When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Denial And Dissent: On The Deeply Conflicted Psychology Of Russian Soldiers

The Ukraine war is not just physical — it's also being fought on a psychological front. Russian soldiers are subjected to complex psychological pressures at home and abroad.

As russian soldiers march forward, one looks back

Due to misinformation, some Russian troops find the armed forces do not meet their expectations

Viktor Kevlyuk


KYIV — Written messages have recently been found under car windshield wipers, in mailboxes, and on the doors of apartments of the families of Russian military recruits, known as Chmobyk. The messages carried phrases like: "You're the wife of a murderer, we all know!" or "You're the mother of a murderer, we all know."

These notes put substantial psychological pressure on the relatives of Russian soldiers who have been enduring months of unceasing battles.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

In the broader context, psychological warfare has emerged as a pivotal component within Ukraine's strategic arsenal. Within this context, there's a belief that a fighter, despite appearing as an individual, is shaped by moral, political, and psychological factors.

This perspective suggests that there might be instances of split personalities or confusion induced by political manipulation — the alignment of personal ideological and political beliefs, along with moral values, influences behavior and attitudes.

However, the psychology of Russian soldiers is fraught. At the beginning of the war, for example, there was a lack of comprehensive military-political propaganda and engagement with personnel to transition their mindset from civilian to military.

Influence and insubordination 

Furthermore, the analysis of the socio-political landscape of Ukraine did not align fully with reality and thus confused soldiers. Misinformation about the moral and psychological state of Armed Forces personnel led to inaccurate expectations.

Incidents of insubordination underscore the extent to which psychological factors can influence troops

Russian troops were subject to significant information and psychological influence, employing NATO-style methods through Ukraine's psychological operations centers. The provision of derivative technical tools for military-political work was inadequate, impacting efforts to sustain high troop morale.

But there were also inadequacies in professional training for military-political leadership, as well as an apparent disregard for lessons from previous conflicts such as Syria and Karabakh, the disputed territory, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

In one specific regiment, there are major incidents of internal dissent and unrest. Anecdotes involving disgruntled soldiers and incidents of insubordination underscore the extent to which psychological factors can influence troops. The failure to adequately inform soldiers about the purpose and objectives of their operation further complicates matters.

Two images show threatending notes left at people's doors

Examples of the threatening messages left at the doors of Chmobyk families' homes

Viktor Kevlyuk

The Putin generation

Turning to the ideological foundation of the Russian military, a convoluted narrative comes to light. This narrative portrays Ukraine as a hotbed of fascist elements, supposedly formed by the West, seeking to overthrow governments and eliminate Slavic and Russian populations. This narrative, marked by conspiracy theories and exaggerated fears, seems to perpetuate a state of constant alertness and animosity.

Disillusioned with the status quo, they risk their lives for the prospects offered by military service.

This ideological landscape has significant implications for Russian soldiers' mindset. A generation raised under Putin's long-standing rule is depicted as seeking an escape from the suffocating reality of their daily lives. This generation, disillusioned with the status quo, may be willing to risk their lives for the prospects offered by military service in the ongoing conflict.

The ongoing conflict between Ukrainian and Russian forces thus encompasses complex psychological and ideological dimensions. The use of psychological pressure tactics by Ukrainian forces has exacerbated the stress on the Russian troops, while a convoluted and exaggerated ideological narrative influences the mindset of Russian soldiers. These elements combine to create a complex and evolving battleground that extends beyond mere physical confrontation.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


How Parenthood Reinvented My Sex Life — Confessions Of A Swinging Mom

Between breastfeeding, playdates, postpartum fatigue, birthday fatigues and the countless other aspects of mother- and fatherhood, a Cuban couple tries to find new ways to explore something that is often lost in the middle of the parenting storm: sex.

red tinted photo of feet on a bed

Parenting v. intimacy, a delicate balance

Silvana Heredia

HAVANA — It was Summer, 2015. Nine months later, our daughter would be born. It wasn't planned, but I was sure I wouldn't end my first pregnancy. I was 22 years old, had a degree, my dream job and my own house — something unthinkable at that age in Cuba — plus a three-year relationship, and the summer heat.

I remember those months as the most fun, crazy and experimental of my pre-motherhood life. It was the time of my first kiss with a girl, and our first threesome.

Every weekend, we went to the Cuban art factory and ended up at the CornerCafé until 7:00 a.m. That September morning, we were very drunk, and in that second-floor room of my house, it was unbearably hot. The sex was otherworldly. A few days later, the symptoms began.

She arrived when and how she wished. That's how rebellious she is.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest