The Death of Arseniy Pavlov

When I read about Motorola’s death, my insides churned.
As they did a year and a half ago when we, after an accident, in the midst of fighting, were going to the Donbass with aid, and we got a call that Zhenya Ishchenko was killed. The acting mayor of Pervomaysk. Someone who would take unexploded shells out of the asphalt with his bare hands and who delivered bread to bomb shelters even as shells kept falling. Who personally dug up people from under the rubble. Several volunteers from Moscow were killed too, and everyone thought it was us.

We were sitting practically on top of each other because one of our vehicles was wrecked. To this day it seems it we were living in a haze. And we’re still in a hangover from it. From the fear, emotions, and horror of everything we saw then land later. The memories of an empty city under siege, with NOBODY on the streets. Shattered streets taken straight out of a horror film, the constant shell explosions, and naked fear. Zhenya’s large hands, huge hands, and that direct, willful gaze which pierces you right through. Then this cowardly murder.
I did not know Motorola in person. Therefore it’s hard for me to say anything about him. Either good or bad.
As is usually the case, for some he is a hero, for others a villain and a murderer. As we realize now, in such cases there is no objective history straight out of a textbook which sets everything straight. History is written and rewritten, and one can understand it only by understanding the point of departure. The funniest thing is that those to whom he is a murderer view the Ukraine National Guard murderers as heroes, and don’t see a double standard.
I also know that few are indifferent to his death. Poison, sick jokes about elevators, photographs with candles on them–all that is a reflection of Arseniy Pavlov’s strong, charismatic personality. A young guy from Russia who became one of DPR’s heroes.
He told the Zavtra [Tomorrow] newspaper why he came to Ukraine:
“I got on the train and came. I didn’t analyze. There are Russians here, so I came. I already said that as soon as people started throwing Molotov cocktails at the law enforcement on the Maidan everything became clear for me–this is war. After the little nazis said that they will kill 10 Russians for everyone they lose, I felt it made no sense to wait until their threats became reality.”
It’s hard for me to judge. This is a horrible war, and any attempt to divide it into black and white only does a disservice to any position. But the ability to respect an enemy is a rare quality.
Against the backdrop of real deaths and pain, there are stories about crucified children which devalue and mythologize the actual nightmare which happened and is happening on the bleeding Donbass.
After every story on this blog, people write about photoshop manipulations. As if it invalidated the real stories of which this journal contains over a hudnred.
How much one wants to have a truth that everyone could see, could grasp, so that this nightmare would end.
So that the hell, in which small kids fall to the ground at every dull noise and cover their heads, would end.
And I still see that December Pervomaysk–empty, destroyed. And the horror…
How’s one to explain this to someone who’s never slept where bombs fall?
There is no way.

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