From trenches to business:
Entrepreneurship as therapy for ATO veterans
Another flash mob has recently swept through Ukraine. Those who joined the 22 Pushup Challenge did 22 pushups for 22 days. Ordinary Ukrainians and military men, from private soldiers to the Chief of General Staff, took part. Some hit the records, some engaged celebrities, and no one has been left behind. Yet, many people seemed to not quite get the real cause of the initiative. Its main point was not sports or entertainment. It began as an attempt to draw attention to a serious problem - psychological adjustment of former combatants to peaceful life after war. Actually, the flash mob is not a Ukrainian idea. It came from the US where the issue is addressed much more vigorously. Still, Americans have problems too. The number came from the statistics of 2012 reflecting the rate of veteran suicides committed every day.
The situation in Ukraine is more dangerous. The efforts to tackle the issue mostly come from the modest capacities of volunteer organizations dealing with adjustment of ATO veterans and incapable of embracing all the former fighters. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was widely spread in Ukraine after the war in Afghanistan. Just like the current war in Ukraine, the Afghan conflict chimed in with the economic crisis in the country. Inflation, deficit and unemployment could make even normal people deviant, let alone fighters after the war horrors. According to research, PTSD problems are mainly felt in five or seven years after the traumatic event, which means the toughest times for Ukrainian fighters are way ahead.
Under these circumstances, it is vitally important to find something helpful in getting through the difficult periods. Some find refuge in alcohol. Others go back to the military after failed attempts to find a job. Another interesting category of veterans from the war in Eastern Ukraine emerges. These people have managed to launch a private business by applying their war experience in business activity. Ukraine might thus duplicate the success of Israel. The army helped encourage a flurry of business activity there as future entrepreneurs had a chance to find business partners while serving. Military experience teaches fighters take responsibility and assess risks. What is more, war reveals the true nature of a person.
The Ukrainian Week offers several stories of ATO veterans who have launched their small businesses.