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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Germany: “I’m not a bride, I’m a soldier”

International Women’s Day March 8, if we do not go into the preconditions for its appearance, has long been considered simply as a holiday for all women. Figuratively – a vacation of the weaker sex. What if his representative served in the German army and boxed in the gymnasium every Saturday? ! And with all this she dreams of a small flower, presented on this day. Is there a man willing to give a bouquet to a military-looking girl, capable of knocking her out with a precise blow?

The heroine of this article is a twenty-year-old Bundeswehr girl who was born in distant Siberia to a family of German immigrants. Olesya grew up in Germany and for two years has worn a patch with the image of the German flag on the sleeve of his military uniform. She also likes Russian ravioli. Being the ONLY GIRL among the guys in this military unit, she lives in the barracks and is a professional soldier of the German armed forces with the rank of “hauptgefreiter” – junior sergeant.

If a person is not ordinary, it shows in everything. A beautiful girl, feminine, modest and suddenly… a soldier! Her life path does not resemble the fate of ordinary modern young women, and believe me, Olesya has something to respect. For character, courage, the ability to make a choice and go all the way. Today, not all men have such qualities that testify to a strong character, inflexible will and determination.

According to German contract service rules, girls serving in the Bundeswehr are prohibited from being photographed in military uniform, with bright makeup and loose hair. Also, it is undesirable to show your face in the media. Therefore, for privacy reasons, we leave his name “behind the scenes” and partially retouch the photo. (Editor’s note)

On a home visit

Returning from the unit in Düsseldorf, Olesya O. agreed to speak with a representative of the editorial board of MK Germany. By the way, Bundeswehr contract soldiers go to the army as if they were going to work, they travel from their homes in the region to the barracks and back. Soldiers are allowed to go on leave for the weekend. This approach is even encouraged by management. What visual agitation in favor of the German army, when soldiers in uniform ride in public transport.

Olesya, how did you make the decision to become a soldier?

I have always been very thin and always suffered from being underweight. While all my girlfriends were on diets to lose excess pounds, I didn’t know what to do or what to eat, just to gain muscle mass. She was very shy and complexed. Imagine, my weight at school was 38 kg – and this is with a height of 175 cm. So the decision was made to seriously engage in sports and at the same time improve discipline, which also left a lot to be desired in those years. I wanted to go to architecture university, I was good at drawing, but…it didn’t come to that. And then I realized that the best way to cultivate the qualities I needed was military service. The word “Bundeswehr” rang in the family like a cannon shot. Shock. Nobody could believe it. Many thanks to my uncle Sasha, who supported me in times of doubt. He is the best friend and mentor of my life. Strict and fair, he immediately warned me not to complain later. The army is a complicated business, especially for a girl.

At what age do they enter the German army?

If you have German nationality, you can apply when you reach the age of 17. But there is a very careful selection, mainly for health reasons. We have to endure the endless medical commissions, since they determine the so-called “soldier’s health score”. I passed this test, but got a lower score due to insufficiently good eyesight. The total amount depends on what kind of service each soldier can perform, what is prohibited and recommended for him in the army so as not to harm his health. Some, for example, can only be used at headquarters.

One of the boys

Are there concessions for girls in sporting standards and living conditions?

No concessions based on sex! Sport and bearing on an equal footing. Walk and shoot, do not disturb the daily routine. Everything is for real. I knew what I was getting myself into. In the barracks, I’m the only girl among the guys. All sports activities are the same. True, there is the concept of “female rotation” from the floor, the norm for girls is 50 times. I can. I pull up on the horizontal bar with the guys, I hold my chin above the bar for 40 seconds. In the barracks there are 2-story beds, as it should be in army life. Now they gave me a separate room. Of course, girls never sleep in the same barracks as boys. There are separate rooms for this, but with the same “aesthetics”.

And what about personal life? There are so many suitors around, and you’re a bride.

I’m not a bride, I’m a soldier. For me, all my colleagues are just comrades, service colleagues. With this strictly. We can’t shoot novels. Of course, relations are not prohibited, but if this happens, it is necessary to inform the commander. He must know. Marriage is also not forbidden, but not in such a way that it is very desirable. But the military command is supposed to be accountable without fail. I’m not going to get married yet. By the way, recently the commander of the unit himself wrote me a romantic SMS. So far I have left this step unattended. This twist can be confusing. And my current choice to become a soldier is too dear to me.

Are you an army employee?

Yes of course. At first, it really surprised me. It did not occur to me that in the German mercenary army the soldiers were well paid. Salary depends on years of service and rank. From 2,000 euros per month (gross) at the start of the service. Then, of course, more. My goal was not to make money. Just pull yourself together, hone the discipline and gain weight. And of course, live a new life experience. Among the bonuses, German soldiers travel for free in transport, we are given uniforms for all seasons of the year and conclude 2-year contracts with a possible extension.

Are you progressing towards your goals?

Certainly. I already have a title. I’m a junior sergeant. All sports achievements are also recorded in the bulletins. Every day for seven hours of sport and physical activity. I have a good shooting certificate, I learned discipline, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke. And most importantly – gained the right weight! Now I weigh 70 kg!

Why are you wearing boxing gloves in the photo. Is this a joke?

No, it’s very serious. I love boxing since childhood. And finally, in reality, she put on the long-awaited boxing gloves. Every Saturday I go to the gym to box. The blow must be precise and strong. To do this, you need to work hard, so there is no time for personal life. Army, sports, boxing, sleep – this is my life, which I love.

Rosette for a Sergeant

How do you know Russian so well?

My parents, German immigrants, brought me from Omsk to Germany when I was still a one-year-old child. German immediately became my mother tongue. But my grandmother read Russian fairy tales with me, taught me how to add syllables according to the alphabet. So I learned to write and read in Russian. Therefore, I love Russian cuisine – pies, dumplings, mashed potatoes, borscht. I can eat all the time.

What would you like to receive as a gift by March 8?

I don’t know if they will congratulate me on this party. In Germany, it is customary to hint at girls about Valentine’s Day feelings, but I hope nonetheless. To be honest, even a small sign of attention would be dear to me – even a small rose, even a postcard. What matters to me is not the value of the gift, but the very fact that someone remembered me, thought that day. I find myself thinking that a woman still awakens in me – at a time when the military uniform “rests” in the closet.

Interviewed by Yana Franz.

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