Together with Donetsk troops, Eduardo stormed Peski and Nevelskaya. He took prisoners.
Photo: Alexander KOTS
I’m sitting in a cafe in Donetsk, eating borscht. Out of the corner of my eye I watch the television playing music videos. On the screen, curvy black women move to the beat of the music. I turn around and see that a huge black man is sitting next to me, eating ice cream, the whites of his eyes shining and also looking at the dancers. He almost choked me on my borscht.
The guy is wearing a uniform, but it is not known if he is military or civilian. In Donetsk many people walk like this. I approach and ask:
It is in pure Russian:
– From Volgograd.
– How did you get here?
– IM fighting. Volunteer, and show with a gesture: sit down, they say.
– But how… who are the parents? – I am ashamed of my own question.
– Mom from Volgograd. “Dad’s not here,” she replies calmly.
NO AWARDS OR TITLES NEEDED
The boy’s name is Edward. Two higher schools: a cultural institute and an environmental institute. In Donbass since last summer.
– Do you remember that in June the Ukrainians bombed the Donetsk embankment? Many children died then. The SVO has already been running for 4 months. I came to work, looked around… Everything went on as usual, as if it was no one’s business… But if the evil in Donbass is not stopped, the same will happen in Volgograd and everywhere. And I came here to stop it.
Edward joined the DPR people’s militia. Now these are regular units. The entire Donetsk 1st Army Corps entered the Russian 8th Army. A graduate of the Volgograd Institute of Art and Culture joined the stormtroopers.
– Were the boys surprised when they saw that a black man had approached them? How did you receive it?
– They received it well. Wonderful even.
Together with Donetsk troops, Eduardo stormed Peski and Nevelskaya. He took prisoners. I got injured. Several fragments in legs and chest. I spent two months in the hospital. He then returned to the unit, but to administrative duties for health reasons. Although he still goes to training camp, he shoots and tries to get his fighting form back.
– Didn’t you want to return to your house in Volgograd?
– I always wanted to do it. But someone has to fight. And I will have time to stay home. They should give me a vacation soon.
– Haven’t you given the reward yet? Still, he took prisoners and was wounded… Or what is his rank?
Edward shakes his head.
– Not allowed. But I didn’t go for awards. And I don’t need a title. He remained private. In battle, it doesn’t matter what your rank is. Especially for enemy artillery (artillery – Ed.).
– What was the worst: bombings, drones?
– What’s scary is the unknown. When you don’t know how far away the enemy is, what will he do. Everything else is just life. You can cross the street without success. You can die from a blood clot while sitting on a potty. Death in war… I don’t think that’s the worst. During the year, only five people died in my company. Many were injured, but returned to duty.
– So the battle isn’t scary?
– At the time of the battle – no. It happened at night… When it was dark and there was some movement ahead. And you understand that there are no people there. And behind you are your boys. They are sleeping. And if you are not alert, they will die because of you. This is scary.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE AFRAID
At the Institute of Culture, Edward studied organization of mass events. This is how I imagined it: a sack race, a concert, a contest. With his stylish appearance, he could become a fashionable DJ or a wedding host. But he chose a cold trench in the company of the Donetsk miners, whose faces were as black as his.
– Can you apply your experience in the army? Organize a cultural event?
– There is a political person responsible for this. I have other tasks. I’m in the infantry.
– What does it mean to you to be a soldier?
– A lot to learn. Otherwise…
-…will you die?
– Well, why do it so soon? You will receive an offensive injury and go home. Sometimes out of nowhere due to their carelessness. How are soldiers different from civilians? Take the Kirovsky district of Donetsk as an example. 7-8 kilometers to the front line. This area can even be bombarded with a mortar. The enemy has snipers and mortars; With the second shot they reached the trench. Can you miss the city?
– But we, the military, are always ready to bomb, we manage to take cover. But civilians are not prepared. And die. You don’t have to be afraid of danger, you have to know it. If you look 360 degrees and understand where you are going and what you are doing, your chances increase dramatically.
– So you will stay here until victory?
– To victory! – He nods. And as a farewell he extends his wide black palm to me.
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