|“|| Do you want to earn the respect of fellow stalkers? Do you want to build a team of loyal friends who will stick up for you in times of trouble? Do you dream of kicking some Duty ass? All this and many other opportunities awaits you if you join Freedom!|
- Freedom propaganda aired on their intercom system
|“|| Anarchists and daredevils who declare themselves fighters for a free access to the Zone and consequently find themselves in constant conflict with the army, military stalkers and the Duty faction. These so-called freedom warriors believe in sharing all information about the Zone with the rest of the world and challenge the state's monopoly over the Zone's secrets and wonders.|
- Shadow of Chernobyl PDA description
Freedom is a clan of stalkers who fight for free access to the Zone, and their views are somewhat anarchistic, believing nobody can own the Zone and seeing it both as a scientific marvel and as a free life inside the Zone's borders. Because of their ideals they constantly find themselves in conflict with the Military and their long time nemesis, Duty. They view Duty as no more than a clan of jarheads who see nothing, hear nothing, and only know how to pull a trigger, as instead of finding a way to co-exist with the Zone, they attempt to destroy it, whereby the Zone retaliates with mutant attacks, anomalies, radiation hazards and blowouts. Similar in size and manpower to Duty, they have the offensive strength but medium and at times low resources to wage a faction war against Duty.
In contrast to the regimented, highly disciplined atmosphere of Duty, the members of Freedom have a much more relaxed, informal attitude. They appear to have a more casual command structure, often referring to each other as "bro", with a number of members shown making regular recreational use of alcohol and marijuana. This further reflects their status as a clan of like-minded free spirits, unlike the ex-military soldiers of Duty. Regardless, Freedom members are able to function very effectively as an organized fighting force when necessary.
Freedom was founded by a group of free stalkers, including Chekhov, Lingov, Lukash, and Loki, aiming to research the Zone and make its fruit, artifacts and anomalies (in the words of Chekhov a ready-made outdoor lab), available to the general public. The core principle, liberty for all its members, has led its opponents to view it as a volatile mix of anarchists and rogues.
By 2011, Freedom occupied and secured the Dark Valley, reinforcing the unfinished research facility as their base of operations. In September, all Freedom units not deployed elsewhere were recalled to the valley in response to a series of mysterious attacks that claimed many Freedom fighter lives. As discovered by Scar, these attacks were the work of a group of mercenaries hired by an unknown employer, who used their mole, Commandant Lingov, to plan raids on Freedom positions. With Scar's help, the mercenaries were driven from the valley and entrances to the underground tunnel network collapsed.
Elsewhere, in the Army Warehouses, a separate detachment under the command of Kostyan has set up operations near the western passage to Red Forest. Their plan was simple: eliminate the weak military presence in the warehouses and claim them for the faction. The soldiers were stranded in the base following the second emission, unable to call for reinforcements or extraction. Eventually, with Scar's help, the stalkers succeeded and the warehouses became Freedom's second base, temporarily granting them the status of the most powerful faction in the Zone.
This did not last. Freedom has spread its forces too thin in the course of its conquest and the war with Duty. Bandits led by Borov exploited their weakness and pushed them out of Dark Valley, claiming it for themselves. In response, Freedom moved its headquarters to the Army Warehouses and recalled their forces from all territories south of the Bar. Chekhov apparently either resigned or died during this period, with Lukash becoming the next leader of the faction.
Under his leadership, Freedom ceased to actively fight Duty. While relations were still hostile between the two groups, both Lukash and General Voronin were reluctant to continue the war, as it would weaken both factions for no real benefit. Another factor was that Freedom took it upon themselves to maintain the Barrier and defend it from mutants and Monolith fanatics attempting to breach it.
When Strelok shut down the Brain Scorcher, Freedom instantly sent a large, elite detachment of troops to scout and secure Pripyat. As Duty did the same, the two forces clashed in Red Forest, neither willing to step back. This has resulted in the first major engagement between the factions since the war in 2011. The two factions would continue to fight against each other and Monolith fanatics in the ruins of Pripyat, for the control of the city.
Furthermore, new territories became accessible in the north. Loki, a young yet brilliant leader, was sent together with a large detachment of troops to secure Yanov for the faction. They clashed with Duty forces under Lt. Col. Shulga's command, but had the upper hand as they held the station. In the middle of the fighting, a Duty member known as Zulu felt a blowout was coming. Reluctant to leave their sworn enemies to die in one of the most horrid ways possible, they let them inside the station and hunkered down together. Confused as to what to do in this situation, leaders of both detachments agreed to a ceasefire; while fighting outside the station was fair game, both agreed to treat Yanov as neutral ground and share its facilities.
Freedom has a decentralized command structure. While they are well organized and follow designated commanders in combat, outside of it Freedomers simply do whatever they feel like doing (or whatever they're good at).
Freedom had three distinct leaders by 2012: Chekhov, Lukash and Loki. Each of them ran the faction slightly differently with different goals but still for the same cause of allowing free access to the zone and the same bitter rivalries against their long-time nemesis, Duty.
Freedom under Chekhov
Chekhov's reign was focused more on researching the Zone and less protecting it unlike Lukash, although they still do openly oppose Duty. Freedom documented anomalies, mutants and certain stalkers who have "special abilities" of sorts, some include those who forgone the use of metal weaponry and electronics as they believe it irritates the zone. While some were eventually warped by the zone, there are some who still survive and gained special abilities such as the ability to command mutants away and navigate through any anomaly field. He also did not ban the use of illegal substances like marijuana which is evident with Ganja.
Freedom under Lukash
Under Lukash Freedom played more of a defensive and protective role, protecting The Barrier leading to the Red Forest and protecting some species of mutants from poaching as Lukash says that "Just because they're there doesn't mean you can just kill them like that" which is evident with his job of assassinating Scarecrow for poaching mutants for profit. Although they still do oppose Duty, they have limited their conflict to small scale skirmishes rather than a full scale war. It is implied that General Voronin made a cease fire pact with Freedom, which excludes active military actions but does not exclude skirmishes. The pact was probably made since Freedom has the Army Warehouses under control, so they must protect the Barrier.
Freedom under Loki
An oddity for Freedom leaders, Loki is not nearly as protective of the Zone as Lukash - he doesn't mind in the least sharing the same roof as monster hunters such as Trapper (although killing Bloodsuckers and Chimeras is undeniably needed), and unlike Chekhov he runs a relatively tight ship - there is no mention of drugs or other illegal substances being used by the Freedom chapter in the area. In fact, Loki's chapter runs more like Clear Sky's Freedom, encouraging further study of the Zone, while being simultaneously protective of it.
Shadow of Chernobyl
Freedom members appear in the Army Warehouses, where they've set up their base. A group of three welcomes the player in the area, only to be killed by three of Colonel Skull's men. The Freedom base is located to the south-east of the area.
Another group of Freedom stalkers is seen at the Barrier, protecting it from Monolith stalkers who regularly attempt to take control of it. They are led by Cap.
Once the player deactivates the Brain Scorcher, a group of Freedom experts is dispatched to secure the road to Pripyat. They are confronted by a group of Duty experts sent for the same reason. If they win the battle, they will stay at the entrance checkpoint.
More Freedom experts appear in the streets of Pripyat, near the sports ground, usually fighting their way towards the Stadium. They are commonly seen fighting either Duty, Mercenaries or Monolith forces. Survivors will fight their way to the entrance of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant at the Stadium, where they will guard the exit.
Most of Freedom forces appear around their base in the Dark Valley. Otherwise, as part of the factions war, they regularly attempt to take control of Bandits checkpoints in the Garbage, and attack the Duty base.
A small group of Freedom experts led by Raven can be seen at the entrance of the Army Warehouses near the Red Forest. They later move on to raid the Duty checkpoint near Forester's safehouse, usually dying in the process. Another group led by Kostyan appears near the military base, and the player can help them take the base from the Military. Other Freedom groups can be seen in the area.
Bodies of Freedom and Duty stalkers can be seen in the streets of Limansk, likely due to a feud between both factions.
Call of Pripyat
Shadow of Chernobyl
Seedy Freedom members form the backbone of Freedom's forces. These are experienced Stalkers equipped with relatively high-end TRs 301 assault rifles. Their Wind of Freedom armor is about on par with the Sunrise Suits worn by members of the Loners faction. Seedy Freedom soldiers can survive roughly as much damage as a Sunrise Suit-wearing Trained Stalker, approximately 6 shots from a TRs 301 assault rifle.
Their Duty counterparts, the Experienced Duty soldier, can survive about twice as much damage, but are typically equipped with weaker AK-class assault rifles. Thus, Freedom soldiers typically have superior offensive capabilities, while Duty has superior defenses.
Several Seedy Freedom soldiers serve as snipers guarding Freedom's main base in the Army Warehouses. These snipers are equipped with SVUmk-2 sniper rifles, and wear the superior Guardian of Freedom armor, allowing them to survive about twice as much damage as regular Seedy Freedom stalkers.
War-Dogs are the veteran members of the Freedom forces. They are easily distinguished by their heavier Guardian of Freedom armor, as well as the white composite gas masks they all seem to wear. War-Dogs are equipped with fairly powerful, highly accurate SGI-5k assault rifle. Their Guardian of Freedom armor allows them to survive about twice as much damage as a standard Seedy Freedom soldier (about 12 shots from the TRs 301), putting them on equal footing with regular Duty soldiers.
The highest-ranking members of Freedom, Aces are equipped with powerful GP 37 assault rifles, the second-most-powerful NATO assault rifles in the game next to the FT-200M. Despite this however, Aces are only equipped with light Wind of Freedom armor, giving them fairly average durability on par with a basic Seedy Freedom soldier or Sunrise Suit-wearing Trained Stalker.
- Rank: Expert
- Armor: Exosuit
- Weapons: SGI-5k assault rifle, GP37 assault rifle, TRs-301 assault rifle (scoped), Chaser 13 shotgun
A number of Ace Freedom soldiers are equipped with powerful Exoskeletons, giving them superior protection and allowing them to stand equal to the Exoskeleton-wearing members of Duty or Monolith. Several Exosuit-wearing Freedom Aces are found in the Freedom HQ as Lukash's bodyguards, and several squads of Freedom Aces in Exosuits can be seen assaulting Pripyat near the game's conclusion.
Rookies are usually the fresh recruits of Freedom. They have low powered weaponry and are usually posted as guards. They are armed with either a Viper 5 or an AKM-74/2U, and will either wear the Wind of Freedom Suit or the Guardian of Freedom suit.
Experienced members form the bulk of Freedom's forces. They are armed with rifles and shotguns, and are led by a Veteran. They may either carry a Chaser 13 or an AKM-74/2, and will usually wear the light Guardian of Freedom suit. Rarely, they may also wear the Wind of Freedom Suit.
Along with experienced members, Veterans are squad leaders and also form a bulk of Freedom's forces; Veterans have their fair share of combat in the Zone, and use their knowledge to their advantage. Veterans will either use the Clear Sky or SHOC skin of the Guardian of Freedom suit. Veterans have access to some of Freedom's advanced weaponry, such as the TRs 301 (some might include a scope and/or a silencer), IL 86, upgraded AKM-74/2s, Chaser 13s, or SVUmk-2. Veterans also carry Energy drinks.
Experts are the fist of Freedom, armed with the best armaments and armours Freedom has to offer; they may spearhead assaults in the Zone, or act as guards for outposts in important or dangerous areas. Experts may wear either an Exoskeleton painted orange with green camouflaged fatigues, or the Clear Sky model of the Guardian of Freedom suit (which resembles a Berill-5M Armoured Suit with flecktarn camouflage). Exoskeleton-clad Experts use the powerful and accurate SGI-5k, and also carry Energy drinks. Those who use the Guardian of Freedom will either use the SVDm-2 or a heavily upgraded TRs-301 or AKM-74/2.
Call of Pripyat
Rare, much like their Duty counterparts, Freedom rookies appear as mere accessories to Experienced squads. They wear Wind of Freedom suits with low-grade weaponry such as TRs 301 and Chaser 13 shotguns.
The bulk of Freedom's manpower, often moving in squads of at least 4, or platoons of 8, with one or two Veterans leading them. They typically make use of the IL 86, the AKM-74/2 or the TRs 301, and in some cases Chaser 13 shotguns. They wear the light variant of the Guardian of Freedom suit with either a respirator or a Gas mask.
They either appear with the same suit as experienced or rookie members, but use better weaponry including the SGI-5k and the SVDm-2, which puts them at a clear disadvantage to their Duty counterparts, who have significantly more protection and firepower. Most of the Freedom veterans appear using the Berill-5M variant of the Guardian of Freedom suit, using the uncommon GP37 assault rifle.
The strength of Freedom, Experts appear either as Exoskeleton-clad members using the GP37 or the SGI-5k who usually attack in front, or they can use the Wind of Freedom suit paired with a SVDm-2 to provide fire support to their teammates. Much like Duty experts, they use high-grade weaponry and often lead squads in the battle.
Members of the Freedom faction are easily recognizable in the Zone, as most of their armours are patterned with either generic European or pseudo-flecktarn camouflage. Their primary color is green, supplemented by orange (exosuits).
Freedom primarily wields NATO weaponry, such as the TRs 301, GP37, SGI-5k and others. In Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat members can be found using the AKM-74/2 and AKM-74/2U, and in all three titles faction experts often employ the SVDm-2 and SVUmk-2 sniper rifles.
- Walker P9m
- SIP-t M200
- UDP Compact
- Viper 5
- Chaser 13
- IL 86
- SGi 5k
- GP 37
- Wind of Freedom Suit - Lightweight stalker suit. Includes slightly better protection than the Stalker Suit and the PS5-M "Universal Protection", and weighs only 3.00 kg.
- Guardian of Freedom Suit - Medium grade armored suit. There are two versions; one of which appears identical to the PSZ-9d Duty Suit, except for the color. Protection between the two suits is very similar. This version is only in Shadow of Chernobyl. The version in Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat is a modified Berill-5M Armored Suit. Offering better anomaly and radiation protection than the normal Berill suit, it is comparable to the CS-1 Body Armor.
- Freedom Exoskeleton - An Exoskeleton modified by Freedom. Many metallic components have been replaced with carbon fiber, resulting in decreased weight. Only available to the player in Clear Sky.
- In Shadow of Chernobyl, there is a stash in Pripyat that was from an old Freedom leader. Where the stash info is found (or who it is found on), is seemingly random. This could mean Chekhov died prior to the events of Shadow of Chernobyl.
- In scripts, they are referred to as "Svoboda", which is literally freedom in many Slavic languages both eastern-Slavic, like Russian or Ukrainian and western-Slavic - Czech for instance. Svoboda is a common and popular Czech surname. Swoboda (although spelled differently, it is pronounced just like Svoboda) also means freedom in Polish. Most of their symbols refer them as "Volya", which is how they are named in the Ukrainian localization. Volya (Воля) means both "freedom" and "will" in Ukrainian.
- Freedom may be partially inspired by "The Free Territory", an attempt by anarchist militia's to form a free stateless society during the Ukrainian Revolution of the early 20th century.