Story from a Russian soldier who joined the Freedom of Russia Legion

Posted on 12 September 2022



A story of a Russian soldier. He tells about how he invaded Ukraine in February 2022, but shortly after receiving an agitation leaflet, he surrendered and joined the Freedom of Russia Legion of AFU.

Translation kindly provided by Volodymyr:

Original video in Russian:


Why did this happen? Why, as a matter of fact, did I become a military man? I’m a young father who recently became one the last summer. And I realized that in the backwoods of Russia, it’s a particular luxury, a great luxury, to support a family. But my comrades kept telling me that getting a little bit more in the armed forces was possible. So I kept walking around, thinking about it. Still, I could never make up my mind because it was a completely different responsibility different living conditions, and I couldn’t make up my mind. But it so happened that in the late fall of 2021, I still decided, took a chance, and began collecting documents for signing a contract with the armed forces of the Russian Federation. So I passed all the medical examinations and met all the requirements. In early January, I began serving in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Unfortunately, I will not give you the name of my unit because there would be too much information about me, but let me summarize. In the beginning, the service was ordinary, nothing special. That is, I didn’t have any over-the-top tasks. I didn’t have any scary, silly stories, it was a standard service.


Yes, there was more money and higher earnings. And my family already felt a little more confident. Then, at the end of February, my commander came to me and said there was an interesting assignment with a good salary. I was very interested because, well, money is never short. So I thought it would never be too much for my young family, for the daughter I was raising. And so I said yes to the business trip. I didn’t know what it was going to be yet. I didn’t know where it would be. But I took a chance. So I ended up going to Ukraine with my unit at the end of February or as early as the beginning of March. So what I saw there, I was just blown away, honestly. Because the army in the picture, the army on paper, and the attitude to you at the front are completely different. There we were just some kind of, well, meat. I don’t even know, very rude attitude to the army.


But we were just there for some stupid tasks of Putin because they treated us horribly. They sent us to the slaughter all the time. And so from the first days, as soon as I saw the contrast: between what I was told, shown, what I always thought about the army, and what I saw there. So I realized it was time to end. Well, it’s not my war. I don’t support such barbaric methods. I am against fighting on the territory of a neighboring state in general. All the more, considering methods that fighters of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation sometimes use. At the beginning of March, two or three days after I went to the front, I concluded that it was time for me to maneuver quietly and avoid armed conflicts and armed hostilities, so to speak. I ended up transferring to the rear, to the kitchen. Yes, to the kitchen, because it was calmer there, it was a much more favorable atmosphere for my service and health.


And I thought about my family first because family is the most essential thing in my life. So I decided to save the future for the sake of my family, for the sake of my future. Then we had some interesting moments. Our position was constantly being shelled by the artillery of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. My guys and I were always running around, hiding in trenches. And one day, there was another alarm, another shelling. So we ran to the trenches. And then, when we came to the surface, we found that our whole camp in the rear was strewn with leaflets. And the leaflets were the contents of the Legion of Free Russia. I had already heard about this organization from my colleagues and fighters because many people had heard about it. We were warned all the time. Our deputy political officers lectured us, saying, “God forbid you to join it, God forbid”. And we were constantly discouraged from contact with the unit. 


But that’s the way my father brought me up. I follow simple guy concepts: if you don’t respect yourself, your life, and your principles first and foremost, you can no longer be called a human being. And because I understood that this war categorically contradicts my principles of life, I am not in the mood to kill people for nothing, in fact, for nothing, for myths. For the myths that are shown on TV in Russia. And after that, I kept this flyer, but I didn’t tell anyone about it because it was a risky move. If they had found it, they would have thought I was some traitor. They would have taken me to court again. But I just thought about changing my future and going to the bright side, the same side I had always been taught since childhood, what is good and evil. So after a couple of days of carefully studying all the materials of the leaflet. So I made the final conclusion that I want to get on the bright side for the sake of my future and my family.


I want to see a normal democratic country, not what we have unfortunately turned out to be. And I came up with some machination that I pulled at the front. Well, not a machination, but you could say cunning. In another shooting, when there was me, we also all hid in the dugouts. And at that moment, I ran out into the forest plantation, which was close. So along the forest, I started to move towards the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Well, it was terrifying because when you move towards the enemy, in your head, I don’t even know how to describe it. You go for something because that’s what you decide according to your principles.


I was afraid. But again, the leaflet said that if you raise your hands and surrender voluntarily, telling them that you wanted to get into the Legion, everything would be fine. So I took the risk, and I walked very far. I already raised my hands and walked alone, hoping everything would be okay. I already saw, from a distance, that the fighters at gunpoint held me. So I walked slowly, raising my arms higher and more visible to them. I was already wholly close to their positions as I immediately said who I was. First, I apologized to them for being on their land because I was ashamed. I was ashamed in front of the guys who are defending their home. I am legally an occupant in their eyes, so I apologized to them first of all. After I convinced them of my intention that I want to join the Freedom of Russia Legion, having shown the leaflet to them.

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