Alexey Markov: Humanist in camouflage

By Susann Witt-Stahl

December 30: He loves literature, Remarque, Marquez, Pushkin, and classical music. He never served in an army. “War is a deeply repugnant and profoundly inhuman business,” said Alexey Markov in an interview with Junge Welt. However, today he voluntarily wears a camouflage suit, serves as senior political commissar of a military unit, and even fought in the bloody battle of the Siege of Debaltsevo. The explanation is that sometimes in history there are “even worse alternatives.”

Commissar Alexey Markov of the Volunteer Communist Detachment.
Photo by Susann Witt-Stahl

A Siberian, born in Omsk in 1973, he initially embarked on an academic career. At age 16 he moved to Novosibirsk and studied atomic physics. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he left the university and for many years headed IT departments of several companies. When the coup regime in Kiev launched its “anti-terrorist operation” in April 2014 against the two unrecognized republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, he initially raised money for the progressive forces among the insurgents, said Markov, who since 2001 made his home in Moscow.

But during a visit to the Ghost Brigade, he promised then-Commander (later murdered) Alexei Mozgovoi to return with reinforcements. His only reply: “So many have already said that.” But Markov kept his word: On November 6, 2014, along with 18 Russian comrades, he founded the Volunteer Communist Detachment [Добровольческий коммунистический отряд, DKO].

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a convinced communist,” said Markov, who was politically socialized in the Komsomol. After the unconstitutional actions of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin against the Congress of People’s Deputies in 1993, he joined the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, but left in 2001 due to its “slippery politics.”

Markov — DKO fighters affectionately call him “Dobriy” (Good) – to this day opposes the liquidation of communist principles and feels, as he says, committed to the thought and action of Lenin, partisan Julius Fučík, humanist educator Anton Makarenko and Che Guevara. “For him, the people’s happiness was more important than ministerial posts.”

Both of Markov’s grandfathers fought during World War II in the Red Army against Nazi Germany and lost their lives. As Hitler was then to Thyssen and Krupp, the fascists today are for the oligarchs in Ukraine “an instrument” to achieve their profit interests. Whoever invests in war has no interest in stopping it.

“I’ll never forget the images of the father who had to watch as the tattered body of his little daughter was loaded onto a truck,” Markov recalls about the Ukrainian artillery attack in late summer 2014 on the beach of Zugres, a city in Donetsk. For the fascists, acting on the premise “Donbass will be Ukrainian or deserted,” the many dead children are nothing by the brood of “Colorado beetles” (a Ukrainian slur for the insurgents), he says. “But I feel for them, as if they were my own children.”

However, Markov warns against demonizing Ukrainian soldiers. “Not all of them are fascists. Many were forcibly recruited and manipulated so that they perceive the people in the East as their mortal enemies,” he explains. “We do not hate the Ukrainians.”

However, Markov is convinced that there will be no just peace without military victory over Kiev’s troops. It is a precondition for a historical process, says Markov, that is categorically necessary. “Ukraine must be de-Nazified.”

Like all the communists and socialists, on January 15 Alexey Markov will commemorate two revolutionaries and anti-imperialists who embodied a great hope of the labor movement 100 years ago and whose ideas he believes are “still modern.”

“The treacherous murder of Luxemburg and Liebkneckt robbed humanity of brilliant minds.”

Translator’s note: Alexey Markov will be a featured speaker at the 21st International Rosa Luxemburg Conference in Berlin on Saturday, January 9, 2016. More information here.


Translated by Greg Butterfield

Spanish translation

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