“Essence of Time” unit in Donbass. The Becoming. Volga


Relatively speaking, the second stage began in mid-August 2014. Guys received “toys”: Makarov pistols (in the proportion of one pistol per 3-4 people), and after another week AKMs – in very old rust-preventing grease. Lord! What had it cost Pyatnica and me to get these guns! I put the ammunition out of harm’s way))) It didn’t affect the heat of enthusiasm, though. Guys disassembled, cleaned, carried them, slept embracing them… like children who obtained hard-won toys.

By mid-August, the guys tested themselves on the readiness to be in the “Essence of Time” mission, in the militia. This happened against the backdrop of complications on the front line, which had moved close and encircled Donetsk almost completely. As for me, the war in Donetsk in the summer of 2014 means empty streets and lots of abandoned and miserable purebred dogs, that were unable to compete with packs of mongrel dogs in the streets. They died from starvation, from mortar fire, and – “the lucky ones” – under the wheels of military vehicles rushing by at high speed towards the front line. Although they passed very rarely, but some poor dogs still managed to get hit by them.

While going to the border for equipment and humanitarian aid from the “Essence of Time” movement (for militia, civilians and our mission), I saw huge lines of refugees standing for days to get to Russia. There were separate lines of people with small children – it was possible to pass there just in 8 to 12 hours. Only one road led to the border – through Debaltsevo, Gorlovka, Lugansk. Every such journey was a breakthrough in battle or under shelling; it was especially hard to return with cargo.

The direct threat of street combat for Donetsk was hanging over the city. Thereupon, the “Essence of Time” mission had to decide whether to evacuate or to fight in order not to become a civil burden for the militia. Most of us chose to fight. In the end no one was evacuated. I howled in my heart. We began to learn to fight.

By the end of August the guys worked out elementary movement skills to operate weapons, and minimal coordination in groups from 2 to 5 people. The military counterintelligence of the “Vostok” battalion started to go out to operations. Mainly, we had to lie in ambush where supposed Ukrainian sabotage-reconnaissance groups were to appear; rarely we went to districts of Donetsk, Makeevka and suburbs, where Ukrainian mortar groups worked in our rear. The guys were afraid, but there were no critical failures. I didn’t take everyone with me. All of them tried to come – this was an additional incentive in the practical study.

Odessa, the then head of the military counterintelligence of the “Vostok” battalion, took us to those operations. He later died during the liberation of Yasinovataya. Who knows what the independent tactical group of the “Essence of Time” would have been doing now if brother Odessa hadn’t died? He took us with him on his own responsibility and at my request, as neither he nor I received permission from the brigade commander Scyth. Scyth did not let him or me go to battlefield, and we, like boys, secretly went to Saur-Mogila with one Dragunov sniper rifle for both of us. When once we were “caught” and stood in the military staff, two graying old men, like naughty first graders, and Scyth scolded us good and hard, everything we thought about at that time was how to keep our Dragunov sniper rifle.

Brother Odessa gave it to me shortly before his death. As a result, the first couple of snipers of the “Essence of Time”, Mars and Liteyshik, got their own “tool”. The guys needed practice before possible battles. And Odessa satisfied our needs, helped us. He, like a brother, brought us Dragunov sniper rifle, assault rocket grenade launcher, anti-tank rocket launcher, and Kalashnikov machine gun (PK), and also 4 grenades. We became RICH))), it really contributed to the guys’ self-esteem, which Pyatnica was able to direct in the right stream, and it turned out to the best, it did no harm, as it could.

Then – Odessa’s death. The liberation of Yasinovataya. Work on territories in the rear (between Yasinovataya and Makeevka), there were often mortar enemy groups there. Mortar shells hitting our base. Moving to a new base.

Yasinovataya, August 2014
Yasinovataya, August 2014

Two of my assistants, Iris and Pyatnica, dragged the entire second stage. They were like two wings for the flight of “Essence of Time” independent tactical group. We called them assistants, but actually they were like-minded people, partners in building our group. And the guys, clenching their teeth, were moving towards THEIR own goals and found OUR COMMON goal – it was a miracle, magic. How could that be! I have never and nowhere faced or heard something like that. Houseboys from offices. “Experienced” soldiers teased them “nerds”, and sometimes friendly, sometimes with gall, laughed at them. They smiled, believed, worked, got organized in a group, grew, and finally stood on their own feet.

Even before the battle group was relocated to Yasinovataya we noticed with unpleasant surprise that the flow of local volunteers was very weak. The guys formed a team and together with Chika, who returned to action after injury and took over the duties of preparing fresh forces, went to the mines and districts of Donetsk and Makeevka. The flow of volunteers increased significantly. The guys coped with the task really great. Also a strong combat friendship with Chika began from that moment. He was formerly a professional construction worker, but now (by summer 2015) a great mentor for many volunteers who had gone through baptism by fire.


Together with “Vostok” training company, whose commander in August of 2014 was Chika, we organized the Yasinovataya base. We built facilities, a bathhouse, launched electricity supply, restored water supply and heating. We equipped a shooting range. The training of shooting tactics began. The tactical group began to grow, the guys started to act as instructors,
prepared our fresh forces, as well as the future instructors of “Vostok” training center. They also worked with cadets of the then “Vostok” training company. They worked and improved themselves. They studied reasonable shooting as a part of a squad and overall unit. They studied sectors. They worked very much with engineering structures and fortifications. They worked with military equipment, learned to cover it in combat, to use it as a cover, they underwent psychological training. They worked.

“Essence of Time” independent tactical group received an order: to go to the line Vasilevka – Lebyazhye with the armored group as part of the “Vostok” brigade, together with the 2nd battalion (commander Minsk), covering armored vehicles, and to capture Panteleymonovka on the next day, and to expand the communication corridor between Donetsk and Gorlovka. In case Ukrainian forces wouldn’t retreat, “Essence of Time” independent tactical group, together with tanks, had to carry out a high-speed breakthrough of Ukrainian fortified area. The operation took three days.

Volga in liberated Vasilevka village. September 14, 2014
Volga in liberated Vasilevka village. Behind him – a captured Ukrainian IFV with Ukrainian spells “Putin is a [censored]”. September 14, 2014

We united with Gorlovka citizens, embraced, warmed up tanks and prepared to advance from Panteleymonovka to Krasny Partizan (Verhnetoretskoe). 20 minutes before the attack we got the message: “Everybody stop – cease fire”. Cursing, we disguised the tanks and assumed positions on the front edge between Panteleymonovka and Krasny Partizan. At night we received “SMS” confirming the ceasefire, these “SMS” were mostly of caliber 120mm. The guys learned to dig in quickly between shellings, so to speak, they reinforced training skills in practice)))) Now they did it so quickly)))) I picked shrapnel out of the sole of my boot, shrapnel was also found in tins of stew. The guys withstood. They hardened.

We became friends with tanks and directly with Pancyr, the commander of the armored group of the “Vostok” brigade, in Panteleymonovka operation. How many plans we had! We dreamed of tank-born combat group. We worked on it. We acquired staff and arms. We developed mounting and quick drop systems. We had mutual drills… Life in war has made its adjustments. But nothing is in vain.

Pancyr, the commander of the armored group of the “Vostok” brigade
Pancyr, the commander of the armored group of the “Vostok” brigade

Our brothers from the training company worried for us and protected our property. Our brothers from the information center and training company organized a feast with real (!!!) canned stew after we escaped combat duty two weeks later. There was even condensed milk and chocolate!!! We washed in bathhouse.

Now we were working in two places at once. Combat duties in Panteleymonovka and combat training in Yasinovataya. The group became bigger, so we had to turn up the heat in training, especially for those who were willing to work, learn and grow. The backbone began to form. A conventional division of the 1st group (those who started from the beginning) and the 2nd group (those who came in Yasinovataya and Panteleymonovka and stayed) appeared. Violators from the 1st and the 2nd groups appeared as well. Those who were with us from the beginning – they received tougher punishment (though everyone got punished rather tough). We had dry law, discipline, order, unity of command. But those who were from the initial rank of the “Essence of Time”, got serious penalties for any infraction such as absence over leave or something else, otherwise harmless actions. God, how much I wished everybody to survive! In the end, such leaders as Kontrabas, Lom, and by the end of Panteleymonovka epic – Kot (by the time the actual head of the information center), got into the month corrective work to Panteleymonovka, without the right to leave warrant and with extended list of general and additional duties. Nobody complained, everyone understood (although maybe not immediately). As for Kontrabas, his qualities grown up very much, he became a major support in the construction of the unit in the future.

And the information center grew up in quality – we waited not only issues of the “Meaning of the Game”, but also issues of EoT-DPR TV. The guys always supported us and worried about us. They were ready to drive at night along a dangerous road to Yasinovataya to be stay together, to watch the “Meaning of the Game” issues, just to discuss something.

The group had been built. The inevitable exam was coming. If you declared something to the sky – it will ask to prove your words. And whether you have at least one little slice of right to exist, depends on what kind of actions you show after words. This – worst thing for me while in Donbass – came on 16 November 2014. That day we arrived at the positions in the Donetsk airport. The third stage began.


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

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