The Impact of the Afghan War on soviet soldiers — страница 4

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The rest had to face the psychological impact of the war, which was called as ‘afghan syndrome’ by the media. Most of these people decided to dedicate their lives to helping the victims of the Afghan War. In Leningrad, several organizations were created with the aim to aid physical and psychological victims of the war. LAVVA (Leningrad Association of Veterans of the War in Afghanistan), ‘K sovesti’ Leningrad Information-Publication Organization, ‘Modul’ Cultural-Leisure Center for Veterans of the Foreign War Association - these are just a few of many organizations created throughout the USSR.[19] Left and unsupported by the government, these organizations aimed to provide extra facilities for the treatment of injured veterans, to compensate veterans fully or partly

for the expenses of necessary treatment, to develop sports for invalid and to force the government to support the invalids’ rights. Thus the experience of the Afghan War had a twofold impact on soldiers’ lives: first, the impact of the war itself and second, the impact of returning to a peaceful life after the war. In the words of one veteran: What did the war give to us? Thousands of mothers who lost sons, thousands of cripples, thousands of torn-up lives.[20] While in Afghanistan, soldiers experienced discrimination by the older soldiers and by the officers. The foreign land, the experience of fighting, the death of friends, the highly difficult conditions of living, and the absence of a stimulus to fighting made most of the soldiers addicted to drugs and alcohol. Drugs

became an easy source of relaxation because Afghanistan is one of the biggest suppliers of marijuana on the black market. The term ‘lost generation’ can be applied towards the veterans of the Afghan War. This war had created a generation of alcoholics and drug addicts. It also made many young people invalids unable to work and to earn money on their own. The other ‘creation’ of the war in Afghanistan was the increased rate of violence and immoral behavior among soldiers and veterans of the war. These circumstances had made criminals out of 19 year old boys. Discrimination by the public opinion and media, and the unwillingness of the government to help victims of the war even increased the number of criminals, alcoholics and drug addicts among the veterans of the Afghan

war. Footnotes: [1] Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: Soviet Vietnam (San Francisco: Mercury House, 1992), p.156. [2] Mark Galeotti, Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War (London: Bookcraft (Bath) Ltd., Midsomer Norton, 1995), p.35. [3] Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: Soviet Vietnam , p.64. [4] Mark Galeotti, Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War , p.41. [5] Mark Galeotti, Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War , p.41. [6] Mark Galeotti, Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War , p.45. [7] Mark Galeotti, Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War , p.47. [8] Mark Galeotti, Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War , p.51. [9] Mark Galeotti, Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War , p.52. [10] Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: Soviet Vietnam , p.164. [11] Mark

Galeotti, Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War , p.68. [12] Diego Cordovez, Selig S. Harrison, Out of Afghanistan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1995), p.247. [13] Nasir Shansab, Soviet Expansion in the Third World (Maryland: Silver Spring, 1986), p.171. [14] Mark Galeotti, Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War , p.69. [15] M. Hassan Kakar, Afghanistan (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995), p.241. [16] M. Hassan Kakar, Afghanistan , p.241. [17] Mark Galeotti, Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War , p.71. [18] Mark Galeotti, Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War , p.72. [19] Mark Galeotti, Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War , p.81. [20] Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: Soviet Vietnam , p.164. Evaluation of the historical sources:

The book Afghanistan: The Soviet Union’s Last War by Mark Galeotti were used a number of materials written both in English and in Russian. Mostly the references I have used were taken by the author from articles from newspapers with the interviewees of veterans. I count this source of information as reliable because the author showed the point of view on the Afghan War of both veterans of Soviet military forces and from the United States, which supported Afghanistan during that war. Afghanistan: Soviet Vietnam was written by a Soviet veteran who served in Afghanistan for two years. Of course he supported the Soviet’s military forces, so I used this source only to show the general mood of soldiers during the Afghan War. The author’s personal opinion was taken for this.