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interesting view
"At first they even have forbidden us to take the shields. Do you understand? The shields? We brought them afterwards without advertising."
Not young and thickset officer of Berkut speaks with desperate malice.
Every day they stand in the cordoning of the governmental block. For the second week they feel only two emotional waves from the citizens: fear and dislike. Berkut are thick-skinned, they are not the prim young ladies and will not cry. But even the best trained people have emotions.
...We are talking near one of the governmental buildings in the center of Kiev. Recently in the neighboring street the radically set guys tried to break through to the Administration of the President. They had a bulldozer, chains and sticks. The conscripts of the internal troops stood in front of them. Everyone saw how that incident ended.
"And why were the conscripts put in the cordoning wearing only the helmets and without shields?"
"Don't ask me... I will tell you more. When the clashes start, the higher-ups are not in the air. The command for the responsive actions and the cleanup of Bankova Street was given by one of the officers of the lower rank."
...They are at the dead end. On one hand, they have to wait for the provocations of those aggressive guys, for whom the events in Kiev are the chance check them for firmness, every day. And on the other hand, they cannot rely on their commanders, who will easily surrender the soldiers in order to save themselves. Or will simply not give the order in the moment when this order is vital. No one waits for them in Kiev, but they cannot go home until the compromise is found.
...I am listening to the seasoned officer and I have nothing to say to him. He does not have a slightest chance to doubt anything. The protesters and they live in quite different worlds. The former will not respect themselves if they do not come out and defend themselves. The latter will not respect themselves if they violate the order.
...184,000 people serve in the Ukrainian army, 60,000 of whom the Minister of Defense was going to dismiss recently. But today the army remains aside from the processes which are going on in Kiev, because their interference contradicts to the Constitution. But there are 35,000 of internal troops and 350,000 police officers. And potentially approximately one company of Berkut from every region of the country (the half of the personnel remains in the region in order not to denude the home front).
Any confrontation gives the easiness of simple separation into good and bad. It is very easy to call the people in the helmets and flak jackets the dogs of the regime, the bloody oprichniks and to put a transparency over the barricades with the inscription "Welcome to Hell". It is easy as well to hope that the officers will not fulfill the oath and that they will take the side of Maidan and put down the shields. And it is much more difficult to realize that people may decide to go to the end just because they are bound by the oath and by their own code of honor.

Very often one can hear on Maidan the idea that people came to the rally not to support the leaders of the opposition, but to defend themselves, in order not to blush while looking into the mirror and to have the courage to look at their friends' faces.
In this sense Berkut is similar to them.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Feb 28th, 2014 at 11:57:34 PM EST

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