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HomeLatest News“The Heart of Heroes Beats Forever”: How Our Fallen Fighters Give Signs...

“The Heart of Heroes Beats Forever”: How Our Fallen Fighters Give Signs From Heaven To Save The Living

Date: March 23, 2023 Time: 01:32:07

Andrey Rakhov, volunteer, art observer and former firefighter, left us


I wrote to Arnie at 4:11 pm: “Hello, do you mind if I go near Ugledar tomorrow to sit in the same trench with you? I’ll bring the book, as promised, we’ll chat. Waiting for an answer.” In the last post on his telegram channel “Firefighter” Arnie wrote that our people were hooked to the Uludar dachas and everything calmed down somehow, there was no assault fever and I reasoned that I would not particularly interfere with nobody.

At 18.00 our common partner called me: “Arnie died, he hit a mine.”

Andrey Rakhov, a volunteer, art observer and former firefighter, left us. Arnie was also a poet, a master of the melee, and one of the foundations of the St. Petersburg fan movement. The other day, in memory of him, the Serbian comrades-in-arms unfurled a huge banner on the stands: “The hero’s heart will beat forever.”

I met him in early May, at the location of the Vostok battalion near Mariupol. He came to our little room with a personally forged old Russian ax and a banner with the face of Christ. We moved old furniture, cleared a spot for his sleeping bag, somehow we immediately became friends and began to live and live as a strict, non-drinking male team.

Arnie was also a poet, a master of the melee, and one of the foundations of the St. Petersburg fan movement.

Photo: Dmitri STESHIN

One of the paradoxes of what is happening is that I rarely talked to Arnie, but I experienced a lot with him, enough to get to know each other in a way that you don’t recognize in ten years of a peaceful life. And one of our joint experiences left a strange mystical imprint on digital photography, preserved in the material. In the gray zone, in the Azovstal sorting yard, Arnie and I, at our peril and peril, were looking for our downed helicopter, following in the footsteps of the fleeing Azovites *. They took out the wounded and were attacked with mortar fire, leaving his brother as a result. He lay there on a fashionable foreign gurney in the shape of a trough. The “Azovites”* fled in a terrible panic, everything gushing out of their pockets and discharges. Arnie scooped up the weed and handed me the coolest pocket game console. He immediately turned on and the menu from him turned out to be on the “sovereign move”. I immediately gave away the shop found with trackers: a rare thing at the time. At some point I took a photo, for some reason it always fascinated me, and only now I understand its visionary meaning. Arnie, as it were, goes out along the endless dark corridor of train cars straight into the sky, and it is incredibly blue, with such blessed clouds as on the icons. When Arnie died, I found the footage and looked at this photo for a long time. I felt cold.

Arnie walks ahead, in Azovstal qualifying, May 10, 2022

Photo: Dmitri STESHIN

As always, after the death of a comrade, Vysotsky’s words once again comforted him: “our dead will not leave us in trouble, our fallen are like sentinels.” I always thought they were watching us from heaven. And the news of Arnie came very fast.

Here they visit in a blizzard

In the morning I went to visit an amazing person. Nikolai Vasilyevich is a former miner, retired for a long time. For the last nine years he has been living 300 meters from the nip, in his ramshackle house and raising a good hundred pigeons. And pigeon breeders are not simple people, they are mediators between earth and sky. Especially in such circumstances. It takes me exactly 20 minutes to get to Nikolai Vasilyevich. As they say in the Donbass, something scared me, I could not decide: to immediately go through the main church of Donetsk, the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral, to light a candle for Arnie’s repose, or do it on the way back when I don’t have hurry? I still drove to the temple and there my phone rang. I also thought: “well, who is this, what a bad time!”. Called Nikolai Vasilyevich:

Nikolai Vasilyevich is a former miner, retired a long time ago

Photo: Dmitri STESHIN

– Dima, don’t even think about coming! We are fighting here, a shell fell near the house. Come tomorrow, if he is calmer.

In terms of time, it turned out: if it were not for Arnie, I would have rolled to the remnants of the Donetsk airport just before the start of the shelling, perhaps this shell would have found me.

I came to Nikolai Vasilyevich only three days later, when a “thunderstorm warning” was announced throughout the Donbass, a blizzard and fog. The artillery fell silent, the fighting stopped.

Without incident, he rolled to the street where Nikolai Vasilyevich lives. Ahead, through the mist, were the outlines of a battle-ravaged airport terminal. I also thought: “maybe put a set of skins on the car?”. But, the blizzard before my eyes turned it into a snowdrift, and I decided that it was superfluous, then you can’t pull it out, you can’t bend it.

Asya, a dog, came out to meet me, small, but strict and vociferous.

– The first dog with a human name, – Nikolai Vasilyevich joked, – before that there were “Cliffs”, “Shilki”, “Nona” … There is also a cat “Leaks” … Let’s go to the house, drink tea.

My interlocutor cannot say exactly how many times they flew to his house. Show only especially memorable wounds:

– Look, here I had a TV, new, good. The shelling has started, let me, I think, I’ll rearrange it on the floor! That’s right, do you see the hole in the wall? She pulled out a heavy fragment! Then he covered me well, they pulled out my teeth. But I inserted new ones, they helped (laughs).

– Where do they hit and with what, mines?

– No, there are practically no shells left, craters remain. I know how mine arrive.

Pointing somewhere in the direction of the airport:

– There is Thin, Water, Swallow, Orlovka – the guys have not caught it yet, Spartak is close, Sands… Just across the track and they throw it. That’s when you were supposed to get there, he flew on the road, then after three houses the dog died, yesterday, on the turn towards me, everything was on the ground and a funnel, even the neighbors got into the garden. .

Nikolai Vasilyevich at some point understands that all these transfers of arrivals are meaningless, and waves his hand.

The author came to Nikolai Vasilyevich only three days later.

Photo: Dmitri STESHIN

“Givi brought wood, Motorola found iron”

This middle-aged man, with the stubbornness of a convict or with the stubbornness of an old miner, continues to repair his house. And now this house is warm and cozy. We drink tea, talk and I notice that we are still alert, listening to what is happening around.

And outside the window, in a gray blizzard, the machine gun suddenly says lazily: “sort of” and I don’t like it very much, it was not enough for dill reconnaissance to jump out at us, the best weather for this. I ask: “Away from us?”. Nikolai Vasilyevich, without hesitation, says:

– Two thousand meters.

I listen to the interlocutor and I understand that the point at which we find ourselves, in some way, is a historical place where the most brilliant historical figures of recent years have passed. Nikolai Vasilievich points out the window:

– See the pile of wood? Givi brought. Oh, the commander was tough. I ordered lightning, I wake up in the morning, the guys are already downloading. Motorola tells me – “Grandpa, I found iron for your roof.” That’s right, a whole stack. I drove a wheelbarrow and blocked the roof, not for long, actually. I knew all the guys from Pyatnashka – I fed them strawberries, tomatoes, and they helped me as much as they could. Many of us get married. Here, very close, came the late Zakharchenko, with the wives of the prisoners. And immediately the shelling began, then the water tower was placed beautifully. Zakharchenko to the wives: “What, do you see how yours are shelling us?”

– Were there slugs here?

– I went into the house next door, in such a black uniform. National Guard. She shot the lock with the machine gun and hid. I went to him. He tells me: “They put me to watch the airport, but I don’t want to. Now I’ll put on civilian clothes and go.” I told him: “Come on, give up, you fool! Nobody will hurt you!”

– And the?

– He says, they say, I myself will calmly return home through Russia. Well, I lived for a couple of days, changed my clothes, went to the station (about a couple of kilometers, about Corr.) And there was a patrol. He ran and was shot in the back…

I’m trying to make sense of this story:

– The man did not want to fight and was taken prisoner, he considered that there was no reason to take him. But this does not happen if he put on a uniform and took up a weapon.

Nikolai Vasilievich says that the deserter himself was hiding in his attic. He brings and shows me a silver bracelet with a nameplate. Some Latin letters and numbers “93” are engraved on it – a separate mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They are also called “cyborgs”.

Nikolai Vasilyevich says a deserter was hiding in his attic

Photo: Dmitri STESHIN

I ask, of course: “relatives are at war”? Nikolai Vasilyevich sighs:

– The nephew near Avdeevka has been lying for a month, they cannot stand it.

Part of the family of Nikolai Vasilyevich from Vinnitsa. They haven’t spoken since they were 14 years old. When the first “Immortal Regiment” was being prepared in Donetsk, they flatly refused to send a photo of the grandfather who fought. But not everyone there is like that, there were those who sent a photo.

First we win, then we make up

Let’s feed the pigeons. Nikolai Vasilyevich explains his passion simply:

I have been raising them since the age of six. The peace symbol is a dove or not, I don’t know, but I don’t eat them. Why do I need pigeons? And if you get scared, he will fly into the sky, you look at him and feel warmth in your soul. At 14-15 I hid pigeons in the cellar, many of them were beaten. And now another misfortune: predators, I have run out of about 80 pigeons. A dove stands in the sky, and a hawk grabs it, and that’s it…

Nikolai Vasilyevich opens an aviary with pets – pigeons of the “twist” breed. But they do not fly far, they immediately sit on the ridge of the roof. “Time doesn’t fly,” chuckling, warns the pigeon breeder.


– How will it all end?

Nikolai Vasilievich, without hesitation, answers:

– Our victory.

– Shall we reconcile?

– No. They despise us and that’s why they kill us. There are normal people there, but there are more jackals. I don’t know how we will reconcile. We win, we understand.

They don’t just let me go. Nikolai Vasilievich prepared me jars of strawberry syrup, strawberry jelly and just jam, strawberry of course. It turns out that he has a large garden. A person cannot live without working.

He was returning to the city. I slowed down a bit in the so-called “nine”, a tormented nine-story building, the so-called “little family” for airport employees. In 14-15 there was a command post for “Sparta”, “Somalia” and all those who stormed the airport. I’ve been there many times and I know how all the doors open at once when the Grad comes to this house. And most likely, Nikolai Vasilievich, against the background of terrible and bloody events, simply showed and shows with his life what these guys are fighting for, for a person who did not run away, but lives and works on his own land and does not it is afraid of anything. Not to go there.

* an organization banned in the Russian Federation

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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