Pravda Brewery in Lviv makes a beer called “Putin khuylo,” which roughly translated means Putin is a (insert inappropriate curse word here). Because of this, you pretty much know where the Ukrainian beermaker falls in the current military conflict in the region. Owner Yuriy Zastavny is doing more than just making beers with provocative names. He is using his talents to create arms for the coming insurgency.
An article in the Washington Post reports how the company has stopped making beers and is now making Molotov cocktails. Ukrainian authorities have been pressing the civilian population to resist the invasion at every turn. The military says that all someone needs to join the fight is an ID (voter ID opponents). As tanks enter the nation’s capital, officials are urging citizens to resist by using Molotov cocktails. They have also been giving citizens machine guns.
President Zelenskyy said that the country would give weapons to anyone willing to defend the homeland and the parliament passed a law allowing the citizenry to arm itself. Zelenskyy knows his army is outgunned and is trying to produce some outside-the-box solutions. Although all of this sounds like a promising idea, it could be a disaster in the making.
First, let us come back to the brewery, proclaiming an arms manufacturer on national media. In times of war, you usually try to keep the locations of your insurgency and arms production a secret. Do not be surprised if a Russian missile visits the brewery and makes some space here in the coming days.
Now let us talk a bit about arming civilians. To be effective with a firearm, you must have had at least a basic level of instruction or everyone engages in “spray and pray” marksmanship. Even if you can get your people trained up, they will be facing a professional fighting force that has already shown a willingness to be ruthless in obtaining its objectives. Some would argue that the worst thing that could happen would be a successful civilian attack because then the Russian army will look at all civilians as threats and act accordingly.
The beers to bombs story is a feel-good propaganda piece. Still, an armed citizenry will do little to alter the outcome and result in more unnecessary bloodshed from a practical perspective.