Editor’s note: This is a new part of the memoir-diary of the “Essence of Time” unit members. The first part, “The Beginning”, tells about the different ways how Ukrainian “Essence of Time” members gathered in Donetsk in summer 2014, as well as their first days in the militia. Most of them didn’t even serve in the army before. They faced a colossal challenge: to become good soldiers in no time. They didn’t become just good soldiers: one year later they were among the best and joined the special forces battalion “Khan”. But back in summer 2014 it was all just beginning. They didn’t know they will become spetsnaz fighters. They didn’t know they will lose friends in battle. They were only gathering in Donetsk from all over Ukraine, gathering there because the rest of Ukraine slipped into the arms of Nazi madness, and because there was nothing they could do alone – but there was a lot they could do, and did, together. Below is first of the memoir-diaries written by Petka, a soldier of “Essence of Time” unit in Donbass.
The climate in my hometown, Kiev, was getting more and more unbearable with each passing day: more and more often I heard explicitly fascist calls to action both from my coworkers and from people on the streets, more and more often I met young men with tattoos of symbols of death, pagan runes, swastikas. The city was imbued with hatred. Every day when I went to the streets, I had to put on a mask of a badass guy. Thoughts that I had to go to Donetsk started pursuing me. I remember seeing a video of our comrade Igor Yudin (callsign “Bolgarin”), a MP of Donetsk People’s Republic, in which he urged not to be indifferent and do anything one can do to help.
I thought back then, “I am sitting here in front of a computer, while my brothers back there already participate in real struggle.”
And, finally, the appeal of Sergei Kurginyan, the leader of “Essence of Time” movement, urging all members of “Essence of Time” in Ukraine to gather in Donetsk was like a command – “move out”.
I started to prepare for leaving: had my teeth attended to (a big thank you to the comrades for helping financially with that), thought through my cover story and gathered my luggage based on it. The other things (I knew I was leaving for years) I sent by carriers. I told to my relatives and friends that I am leaving to work in Russia. Only my mother knew where I was going. Even though she was very worried about me (offered to come live with her abroad), but deep inside she was proud of me, which she told me more than once later on.
And here I am, standing on platform of Donetsk train station. Even though the day was gloomy, the sun was shining inside me, there was no need to put on a mask anymore and I could discuss any sensible issues out loud with my comrades right on the streets. It was calmer for me in the besieged shelled city, than in Nazi-occupied Kiev..
We lived in an apartment for about a week. There we met with our comrades, discussing the pressing issues, having tea – getting to know one another.
Having arrived to “Vostok” brigade base, we were housed in a car repair bay. Its walls were covered with fungi, the concrete floor was soaked with motor oil, we had to sleep on boxes where ammunition used to be kept. First nobody paid attention to this – everybody was in lifted spirits and friendly to one another. But the dampness and psychological stress kicked in and many of us got ill. On some nights there was not a minute without somebody coughing.
The commander of our training company was a 15-year old guy, callsign “Royce”. Even though he was young, he was was a good teacher and could handle his weapon well, while most of us didn’t serve in the army and took an assault rifle in our hands for the first time in our lives.
Some time after we arrived a box of AKMs were brought to us. We were supposed to make these combat-ready again. We cleaned them for the whole day and half of the night. Some of the AKMs were so rusty that we had to clean all paint from them. The first real alert in our lives sounded in the morning. Standing on the training ground with an assault rifle, not being sure that it works, I swore to my self never to go to sleep again without finishing cleaning my weapon.
Endless air raid alarms were a whole separate chapter of our life on “Vostok” base. The video with torn off limbs of people killed by Ukrainian bombing of Lugansk administration building was a vivid memory. The sense of danger was even stronger due to the fact that an ammunition warehouse was several car repair bays away from us. That is when we got used to sleep fully clothed.
When I just arrived to Donetsk, I didn’t know what I will do. I had only one desire – to be useful. This was the mood that I had when doing any kind of work: be it doing the dishes or unloading ammunition or field rations, I was thinking that at this very moment someone is sitting there in the trenches, someone is dying for us.
Observing the small inflow of volunteers, me and my comrades have decided to agitate people. We have created the flyers calling to join the militia in just a few hours. A couple of days later we went to a mine – to agitate people to defend their Homeland, to explain what is really happening and what the Kiev junta actually wants. After yet another visit to a mine, the commander of the training company, “Chika”, said, “This is more powerful than a machine gun”. The results didn’t take long: if only approximately 10 people enlisted to “Vostok” battalion each week before the start of agitation, two weeks after we started it this number reached 50-70 people per week. We were useful – it was an unforgettable feeling.
By participating in the agitation brigade – talking to people, who live under shelling each day, by urging the men to join the militia – I always felt that I was inferior. What right do I have to tell something to these people without going there myself, without seeing the grief and the hardships that they will have to go through? This was probably the moment when I reached the decision to join the combat unit. And when Volga asked us what do we want to do next, I didn’t think for too long (more so, considering the fact that my comrade, the person who I always looked up to both in Kiev and in Donetsk – Mars – chose the same path).
I remembered the words S. E. Kurginyan said in one of the first “Essence of Time” lectures, that he doesn’t promise too much, but that he guarantees that life will be interesting (not boring). Such was the time I spent in the combat unit. Every day there was something new in training, discoveries of my new limits and capabilities, cohesion of the team. With what passion and persistence did I dig the pits, intended for the psychological test, wishing to be the first one buried alive in this hole! And how was I disappointed when I was on another assignment and missed this activity. I got buried alive later, but, already having experienced shelling in Panteylemonovka, I didn’t feel any fear.
The desire to useful didn’t go away in those days as well – I was very proud when I was entrusted as the person responsible for the property and supply of the unit. Even though I had to learn everything from scratch – for the 27 years of my life before “Essence of Time” I never learned the meaning of the words “responsibility”, “that which is due”… But together with such a team and such a commander I see no obstacles I can’t overcome.
Other stories of “Essence of Time” unit soldiers: “Essence of Time” unit in Donbass
Source (for copy): http://eu.eot.su/?p=5392