Russian veterans from Afghanistan, Chechnya and Ukraine are said to have written a guide with their experiences for recruits in the Ukraine war. The handbook is to be distributed to soldiers before they go to the front, reports say. The chapters range from war propaganda to cooking recipes.

“I live, I fight, I win”: This is the title of a handbook that Russian veterans of operations in Afghanistan are said to have given to recruits for the fight in Ukraine. The 63-page manuscript contains sometimes abstruse chapters, including the number one survival rule, what to do if you have lice, what clothes recruits should bring with them, and tips on starting a fire.

According to the Russian news website, the brochure was approved by the Russian Defense Ministry. It is given to the men at recruitment points before they go to the front, writes the medium Oskol Kray. There is no independent verification.

The Union of Afghan Veterans is said to have developed the guide. They are said to have shared and summarized their experiences in order to give the current recruits for Ukraine tips for the assignment. In addition to veterans from Afghanistan, former soldiers who were stationed in Ukraine and Chechnya also took part.

In 66 chapters, some only short paragraphs, the recruits are to be prepared for the war. The texts are formulated in colloquial language. Again and again insults such as “idiots” or “fools” can be found in the chapters. The veterans give the soldiers numerous tips to take with them. Some of them are surprising, they sound so absurd. Below:

In the first chapter of the guide it is mentioned that the politicians describe the military activities in Ukraine as a special operation. But for the participants it was “a real war with blood, pain, bitterness over losses and joy over victories,” it said. The war was “a continuation of the Great Patriotic War,” it said. Reference is also made to the sanctions imposed by the West. The guide repeats the Russian war propaganda: Ukraine belongs to Russia, it must be “denazified”, the West is the enemy.

The recruits are also informed about the equipment of the Ukrainian army. The veterans refer to the Ukrainian strategy as “hit and run.” For commanders, the guide contains specific equipment tips. They are said to contain binoculars, a GPS device and a laser range finder. But the commanders have to take care of that themselves – the Ministry doesn’t pay for it, according to the experience of the veterans. There is also an appeal to the responsibility and self-confidence of the commanders: “Don’t let anyone ignore you.”

Whether the guide is actually distributed to recruits has not been independently checked at the moment. Along with three other Russian authors, Franz Klinzewitsch, a member of the Duma, is named as the publisher of the guide. The politician of the United Russia party is the head of the Russian Union of Veterans of Afghanistan and Special Military Operations. Kremlin propaganda also describes the war in Ukraine as such a special military operation.

According to the Russian medium, the “Generation” organization of the Russian entrepreneur Andrei Skoch is also said to have participated in the handbook. The US Forbes Magazine sees Skoch as one of the richest Russians. His net worth as of 2020 was around $7.4 billion. According to the US Treasury Department, Skoch has long-term ties to Russian organized crime groups. The US sanctioned him in April 2018.