Essence of Time unit in Donbass. The Beginning. Kot


When so-called “maidans”, later called “veche”, started to gather in Ukraine – first in Kiev and then in other cities – the air in the country thickened. I saw with my own eyes the dramatic changes in the consciousness of people around me.

The population was rapidly accepting fascism.

I began to understand what was happening in Germany in 1940s, when German soldiers fought on the frontlines, and “Mädchen” and “Gretchen” remained in the country.

Since the beginning of 2014, in the company where I worked, people coming to work in the morning often greeted each other by shouting “Glory to Ukraine!” and cursed the resisting South-East of Ukraine. And then the events in Odessa on May 2 happened. And then there was the reaction of the residents of the city on these terrible events.

I constantly felt that I am in a hostile environment.

A coordination center was established in the town to try resist the rampage of fascism. We organized rallies, processions on February 23, on May 9. But the air of mutual distrust, uncertainty, and disagreement was constantly present at that very center. It was a typical khokhol guerrilla unit with a traitor in it.

And then there was the problem with Samoylov and Gurianov who began to organize a certain movement. I twice had the occasion to attend its meetings in Kharkov.

So when Sergei Ervandovich Kurginyan gathered us in Donetsk for preliminary conversation, I took it as a breath of fresh air and decided without hesitation to go to Donetsk to participate in the work of the mission. I only had doubts whether I could be useful in this work, but I was ready for any activity.

I was well aware that I wouldn’t return to my hometown soon, and perhaps I would never be back.

I wasn’t present at the meeting Sergei Kurginyan held with the members of the assembling “Essence of Time” mission, I arrived a little later. I arrived to Donetsk in a car, which is still used as the official car of the information center. We passed through a few Ukrainian checkpoints. We were not much examined, but each time crossing another Ukrainian checkpoint, we were experiencing some wariness. And finally we saw the Donetsk checkpoint, which was perceived it as a brotherly one, although it was the checkpoint where we were examined with the utmost thoroughness. But we didn’t have any objections: please, examine us, you are right, be careful, we don’t mind! After that there was our land.

We were housed in a rented apartment. We met with our friends and began to wait for further orders. We were waiting, as I remember, for a long time, until Volga assembled us on one of the bases of the “Vostok” battalion.

Then we moved to another base. We were housed in the kubrik, soldier’s barracks, which was organized in a car repair bay of a large garage. There were almost no beds, the improvised bunks were made of wooden boards or just unhinged doors put on boxes. There were no windows in the bay, it was constantly damp there, we all caught cold, but it was already the military unit where we had been eager to come. For about a month I washed dishes, including burnt pots and pans, and I mopped floors in the dining room and the kitchen. Not just me, of course. And we also worked as loading and unloading team – we unloaded the food arriving at the base. The guys went to load ammunition, I didn’t have to do it.

The first thing we tried to organize was the information work. Mars had formed a mobile team, it successfully went to the town several times, carried out something like political information. A few of us began to work in the information center, me too. I started listening to an Internet radio station “Zello”.

At first I didn’t properly understand how it worked, so I spent days intensely listening to everything I could, connecting to multiple channels, and out of mass of broadcasting garbage I caught interesting information about what was happening in different towns and villages of Donbass: Ukrainian military hardware passed through the streets here, a shell explosion damaged the building there. At the end of the day I really had a headache due to the constant and intense listening in headphones.

At that time only Alan Mamiev was making video reports, and he occasionally involved Pamir, Feldsher or Gazetchik in the work.

Editor’s note: Translation of the video:

Donetsk, Budenovsky district. Bosse. August 16, 2014.

Alan Mamiev: “What you see behind me is the result of shelling of civilian neighborhoods of Donetsk by Grad multiple-launch rocket systems.”

Alan Mamiev: “There are no terrorists here, no separatists. Only civilians live here, mostly senior citizens who didn’t make it out of Donetsk in time.”

Caption: “See the full version of the video on” (This is the Russian “Essence of Time” Youtube channel. The English and German ones are here – Editor)

End of Editor’s note.

At that time while I almost disappeared in the information center, our unit started to change: Volga took charge of us, we abandoned our kitchen activity, moved to more comfortable barracks, the guys began to train seriously. Volga was establishing a combat unit. I didn’t become a part of it – probably because I was too stuck in my “Zello”.

We received weapons for the first time back when we lived in the garage. They brought us a box of rusty AKMs, I got one of the rustiest ones because at the time of their appearance in our “barracks” I was sitting as always with my “Zello”.

We’ve been cleaning our guns for a long time and never parted with them at first, day or night. We didn’t get ammunition. But we learned to handle a gun, clean it, protect it, learned some tactics.

When the combat group and the information center were finally formed, we were given real weapons. We passed our squeaky clean AKMs to the next training company and received personal AK-74 from the armory. We also received  ammunition.

I remember that at first I felt a little awkward – a “nerd” among the experienced militiamen. But then it turned out somehow that despite being a “nerd” I was no longer a stranger amidst
the militia. And I even think they started respecting us – whether because the shadow of our heroic comrades from the combat group falls on us, or because we were able to answer difficult questions asked by the militiamen.

Other stories of “Essence of Time” unit soldiers: “Essence of Time” unit in Donbass

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