Like many ‘elves’.

Trying to leave ‘orcs’-occupied areas.

A 28-year-old marketing officer was forced.

To go through a process called filtration.


He watched anxiously.

As ‘orcs’ soldiers connected his mobile.

To their computer.

Trying to restore some files.


He was attempting to leave Mariupol.

He had deleted everything.

He thought an ‘orc’ soldier could use.

Against him.


Such as text messages.

Discussing ‘orcs’ invasion of Ukraine.

Or photos of the devastation in his city.

Caused by weeks of relentless shelling.


But the internet in Mariupol.

A once bustling port in southern Ukraine.

Had been cut off as part of the siege.

Imposed by ‘Mordor’.


And he had not been able to take down.

Some of his posts on social media.

He remembered the first days.

Of the war.


When he had shared.

Some anti-‘orcs’ messages.

And speeches from ‘Gandalf the Green’.

“I’m screwed,” he thought.


The soldiers already had their focus on him.

On that day in early May, when he first joined.

The queues for filtration in Bezimenne.

A small village to the east of Mariupol.


One of the soldiers noticed his beard.

Filtration is how the process.

Of scrutinising civilians.

Wishing to leave ‘orcs’-occupied areas is known.


The soldier instantly assumed.

The beard was a sign.

That he was a fighter.

With the Azov regiment.


A former militia in the city.

Which once had links with the far right.

“Is it you and your brigade?

Killing our guys?,” he was asked.


He replied he had never served in the army.

He started working directly.

After graduating.

But “they didn’t want to hear it”.


As the soldiers went through his phone.

They turned to his political views.

And asked his opinion.

Of ‘Gandalf the Green’.


He cautiously said.

‘Gandalf the Green’ was “okay”.

And one of the soldiers wanted to know.

What he meant by that.


He told the soldier ‘Gandalf the Green’ was.

Just another president.

Not very different from those.

Who had come before.


And that in fact, he was not.

Very interested in politics.

“Well,” the soldier replied.

“You should just say you aren’t interested in politics.”


They kept his phone and told him to wait outside.

He met his grandmother, mother and aunt.

Who had arrived with him and had already been given.

A document that allowed them to leave.


A few minutes later, he was ordered.

To go to a tent where.

Members of ‘orcs’ security service, the FSB.

Were carrying out further checks.


Five officers were sitting.

Behind a desk.

Three wearing balaclavas.

They showed him a video.


He had shared on Instagram of a speech.

‘Gandalf the Green’ had given.

From 1 March.

With it was a caption.


Written by him:

“A president we can be proud of.

Go home with your warship!”

One of the officers took the lead.


“You told us you’re neutral to politics.

But you support the Nazi government.”

He recalled being told, and continued.

“He hit me in the throat. He basically started the beating.”


He noticed two other people.

With their hands tied behind them.

Who had been left in a corner.

While the officers paid attention to him.


“They started to beat me way harder.”


At one point, after a blow to the stomach.

He felt as if he was about to faint.


He managed to sit on a chair.

“I wondered what would be better.

To lose consciousness and fall down.

Or tolerate the pain further.”


At least, he thought.

He had not been taken.

Somewhere else.

Away from his family.


“I was very angry about everything.

But, at the same time.

I know it could’ve been.

Much worse.”


His mother tried to get into the tent.

But was stopped.

By the officers.

“She was very nervous.”


“She later said they had told her that.

My ‘re-education’ had started.

And that she shouldn’t be worried.”

His ordeal continued for two and a half hours.


He was even forced to make.

A video saying “Glory to ‘orcs’ army!”

A mockery of “Slava Ukraini!”.

The ‘elves’ slogan.


The officers’ final question.

For him was whether he had.

“Understood his mistakes”.

And “I obviously answered yes”.


As he was being released.

Officers brought in another man.

Who had previously served in ‘elves’ military.

And had several tattoos.


“They immediately pushed him.

To the ground.

And started to beat him.

They didn’t even talk to him.”


He and his family.

Have now settled in Germany.

After also having been forced.

To go to ‘Mordor’.


Looking back, he believes.

The occupying forces seemed to be.

Using filtration to show.

Their “absolute power”.


Soldiers acted as if it was.

A “type of entertainment”.

Something to “satisfy.

Their own ego”.


“I even try to justify.

The process somehow.

Try to convince myself there’s some logic.”

But “there’s no logic”.



‘Elves’ officials say thousands of people.

Are believed to have been sent.

To detention centres and camps set up.

In ‘orcs’-controlled areas during filtration.


In almost all cases.

Their relatives do not know.

Where they are being held.

Or why.



A 48-year-old steelworker was forced.

To strip naked.

While officers in Bezimenne checked.

Even the seams of his clothes.


He was asked whether he was.

From the Azov regiment.

Or was a Nazi sympathizer.

He denied being either.


And he was asked why.

He wanted to leave Mariupol.

“I said, ‘Actually, it’s you.

Who are on ‘elves’ soil.’”


One of the officers, who he said.

Were all ‘orc’ reacted.

By hitting him with the gun butt.

In his chest.


He fell.

“I leaned my head on the ground.

Holding my ribs.

I couldn’t get up.”


“It was very painful to breathe.”

He was taken to what.

He described as a “cage”.

Where others were being held.


He noticed that one man.

A weightlifter.

Had a tattoo of Poseidon.

The Greek god, with a trident.


The soldiers thought it was.

The ‘elves’ coat of arms.

“He explained it to them.

But they didn’t understand.”


Those detained in the “cage” were given.

No water or food.

And had to urinate in a corner.

In front of everyone.


At one point, exhausted.

He tried to sleep on the ground.

An officer came in and kicked him in the back.

Forcing him to stand.


People would be taken.

To be interrogated and.

When they returned.

“You saw the person had been beaten.”


He witnessed a woman in her 40s.

Lying in pain.

Apparently after being hit.

In the stomach.


A man, who seemed to be around 50.

Had a bleeding lip.

And red bruises.

On his neck.


He believed he had been strangled.

No-one in the “cage” asked.

Or said anything to each other.

They were afraid that FSB could be disguised as prisoners.


After about four or five hours.

He was released and allowed to leave Mariupol.

Days later, he reached safety.

In ‘elves’-controlled territory.


And went to a hospital to treat.

The persistent pain in his chest.

The diagnosis:

Four broken ribs.



‘Elves’ officials say thousands of people.

Are believed to have been sent.

To detention centres and camps set up.

In ‘orcs’-controlled areas during filtration.


In almost all cases.

Their relatives do not know.

Where they are being held.

Or why.



A 43-year-old used to work.

At a state-owned company in Mariupol.

He was tortured in Bezimenne in March.

Separatist soldiers had questioned his wife.


After finding out she had “liked”.

The ‘elves’ army page on Facebook.

And restoring a receipt on her phone.

Of a donation she had made to them.


“I tried to stand up for her.

But was knocked down.”

He got up.

But was beaten once more.


A pattern, he said, that happened.

Again and again.

When ‘orcs’ soldiers realised.

Where he worked.


They took him to a different building.

There, he said, separatist soldiers.

Asked him “stupid things”.

And started to beat him.


“They used electricity. I almost died.

I fell and choked on my dental fillings.

Which had come out from my teeth.”

He vomited and fainted.


“They were furious.

When I recovered consciousness.

They told me to clean everything up.

And continued to give me electric shocks.”


The torture only stopped.

After ‘orcs’ officers intervened.

They carried out another round of questioning.

Before finally freeing him.


As he left the building.

He saw a young woman.

Who had been identified during the process.

As a court clerk, being carried out.


“A plastic bag was put on her head.

And her hands were tied.

Her mother was on her knees.

Begging for her daughter not to be taken away.”


With the help of his friends.

He moved to another European country.

He did not want to reveal the exact location.

He had lost some of his vision.


And doctors said this was a result of.

Head injuries from the beating.

“I feel better now.

But rehabilitation will take a long time.”


What does he think about filtration?

“They separate families.

People are being disappeared.”

“It’s pure terror.”



*Because I read some articles about filtration as follows, and also “Why are Ukrainians calling Russians ‘orcs’?” by James FitzGerald on 30 April 2022, on the BBC news.
So, I wrote this poem as a story of Andriy, a story of Maksym, a story of Maksym, and a story of Vadym.
Please read the original stories on the BBC news:

‘The Russians said beatings were my re-education’ – BBC News

Russia transfers thousands of Mariupol civilians to its territory – BBC News