Pyotr Biryukov: We won’t let anyone make a circus out of Mozgovoi’s death

Interview by Alexander Krot

After the tragic death of Commander Alexei Mozgovoi, I asked a number of questions to his deputy and commander of the Volunteer Communist Detachment of the Ghost Brigade, Pyotr Biryukov — call sign “Arkadich.”

Alexander Krot: Pyotr Abramovich, there are several theories about the perpetrators behind Commander Mozgovoi’s death. The first — and official — is that Mozgovoi was killed by the actions of a Ukrainian DRG [Divergence Reconnaissance Group]. The second – and most popular among the people – is that Mozgovoi was killed on orders of [Lugansk People’s Republic head Igor] Plotnitsky. The third is that he was a victim of the struggle for control of the Alchevsk metallurgical plant. Which version do you think is the most plausible, and why? Do you have any evidence confirming one or another version of the murder?

Pyotr Biryukov: At the moment, there is an investigation underway to learn all the circumstances of Brigade Commander Alexei Mozgovoi’s death. We can only speculate with partial information, but without proof I’m not going to assign guilt. While there is no clear and precise evidence, I as a commander and officer do not have the right to offer guesses.

There is an investigation, there are different theories that are being carefully checked and researched, and we will still learn the truth, but we will not allow anyone to make a circus out of the brigade commander’s death.

If anyone expected that five minutes after the murder, or an hour later, all the perpetrators would be identified, found, caught and punished, or that we would begin shooting indiscriminately, and grasp at “wild” theories, then they were wrong. Understand that you can’t build everything on speculation, in any case! After all, we are responsible for a brigade of hundreds of fighters, we have civilians to defend and who we have to remember every day, we can’t make snap decisions. Any tantrums or rash actions on our part would be a happy situation for the enemy, but we are not used to “entertaining” them in this way…

Ghost Brigade Commander Alexei Mozgovoi & Deputy Commander Pyotr Biryukov

AK: Pyotr Abramovich, what kind of future do you think the Brigade has? What will happen to the team and its members in the short term, and what are your plans for the future?

PB: Guys, here I can offer an unequivocal opinion – the Brigade exists, and it will continue to exist, period! I can say one thing for sure — the team will continue to exist as an ideological, volunteer unit. We have to protect the team, we have given our word to do so, and we intend to keep our word.

AK: Pyotr Abramovich, many wonder why the choice of successor to A. Mozgovoi fell to [Yuri] Shevchenko? And whether other candidates were considered for the post?

PB: We are actually in the army, and there is a normal hierarchical system, a structure, where the chief of staff automatically replaces the commander in the event of his departure. Understand that it is necessary to separate the army from politics and emotion. Therefore, there were not and could not be other candidates, everything went according to army practice and military order.

AK: Well, here’s another question that many people, especially those living here, are very interested in — what will happen to southern Ukraine in the long term? Will it be Russian, Novorossiyan, or return again to the Ukraine?

PB: I know, I believe, and I am convinced – it will be Novorossiya. Thousands of people have died for this, and their deaths cannot and will not be in vain. Novorossiya will be!

AK: And the last question — do you agree with the opinion of those who say that Putin and his team will “merge” Novorossiya–LNR–DNR back into Ukraine?

PB: Anyone can understand: it is impossible to force people who made their choice and paid for it with their blood to merge with the enemy! Yes, there are different processes, but tales about betrayal, merging, and so on are not worth talking about. You can merge only those who allow themselves to be. The people in revolt cannot be merged. You cannot drive into a stall those who, arms in hand, have defended their right to freedom, to their opinion. That’s how it is …

Novorossiya, Lugansk People’s Republic, Alchevsk, headquarters of the Ghost Brigade of A. Mozgovoi, Deputy Brigade Commander Pyotr Biryukov (“Arkadich”), June 1, 2015.


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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