It is war that is the greatest injustice. We are not fighting the ones responsible. Those who finance, who stir it up, who through the media set one people against another—it is them whom we must fight.
— Aleksey Borisovich Mozgovoy
By Boris Rozhin / Colonel Cassad
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov (Subject to Editing)
I first learned of the existence of this man in April 2014, when he began appearing on the TV screens as one of the leaders of the uprising in Lugansk. Very quickly two centres of power emerged in Lugansk—the groups of Bolotov and Mozgovoy, who had systemic disagreements. Starting approximately in April, having completed our humanitarian programme for Sevastopol, and having received a letter of thanks from Aleksey Chaly, we started reorienting our work toward the Donbass. Very quickly it became apparent that we would have to choose who to work with—Bolotov or Mozgovoy. We chose Mozgovoy and never regretted it. We were able to establish contact and to begin work, which, however, did not last very long because Mozgovoy soon left Lugansk and went to the west. After that, in Lugansk we worked with Batman, Leshiy and a number of other commanders.
In the summer our collaboration resumed, and we transported humanitarian cargo to the cities in Mozgovoy’s jurisdiction. He even visited our warehouses, although for a long time our paths did not cross. I first met him face-to-face in Yalta at a well-known conference, where I was able finally to say hello to a person who in the few short months became a legend. I became closer acquainted with him in September 2014—the same day as with Strelkov, when we discussed various projects of humanitarian movements in the Donbass (which later became the foundation of the Novorossiya Movement), I was able to speak to the Commander of the Prizrak Brigade.
What struck me about Mozgovoi is that he was no hypocrite—he was the same in real life as he was in his public appearances. There is always the possibility that yet another “popular leader” is insincere, wears the mask of an advocate for truth, while in secret desires glory and riches. As a known skeptic, I expected there to be a certain divergence between his media image and the man in real life. Mozgovoi was nothing like that; he was driven by ideas. He chose to fight for his ideals, even though he could have elected to fit into the system he dislike so much and, like the rest, to forget about justice, equity and other lofty goals. In this regard, in his death and in his life, Mozgovoy demonstrated his honesty and his readiness to die for what he believed in.
I still remember his words, that “I went to war without leaving a shred of me behind, cannot deal with the family, while there is war, my brigade is my family.” He truly, to a large degree sacrificed his personal comfort for a common cause, even though, like others, he could have in “that ignominious war” considerably enriched himself, for instance trading in coal. He had a different path, and he walked it from the beginning to the end.
Mozgovoy lived very modestly and mercilessly pursued the local criminal underworld. Unlike Plotnitskiy and Kosytsyn, who became mired in coal-trading scandals, Mozgovoi had no part in corrupt schemes. He was constantly trying to foster grassroots activism, and, having no ability to spread his ideas across the Republic, he tried to do what he could, to change at least something in the world around him.
That is exactly how his image as the local “Che Guevara” was formed—he spoke for the people and tried to be closer to the common folk in word and in deed. That is why it was so difficult for him to fit into the constantly shifting political landscape of the LPR. That is what he was periodically persecuted for, as LPR never managed to produce a Fidel to stand by him.
His struggle against the oligarchy, a motif which he hoisted like a banner, drew to him not only a lot of volunteers with left-leaning and communist beliefs, but also brought him a lot of sympathy from people for whom justice and equity are not empty sounds. That is why in his brigade, in addition to local volunteers, there were many so internationalists from Russia and from abroad. What’s surprising is that, at the same time, under his command there were units of nationalists. All these people were drawn by the character of Mozgovoy, who was an advocate of truth, which each one of them understood in his own way, but which united all of them for the common good. This was not just a slogan—Mozgovoi set himself apart in such a way that people who joined him truly saw him as a beacon that illuminated the uncertain future of Novorossiya. The reactions to his death are a crystal-clear demonstration that the tragic death of the Brigadier who had lost much of his military and political means saddened masses of people of various views and beliefs—as if someone close to them had perished.
It goes without saying that such an inconvenient man was ridiculed in every which way—Mozgovoi was the target of mudslinging from various émigré Ukrainians, he was constantly subjected to attacks by the media of the Ukrainian Junta, humanitarian deliveries and supplies of ammunition addressed to him were being blocked, he had been forbidden to hold parades and international fora. There was even an attempt to make scapegoat him for the failures of the command during the Debaltsevo operation. In the end, Mozgovoy became, in his own way, a black sheep, because his views diverged quite drastically from the new reality around him.
He could have taken the same way out as Dremov, accepted the banner from and complete subordination to Plotnitskiy, but he could not betray his ideals. Some consider his stance to be quixotic, others—stubborn, still others—foolish. In my opinion, it is people like him, driven by an idea that inspires the masses, who advance history. It was none other than Mozgovoy who was among the revolutionary leaders who lit the fire of Novorossiya with the impulse of their struggle, who tore Donbass from Ukraine, and until the last breath did not allow this fire to be extinguished. Without people like this there would have been nothing—only recently, all these People’s Republics and Novorossiya were nothing but media phantoms. With their life and their death, these people filled these ideas with real content, which cannot simply be shut down, like Tsarev’s bureau. It is because in those days people followed the leaders who carried inside them the flame of a new idea, which became a real alternative to the odious “Ukrainization.”
Of course he made mistakes, such as when he could not push through the idea of unifying the commander of Novorossiya or when he began to maneuver in relation to the murder of Bednov, when instead his traditional straightforwardness was required. People are not perfect, and Mozgovoy was no exception. But his errors and misconceptions do not outweigh that which he accomplished and what he fought fire, sparking the hearts of people with hope in the possibility of change and belief that an equitable and just society is not merely a figure of speech or a propagandistic stamp. After all, it was this faith, which Mozgovoi embodied, that changed the lives of so many people, who left behind their regular lives and came to fight in the far-away Donbass to defend the ideas, which he taught.
Here is this man who, like a comet, flew right in front of us and burned up in the thickness of the atmosphere. But in the course of this brief and impetuous path, he accomplished enough to secure a place in history. Apart from the purely historical role as one of the leaders of the Novorossiyan revolution, Mozgovoy will for many years remain as a symbol of the struggle for a just and equitable society and the public good.
Cynics will say: “So what? After all, he was murdered and was unable to implement his ideas.” In my opinion, it is enough that he sincerely tried to do it and sacrificed his life in the process. In his brief, but rich and eventful life there was more meaning than in the lives of those who spend their years wasting away in consumerist intoxication, lying on the couch and watching yet another faraway or, finally, proximate war on the television.
His life and, in particular, his death, will undoubtedly contribute to his further glorification and mythologization. After all, if even the late Alexander Bednov is, despite definite concerns, ranked by the public opinion among the most iconic heroes of Novorossiya, then Mozgovoi is simply doomed to posthumous perpetuation as a symbol and a myth.
In recent history, Mozgovoi’s closest analogue is Thomas Sankara, whose aphorism was adopted as the title of this note. They had similar aspirations and suffered a similar fate. When Sankara was being murdered, the perpetrators expected that he, like many other African fighters for justice, would disappear from the horizon of history as if a ridiculous ripple that shook the world of exploitation and profit. But time demonstrated that people like that depart to immortality, becoming moral and ethical compasses for the future generations. They represent the will of humanity to justice and equity and inspire more and more new fighters for justice to take the place of those who fell in their struggle for it.
Rest in peace, Aleksey Borisovich. I did not know you well as a person, but to the end of my days I will take pride in having been acquainted with you.
My sincere condolences to all those to whom Aleksey Mozgovoi was dear.
Aleksey Borisovich Mozgovoy
|It is a gift to die in May—
An easy task to dig a grave,
And nightingales will sing their song
Inimitably, like their last.
In May, the thunder of storms supplants
A funerals’ dismal songs and sounds,
And rain that comes instead of tears
Dissolves the memories’ regret.
The shelt’ring barrow of the grave
Beneath the emerald of grass;
A cross is a redundant mark
Among a grove of weary birch.
Beneath the rustling newborn leaves,
With irrepresible thirst for life,
The sun has yet to burn the grass,
And every thing is animate.
It is a gift to die in May,
To stay behind in vernal dew.
And though I could not do it all,
There are no doubts where none remain…
It is a gift, to die in May…
|Не плохо в мае умереть,
Могильщику копать удобно.
И соловьи всё будут петь,
В последний раз, так бесподобно.
Под грохот первых майских гроз,
Вместо унылых отпеваний…
И дождь, прольётся вместо слёз,
Он смоет грусть воспоминаний.
Могильный холмик приютит,
Под покрывалом трав зелёных.
Пусть даже крест там не стоит,
Среди берёзок утомленных.
Под шелест листьев молодых,
Что только к жизни потянулись.
Пока ещё нет трав седых,
А только, только всё проснулось.
Не плохо в мае умереть…
Остаться в свежести весенней.
И хоть не смог я всё успеть,
Но не осталось уж сомнений…
Не плохо, в мае умереть…
attributed to the pen of Alexey Borisovich Mozgovoy / translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov
Original: Etoonda / Вежливый Стример
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov
With the coming of the evening, the situation in Donetsk sharply escalated. Information from the residents of Donetsk indicates that, as of 20:30, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (“UAF”) was shelling the area of the Donetsk Airport from their positions in Peski (shells were landing in close proximity to the Railroad Depot).
As of 20:47, artillery salvos could be heard throughout Makeevka, in all districts. From the direction of Novobakhmutovka, UAF was conducting artillery shelling of the positions of the Militia (Novorossiya Armed Forces, or “NAF”) around the settlement of Spartak and the district of the First Square.
Reports started coming in about a large number of Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs” or drones) in the air above the city and the activation of enemy Saboteur Reconnaissance Groups (“SRG”) on the northern approaches to the city.
At 20:58 Ukrainian forces started the shelling of the area of the Putilovka mine. The Kievsky district has also been hit. Heavy howitzer artillery could be heard. Large shells were incoming with a frequency of 2-3 minutes.
Donetsk faced some of the most massive shelling in a long time since approximately 23:00. The shelling was very audible in the areas of Smolyanochka and Pakhar. Very serious shelling of the Donetsk Airport and the surrounding area came from Opytnoye—the ground shook and window panes vibrated.
The start of shelling came unusually early yesterday, in the two preceding days the bombardments started exactly at midnight. Voroshilovsky, Tekstilshik, Leninsky, Buddenovsky districts, and the rest of Donetsk shook with the blast waves of explosions.
The Nazi’s shelling of the Putilovka mine area continued. In the Leninsky district discharges from responding NAF artillery or mortars could be heard—it had no shaken like that since the winter.
At 23:00, an intensive cannonade began, about 2-3 Ukrainian shells landed every 5 seconds. In the area of the Donetsk Airport very bright flashes could be observed.
In other reports, at least one person (a pensioner) was killed in the Kievsky district of Donetsk by a Ukrainian shell that turned the building to rubble.
Preamble: This post was originally published on July 13, 2014. At the time, the pro-Euromaidan movement forced RT to remove this Truthseeker episode from Youtube. RT acquiesced, perhaps because some of the claims appeared outlandish at the time. One year into the conflict, the actions of Ukrainian military and the wealth of evidence documenting its atrocities have proven that RT’s qualms about the truth of these allegations were unjustified. The posting below appears unaltered from its original; the emphasis is on the video.
To remind you that what we all (you, kind readers, being in the vanguard of this enterprise) do here is important, allow me to share with you the fact that this blog was showcased on Russia Today’s The Truthseeker on July 13, 2014. A report by Fyodor Berezin on the atrocities committed by the Ukrainian soldiers in the village of Saurovka was read out during the broadcast. Without further commentary, here it is, look for us at 04:50 and onward from there.
Video: Genocide in Ukraine, The Truthseeker, Russia Today, July 13, 2014
The Gauleiter of the occupied part of the LPR—Moskal (the one “investigating” the case of the snipers on Institutskaya Street, but who was photographed with these very snipers) put forth his explanation of what happened. It turns out that for everything in the Donbass the “Regionals” [the Party of the Regions of President Yanukovych ‒ed.] are to blame.
Exactly one year ago, on April 29 in the afternoon, the building of the regional state administration in Lugansk was, for the third and final time, captured by the separatists. Continue reading
Alchevsk, 9th April, 2015
An interview with the well-known Donbass Militia field commander, Aleksey Mozgovoy, commander of the Prizrak Brigade, now part of the People’s Militia of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Lugansk. Notwithstanding his official position, today he is, probably, one of the leading critics of the LPR leadership.
Orhan Dzhemal: I am very interested in the political situation in the LPR, because the war continues, but there is much talk of the post-war reconstruction of the state. As far as I understand, it is in the Lugansk Republic that the complexity of this process is demonstrated most clearly.
Aleksey Mozgovoy: It’s too early yet to talk of post-war reconstruction. The fact that there is a cease-fire does not mean that there is peace. Almost all our attention is still focused on the front line.
OD: It seems that many of the recent heroes of the LPR, well-known field commanders, have had difficulties with the authorities of the Republic.
AM: They do not have difficulties with the leadership itself, but with the policy pursued by the leadership.
Forty three people were reported dead officially by Kiev. According to the witnesses, and even some politicians the real data concealed by Ukrainian government reaches over a hundred people burnt alive and murdered, and two hundred forty-seven people injured on that day. R.I.P.
A year ago, at night on May 2, I and my mother stayed awake almost the whole night watching live reports from Odessa. There were no journalists, either from state-owned or private TV channels; only once in a while videos recorded on mobile phones would appear on YouTube—all from different angles and varying distances. These were people themselves reporting from the ground, near the Trades Union House, and in every recording there was nothing but horror: a real, deliberate massacre. That day became a crucial moment for many people, and for me personally.
Today the name Donbass is familiar to most, but not many of you knew about this small region of big Ukraine before the war there started—a region whose people are peaceful, hard-working and very tolerant. Coal mining has for decades been the main occupation of the inhabitants of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, and many families used to earn their living from this industry. These people never used to protest or to demonstrate for or against anything—they used to work, taking care of their families. They are my people, and I am just like them.
For me and my peers Donbass was Ukraine. I should mention, though, that we never really considered Russia to be another country because it was no different. I went to Ukrainian school, where I studied both Russian and Ukrainian. The year I started studying was the last when pupils had Russian language instruction in the ten year school curriculum—the following generation had all the subjects taught in Ukrainian, and Russian was officially proclaimed a “Foreign language” in our schools. Still, we treated this change as a reasonable decision because it was the state language, and absolutely everybody could understand written and spoken Ukrainian perfectly well: we had foreign movies and cartoons dubbed into Ukrainian, shows and news on state TV channels, and newspapers and magazines in Ukrainian. However, Ukrainian was never a mother tongue or a language of everyday usage for the residents of the whole of eastern Ukraine. Moreover, the territory of former left-bank Ukraine has always in fact been inhabited by Russian-speakers (unlike former right-bank Ukraine, where you can encounter people speaking Ukrainian on the streets). Continue reading
Original published by mnews Письмо Насти Коптевой Президенту РФ Владимиру Путину / April 30, 2015
Translated from Russian to English by Olga Luzanova – Edited by @GBabeuf
Preamble: Nastya and her mother do not have internet at home—sometimes there is no water or light either—and they often hide from the shelling in a storage room for potatoes, two square metres in size, in the basement of their home in Sobinov Street, Kievsky district of Donetsk. “Nastya never cries in public,” says her mother in tears. She still does not believe that her husband Pasha was killed, but hopes that he is somewhere in this war, just unable to communicate with his family.
My name is Anastasia and I live in Donetsk. I know that you are a very busy man, but I would like to tell you about my life today.
Why you? Two months ago, my Pappa died. He was a Militiaman of the Donetsk Republic. He volunteered in early July [last year –ed.], and my mother and I have not seen him for seven months. He was always on the front lines, and, at the end of January, in battle at Donetsk Airport, Pappa was mortally wounded. Now we are left all alone. Our house is also close to the airport; very often we have had to hide in the basement all day and my school was shelled twice. I now go to school in another part of town. I attend art school, and this year I will graduate from the communal school of musical arts. Many of my friends and classmates left Donetsk last summer, while we have not left for a single day. I was born in Donetsk, and I love our hometown, and my mother and I could not give up on it, because it was probably scared by gunfire too. But we all survived—together.
Now, there is almost no firing, and I am no longer afraid when my mother leaves the house. But after Pappa’s funeral it became quite empty, he always protected and cared for us, and now he even gave his life protecting us. I miss him, I miss him greatly. Maybe it is strange, but I decided to write you. Continue reading
According to Igor Strelkov, there is no doubt that Ukraine intends to go to war with Russia.
A correspondent of the Eurasian News Fairway interviewed Igor Ivanovich Strelkov (Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin—military leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR], a former commander of the insurgents in the city of Slavyansk and organizer of the forces of the People’s Militia in Donetsk) in the course of his visit to one of the cities of the Russian Federation. The visit was arranged for the purpose of raising much needed funds for the population of the Donetsk and the Lugansk People’s Republics [LPR] as well as activating the operations of the local chapter of the “Novorossiya” public movement.
The coup in Kiev was paid for with US funds, was directed by the United States,
and the incumbent Ukrainian government is simply a marionette…
Eurasian News Fairway [ENF]: Igor Ivanovich, I will open with the most “terrifying” question. In your interview with the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies you say that war awaits Russia. What scenarios of its inception and development, methods of conducting it and possible consequences do you see?
Igor Strelkov [IS]: Ukraine will make attempts to strike against Novorossiya with a view to eliminating it entirely, and because Russia cannot allow the destruction of Novorossiya—cannot allow the genocide of the Russian people, the Russian population living there—then Moscow could somehow be drawn into a war. It is difficult to tell what the scale of this involvement could be. But the fact that Ukraine clearly intends to make war against Russia is entirely beyond doubt. Even if Novorossiya is surrendered, Ukraine will sooner or later unleash a war for Crimea because it does not recognize its transition into Russia, is not going to recognize it and almost openly declares that it will fight for the peninsula, by military means if necessary.
ENF: Speaking of war, do you mean a war “at the instigation of”?
IS: Naturally. The coup in Kiev was paid for with US funds, was directed by the United States, and the incumbent Ukrainian government is simply a marionette created for a confrontation with Russia, including by military means. It is for this reason that Ukraine makes no concessions—none whatsoever. Even the most minor. They do not observe even the Minsk accords that are, in principle, theoretically advantageous [to them], but instead use them only as a temporary respite for accumulating forces and a means to further wage ware.
Preamble: On the heels of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s fiasco in attempting to silence the music of a brilliant pianist Valentina Lisitsa for her outspoken position on the war in Ukraine, Lysiane Gagnon, a renowned Canadian journalist and a long-standing correspondent of the Montreal publication La Presse and the Globe and Mail, tackles yet another serious issue for Canada—whether or not to put boots on the ground in Ukraine. For Ms Gagnon, the answer is clear: “Stephen Harper’s Ukrainian obsession is a dangerous little game.” She concludes that it is Harper, not Putin who must get out of Ukraine. In Montreal, one of the centres of Western Ukrainian diaspora in Canada, this position is a bold one, notwithstanding the Québecers’ long-standing dissatisfaction with the Canadian Prime Minister. Do Ms Gagnon’s forthright condemnation of Canada’s meddling in Ukraine and the widespread media support shown to Valentina Lisitsa perhaps signal an awakening to the realities of the Ukrainian crisis among the Canadian public? Only time will tell.
Where will the Ukrainian obsession of the Harper government stop? Here he is now despatching two hundred soldiers to “advise” Kiev in its “little war” with Russia, at the very moment when the fragile truce which should have put an end to hostilities appears to be compromised.
What exactly does Canada have to do at the heart of Europe, in a conflict which holds no national interest for it—a conflict which, if things are conducted roughly, could engulf the Old Continent?
Having considered some of the circumstances of the death of Oles Buzina, we are leaning towards the conclusion that his murder is one element in a bloody campaign unleashed by NATO with the aim of intimidating dissenters in Ukraine. Yet another victim of this campaign—Oleg Kalashnikov.
Judge for yourself:
The Ukrainian website “Mirotvorets” [The Peacekeeper] publishes personal information of “separatists”, “partisans of the Russian Universe” and other enemies of the Kiev regime. On April 13, 2015, a user named “404” published on this website all personal information on Oleg Kalashnikov:
https://psb4ukr.org/criminal/kalashnikov-oleg-ivanovich/ [Screenshot S1 – Translation see on bottom of page]
It is no secret that nowadays many alternative media activists face appalling state-sponsored censorship in many nominally free and democratic Western countries. Now it seems that such censorship has penetrated much deeper than we have come to expect. Art itself, the truest form of free expression, is being silenced.
Valentina Lisitsa is a brilliant musician, a famous virtuoso pianist, also known for publicly expressing her opinion on the Ukrainian conflict through her Twitter account. She is a good friend of the Slavyangrad Team and has kindly translated a number of articles for our publication. Her views are always insightful and she has never made them a secret. We are lucky to have Valentina’s first-hand account about dealings with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (“TSO”), which has decided to cancel her concert because of her political opinions. The TSO’s decision to silence Valentina’s music because she has exercised her inviolable right to express her beliefs is a message to all artists that the next time it could be them.
Valentina is Ukrainian. She was born on March 25, 1970, in Kiev. Her family comes from Odessa—her mother is a Russian citizen, and her father was Ukrainian. Valentina graduated from the Lysenko music school and the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine (the Kiev Conservatory). She married Alexey Kuznetsov from Taganrog. In 1991, they represented Ukraine in the Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition in Miami, Florida, and won the first prize. In 1992 they moved to the USA to study and subsequently decided to remain there. In 2001 they became American citizens. Since last year, Valentina has been living in Paris.
Valentina is one of the most frequently viewed pianists on YouTube, with over 177,000 subscribers, and she performs all over the world. Now Valentina’s concert in Toronto, which was scheduled for April 8 and 9 at the Roy Thomson Hall, has been cancelled for an outrageous reason—her political views. In an email sent to Valentina’s agent, the TSO stated: “the Toronto Symphony Orchestra received some messages from ticket buyers and others expressing concern over pianist Valentina Lisitsa’s public political statements.”
In its correspondence, the TSO also accused Valentina of nothing less than public incitement of hatred contrary to section 319(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada and went as far as to insinuate that Valentina, a citizen of the United States, could be barred from entering Canada by the immigration authorities. The TSO attempted to base its charges on Lisitsa’s public social media posts, attaching a copy of some of her tweets, along with a brief and exceedingly shallow legal opinion by the TSO’s counsel at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.
Despite being provided with a substantive legal response on the merits of these allegations, the TSO has since mustered neither a single sentence in support of its accusations, nor a single word of apology. It was only after the legal opinion supplied by Valentina underscored that the TSO could not unilaterally dissolve the contract that the TSO’s counsel clarified that all her fees would be paid. To all appearances, the TSO seemed to believe that it could not only silence Valentina’s music, but also renege on its contractual obligations and thus walk away from their commitments.
With the TSO finally making a decision to cancel Valentina’s concert at the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Valentina has appealed to her fans and friends on her public Facebook page, today, on April 6. With full support for Valentina’s courage and strength, we have excerpted the full text of her appeal below. Valentina Lisitsa has never been one to hide her political views. It is time for the TSO to acknowledge that they can no longer hide their own biases and to stop kowtowing to ferociously reactionary political lobbies.