Heroes of the Ghost Brigade – Batya: ‘We took up the sword and carry it onward!’

Interview with Ghost Brigade fighter “Batya” (Dad), conducted by war correspondent “Zmey” (Snake) in Alchevsk, Lugansk People’s Republic.


What is a homeland

What is your homeland?

Homeland is a broad concept. In a broad sense, homeland for me is everything that is connected with me, with my family, with my people, the whole of Donbass and the land on which I lived and worked. If we talk about a state, it is the Soviet Union – the country which gave me education and work.

Your call sign? Where are you from? What did you do in civilian life?

Call sign — “Batya,” I am a native of Alchevsk, was born and lived here for 60 years. Before the war, I worked as subcontractor at the metallurgical plant, as a fitter — we renovated our plant and built a new shop.

Why did you take up arms?

After the coup took place in Kiev, when the junta seized power and riots broke out all over Ukraine, when pro-American, pro-fascist organizations began to tell us how to live — I was strongly indignant and took up arms. Then I decided to fight the “plague.”

What have you abandoned for the defense of your beliefs?

All the charms of a beautiful, peaceful life …

And what ideas did you rise up for?

For the restoration of a normal government in Ukraine, authorities chosen by the people. I stood up against pro-fascist sentiments and agitation. I was also frankly outraged that the junta, which carried out a coup, began to speak out against a friendly country — Russia. Everybody knows that Ukraine depends on Russian assistance to live.

Father’s son

Of the many militias and battalions in Donbass, why did you choose the Ghost Brigade to defend your beliefs?

To serve with Mozgovoi, I believed in his idea and shared it. Borisych influenced me with his spirituality and concreteness, outlook, sincerity, and I made the decision. In addition, my youngest soon already served with Mozgovoi, I also joined the brigade to be closer to him.

Tell me about your son.

My son started to serve the people of Novorossiya before me, then was in my unit, and afterward moved to reconnaissance, and it so happened that on June 22 he was killed on a combat mission.

When and where was your first battle? Do you remember how you felt?

My first fight was under Debaltsevo. The feelings before the fight, of course, are impossible to describe — we rose at night because the APU [Armed Forces of Ukraine] opened fire and went on the offensive. During the fight itself it was not about feelings – just work. After the battle, the buzzing in my head subsided a bit … (smiles)

Do you have combat awards?

Nothing special, there is an order “For loyalty to the homeland,” a Jubilee Medal for “Seventy Years of Victory Day” and the order “For loyalty to the motherland and the Cossacks,” third degree.

What frightens you in the war?

What scares me most in this civil war is the unconsciousness of those people who are under the control of the Ukrainian authorities. These people absolutely do not understand the situation. That scares me more than anything. Also, these “protocols” in the form of “peace accords.” I still can’t understand it … as soon as we began to “crush the heels” of the Ukrainian forces, the “peace agreement” starts. As a result, the APU reinforces its positions, strengthens its weaponry, reinforce its bunkers, and everything else… At the same time, the militia has withdrawn its troops deep into the rear.

Some of the soldiers who fought for Novorossiya left for Russia to earn money, while others flocked to Syria to fight. Why did you stay in the Donbass?

I’ve remained in the militia because the situation here has not all changed for the better, I would say.

What exactly?

We aren’t the ones who invaded their land looking for trouble. Well, then, who will protect the city and country? 

We took up the sword and carry it onward!

What happens next?

We took up the sword and carry it on!

How long did you know Mozgovoi?

I met Alexei Borisovich in April 2014 almost by accident through Odnoklassniki [“Classmates,” a popular social media platform in the former Soviet Union.] After that, we struck up an active correspondence. I wondered why there was a coup, what caused it, how the people could fight against the “brown plague,” how to resist the junta. In short, Alexei Borisovich convincingly replied that victory will be ours, that the people are always right, and will be right! (smiles …)

After Mozgovoi’s death, were there any changes in the Brigade?

With the loss of the Brigade Commander, the fighters of Ghost remained faithful to Borisych’s ideas about ​​People’s Power. The Brigade itself now bears his name. The Brigade’s motto hasn’t changed: “Do not fear for your skin — fear for your honor!” The fighters rallied more than even during the life of the commander. I think that every soldier, after the death of Mozgovoi, clearly recognized their role and place in the Brigade.

What is your role now?

I’m the head of food service for the Brigade, that is my job.

What do you want to do after the war?

I don’t know if I could go back to the job I worked at before the war. I would certainly return to work on something I really like — to build, restore, well, I think – to produce something (smiles)

Batya, do you think do we need a soviet of the people’s militia, comprising the indigenous inhabitants of Donbass? Those who stood up for the idea of People’s Power?

I think so, the soviet would be worthwhile. I hope that the war ends with our victory, and quickly, so that all who survive can return to normal civilian life. We have to recover and restore, rising and rising. 

Everything will be fine!

What do you want to say to the people of Ukraine?

Hmm …. To those who are zombified, I would like to wish a speedy recovery. Don’t be infantile, look for reliable information and facts to help them come out from under the yoke of their “shepherds,” Turchinov, Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko!

Anything to say to the private Ukrainian battalions?

Yes, those guys who are not mired in stupidity should lay down their arms and go to the towns and villages they destroyed — to de-mine the fields, restore destroyed houses and roads, rebuild schools and kindergartens, in general, to seriously engage in the restoration of true people’s economy.

And I have a few words for the Kiev oligarchy, “Leave your millions and go to court, so that the people can judge and you get what you deserve!”

Do you think this will reach them?

I’m afraid not — they will be swept away, leaving Ukraine impoverished.

What do you wish for the residents of Novorossiya?

Early victory, patience, kindness and faith that everything will be fine!


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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