30 years ago, Sergei Burlakov, then a recruit, had an accident: the car in which he was a passenger fell off a cliff from a height of 15 meters. He received serious injuries and frostbite (he lay unassisted all night in icy 45 degrees). Result: I lost my hands and legs up to the knee. It would seem: a catastrophe, a cross in all plans.
Years have passed. Today he is the winner of many championships, a marathon runner, the world champion in para-karate, the owner of the Spirit of Space, which is called the unofficial sport “Oscar”. He twice he spoke at the UN. Married. Since last year he is a member of the State Duma. That is, life goes on, which Sergey is trying to convince our wounded soldiers in Ukraine.
When you’re not ashamed of yourself
Sergei Vladimirovich, when he left the hospital in Rostov-on-Don, said that he did not see hatred or regret in the boys’ eyes. Is it because you show by your example that everything in life can be overcome?
Sergei Burlakov: There are many such examples. I am not the only one who was able to accept what happened to me and continue living happily. Sometimes I even think that if it weren’t for the injury, my life wouldn’t be so bright and interesting. I shared this thought with the guys at the hospital.
There is no hatred or regret in the eyes of the wounded fighters, because I was lucky enough to meet conscientious and thinking people. I saw that they understand why they did their duty, they are not ashamed of themselves. Now everyone knows that they are real men, heroes. And it’s easier to live with this feeling.
It’s hard to surprise you. But, do you remember any soldier in particular, his history or situation?
Sergey Burlakov: I remember a guy who cried after we talked about life. I didn’t tell him anything supernatural, I just shared my philosophy. He was imbued and said that he had not heard such words even from his father. Worldly wisdom is capable of overcoming any pain and difficulty we face. But this wisdom comes with experience, which is why it is so important for young people to talk to a person who has already been down a thorny path.
Will communication continue with some of the wounded?
Sergei Burlakov: I have exchanged phone numbers with many. The geography is great, but I travel all over the country, always willing to help and participate in their lives. I saw promising boys from the sporting point of view. If you want, I will do my best to create all the conditions for the sport. I am sure that they have every chance to win Russian championships and international competitions.
Dude, do you need help?
People in wheelchairs report that bystanders on the street often choose the wrong behavior. Rude, fortunately, rarely. But they try to help them when it is not necessary. This is frustrating and frustrating to say the least. How will it be correct?
Sergey Burlakov: So you came to my office. And you’re embarrassed, you don’t know, maybe I need help, or maybe this isn’t right. The easiest way to get out of an awkward situation is to ask a question. All you need to do is ask a person with a disability: friend, do you need help?
Well, but let’s say that the relatives find out that their son is injured, he is in the hospital. What words of support are most specifically needed in such a situation? If I’m not mistaken, her doctor, informing about the amputation, immediately asked her: what do you plan to do in life? So is it possible?
Sergei Burlakov: There is no universal answer. We are all different, each one needs an individual approach. But I know for a fact that pity is a disgusting feeling. In my opinion, the easiest way to support a loved one is to love him as he is right now in front of you, and do not forget to confess your love to him.
Grief is a disgusting feeling. just love your loved one
There is an episode in the movie “Barge carriers. Russia. Taganrog”: you say that after a monstrous accident, compensation for arms and legs from the state amounted to $ 150. And then – mockingly beggar pension. We have been searching for the truth for a long time. This is not about money, but about the fact that a person should realize himself, not be worse than a man with hands who can support the family from him. But now you are the very state they turn to for the truth. What has been done, what should the State Duma do about it?
Sergey Burlakov: As a deputy, I try to listen to people and respond to their requests as best I can. Since we started talking about the hospital, when I went there, I asked the doctors what they needed. They say: drills are needed, not enough. They weren’t that easy to acquire, but we found them. The same principle applies to law making. I am open to communication. There are initiatives, you face difficulties-he writes. You can even contact me on social media. I certainly hear a good offer.
Not all those who fought and are now fighting for Russia and Donbass will continue their military careers. If such people are in the governing bodies tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow they become ministers and governors, this will make the country stronger.
Sergei Burlakov: It all depends on the person. There is a desire to reach any height. With modern methods of prosthetics, there are definitely no problems with employment. And you can drive a car, work on a computer and participate in marathon races. Obviously, I don’t know much about this.
Relatives and friends of those who were seriously injured came to me with a request to call and support the boys. I communicate with them. I will respond to any request. If a person wants to go to study, do not hesitate to act. If you want to go to sports, please. Believe me, it’s not about connections and acquaintances, but about desire. If a military man has the most powerful potential and copes with the role of governor or minister, I will be happy. I think there are not so many such competent managers, after all, this is a certain type of people. But if there are among the military, it is pride and joy for the entire country.
Behind the scenes
“I was lucky in life”
Somehow the president suddenly turned to you unexpectedly for those around him: “Hello, Sergey!” How to become a person whom Putin himself calls by his name?
Sergey Burlakov: I don’t know how to become such a person. I’m sure I’ve been lucky in this life.
Voenkor Alexander Sladkov posted a funny video. He is talking to a captured soldier of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “Not hit, not torture?” -“Everything is fine, they gave me an interesting book. About a pilot who lost his legs in the war. I won’t say his last name, I don’t remember him”. – “Well, das! Maresyev, or what?” – “Yes, yes, that’s the name!”. One would like to say: it is in Ukraine that there is a generation that has not read The Story of a Real Man by Boris Polevoy. But what do you think, only there?
Sergei Burlakov: I recently visited one of the Moscow schools. My teachers told me that the special operation in Ukraine inspired Russian schoolchildren to take an interest in history. Can you imagine high school students asking teachers to conduct extra classes and talk about the Yugoslav, Afghan and Chechen conflicts? The children realized that history has a serious impact on contemporaries, they need to learn from their ancestors. Schoolchildren themselves told me that lately there have been a lot of bloggers telling historical facts. Of course, there are young people in our country who read little, they are not interested in culture, history and literature. But when I hear those stories, I take pride in the younger generation.
Taganrog instead of Manhattan
You shocked Americans by running the New York Marathon twice. Sergei Burlakov’s name appears three times in the Guinness Book of Records. Tell me, are there any comments from the Americans, for whom you are an idol? Isn’t everyone there a victim of anti-Russian phobias?
Sergey Burlakov: I have a large number of acquaintances in the US and Europe with whom I communicate. People from Ukraine call me, whose relatives are now in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They retained their human form. They want to communicate, ask for advice, not divide people along ethnic lines. Although there are those who stopped communicating with me after the start of the special operation. Now it is fashionable to throw mud at the Russians. Such is the fashion of foolishness and fascism.
Were you invited to stay in the United States? You showed your wife a skyscraper in Manhattan, where you were offered an apartment. Do you regret not living in New York?
Sergey Burlakov: For me, living in America is like marrying not for love and thinking all my life: did I marry the right one? I don’t go on vacation abroad, because for me a real vacation is in Taganrog, in my homeland. And in the US it’s suffocating for me.
You have achievements in athletics, karate, shooting, cycling, swimming. You are a politician, a legislator… Do you have anything left to dream about?
Sergei Burlakov: I want to benefit people. I want the laws that we adopt in the Duma to be popular and improve people’s lives.
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