By Alexander Noinets, Petr&Mazepa
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
The armor is strong…
Ladies and gentlemen, those who read us through social networks, yesterday could already see the first photograph from the 28th SGMB [Separate Guards Mechanized Brigade]. And now let us talk about this in more detail.
So, in this world there exists the 28th Separate Guards Mechanized Brigade. Partly it participates in fighting in the ATO, and partly it is based in the Mykolaiv region where it is regrouping after taking battle losses.
UPDATE – This is such an important update that [we decided to put it] at the beginning of the material, not at the end. We are not talking about the entire 28th Separate Guards Mechanized Brigade [SGMB], which, as it turned out, is already being helped out by a number of volunteers that deserve honor and praise. 28th SGMB is enormous, two thousand people. We talk about one of its units that has been staying in Shyrokolanivka for some time now, and which is in need of everything, exactly as written below. Perhaps the 28th is doing well somewhere. But these are not the places that will be discussed below. – UPDATE
My friend Sasha Zolotko serves in it. Sasha Zolotko is one of the few friends in my life whom I envy. Because he “like a lad” went to serve as a volunteer, and not into a volunteer battalion, but into the army. While it is clear that serving in the volunteer battalions (sorry, volunteers) is much easier than in the army, and Sasha understood this from the very beginning. Battalions spend more time on PR, more people know about them, volunteers like battalions, there is less bureaucracy, everyone is motivated and driven, and anyone who gets disappointed can turn around and go home. In the army it is not so, in the army – which unit you end up in depends on luck.
Sasha had no luck at all.
First of all, the army conscripts are “from the people” in their most unattractive form, the most homespun soil of the earth, that means nine classes of education, of which three were spent at a building site. This determines a certain level to any discussion, dropping below which is not possible. Secondly, the 28th SGMB is a unit that is most untouched by volunteers. Until ours and Sasha’s friends went there to supply, actually, Sasha and the people around him, no-one has ever seen any volunteers there. Thirdly, where it is – is “there.” There – is in the middle of the Mykolaiv steppe. And the Mykolaiv and Kherson steppes in the winter make up the most inhospitable place in Ukraine, in case anyone didn’t know. No Carpatian mountains or Zhitomyr forests are as scary in the winter as our “southern” Barren Waste. In this region 290 days a year are windy, and you cannot hide anywhere because there is just steppe in all directions, flat as a tabletop, and there is nothing else there at all. For this reason the Siberians who were driven in from the North back in the day to rebuild the Mykolaiv factories after the war balked at the unbearable cold, when a simple minus five plus humidity plus wind feel much worse than the usual minus twenty without wind. It is slush, mud, cold and wind.
In these circumstances, the 28th is based not in the city and not in the village and not even on the territory of some unit. The 28th stands in the middle of a barren field, in a camp, and people have been living there for about a month now, in ordinary Soviet tents, for 25 men each. At night, to heat the tent, the motherland gives the soldiers a metre of firewood. Not a cubic metre and not a square metre. Just a metre. A log one metre in length. Heat your tent, guys. If anyone went camping and had to make a fire, they will realise that arranging heating with a one metre log is possible for one hour for the area of nine square metres. That is it really.
That there is such a thing as thermal wear, and that the army command has to supply soldiers with it – all of this is very theoretical information, which in the 28th has no practical significance. If someone has it, they have it, if someone does not have it – no-one has it.
And to hell with thermal wear. Money is something the guys have not seen in a long time, because things like issuing the soldiers money is something the motherland gave up on long ago. Nevertheless, everyone has Privatbank credit cards, you know, the ones with the strawberry on them. And the traders who drive up to the unit bring payment terminals with them. So the whole unit has long ago taken out all the credit from the credit cards, and solidly owes Privatbank.
Oh, and the water. The water in Mykolaiv is special. Around a month ago I sent Sasha several thousand hryvnyas to cover the costs for some essentials. I thought that these would be cigarettes. Turns out I was wrong. Most of the money went simply to buy water. As Sasha explained, thanks to this money the soldiers spent two whole weeks without diarrhea.
A special thank you goes to those assholes that profit on the feudal system of the supply of conscripts from villages. In more detail: as it was in the times of far-off European feudalism, when a recruit is taken from a village, the whole village chips in for the soldier’s armour, horse, and weapons. In our case, when a village guy is called up, the village council buys this guy all the necessary gear. As best it can. And it can’t. It doesn’t understand. For one fighter the village council bought an empty casing, because some khuilo sold it as fully-fledged body armour. For another fighter some other khuilo sold such plates into the bulletproof vests that were shot through by the first shot on the first test firing. They looked – and the plates disassemble, and when disassembled they look like two sheets of steel between which there is simple ceramic tiling.
The first set of tools in the camp to be able to at least remove the fuel tank appeared there a month ago, because our Zhenya Kravtsov drove up there. Had Sasha not called Zhenya – there would have been simply nothing to repair the armour with. Oh and there are several more even scarier stories which I will not tell you because you are all still small children and will not sleep well if you learn the living conditions of the guys who are dying so that you may sleep well.
All of these things, if someone doesn’t realize it, were only prerequisites. And now for the consequences.
There is one consequence, and an important one. If you are called up in an empty bulletproof vest without plates into the Mykolaiv steppe to live in a tent with holes in it and fix armour with your bare hands and drink undrinkable water in the expectation that they will send you to God knows where to do exactly the same things, only under fire, your patriotism will, you know, take a wobble.
Because it is one thing to die for the Motherland, and another thing to watch how the Motherland kills you.
So, folks, we have a huge problem. Our soldiers do not feel the Motherland behind their backs. They do not feel us. Because we help Azov, Donbas, the 79th and other units, who got lucky with volunteers. With the MoD everyone got equally unlucky. But those fighters who got lucky with volunteers, they feel that behind their backs are living people who need defending. And those who did not get lucky, and the 28th got especially unlucky, they simply do not know that in the rear there are people who remember them and look after them. And they get angry. A feature of life in male groups is that they get angry quite quickly.
So the favourite topic of our soldier boys is – how we will deal with things in the East and then will go to Kyiv to shake the government. Boys with 9 classes of education are quite seriously discussing how to punish the Motherland which betrayed them. Because in the middle of the Mykolaiv steppe it looks exactly like that.
That is why the guys put “Petr and Mazepa” logos onto their armour with such readiness. We did not really help them that much, to be honest, only they did not expect it, and were shocked that somewhere in the universe there exist people who give a shit about them. Plus Zhenya Kravtsov from Odessa came and helped the guys, showed them that in the rear there are people, and they are ready to help. The soldiers felt that the world is not hostile to them. This is very important, it is generally the most important thing there is in a soldier – fighting spirit, an understanding that you are not alone, that behind your back there is a whole country full of people for whom you are actually fighting.
Airborne [paratrooper] Marshall always says one important thing – you won’t fight a lot with sad eyes.
In our army there are many people with sad eyes. The motherland does not care to lift the soldiers’ fighting spirit, the motherland has measured one metre logs per 25 men, and that is it. So let us take this on.
On Maidan an important part of the whole movement were people who distributed hot drinks and food. Standing on the barricades was not scary, because it was clear that behind you are thousands more people. And you constantly saw them, and they constantly smiled at you and supplied you with various little things like hot tea.
That is why we asked the guys to place our logos on their armour. So the guys see that in the rear they have living people who care, who took them under their wing, whom they can call and ask something, and we will start fussing and thinking where to get it. It is not that important for us to have our logo on armour. What is important to us is that the soldiers know that they have us. Because if they do not know this, they will continue to spout bullshit about how they will march on Kyiv, and some, the simplest ones (and they are almost all simple there) will even try to go, and will die, surprised, from the bullets of their comrades from “Azov” [volunteer battalion].
So that this does not happen, the guys have to constantly feel that they have us. Every ten hryvnyas sent to the 28th are received with such childlike gratitude that in Kyiv you don’t get for even one thousand.
Now the camp is being packed up and today or tomorrow they are returning to the ATO. The guys need everything. Generally everything – radios, headsets, thermal wear, warm insoles, underwear, gloves, everything that you can possibly think of, they need it because they have literally nothing except tents and armour.
So if you suddenly want the guys to feel that you are standing behind them, and they are fighting, not because some jackass general ordered them, but because they have you –
the number for Sasha Zolotko’s card is: 5457 0822 3244 0896 (Alexander Zolotko). Whatever you wire will be given to the soldiers in cash that they can spend on site.
Or you can wire it to us here: 4149 6059 1120 5524 (Igor Schedrin),
or by Webmoney: E260962385108, Z334625828991, R346950311334, U279275424706.
What you wire there will be spent on essentials and sent to the 28th SGMB not in money but in items [needed].
If you already have a sponsored unit and supply it – well done. In that case, share this material; maybe some other generous IT worker does not know where to put their earnings. And then they may see us.
P.S. the stencil and paint – so that our logos do not fall off after the third puddle – we will buy ourselves.
P.P.S. thank you, the money is coming in; Sasha has already called in a panic, saying he was not prepared that people would actually start sending him real money. He is grateful and happy. And our card has already received enough for at least one and a half diesel generators, we will wait until it is clear where the 28th will be based and will start thinking about logistics. Thank you all, do not stop.
Petr&Mazepa, The armor is strong. Part 2: Report from the field.