It is with the greatest sadness in our hearts that we write about the passing of Dmitry Tymchuk as the result of a gunshot wound to his head on 19 June 2019, the strange circumstances of which are still under investigation.
Dmitry has been a trusted friend to us at Voices of Ukraine (VoU) for the past 5 years, during which time we translated over 555 of his iconic Information Resistance (IR) group military summaries and articles, daily for over 3.5 of those years, after making an agreement with him we would act as the official English language translators for their full summary reports beginning in March 2014. Dmitry very graciously agreed to be a specialist in our advisory group from the early days of Maidan, and always gave us very succinct and solid advice when asked. Not long after, NATO wisely approached him to advise them.
Dmitry was inspirational – a true professional on the outside and a quick-witted creative thinker on the inside – the working definition of a reformed, professional Ukraine.
He was solid, honest, truthful, candid, precise, an excellent observer, respectful and generous with his time – answering our many questions, sharing insightful reflections, making time to meet with us. In person, his real-life personality matched his online voice. He was poetic; when we messaged him with “Dmitry, are you here?? We have more questions, please,” he wrote back: “Yes, of course, for you, even a star from the sky.” He had a finely developed, intelligent and subversive humour we couldn’t get enough of. As one reader wrote, in early 2014: “I found the term ‘Orthodox Communists’ amusing, a true oxymoron. Thank you all for translating Mr. Tymchuk’s blog.” All of us at VoU fell in love with those early writings and posts of his about the situation in Ukraine before he settled into the military summaries – before he had to reign in the historic nuances and ironic subtle entendres to be more widely understood by NATO and a diverse public who had by then (April 2014) started following him from all over the world. But it would still slip into his summaries from time to time: “Let the Opposition Block concern themselves with giraffe husbandry!,” he wrote in late November of that year.
While we worked furiously to translate his summaries into mostly English, but also German (over 11 articles), French, Japanese (over 60 articles), Italian, we received enthusiastic thanks for these translations from the Philippines, Poland, Canada, the USA, Australia, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, from Moscow to Magadan in Russia, Lithuania, Turkey, Italy, parts of Latin America and beyond. One reader wrote: “I am always in awe of Mr. Tymchuk’s intensely informative and articulately soulful posts. Honestly, his awesome ‘On the Front’ info is so chilling; I find my jaw dropping and my heart-rate escalating as I’m reading. As I finish reading his visually stimulating narratives, I find I have to catch my breath and take a moment to de-stress. Thx for the terrific job you do and thx to Mr. Tymchuk, for finding time to post his observations.” Another reader wrote: “I’d just like to let you know that Dmitry Tymchuk’s translated articles that you publish are a great source of knowledge for us about difficult situation in Ukraine. Best wishes from Poland to you and all Ukrainians!” And yet another: “Hello Dmitry. This is an excellent record of the momentous events taking place in Ukraine. Most newspapers and tv news here in the USA do NOT report Ukraine news every day. So, your blog is the best source of Ukraine news I have found on the internet. Keep up the good work!”
And he did, unceasingly.
When he wrote to us in Ukrainian, his Ukrainian was literary and beautiful. But he told us it was important to him to post in Russian so that all Russian-speakers would clearly understand and have a record to refer to for posterity. We shared his concern that a record be kept. Those very dark days on Maidan and horrific events in Donbas suddenly felt that much safer to know that Dmitry and the IR group turned their expertise and efforts towards them. We never stopped worrying for Dmitry and all of the IR contributors. And until more information from the investigation into his death comes forth, we strive here to just remember and honour Dmitry Tymchuk, his gift and his legacy. We are proud of the archival record we have been able to establish for the English-speaking world from his work, and to have been able to amplify his voice that much further into the world so as to better inform a wider public of the early and ongoing ground realities of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
In the foreword to his book Invasion of Ukraine: A Chronicle of Russian Aggression (published in Russian, but we are all still waiting for it to come out in English) Dmitry acknowledged Voices of Ukraine and a handful of English and Japanese volunteer translators with “Thank you friends, and a deep bow. Thanks to your assistance, the world has learned the truth about events in Ukraine.” He told us that interest in our English language translations of his military summaries came from various politicians and experts who visited from the US and the UK, that Canada’s interest fell off a bit after the first year, and the next most interested were the Germans, French and Italians. When he later became a National Deputy he never ceased his daily work with IR and at one point wrote us: “By the way, recently on the ‘parliamentary’ frontline, in my many meetings with various experts and officials from Western countries, many of them continuously monitor the summaries of the IR group in English, so that they are aware of the developments in Ukraine through your translations – once again thank you very much!”
Dmitry, we all owe you a deep debt of gratitude for your unflagging professionalism and dedication. We salute and pay tribute to you, thank you for your vision and service, for your friendship, your lion’s heart, your deep commitment, and for all you were and stood for. Voices of Ukraine were your diehard fans and worked hard to accurately research, translate and edit IR’s military summaries out of the greatest respect for IR’s efforts and sacrifices and for your own precise journalistic writing skills, straight up decency and professional expertise. Dmitry wrote us so generously at one point in 2014: “We admire you, too! You are…such patriots. It’s just beyond words. If many Ukrainians had at least 10% of your energy and patriotism, Ukraine would have been a superpower long ago)))).” And if 10% of Dmitry could only be spread to every Ukrainian citizen…
More recently, after not hearing from us in a while, he wrote: “I’m happy you don’t forget about us! It’s also nice to know that our information is in demand in the West. It is thus not for nothing that we work.” It has been so definitely not for nothing, Dmitry!
It is our great privilege to have crossed paths and travelled a small leg of your journey with you and to have known you. You were the best of us, a humble giant, and our hero, and you will always remain simply unforgettable. You leave behind a very big hole and an ache. We know IR members are already stepping up to continue the important, detailed work you started. The ache you leave behind will be irreplaceable. Вічна пам’ять.
Memory Eternal. Heroes never die.
“I really hope that someday,
we can all meet together.
That would be wonderful!