Read original article at 112.ua
- What it means to be a partisan nowadays? And why did you become a partisan?
- In the occupied territory of Donbas, those people who did not become traitors (from those who swore an oath - the Security Service, the Prosecutor's Office, the police, the military) moved to Severodonetsk. All the buildings of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, military registration and enlistment offices, and police were occupied by the Russians; their goal was to grab the archives in order to immediately start working with lists of employees, agents. And they got the archives. The property of people who left was liquidated, taken away, their relatives were terrorized, tortured. Those who stayed became traitors and began to serve Russia. Ordinary people, who were not afraid, went to the Ukrainian army. But there was small number of them. And some of them were betrayed soon - and their relatives suffered in occupied territories.
People like me who wanted to fight in that territory, they stayed, and those who had the opportunities, are resisting on their own.
In 2014, in May, when this all began, we appealed to the army – during the entire year. Nobody took us seriously. To date, there is no law on guerrilla warfare, on partisans, about prisoners of war; we have no real laws about the war! When we appealed to the Ukrainian army, we were told: "We do not have a war, we have an anti-terrorist operation. How could we give weapons to civilians? This is criminally punishable! Yes, the war is a war, but it is not legally recognized. We act in the legal field."
I recall a conversation in Debaltseve with military intelligence: "We have a grouping in the Luhansk region, we can move, we need weapons, we need explosives to work on that side." - "It's impossible! There is no legislation; we will be imprisoned if we give you explosives." - "And what should we do?" And then one intelligence officer says: "If you are such a patriot, then we have data that there are Grad systems deployed at the 10th mine (then, in 2014, the war was conducted at night: they were leaving at night, shooting at our positions, and in the daytime hiding in garages.) Buy gasoline, oil, make a Molotov cocktail and set fire to Grad, but you should make selfie with a flaming Grad for us to believe you. I thought that they would start laughing, but there comes a lull. No humor, they weren’t joking. I said: "You know, I have a cooler plan. Let's make a Molotov cocktail, I’ll go to Moscow, enter the Kremlin and crush it on Putin's head! "And then they laughed, I said:" Are you seriously suggesting that I will go, make selfies, and then they can immediately shoot me? "-" There’s nothing more we can offer. "
- Where did you get your weapons?
- We bought weapons. The first explosives, cartridges and weapons were bought for my money. When in May Kozitsyn (ataman of the so-called "Great Donskoy army") came with special forces to Antratsit and occupied the building of the district administration, where he made his headquarters, at first they gave machine guns to civilians. It was necessary to provide people with weapons that they will begin to overthrow the authorities, lawlessness will start. And at first we bought something from the cossacks. The price of the Kalashnikov assault rifle was about $ 200 (the dollar rate was different), the SVD cost $ 400, the Kalashnikov machine gun was $ 300, the RPG (or, as the cossacks said, the "Shaitan pipe"), $ 500. The most expensive was the Makarov pistol, because everyone wanted a Makarov pistol! Everyone who had money, all of them bought weapons. Most of the civilian people bought it, filled it with solidol, wrapped in lamina and buried in the garden: once it could be useful.
When the Ukrainian army was defeated near Snizhne, market became full of Ukrainian machine guns. Gypsies sold Kalashnikov rifles for 300 UAH (12 USD). The weapon was everywhere. In the fields we collected mines and shells from broken convoys, and from this we made landmines.
- Did you talk to your colleagues, acquaintances, who took the weapon and went to the other side?
- Of course! I talked with them all the time. I even spoke with Kozitsin, with Mozgovoy, I visited the Security Service several times ... I went and collected intelligence data, talked with people, traveled around the Luhansk region, went to the Donetsk region. I know many of them. Those who in 2014 took up arms, were for the most part homeless, people without a real place of residence, they went to fight for money. The organizers were still hiding. But those who seized the Security Service office and stood at roadblocks were people of a lower social class.
- Is it true that new authorities released prisoners?
- It was already at the end of August - in early September, when there was active fighting. Then, when there were not enough people, when Russian soldiers were captured, when they did not want to be noticed and there were no soldiers to fight - yes, then they came to the prisons. In Soviet times, there were 14 places of detention in the Luhansk region, and 16 in Donetsk. And most of these places remained in the occupied territory. This is a criminal enclave. Each zone has about 2-3 thousand prisoners. They came and said: who wants to atone for guilt? I have people confirmations, since I was in a Luhansk prison, and with me there were four people who went to fight. The cossacks came to the prison and said: "Whoever wants to redeem the guilt for our new society" Novorossia "- so go and fight, but if you do something wrong - we will return you back to prison to stay the term and plus add another term for what you have done. " Different number of people from different colonies, but about 20-30% of the prisoners joined them.
- You said that there were not enough people. Is it because the Russian army did not arrive at that time? Or many people refused to fight?
- There were not enough people for the picture. All serious military operations were conducted only by the Russian army. On the territory of Luhansk airport we saw Chechens and Tambov detachments, near the Krasnyi Luch – Ryazan soldiers and Chechens, but it was necessary to create a picture for the population, for the cameras - that the local population is at war. There were not enough locals. A simple miner, when he gets under mortar fire or Grads, he wouldn’t shout all this: "Yes we are here!", "Yes, we'll break through!”, “You wouldn’t put Donbas on the knees!". Believe me, I was under fire, and I was very scared. Many people consider me a brave man, but it's very scary.
- When you were already captured, how militants found out that you are not a simple civilian, but a partisan?
- At first they thought that I was just local. I was wounded, maybe something exploded in my hands. They came to my home with a search, first the police arrived. And thank God, because the neighbors knew about me and called my wife in Georgia. And then the next day the power line exploded, because the mine was laid with a delay, and they came to that place. Nearby there was a funnel from a stretcher, and my hat, hair, blood. They made an examination and concluded that I have something to do with this. At first I had a legend that I was a peaceful resident, Ukrainian soldiers forced me to bring this mine. But I had a smartphone, they hacked my smartphone and looked at the programs, correspondence, and realized that I have a specific attitude towards the partisan movement.
Then FSB came to me, I understood by voice. He started talking to me, he said, don’t tell tales, we hacked your smartphone, we know who you are, give us the whole deal.
- How did you prepare for the operation? It is clear that there was contact with the Ukrainian military, wasn’t it? Did you offer objects for destruction yourself or were you told?
- Until early 2015, we were independent partisans. We talked with the Ukrainian army, but they never helped us, and our intelligence data was taken with pleasure. And at the beginning of 2015, I saw volunteer battalions in the army. I am a legally savvy person and I understood that we are blowing up state facilities, doing damage, and we can be charged for it. Then I came to Kyiv and officially registered our partisan cell. I informed of what we are doing, that there were no complaints against us and that we are fighting for Ukraine against the Russian traitors.
Until 2015, we did everything by ourselves. The only thing we were asked to help is linked to Donetsk airport, because it was hard to watch how our guys were simply shot to death. And in situation with Debaltsevo, we were also asked for help. But we did all the other actions by ourselves: we planned it by ourselves, we conducted it by ourselves.
- Did you manage to meet some Ukrainian prisoners? In what conditions were they? The militants knew that you were a partisan. What information they wanted to know with the greatest brutality?
- Both in the hospital and in prison I was with civilians. Different people treated me differently. At the interrogations, first of all, they were interested in addresses, passwords, meetings. I was also accompanied by those who fought. For the second time they were imprisoned for looting. In the next cell there was a Russian, who was imprisoned for selling weapons. Everyone earned money on the war, and whoever did it the way it wasn’t allowed, they were imprisoned.
- When did it come to you that it's better to die than to be captured?
- The origins of this have arisen in my character since the 90s. In my life I tried everything by myself, and there was no power behind me. I was often betrayed and betrayed by people whom I trusted in business. It all left a big scar in my heart. Until the 21 year I lived in the Soviet Union and was formed there. I wanted to serve in Afghanistan, but my mother went and wrote to the military and changed it. I have always been a truth-seeker. When I was working at the mine, I was told that I was as straightforward as the rail. Maybe it all went from there.
- In our society there is a process heroization, and then disappointment in it. Those prisoners who were released, in particular, with the help of the president - it is logical that they thank him. Part of society calls such people Proshenko’s allies. How can you comment on this?
- I am grateful to everyone who took part in my release. I am also grateful to the president. When I was released, he said that I would be fine. And I am. They took care of me, I was cured, they do not leave me.
Before the war, I worked as the First Head for 20 years; my position for the pre-war twenty years did not fall beneath the deputy director. I worked as a director of various companies, factories, enterprises, and I understand very well what a leader is, what is it to launch a process, organize some kind of work, create a new direction, solve a crisis. I worked as a crisis manager for a long time. And in what condition did Petro Poroshenko inherit the country, and what he should do, I personally understand all these processes... That one can’t solvethis problem in a month, in a year, in three years... In order to solve this problem, you need at least five years. In order to see real tangible results. Yes, I've seen Poroshenko's victories, I've seen mistakes, but the only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything. So I look at Poroshenko as a colleague. The main thing is that we have taken the right direction: European integration, the split with Russia and also European standards, European laws. If we get to it, it does not matter who will be the president, Poroshenko, Putin or Stalin, there will still be a system of European laws - democratic and correct. And the current law will primarily protect us, not the elected president.
- In addition to incredibly terrible but powerful experience, you have also brought certain documents and evidence from captivity. Tell us about this "special operation".
- I do not know how they (militants) could be so blind. When I was in Luhansk prison, everyone thought that this would be a lengthy process, that I would be convicted now, I will be put in prison at the 19th colony (near the village of Vakhrushev), there is a 15th hut for the disabled, and there I will spend the rest of my life. I was promised to receive 22-25 years term. Indeed, there was a process, there were court hearings. As it was supposed, I was given a lawyer, a false lawyer, and I was provided with copies of the interrogation records, copies of court hearings ... and I simply collected them. For some reason I had a feeling that I should do this. There were all the names, posts, signatures... And according to their "legislation", I was provided with copies. I had a bag in prison, there was a double bottom, and I asked a mate, and he pushed all these documents there. When there was a prisoners’ exchange, I took this bag. They saw that I had a few things in it, but no one began to look for anything else. And I brought these documents here. I handed everything over to the military prosecutor's office. Of course, I was interrogated in the military prosecutor's office of Ukraine. I explained what I did in the occupied territories, how I fought, who kept me there. In the documents they can find information about all the judges, prosecutors, lawyers, investigators.
- Did the militants try to recruit you?
- There were both a whip and a carrot. A carrot was like this: you tell us all, you do what we say - we take you to a hotel, we feed you, we take you to Moscow to the Institute of Eye Surgery, you receive operations, prostheses, you can bring the family to Luhansk, we will give you an apartment, everything will be all right. I refused. I said that I will not be a traitor.
- You recently recorded an appeal to the mother of the Russian contractor Viktor Ageyev. Why?
- I remembered the way I was in prison. By internal prison laws, if you need help - you will not remain abandoned. I wanted to show: you think that your son is on the good side of good, but no, he is not, he is on the side of terror and mockery of people. By my example, I showed that I am on the side of good, and your son is on the side of evil. Look at how they treated me, and see how they will treat your son. Look how they treat the guys imprisoned on DNP/LNR territory - do not allow international missions, the Red Cross to visit them, there has not been an exchange for a year already.
- Was there a reaction?
- We were informed that Ageyev's mother watched this video, she did not give an answer.
- How do you feel about the project of de-occupation of Donbas?
- The fact that it is necessary to fight for the Donbas is unequivocal. But the format of anti-terrorist operation should be changed to martial law.