01/2023 The New Yorker

The Hunt for Russian Collaborators in Ukraine


During 163 days of life under Russian occupation, the residents of Izyum were forced to choose whether to cooperate with the new regime. After the city was liberated by Ukrainian troops, the town faced the gruelling dilemma of what to do about wartime collaborators.

Some claim they had to work with the Russians in order to survive the occupation. “You either do as they say or they can kill you,” a teacher who adopted the Russian curriculum says. Other residents demand punishment for all collaborators. One, a man who was tortured by Russian forces — after being denounced by a spiteful neighbour, he believes — says he wants her to be held accountable for the pain she caused. “When I’m overwhelmed by my emotions, I feel like I could kill her.”