From trenches to busi­ness:

En­trepreneur­ship as ther­apy for ATO veter­ans

The Ukrainian Week - - CONTENTS - Yuriy La­payev

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.

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