He never regretted the decision to go to war for Russian Donbass. “The Donetsk — true, and I’m glad I chose this side,” said Czech, who is well-known as Hippo. In the rebel Republic, living under the patronage of Russia, but his most do not like too much democracy. “I would push them much stronger,” says the Hippo.
Stride down the streets of Donetsk. Blue and white striped t-shirt he looks like a circus strongman. He smiles all around, with everyone saying Hello. All know him. My grandmother, asking for alms, he gives a few cents, and before the merchants brags exercises in the gym the day before.
Grateful topic of conversation — attacks. In the Russian language with emphasis Prague bully, he says: “Dill night peck on trudovs’ka, from a mortar killed a pregnant”. Behemoth is not at war and only occasionally goes to the front to friends. Officially he is a member of the Republican guard, and even more hanging around the city and killing time.
We have an agreement: he took me to Donetsk, all the shows me and watches don’t collect if I was dirt on his favorite of the Donetsk National Republic (DND). I pay for the food. This hero with the soul of the Soviet man eats a lot. He does powerlifting, prepares for competitions — he needs vitamins. For Breakfast he eats eight eggs, and chocolate yogurts fall into it, as the Germans in the trenches. Three times a day we go to the supermarket and looking for his favorite ice cream.
Behemoth often broke. Together with a friend, Paul Processing, which was called the Caucasus, he helped people from the Czech Republic, whose names are not publicized, to open the business. The Hippo and the Caucasus was to share his knowledge of the situation and the contacts with politicians of the DNI. Bought office, furnished it, but then it failed. The Hippo says: “the Partners have lost interest, office we closed, the furniture sold, and debts already paid. As happens in business, things do not always work”.
Hippo remembers the best of times. “Sometimes, a night for two, I quietly gave 700 euros. On lingerie for your girlfriend I spent 200 thousand crowns a year,” says Hippo. Together with the Caucasus, they worked around the world with the bodyguard in Dominican Republic, South Africa, Cyprus. There they searched for local authorities, and then opened in the buffer zone own casino. When the war started in Ukraine, they Packed up and went to fight in the new Russia.
Why? “I have always been influenced by the Russian way,” says the Hippo. He grew up in Soviet war films, and in his cell — a portrait of Stalin. The Caucasus eyes opened supposedly only a few years ago: “I never thought that I would go to Russia. In my youth I was Pro-American sentiments,” says the bearded thug in his spare time he does mixed martial arts and Thai Boxing.
“I liked that the Americans then entered Kuwait, and because of the lack of information I had supported, for example, and the operation in Yugoslavia. I’m not interested. I got information from the TV and said to myself: “Well, what the Americans do, they kind of police”. But then I started thinking. Fucking Iraq. Libya, Syria… Wherever that came to America, everything dies. What Russia has done there in six months? Liberated Aleppo. I have to be on the side of Russia, even if I didn’t want this,” he explains. The last straw for him was the Odessa fire in the trade unions Building, during which killed nearly 50 Pro-Russian demonstrators. According to Russia, they burned “Ukrainian fascists”.
So in summer 2014, the Caucasus and the Hippo came to Ukraine and spent a long time trying to get to the other side of the front. “Hemorrhoids was that the inner border was already closed, so we didn’t work out and had to get from the Russian side,” — says the Caucasus. In the Donbass, they finally got only after the battles, after which the front stabilized and began to more or less observe the Minsk agreements. Rebels new arrivals were checked and sent to the 15th international brigade, which is called “Tag.” “There are people from Abkhazia, Ossetia, Moldova and around the world. There was even an American soldier, Slovenian and Norwegian. We, Czechs, there were two,” says the Caucasus.
For field — Cropston
We stand at the rusting shaft of Koper in the Petrovsky district on the outskirts of Donetsk. The Hippo shows me where with a machine gun waiting for the Ukrainians. “There — Cropston. We were expecting an attack from this field. There were six of us. If they came, we had to hold them off and kill,” he says in the direction of the positions of the Ukrainian army.
“It is powerlessness that she stay at the front in the Caucasus. We were scouting for our artillery, and her position was not. So we stood down, and shoot any of the weapons, and all. Every day we came under fire, but to do absolutely nothing. We got only 40%, the others landed behind us, where there was a village. So damn Minsk is observed, due to which our artillery out of position. The biggest thing we have, it’s an old anti-tank rifle PRTD from which you can do single shots, light machine gun, the PSG. That’s all.”
Since I did not get to fighting positions, to argue with him I could not. In mid-may, the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reported that on the territory of the rebels is now at least 42 units of heavy weapons, including tanks, guns and grenade launchers. According to observers, over the past three months the rebels had used heavy weapons five times more often than the Ukrainian army. In March, the organization Human Rights Watch said that both sides continue to use rocket launchers “Grad”.
The Hippo and the Caucasus tell us that the worst was to hold the position on one of the many local dumps. “We had excellent review, and right on top of us flooded the tank. It was not very fun. The 120mm mortar will be covered, but the tank is another. What can I do? Lie down in your trenches and waiting for the end. We called ours, said that the shelling is heavy. We were told that, well, Yes, Yes, we’ll decide, but for an hour nothing was decided. The next day came the infantry to support us,” says the Caucasus.
From “Slovak volunteers” on Donbass
Czech soldiers in the Donbass forced to reckon with the fact that at home they face jail. Czech laws prohibit military service in foreign armed forces under threat of imprisonment to five years. How many Czechs went to war in this already somewhat forgotten war? The Ministry of foreign Affairs do not follow this, and the secret service BIS secrets will not be given.
The Caucasus suggests that there was a maximum of 20. Some — as, for example, a physical education teacher Ivo Stejskal — died here. The Caucasus and especially the Hippo do not support connection to countrymen. “We haven’t really met them, and maybe they are generally are on the other side of the front,” says the Caucasus.
In Donetsk, there is still Martin Soukup. He says that he was charmed by the purity of the soul of local residents who allegedly have the pride of the don Cossacks. “These people will prefer to die on my knees. We, Czechs, would have signed 20 agreements — just not to shoot. But they are better times to shoot, but will be free,” he told me 45-year-old man in the uniform of the Republican guard in a cafe near the center of Donetsk.
In the Czech Republic he was a livestock expert, and I arrived in Donetsk in early July 2014. “I came on the birthday of his daughter right in Donetsk Express train from Kiev. Undercover as a tourist. And in the evening we were actually on the train Slavyansk. Broad gave me here,” says Soukup. Now he no longer serves at the front, and makes a career in the army of DNR, where he earned the rank of battalion commander. To leave he can’t because his Czech passport expired.
“I got married, and in the Czech Republic I have basically no one. After some time I will definitely get the kids here to go to the Czech Republic or Slovakia and there to meet them I can’t because of the documents. I have already applied for a passport the Donetsk national Republic, and with him unable to go to Russia,” says Soukup. It is noticeable that in Czech it is already difficult to talk, and he constantly slips into Russian.
My bride found here and Martin Jay Carta. At home in Slovakia, he worked as a programmer and was a member of the paramilitary organization “Slovak recruits”. Donbass has led his antipathy to Ukraine and the European Union.
“From the beginning it was a fantastic project. The problem is that it left. Today, the ideology of the EU is to help everyone. Why? This migration crisis is a terrible propaganda of gay marriage, and now in Europe there are parties of pedophiles and bestiality. I even don’t remember exactly where I read about it, but there is something like that,” says Jay about his motivation. About how his decision was the reaction of the family, he doesn’t want to say: “the Parents did not agree, and never to ask about it”.
On rebel territory, he was in October 2014 coming from Russia. “In Rostov I met one soldier who’s put me through a little test and drove to the border. Then I was taken to “Tag”. At first I did not know where they are. I was disoriented and my surroundings were completely different mentality. I don’t know a word of Russian. Someone found me a Russian-English dictionary and I began to slowly learn,” he recalls the early days.
Jay was seriously wounded in battle. “12 Feb 2015, we received orders to mobilize. Everyone returned from vacation and arrived at the base. 14 signed the Minsk agreement, and the next day began to say that Ukrainians did not comply. On 15 February we were in Debaltsevo were ordered to clear the city from the Ukrainians. During the fighting in the jaw I got a splinter. The part that I took myself, and some guys,” says Jay, sometimes running a hand along the scar on his chin.
“Then began the difficult phase of life here. After the reorganization of the army to accept only healthy, so I passed. For five months I have not received a salary and lived at my girl’s house,” says Jay. Now there is hope for the best. He again engaged in computers and preparing for the wedding. “I want to stay here. We were thinking to move to Russia, but there is no sense. Of money we postponed, not enough to try to find work there “it guy”,” concludes Jay.
One leader, one goal
The Caucasus, Behemoth, Jay Soukup — they all claim that they came to fight for Novorossia, which would stretch from Odessa to Kharkov. But in January 2015 Moscow left the project. “I support the new Russia as well as Czechoslovakia maintained. From fragmented small States a chance. So destroyed our Czechoslovakia. We were very big, which is why America, the Rothschilds we shared,” explains the Hippo over a plate of dumplings. In his mind everything is already laid out on shelves: the hatred of the Nazis is intertwined with the fear of the “Zionist conspiracy”.
“What is it, actually, for the political system of the Donetsk people’s Republic?” — I asked him. “There is no political system. I call it socialism with a human face,” says the Hippo. The Caucasus adds: “there are no parties-they are banned. We still are at war. There is no room for parties, which began between a curse about what will and will not do. One leader, one goal and everything. We can call it a military dictatorship, but it has its advantages”.
On Caucasus and Hippo can be seen that the orders in Donetsk, where the rebels have imposed the death penalty and where, according to Human Rights Watch, mysteriously disappearing people, these two are considered too democratic. “I would have pushed much stronger. Now everything has become stricter, but it was real anarchy. Not destructive, as in hippie style. People can say anything, but I don’t care,” says the Hippo.
The Caucasus gives an example: “I was talking to the boy, asked: “What are you, the students, I think, what you say teachers? I expected that teachers will be a little bit Patriotic, will clarify the situation. No, they do not. There are guys who are slowly leaning on the side of Ukraine. Just shallow morons” — outraged the Caucasus, and Behemoth, absorbing dumplings, explains to him: “young idea of Nazism tempting. These crosses, runes…”
For example, the Caucasus annoying that in DND there is no compulsory military service. “All voluntarily. But why do I, a person who shed blood, have to share the country with those who support Ukraine? Why we must have some rights? It’s in my head. Okay, I don’t want to fight, you have no heart, then work on the Republic. You must work a certain number of hours, you pay more in taxes, and your voice will be less mean than mine,” suggests the Caucasus
Tanks? We blind them out of plasticine
Both the Czech “volunteers” admit that the Donetsk people’s Republic is not perfect, but in their eyes it is better than the Czech Republic. “We are under a dictatorship is more democratic than you have in Europe. We love this Republic,” says the Hippo. According to him, coming here was the best decision of his life. “The Donetsk — true, and I’m glad I chose this way. Not for money, because no money and no”.
When he talks about the future of Donbass, his eyes light up. “The Republic helped the recognition by Russia of passports. It is — as a guest in the throat of the Kiev upstarts. Since there are calculated in rubles, people are Pro-Russian, it would be logical if Russia accepted them. But now because of the policies she can’t. She’s not that strong to afford it. If it happens that the Ukraine attack at Donetsk, of course, going to kill someone, but for the Republic it will be a victory, because Russia will introduce peacekeepers”, — predicts the Hippo.
But not if they entered Russia three years ago? Jay claims that he never saw here Russian soldiers. “Direct military aid is not here. If there was a Russian army, we would have won this war in 2014”, — he assures me. I am again reminded about this when we go with the Behemoth football. “We had tanks,” he says to the taxi driver on the way to the village near Donetsk. “And where did you get them?” — I ask. “What kind of stupid questions? Modeled from plasticine”, — cuts off a Hippo.
Neither the Caucasus nor the Behemoth are not going to return to the Czech Republic. They have been living abroad, and all communication broken. “The last six months I keep in touch with mom, and no one else. Mom — for us, but I don’t know why: due to the fact that I’m her son or because she understands the situation,” says the Caucasus.
Sometimes it comes to the MP from the Communist Zdenek Ondracek. They participated in the opening of the representative office of the DNI in Ostrava last year. “The Republic we are still counting. What will happen, nobody knows. If the war will start again, we’ll stay. We only the climate does not suit. Autumn on the positions we endured temperatures of minus 29. I want the coconuts and the sea,” sighed the Behemoth, remembering the years spent in the tropics.