to share their experiences of pressure. Or it can be a separate website/project, etc. - in any case, after almost 2 years of the full-scale war, Ukrainian society should already have such information (ideally, collected on a single public platform).
This information should not be closed, because it is of strategic importance not only for the military (instead, we have a full YouTube of monologues by captured Russian soldiers, that is, we "turn on the microphone" for them ourselves). The Russian military prison has not yet spoken in a "Ukrainian voice", it is still a "black box" for us, and it should not be so, even for security reasons....
It is this simple thought that has helped prisoners of war to survive the most horrific camps in our recent past: that you are not only a victim, but also a witness to crimes, and that your testimony can be no less important to history than your armed struggle. But after Oleh Sentsov's (Ukrainian director) Chronicle of a Hunger Strike, I can't remember (I'd be happy if I missed it!) a single publication that would contain direct speech from our released prisoners.
And only their eyes - when you look at their photos - say that once you see them, you will never forget...
I don't know how to record their stories. But I know that it is necessary to do so, and now - without waiting for another fifty years, as was the case with the prisoners of Norilsk and Kengir( Russian camps).
About the author. Oksana Zabuzhko, writer
The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.