The previous issues of Pskovskaya Guberniya featured materials on Russian soldiers being killed in action in Eastern Ukraine, the materials resonating greatly in Russia and around the world.
|Pskovskaya Guberniya’s photographer saw a name plate and a wreath from fellow paratroopers at Alexander Osipov’s grave in Vybuty on August 25. On August 27 Reuters’ reporter found neither the ribbon signed by the paratroopers nor the name on the cross Photo: Pskovskaya Guberniya|
The publications attracted attention not only from the wider audience but also from the soldiers’ families and the soldiers themselves. The author of one of the published materials, Lev Schlossberg, was addressed by servicemen of the 76th Paratrooper Assault Division asking to publish information from direct participants of the combat. The journalist was addressed not long before he was attacked and beaten on August 29 in Pskov.
Pskovskaya Guberniya’s editor received recordings of two talks that occured upon the soldiers’ withdrawal from the combat zone. There are no ground for doubt as of the authenticity of the materials provided.
Of special interest is the description of the death of Leonid Kichatkin who was buried in Vybuty on August 25.
The talks reflect both the nature of the combat Russian units from the 76th Paratrooper Assault Division take part in and the scale of combat losses suffered by these units. Pskovskaya Guberniya publishes fragments of both the talks, while omitting the obscenities.
“There are, like, ten people on the list of those still alive”
Voice 2: Well, how’s it going? Tell me about it.
Voice 1: Well, duh… We were fighting. A battle f…ing hard and long. F… it. So the whole f…ing company was f…ing walking…
Voice 2: Did they down the whole company?
Voice 1: Yeah, yeah… so were were going, you know, in a four-letter way, got to a field, and the sunflowers were so f…ing high you couldn’t see other people’s heads. And there was a checkpoint in the middle of the field. Well, we f…ed it up. So we went… I was looking through a “Tulip” [assault rifle sights model]… and there were three f…ing tanks, a flak, an IFV and a T-72. We f… them up, that f… truck with ammo and s…t. We had our pointer f… fume-poisoned, feel me? We carried him out, poured water on him, feel me?
Voice 2: Who?
|The nameplate from Leonid Kichatkin’s grave disappeared between August 25 and 27 as well. However, in early September Pskovskaya Guberniya found ot that before the crosses granite headstones appeared with names, photos and dates of birth and death of the deceased. As the issues was printed, this information wasn’t yet checked. Photo: Pskovskaya Guberniya|
Voice 1: Well, the guy, the pointer. So we f… brought him back to senses. Then Korolenko drives up, the first company commander, a f… captain. And that f… : “Why the f… aren’t you there?” I say: “One of ours got fume poisoning.” So he started giving orders… Then Lenya Kichatkin… You know Lenya Kichatkin?
Voice 2: Yeah, sure, he was buried yesterday… today.
Voice 1: Today, he had a wife.
Voice 2: Have you seen what they write on our pages [on social networks, commented by Ukrainians]? Have you?
Voice 1: Yes, but I told my [wife] to delete the page… and so… And then shelling began. Then Lenya came and he, the captain, gave orders. We had to move to those f… military warehouse, the shelling came from there. And then the f… shelling came. And it was f… up. I don’t recall, I also was f… hit, burnt.
Voice 2: Wait, see, those units attached from the 7th f…ing company, did they put everyone in one company?
Voice 1: Yeah… They staffed only the first, second and third companies. They staffed those
Voice 2: Who staffed them? Where? Are there any lists of those sent?
Voice 1: Right there, in the HQ. In thr HQ. In HQ 234 you find T. – the colonel.
Voice 2: Is T. the political officer?
Voice 1: Yes.
Voice 2: So I didn’t get it, were you carried away or what?
Voice 1: I got up, I didn’t even understand what… I realized something pierced me here, it was painful.
Voice 2: Was it a shard?
Voice 1: Yeah, it got me here and between the legs too… I got up and couldn’t understand what was going on.
Voice 2: Was it the leg here as well? Did thet sew it up?
Voice 1: Yeah, it got me here.
Voice 2: So how many f…ing died?
Voice 1: Well, a f…ton.
Voice 2: Don’t you know? 40, 50, 100 people?
Voice 1: 80.
Voice 2: Eighty?
Voice 1: Yeah. That’s counting Chereha…
Voice 2: Is that from the one company?
Voice 1: Chereha, Promezhitsy, put together.
Voice 2: Because there was a f…ing rumor that there were f…ing 140.
Voice 1: Yeah? Could be.
Voice 2: Well, that’s from Pskov.
Voice 1: I dunno, it’s together with Promezhitsy, Chereha and all.
Voice 2: Well, wait, f… how do you know now who’s alive and who’s dead?
Voice 1: The lists. There are, like, ten people on the list of those still alive. I remember Zaseya, he saw it when we were driving away through a field. He’s from the 7th or the 8th [company]. They all came out of the battle together, they were in the second company.
Voice 2: Everyone in the second? Wasn’t the second company hit?
Voice 1: I don’t know…
Voice 2: Just the first one, then?
Voice 1: I don’t know… You should ask T.
Voice 2: They say they are gathering all the rest and sending them.
Voice 1: Yeah, they are sending everyone…
Voice 2: All the contract soldiers there are.
Voice 1: They are going tomorrow.
Voice 2: Tomorrow or today… What did they tell you when you left? What was the date?
Voice 1: I knew where I was going, I guessed.
Voice 2: On the 16th?
Voice 1: Well, yeah?
Voice 2: So it was the 16th, damnit? Did you go all together?
Voice 1: Yes.
Voice 2: When did all this happen then?
Voice 1: On the 20th.
Voice 2: At what time on the 20th?
Voice 1: I was wounded at 10.
Voice 2: A.M.?
Voice 1: Yes.
Voice 1: We shouldn’t have switched the f…ing phones on.
Voice 2: There?
Voice 1: Yeah… they located the phones. There was an American radioelectronic warfare brigade.
Voice 2: Was the convoy on the march when it was f…ing hit? Or did you take positions..?
Voice 1: I’m telling you how it was. We were f…ing going… looking for those f…ing Ukrs, how they call them. So were were f…ing looking for them… We got out, we were located, *boom*, and we were pulled into encirclement, get it? *Whee…* We didn’t f… care. We f… *ka-boom*ed them. we got on the road, there was a f…ing field, the sunflowers, the checkpoint. We started shelling it, *boom-boom-boom*, destroyed it. Then went deeper into the field. And the shelling is coming from there, you see, we are moving where the shelling is coming from.
Voice 2: So was it an open space?
Voice 1: Yeah… they are shooting from the other side too. It’s our artillery working on Georgievka. We shot whoever we saw, see? It was a battle, how do you know… I couldn’t even… They are shooting from here, there and ther too… You don’t even know where the shooting is coming from anymore. In this whirl you can’t even see where they are coming from.
Voice 2: Were in hospital in Rostov?
Voice 1: Yes.
Voice 2: What about those killed? Where are they now?
Voice 1: I don’t know…
Voice 2: Were they left there? Did anyone collect them?
Voice 1: I don’t know… they did transfer some… They did transfer Lenya, you see. Maybe they got them here. T. has a list of who and where. Who lived and who died, see?
Voice 2: I see. If they get more people there, that will be for quite a long time. Who did they staff that f…ing third company with?
Voice 1: Everyone…
Voice 2: The specials too?
Voice 1: Yes… The second and third battalions. They got the NBC defense guys as flamethrower operators…
Voice 2: I see, they made a group.
Voice 1: Yeah, yeah…
Voice 2: A. called, A. said: “F…, bro, I don’t know anything, I can’t tell you anything.”
Voice 1: You aren’t allowed to tell anything anymore?
Voice 2: On whose orders?
Voice 1: They’ve banned all talking about this. No talking at all about this.
Voice 2: Well, who banned it?
Voice 1: The brass…
Voice 2: Did N. do it?
Voice 1: Yes, N. banned it and…
Voice 2: Has he even f…ing been there?
Voice 1: The political officer G. went with us.
Voice 2: G. ?
Voice 1: And that one…
Voice 2: They’ve sent the whole supply battalion there.
Voice 1: L., right? Everyone…
Voice 2: The rear service too, f…
Voice 2: I don’t get it, you say a company was hit, right? You say you were going in a 4-letter way… was that the whole batallion or only one company?
Voice 1: One company… It was Chereha… We wanted to encircle them.
Voice 2: But you didn’t have time to, right?
Voice 1: Right. Because there was no communication, nothing, and f..k knows who the enemy is.
Voice 2: No communication at all? F…ing suppressed ?
Voice 1: Yeah…
Voice 2: F…, how can you do without?
Voice 1: Well, you know…
Voice 2: Have you heard we got a Suvorov medal?
Voice 1: Who did?
Voice 2: Our division.
Voice 1: I know…
Voice 2: Well, what are you doing next? Are you going back from here on your own?
Voice 1: Well, I don’t know, maybe they’ll carry us… I’m the only one walking here… Everyone’s badly roughed up…
Voice 2: Was it f… mortar fire?
Voice 1: Yeah, I guess. Cassette bombing…
Voice 2: Were their aircrafts there too?
Voice 1: What?
Voice 2: No aircraft?
Voice 1: Well, there was… Those, they went up… They got them with manpads… Our guys did. They downed two helicopters…
Voice 2: You are like magically cured…
Voice 1: Some got their f…ng finger phalanx torn off.
Voice 2: Where is K., in what company?
Voice 1: In ours, the firs one.
Voice 2: A. too, the thin one, from the command?
Voice 1: Yes, I saw many.
Voice 2: L.S., was a deputy in that f…ng squadron.
Voice 1: I may know many of them by face, you see… Leha, Serega, Vaska… I know all of them by face – like “hey, bro, how’s it going?” But I’ll be damned if I remember all of them by last name?
Voice 2: Well, so… Do they brief the division on who lives and who doesn’t?
Voice 1: Yes, they tell everything… T. has a list.
Voice 2: I see…
Voice 1: So that’s how it is. I tell you, I went like two steps away from them. Just somebody said: “Go check there.” There was shooting, and if they didn’t approach – they just f…ng hit, you see, the assault came from there. Well, I just went to see if those bitches were there. I just stepped away, turned, and it went *wheee* – I f…ng fell into the grass. Into those f…ng sunflowers. And the f…ng shelling came. I f…ng stand up… And everyone is lying down… everyone’s down, I f…ng stood up. The guys who survived starting putting the f…ng bandages. I f…ng ran up to Leha and started bandaging him. I saw there was no point in bandaging, his lef was broken, his hips were f…ng torn apart. I say, I just look, we have like two or three tanks left. Those went to the left and we f…ng lost them. I see the gun is f…ng jammed. That tank got the gun jammed as well. And I like tell the guys: “Fall back or we’ll be f…ng crushed.” I went there, to the platoon commander…
Voice 2: Already hurt?
Voice 1: Yes!… I go there, and the blood is f…ng gushing, my legs are covered in blood. I went through that f…ng field. I get out and there… Well, we put Lenya into the tank, the company commander, everyone wounded. I went to the platoon commander: I say “we gotta get the f…k out of here.” I come up to the platoon commander – their tank got stuck on a slab of concrete and they can’t get off… So we set up defense around that tank, see? Those c…s were advancing… so we f…ng set up for the time building. Then another IFV came up, with Zh. from the 6th company. The guys rushed up and managed to get him out, then they also shot up a 72. So… So we f…ng fell back. We pulled out the IFV, loaded the wounded and fell back, see? We fell back in that direction. We are being fired upon from the airport… And f…k if we were going to engage, we were done, see? We got to your positions… Some were wounded, some already… We loaded them on another IFV, carried them to the militia, loaded on an ambulance and went to the hospital. I was already done.
Voice 2: I see, you did lose a lot of blood.
Voice 1: My head was f…ng spinning. I came up, took everything off. Everything was soaked with blood – the shirt, the briefs… I took all the clothes off…
Voice 2: Wait, did they tell you in advance where you were going?
Voice 1: Well, gradually… I did know where I was going. Well, f…k if anyone didn’t know where we were going. I talled my wife I was going to war, is all.
Voice 2: I see…
Voice 1: Well, first they said we were going to the border to accompany a package, you see?
Voice 2: So you say 10 stayed alive? How many were there? 90?
Voice 1: Well… How many were there in the company? We had only two platoons in the first company. The first and the second. Or was it two?
Voice 2: I believe there were three platoons of 30.
Voice 1: Yeah, three platoons, seven per section, three sections in a platoon.
Voice 2: 21 people? Well, as usual, 21 and 21 and 21 makes 60. Well, no, so there were four platoons. Do you know who else stayed alive?
Voice 1: I don’t know…
Voice 2: So who said ten were left?
Voice 1: T. said. He said there were only ten people left alive. Well, you know…
Voice 2: I see, damn. S. will treat you in Pskov, if he’s there, that is. He could have left as well?
Voice 1: Where would he go in his age?
Voice 2: Well, actually there’s a lot of young medic there.
Voice 1: They did go somewhere…
Voice 2: Sure. You gotta have medical support. Did you get an exit wound?
Voice 1: No, a blunt wound. The shard is still there?
Voice 2: Will they get it out later?
Voice 1: I dunno, they won’t yet… It’s a tangential wound, it doesn’t matter, it’s a small one.
Voice 2: They’ll get it out eventually.
Voice 1: Yeah… We actually had to use a f…ng Grad. F..ck it all up. Then sweep up.
Voice 2: And no communication at all? Even with your guys?
Voice 1: They jam it.
Voice 2: What about 159?
Voice 1: They locate them right away. There’s an American radiolectronic brigade. They cover everyone.
Voice 2: Take the f…ng location?
Voice 1: Yeah… bam – and you’re f…ng done.
Voice 2: Did your wife come to visit?
Voice 1: Where, here? Nope, she’s working. She’s got the young one, the daughter, where would she go?
Voice 2: What about the daughter?
Voice 1: “Will you come home?” – she asks. “I will.”
“Our people are killed and we don’t say anything. Why the f…k?”
Voice 2: Where did you come from?
Voice 1: There.
Voice 2: There, I see. How did you get back?
Voice 1: On my own. That’s what they said: “We don’t give a f…k, get the f…k out of here on your own.”
Voice 2: Where exactly?
Voice 1: Kamensk-Shakhtinskyi.
Voice 2: Kamensk-Shakhtinsk…
Voice 1: 60 kilometers from the border.
Voice 2: 60 kilometers from the border… did you go by train? How did you get there?
Voice 1: We were flown there…
Voice 2: No, Kamensk-Shakhtinsk…
Voice 1: Well, we landed at Millerovo and rode there on trucks.
Voice 2: Ok, I see… Wait. What do they tell you, why do you go there? What do they tell you?
Voice 1: They tell us nothing, it’s an exercise.
Voice 2: Exercise with full combat ammo?
Voice 1: Aye, like they shoot at Strugi.
Voice 2: Where the f..ck is that exactly? ? F…ng Luhansk, where else?
Voice 1: There already was our column in Luhansk, doing some s…t there.
Voice 2: Well, it got f…d up.
Voice 1: Yeah…
Voice 2: All the f…ng first company.
Voice 1: All the f…ng first company…
Voice 2: Wait, do you know where they get the wounded?
Voice 1: We didn’t hear anything about the wounded. We were told they got f…d up, ten were left alive.
Voice 2: Where’s K?
Voice 1: I dunno, didn’t see him there.
Voice 2: How come you didn’t see him? Didn’t you fly there together?
Voice 1: We did, then we got scattered. The first battalion was sent over the f…ng border. And we stayed as the second echelon.
Voice 2: Ok. So you went here? Did they tell you to do anything with the papers, did you hand in your papers?
Voice 1: Only to those who went to the border.
Voice 2: Where the f…k did you hand them in? ?
Voice 1: We left them, a colonel went there – he left the phones and all, went there and then came back.
Voice 2: And the airborne companies, do they at least come for a f…ng day or two for the repairs?.. They f…ng stay there. ?
Voice 1: We only get the broken tanks here. Those dumbf…s had to bring seven tanks… There, to Kamensk-Schakhtinskyi, all the vehicles go there by train. Tanks from Dagestan, the T-90s…
Voice 2: There’s a whole army there, not one f…ng company. I see… That’s f…ng bad. Who is there from our f…ng guys as well? ?
Voice 1: The f…ng commandant guys… Those bitches just f…ng sit there and eat the f…ng water melons, doing jack s…t.
Voice 2: Is it hot there?
Voice 1: It’s f…d up there. It’s almost 30 [C] at 7 am. I’ll be f…d. And this s…t goes on all day.
Voice 2: Have you seen the f…ng supply battalion come? ?
Voice 1: I didn’t.
Voice 2: What food did they supply? Just the rations?
Voice 1: We only ate the rations. Only on the last day they gave us some hot food, just one dinner is all. I don’t know what did they get later.
Voice 2: In those cans and cauldrons and s…t?
Voice 1: Yeah… We got all those removed…
Voice 2: The insignia? Hey, did they make you sign any documents like f…ng non-disclosure, did the FSB [Federal Security Service] work there?
Voice 1: Teh FSB guys did work there, but I believe they didn’t have time to reach us. You do see what’s happening on the websites. I wanted to go on the website yesterday, where TVRain channel put it like the name plates were removed from soldiers’ graves. And the site was already f…ng blocked.
Voice 2: Websites are bulls…t.
Voice 1: Those bitches just keep covering it up.
Voice 2: Well, what do you think, what the f…k is that for? Are they going to send in more?
Voice 1: The second BTGR [battalion tactical group] is preparing to go in, but there are different rumors. Like they will just…
Voice 2: Wait for the time to replace those?
Voice 1: Yeah, replace. So they are gathering a f…ng second BTGR. There’re almost no f…ng draftees left, and the 2-13s will come, is all. And the 2-13s are to go home in two months, they’ll go away.
Voice 2: And no one is going to sign the contract?
Voice 1: Of course not, after they’ve found out all this shit.
Voice 2: Well, f…k me. The draftees are no retards.
Voice 1: Yeah.
Voice 2: I see. Are they going to send anyone from the 234th Regiment?
Voice 1: Everyone who’s left.
Voice 2: Do you know when they are going?
Voice 1: Haven’t a clue. The division commander will hold inspections, sure as f…k, but that’s all in standby mode.
Voice 2: Is the second [BTGR] not ready yet?
Voice 1: Sure it isn’t.
Voice 2: I think it won’t be for some time. Well, like two weeks tops. Get the f…k out. We gotta f…ng figure out something.
Voice 1: I think that if there’s such a give-zero-f…s attitude – we can just get there and stand in for somebody. The same as it was in Belgorod. People are tired, they are calling from there – that sh…t’s happening, “are you coming?.” The troops are stretched along the whole border…
Voice 2: And we don’t know where exactly our guys are staying, they’re on the move…
Voice 1: And f…k if anyone tells you.
Voice 2: That’s the f…ng point. So we have to go in that group.
Voice 1: The colonel called and said: “Send the rags.” So a crate of rags will go there now. We just have to strike a deal here and… They’ll definitely get that rags somehow. Not only rags will go in that crate…
Voice 2: When will it go?
Voice 1: No clue. We stocked up the crate and now it’s on standby in the company.
Voice 2: Who gave the order to stock it up?
Voice 1: The lieutenant colonel that’s there now. He called and said: “Stock up a crate and bring me the rags.”
Voice 2: Who was it?
Voice 1: P. is there – the deputy on armaments.
Voice 2: Wasn’t he MIA?
Voice 1: Who?
Voice 2: Well, didn’t he f…ng go MIA together with G.?
Voice 1: Well, yeah…
Voice 2: Did they link up with us?
Voice 1: Yeah.
Voice 2: And they were MIA only right after the battle…
Voice 1: He went there after the battle. We came and he came only a day after.
Voice 2: First he got lost and then he linked back up.
Voice 1: Well, s…t, he probably was with the f…ng first company…
Voice 2: It’s just, yo see, they started shelling with Grads, they all f…ng scattered and then got home one by one. Well, that’s ok too. You aren’t supposed to hide from a f…ng Grad, you gotta get the f…k out of there.
Voice 1: And there were also those… Kadyrov’s [Chechen] guys.
Voice 2: The 104th regiment also got it rough, I believe… Damn, it’s so f…d up. Why are they silent? Why are they covering it up?
Voice 1: They are just like those f…ng Americans. First they covered up those f…ng refugees. “There are no refugees,” they said, “they are visiting their relatives.” 300 thousand – that’s some visit to relatives in Russia… [a reference to the US State Department comments in June regarding refugees from the war zone] And now we are also doing the same: “Hey, what papers?” [possible reference to the capture of a Russian fighting vehicle with papers by Ukrainian forces]
Voice 2: I see…
Voice 1: Well, you know, I actually like that I came. F…k that s…t.
Voice 2: I’m happy I didn’t go for f…ng contract service. That’s what makes me happy. I wanted to switch quickly. You see, the switch would only get me f…ng there.
Voice 1: A guy of ours signed the contract and at the same day when his contract order came he f…ng went there, I was fucking shocked. He probably already got his deal there. He’s probably looking for someone to file a resignation to, and there’s no one there.
Voice 2: See, they can’t f…ng do anything. They can’t get the f…k out of there on their own. What do they tell them?
Voice 1: F…k if I know what they tell them.
Voice 2: They probably tell them that it’s a combat operation and shit and if you f…ng get away we’ll f…ng do with you. So there’s that.
Voice 1: The papers actually say they’re on exercises.
Voice 2: Do they know it if they are f…ng there?!
Voice 1: They could have told… Well, if they got their phones seized and told to f…ng tell no one. Someone has to have sneaked a phone. If they go online, to Vkontakte [Russian social network] or something – they’ll get nailed there.
Voice 2: F…k Vkontakte. They still could f…ng let their folks know. I’d find any connection there. I’d f…ng find it and call home.
Voice 1: They are being wired and they are told not to blabber the f…k out anything?
Voice 2: F…k the wire. I’d say: F…k it. It’s not a covert war – it’s a f…up. Our guys are dying and we are silent about it. Why the f…k ?
Voice 1: Did they also silence Leny’a wife?
Voice 2: I believe so, s…t. Because she got her phone seized, some man lifted the handle, told everyone “I’m Lenya.” F…k, if I saw him I’d f…k his face up.
Voice 1: Lenya is f…ng buried already.
Voice 2: Lenya almost lost his legs, so to say… I talked with a guy who was in the middle of that f…ng battle.
Voice 1: All right, bro… See you.
Source: Pskovskaya Guberniya
Translated by Kirill Mikhailov