On Oct. 19, 2015, in Alchevsk, I was honored to speak once again with Eugene Wallenberg (call sign “Katran”), deputy commander of the Ghost Brigade founded by Alexei Mozgovoi, who answered a series of questions.
|Ghost Brigade Deputy Commander Eugene Wallenberg (“Katran”)
Photo: Recent News of Donbass
Eugene Wallenberg: There are several components of the patrols. First of all, the military commandant’s office, which is responsible for enforcing the law in regard to drunken militia, but may also detain civilians acting suspiciously or violating curfew. The second component is the city police, who should work exclusively with civilians. And the third is supplemental. That is, military units, such as the Fourth Mechanized Brigade, our Ghost Brigade, dispatched in vehicles at the request of the commandant’s office.
It turns out that almost all of this rests on the military, because, roughly speaking, sometimes it’s impossible to know whether the offender is military or civilian. As a result, the resolution is left to the militia in order to protect others, because it often happens that there is a weapon in the offender’s hands. Therefore, options are limited.
As for the patrol from the Ghost Brigade, one member is from the political department, or as it is now commonly called, the department on work with personnel. Here, the problem is not just to apprehend the person, but to explain to him the very reason why he was detained, why a curfew is needed and why you cannot violate it … To prove this to the man who has not yet realized that this is war and not a toy! Some people still do not understand that the war continues. Every day, in any part of our Republic, there is a huge risk of war.
AA: What else does your political department do?
EW: Sasha, we are working in so many directions, too many to list …
Basically, our job is to work with the personnel. We are building an army, while we all understand that the main engine was, is and will be the people’s militia.
And in order to effectively fight and, most importantly, protect the borders of the state, the army requires discipline, an army which can inspire young people. The militia’s task today, until the end of the [Minsk 2] process, is to create a real army.
The second point is to work on the soldiers’ internal discipline. Here, the challenge is the soldier who thinks of himself as a figure who could not and should not have been shamed. After all, punishment for the troops is much stricter and more severe than for those civilians who violate the curfew or who get rowdy while intoxicated. Here, it must be understood that more is demanded from you.
Also, I want to mention something that our political department is not required to do, but is now one of our priorities — the development of football. We work closely with the Football Association of Lugansk, with Yuri Malygin, president of the Football Association. In the future we plan to ensure that Alchevsk has an Army football team, who would wear the name of CSKA [Central Sports Club of the Army] and play in the championships of the Lugansk People’s Republic. So the fighters can go to the football match, cheering for their team…
|Reporter Alexander Alexeyev (right) interviews Eugene Wallenberg
at Ghost Brigade headquarters in Alchevsk.
Photo: Recent News of Donbass
EW: The formal curfew is from 22:00 to 6:00 in the morning. But until 23:00 all citizens are able to return to their homes. Although officially it is from 22:00.
AA: Why do people have to be home at 23:00?
EW: For DRGs [Ukrainian Sabotage and Reconnaissance Groups] or any attackers who want to commit a terrorist attack, it is much easier when there are people on the street. Anyone can be a suspect. Therefore, at this time there should not be people on the streets. If someone is out past the curfew, it is necessary to ascertain the circumstances of the delay. Especially with people who do not carry identification documents.
AA: How long do you think this war will last?
EW: I think — a long time … To be more precise, several years. Since every step in this war drags on for objective reasons. This war has many components, which have their own peculiarities. In addition to the war fought with weapons, there is also an information war, without which we can still lose. In Ukraine, a bunch of delusional and foul-minded people are engaged in this. Then there is the political component. The sum of these components is one front. If that one front runs like clockwork, then victory will come faster. We can zoom toward victory, because we are a tool that aids this victory. To do this, we just need to work and work more!
AA: What do you wish for the residents of Novorossiya?
EW: I wish all the people quickly become realists and understand that we do not choose the time in which we live. It chooses us. If this happens, then it will take us less time to navigate through our situation. Yes, there is a war now, and there is talk about how if there had not been a war, the world would be better — yes, I agree, but it is unrealistic. That’s not the reality. The most important thing right now is to be realistic, take a few days to anguish over this reality, and then get up and go forward!
Personally, I don’t think about when the war will be over, I live in this moment. This is my life and my path! The main thing is to hope for the best!