The Russian Soldier’s Code of Honor

Оповідь українською, Рассказ на русском, Historia po polsku

Story by Oleksii Dubrov

Illustrated by Mykhailo Aleksandrov

Prologue: An Introduction

Russians are not descended from monkeys. They are, without a doubt, a separate species, as described by comedian-cum-scientist Mikhail Zadornov and retro/contemporary singer Valeriya in their world famous anti-pseudoscientific lyrical monograph Origins of the Russian Column of Peoples, which became a bestselling hit in Russia’s far eastern Zabaykalsky Krai:200 copies were printed by the one, and only publishing house in the capital of the province Chita and distributed, free of charge, to pensioners as the river of the same name as the city burst forth from its banks. According to the authors, who really could have been someone other than those listed, Russians originated from the passionate extramarital crossbreeding of a lion and a chicken, consummated under the watchful eye of the Cimmerian army. Granted, nobody — except the Russians themselves — thinks they’re not descended from monkeys. What’s more, Russian history, which we will discuss in the next chapter, contradicts this theory.      

But no matter how much humanity tries to deny it, the Russians deserve their own distinct path as a people, unalterably ensuring a unique subvariant of evolved degradation. Agamemnon and Menelaus discussed this during the sacking of Troy, but at the time, the Achaeans — most likely under pressure from the Americans — decided it was better to focus on building a wooden horse.

The Russian Soldier’s Codex, which you have the misfortune of holding in your hands, is undoubtedly humanity’s most popular book. It has long since outpaced the Bible in print runs, the collected sermons of the Kazan martyrs, and even The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The exact number of copies of the Codex printed is unknown, but it was published at least 200 times in 2022 using paper smuggled in by Chinese children to bypass sanctions during the last arctic summer.

The reasons for its popularity aren’t clear, but one thing is certain: the Codex is much more than simply a book. It is the perfect size to stuff under the leg to prop up every uneven kitchen table in our great country. Its few pages will help economize your bathroom needs for at least a day and a half, now that the North Koreans have refused to supply us with toilet paper, despite irreversibly declaring unequivocal intentions to do so. Thus, the Codex’s everyday usefulness is as obvious as its unmitigated pointlessness. 

But the book’s greatest value — as even the authors surprisingly noted — is to the Russian soldier. Before moving on to its substance, we want to make the following implicitly ridiculous statement: We — more than ten, and specifically eleven, of the finest professors at Moscow’s universities — worked hard to write, rewrite, erase, throw out, put back in, update, chew over, regurgitate, and then simplify and condense the information as much as possible. By analyzing simple mathematic axioms subject to philological lawlessness, we discovered, in the context of modern warfare, the Russian soldier can best be compared to a moth. Depending on the species, age, condition of their spleen, and phase of the moon, they can live anywhere from several hours or days, and rarely, a few weeks. So as not to complicate the soldier’s already short number of heroic days, the Codex’s authors kept the information as concise as possible, like an Olivier Salad absent the ingredients unavailable due to sanctions: peas, mayonnaise, and sausage. And to keep things simple, we will refer to ourselves, the eleven authors, as the Ten. One of us never made it to a single meeting anyway.

Let’s go!

The Lessons of History

In order to understand the cultural PIN code of the Russian people, which consists of three arbitrary letters of the Latin alphabet, one must examine historical events, because everything begins with history. But not to cloud your military service with boring lectures about past events, the Codex will include only the so-called “Simplified history of Russia featuring extremely short snippets from the Bible, Herodotus’s abridged ‘Histories,’ the latest gossip from the Babylonian prostitutes, and prophecies of the 10th reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, which also mention Russians.” We present the information as censored and retold by Vladimir Putin:

“It all began the day before the baptism of Rus’ several hundred years ago, when the last self-proclaimed Cimmerian, on his 999th birthday, loudly blew his nose with the freshly washed sheets of his deathbed, and less than an hour before his death, had a coming-out. The great representative of his clan admitted he did not descend from monkeys but was in fact a Russian: Piotr – the illegitimate son of a homeless man with no known family ties and a mute tourist from the northern swamps, who spent a night together at a two-bit beachfront hotel in Atlantis. She survived the sinking of Atlantis by miraculous coincidence, having stolen the sole one-man lifeboat, which only the homeless man knew about, the day before the continent disappeared under water. And from that moment on, flailing in the amniotic fluid of his mother’s womb, the boy began identifying himself as Russian.

Having grown up and taken part in the final stage of the siege of the eastern part of the ruins of Troy, the Cimmerian (he heroically stole borrowed the name from an actual people) came up with the idea to found Kyiv on the banks of the Borysphen River. But — as luck would have it — while he was mucking about and picking his nose somewhere, the city was founded by the insidious West. To wit, he concocted an idea to attack Constantinople, but was once again late, and only managed to arouse uninvited ridicule from the young ladies in Kyiv’s Podil district. Offended, the last self-proclaimed Cimmerian went off to his mother’s native swamps, where, having spawned, he swore to avenge the injustices of history. As he was dying, he stunned his offspring, in whom for years he had nurtured the best of human traits — cruelty, suspiciousness, and aggression — by telling them they too were Russians and must create a great and mighty country. Having showered their father with various bodily fluids and hundreds of cries of “Fuck that!” “Oh, this is Bullshit!” and “Why me?” they crawled off to mold a state out of shit and sticks the swamps, without waiting for their revered forefather’s final breath.

Although nobody welcomed their arrival, the Russians managed to conquer hundreds of peoples through violent love. Let’s take Russian Alaska, for example. Our noble nobles and merchants massacred thousands of locals when colonizing these lands. Why? In their memoirs, they called these various Aleuts “bloodthirsty barbarians” and “evil and impolite.” Are people like that worthy of love? Our (anti)heroes solved the problem radically. Not everyone survived, but who was counting? Those who remained were enlightened and well informed they were now Russians, and they in response twirled their fingers by their temples — a universally accepted sign of the greatest respect. After Russia’s loss of Alaska, many of the people there forgot their new centuries-old Russian roots. And what are they now? Correct: they’re languishing and waiting to be freed.

This went on for centuries, until the Russian rulers, having forsaken their ancestors’ commandments, became legitimately bored. They invited the first person to walk by — Vladimir Lenin — to entertain them. And he invented new peoples and new states who needed to be reconquered. Having heroically spat at the feet of the villainous world, Lenin granted the Russians a renewal of the ancient meaning of life the great Cimmerian had bestowed upon them, although at the time he did so, he knew nothing about Lenin. And the Russians went off again to build their endless empire and drown neighboring peoples in blood…”    

Enough history. Besides, it uses viciously subtle methods to teach us that a true Russian’s meaning of life can only be found in the army. It’s what our ancestors did, and it’s what you and your descendants must do. Otherwise, what’s the point of your random three Latin letter PIN code?

Naturally, you may have quite accidentally noticed these historical events contradict Mikhail Zadornov andsinger Valeriya’shypothesis Russians did not descend from monkeys. The great progenitor of the Cimmerians was supposedly born to a human and is therefore an inseparable part of the humanoid race. We, the ten Moscow professors and the truant we ignore, believe there is no contradiction here. And we feel our opinion is sufficient to quash all possible dissension.

So, having mastered the simplified snippets of the history of Russia, as retold by the living legend Vladimir Putin, you are ready for military training for the glory of the leadership country.


“The army is the oak protecting the Homeland from storms,” Valentin Kulchitsky wrote a hundred years ago in a book whose name we’re too lazy to look up. We will not cover up the fact he rightfully stole our idea long before we had it and disgracefully spoiled its original meaning and unmatched awkward design — for which we are unspeakably grateful. This quote does a terrible job reflecting the Codex’s shallow essence. But we don’t have another one.

The main rule Kulchitsky didn’t think of, but we did, is to forget everything you were taught in university, school, and even kindergarten. Especially everything you learned at your mother’s breast. You won’t need any of it. Moreover — as contradicted by unremarkable practitioners of Russian military science themselves — everything you learned in the past is harmful in war. Especially morals and rules of conduct. But we’ll talk more about this in one of the next chapters if you manage to read that far.

Having received the good news of your being drafted from your military commissariat, under no circumstances should you run for the Georgian border, slash the capillaries in your eyes to try to blind yourself, spray sesame oil down your throat, call your mother, or move into a cellar in the capital like Raskolnikov did. Even if it’s fully stocked with potatoes and canned onions. You now belong to the state. It’s not as though you didn’t belong to the state before, but starting today, you truly belong to the state.

The best thing you as a young (or old, doesn’t matter) reservist can do is record a video thanking the Emperor President of Russia. This is what a real man would do, although it’s not guaranteed to be taken into consideration by the commanders when calculating the unforeseen compensation provided upon your death. Stick to the format of the thank you video approved by the General Staff of the Russian Federation, which they have yet to post on the official website. Fill it with epithets like “fatherly,” “glowingly bald,” “epochal,” “Russophilic macho man,” “prominent historian,” etc. Make sure you review the secret list of words by Rozkomnadzor leaked on Telegram not to use when speaking about Putin. There’s not a lot of them — only a few thousand. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to include scenes of little children being kissed on the stomach. You can say goodbye to your loved ones, if they suddenly start to care you’re leaving them. If they don’t care, it’s even better for the leadership state.

Once you get to the military commissariat by the legally appointed deadline (you can find the incorrect deadline on the website of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation from 6am to 8am the day after a full moon), go immediately to the commissar. Bow to him, kiss the star on the shoulder of his uniform, and inundate him with questions about your forthcoming military service. He won’t answer you, but he may send you for training. From then on, follow the arbitrary guidelines to a tee.

The only question best not to ask is: “Why are we fighting?” This is a really stupid question which shows you are a complete ignoramus who hasn’t fully grasped the simplified snippets of the history of Russia. So, keep your mouth shut and reread the previous chapter of the Codex.

Definitely make sure you get drunk before going off to training. Nobody will serve you any alcohol along the journey, which will likely knock you out of your comfort zone. And don’t say we didn’t warn you! It’s better to have a “mobilization” alcohol stash kept top secret from your mother, wife, grandmother, and friends. Hide it from you father too — he doesn’t tell you about his stash.

In general, this is all you need to know about military training. You have a roughly 3.62 out of 100 chance of going through training before you hit the front line, so we don’t see the point in wasting time  explaining the rules of conduct during training. The same applies to equipment: in this case, rely on God’s mercy and the supply officer who all these years stored your grandfathers’ WWII uniforms for you.

As for subordination and conduct during war a special military operation (SMO) — those issues deserve more attention.

Subordination and Conduct in a Team

During military service, a Russian soldier belongs wholly and partially to his commander, who in turn wholly and partially belongs to the leadership state. So be very careful about everything you do. Complete and total attention to detail is the key to brief and effective service.

If you don’t like something — keep quiet. Under no circumstances protest or talk about it. Such behavior is a sign of extreme disrespect, cowardice, and, most importantly, weakness — something Russians do not possess. If you’re already going down a slippery slope, be ready to spend a few years in special re-education facilities. You’ll go back to the front line anyway, although as part of a private army.

If you’re a Christian, beat up Muslims. If you’re a Muslim, beat up Christians. If you’re a convict, beat up everyone before they beat you up. Follow your instincts, because maintaining healthy relationships in a unit is the duty of both the commanders and ordinary soldiers.

But never, never, beat up those higher in rank than you. Even if there’s a machine gun pointed at your back don’t do it. This tradition was started by your grandfathers, so there’s nothing you can do about it. If you are lucky enough to become a commander, you’ll do the same to your subordinates. 

Always remember the Sacred Dedovshchina (our Russian hazing). This is your religion, your path to service, carefully forged by your ancestors. Although it may not be obvious from the name, the Dedovshchina was invented by your ded (your grandpa), and their ded before them, and many generations of deds who were someone’s deds before them. The Ten Commandments of the Dedovshchina have been passed down by word of mouth over the centuries. Granted, the ten professors who wrote this Codex have reached a fundamental agreement that only two actually exist:

1.  May your boots lovingly trample any romantic notions of service off the unshaven mug of your younger comrade-in-arms.

2.  Cheboksary-2.

We have yet to reach a consensus on the second one. Some say it was added in 1983 by a drunk supply officer in Samara to make it look like there were more rules than there really were. The others agreed, generally speaking, with this theory but tried to undermine it with swear words about NATO killer mosquitoes. As for the other eight commandments, they are considered to have been permanently lost in the village club fire in Siuzvyaki, Perm Krai, on 22 October 2022. As you can see, the Dedovshchina provides answers to 3.87 percent of all questions you will have while serving in the glorious Russian army. The other 96.13 percent will be answered by the Emperor President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and the earlier mentioned supply officer.

If you are a member of the Russian nation, remember you represent a separate race with its own unique path toward progressive degradation, no matter how western countries may have tried to lead the nation astray throughout history. If you are a so-called “national minority” then follow the path set for you by the Russian people. It will lead you to the glorious past we all are striving to reach for the benefit of the leadership state.

We should also mention the rules of daily life, which affects how your comrades-in-crimes-arms perceive you. Try to keep your positions clean and orderly — they are not your homes. These rules are dictated by the Statute. Still, every day could be your last, so who’s going to punish you for making a mess? Be a real Russian, remember to express the DNA in your blood.

Try to arrange a steady supply of alcohol as soon as possible. This way you’ll become more important in your unit than the commander and gain loyal drinking buddies, who, most likely, will rat you out to the general the first chance they get. Best not to wait for this unpleasant incident and rat them out first, ideally while still in the military commissariat.

If you’ve mastered the basics of subordination, we invite you to the most important chapter: conduct in war a special military operation.

Conduct of a Russian Soldier in War a Special Military Operation

Forget about any and all morals which may have been instilled in you by your myopic parents, stern kindergarten teachers, Russophobic Hollywood films, European homonationalists, and especially the old ladies selling sunflower seeds outside your apartment building. They know nothing about the Russian mentality. And how could they if they haven’t read our Codex? Ignore your upbringing, go back to your primordial roots.

Always act in accordance with the principles of honor of your ancestors. You may and must kill, rape, and torture prisoners, including forcing them to watch Vladimir Putin’s never-ending speeches. This is the only way to cleanse yourself of those rank bits of enemy propaganda and become a worthy son of Russia. If your conscience is gnawing at you, bite back. This is your path — it’s in your DNA. If someone tells you otherwise — take them out, even if it’s your commander. Yes, yes, forget what we said in the previous chapter. Take his place and trust your predatory nature, approved by a separate joint order of the President and General Staff of the Russian Federation.

Now let’s focus on certain categories of people you’ll meet along the way (if you’re there long enough).

Buryats. They are fully aware of their actions although they don’t completely understand what’s going on. You won’t see them for long: according to the commandments of the great Cimmerian and logic of the special operation, they’re supposed to be wiped out. They’re latent traitors.

Kadyrovites. Avoid them with a ten-foot pole. Never enter their territory of occupation, even if this contradicts the instructions to beat up Muslims. Especially when they’re recording TikTok videos. They are latent traitors and separatists, innocent victims of an image they themselves created with the help of none other than the Americans.

Tatars. What about the Tatars? It’s obvious. They’re traitors and separatists. They’re not the same kind of Muslims as the Kadyrovites. We Russians don’t like them.

Ukrainians. They do not exist, even if you think they do, and even if they themselves say they do. This can be explained by Hegel’s law of the negation of the negation, but it’s too complicated for the Russian soldier, so let’s move on. Pay attention to the President’s speeches. How should you behave around them? They don’t like you for some reason and refuse to understand your noble goal. It’s best to stay as far away from them as possible, even if this means going back home. If you are accused of killing them, deny it and blame NATO killer mosquitos. Even if NATO doesn’t exist either.

Nazis. This is also very straightforward. All non-Russians are Nazis, especially Ukrainians, regardless of whether you can see them or not. Except for situational allies in the federation. And the Chinese. And Koreans. The northern ones. Iranians and Indians — also not Nazis… so far, at least.

Gays and lesbians. They are lurking everywhere. As soon as you cross Mother Russia’s border you will encounter this scum from Sodom-Gomorrah who do not honor the memory of the last Cimmerian. It is the duty of the Russian soldier to wipe your nose on their pants and spit at their feet. If you can’t tell whether the person in front of you is really gay or a lesbian, say something in English. If they reply “Hi” or “Okay” — they are 100% spawns of Sodom-Gomorrah. But never ever touch their skin! The Russian soul will rot, burn, and become infected from their touch, lasting until the very end of your short-lived existence.

Stress. This may not be a people, but it is a widespread thing, so nine out of ten, except for the eleventh, of the professors who compiled the Codex decided to stick it in here. If under the barrage of Ukrainian artillery fire, you suddenly experience the epitome of stress — a panic attack or rapid heartbeat, go to a local’s chicken coop and, without them seeing you, steal a chicken. Name if after your favorite singer (e.g., Valeriya) and eat it. The panic attack won’t subside, but at least you won’t be hungry. If you can’t find a chicken, steal something else. Anything. Chanting helps as well. Before going to bed, say the words “Russkiy Mir” three times quickly, and repeat this two hundred times while rhythmically swaying back and forth. In extreme cases, call the helpline: +38 (044) 350-8917.

Dear soldier! If you belong to one of the above categories and read something unpleasant about yourself – keep quiet. Everything has been decided for you and spelled out in the secret addendum to the protocol signed by the parties at the 1991 feast attended by Yeltsin’s third worst double, the CIA’s #14/88 Directorate, and the Martian Russophobic Laboratory of Jupiter – organizations striving to destroy Russia. The protocol has been sealed with toasts of vodka. You are not to violate it, even if you don’t know what’s in it.

Most importantly, everything has been decided, and you cannot change anything. If you think you have any influence, watch videos of so-called pathetic Russian opposition leaders, and think again. This postulate should guide your behavior, if it does not contradict what is written in this Codex. And if it does contradict it, then all the more so.

There are of course less significant categories of people, but we won’t focus on them. You don’t need to know about them. We’ll repeat just one thing: occasionally throughout your service you may be plagued by the question: “What’s the point of all this?” Chase it away, repeat the words “Russkiy Mir” a hundred times, and reread the section on Russian history once more.

Epilogue: An Afterword

Even if you didn’t read this far, or died in the process, you may still unreasonably think this Codex is just a vague complimentary allusion to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which in turn is a parody of Ken Welsh’s The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to Europe, which in turn is probably a parody of something else. Because that’s what it is, although not really. Moreover, the Codex is above all a parody of Muammar Gaddafi’s Green Book, The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food: To the Soviet Housewife from the People’s Commissariat of the Food Industry (1939 edition), and of various written works by  multicolor white/brown/red Russian émigré officers based on and a continuation of those very same lost non-existent memoirs of the Cimmerian soldier who took part in the siege of Troy and died at age 999 the day before the Baptism of Rus’ and – according to reliably verified unreliable facts – who called himself the first Russian.

You already understand what following our Codex will lead to. And if you don’t, it’s even better for the leadership state. We spent dozens of hours arguing, masterfully exchanging swear words, and drinking hundreds of shots of moonshine from Tver, to reach an obvious and unsolicited conclusion: we have already said two hundred times more than we should have. But if we’re wrong, you can shower us with your bodily fluids.

We want to end with a sincere wish, signed by ten professors, two laboratory assistants, the Russian Federation Emperor’s President’s proctologist-dentist, and cemetery garbage collector in Irkutsk: “May your service be short, Russian soldier!”

PS: No need to scatter this Codex as a PSYOP in the trenches belonging to Ukrainian Nazis. The Ukrainian soldiers do not underestimate you and they do take you seriously, so don’t take any unnecessary action. Our best guess is it’ll only cheer them up. Better to use the pages as toilet paper, if you need some. If not, go au naturel.

Other stories written by Oleksii Dubrov

Other stories illustrated by Mykhailo Aleksandrov

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