Saturday, September 21, 2019


My friend and comrade Alexey Sergeevich Trotsai, callsign "Lev" or "Lion",  died on the evening of September 9th after being wounded in battle on Friday September 6th . He was 43 years old, a company commander of MVD / VOSTOK troops, defending his hometown of Yasynuvata on the Avdeevka Front. In the spring and summer of 2017, I worked under his command, and came to love and respect him greatly. He was a great man, he was a good man and he was a magnificent Warrior and Commander.

Alexey Sergeevich Trotsai, code name "Lev"

I worked at Lev's frontline position for four months in 2017, and have been back to that position many times in 2018 and 2019. Every single day that I was at that position, I saw Lev there, on the very front line, at a position that is well-known for being one of the hottest, one of the most dangerous, on the entire DPR Front. And Lev was there every day, without exception. Every day, at least once, and often two or three times in a day. Or night. Lev led from the Front. 

There are some "commanders" who never go to the Front, to the positions where their men are, where the bombs and bullets fly. They do their "work" far behind the lines, in the barracks or even from the fancy restaurants on Pushkin Boulevard. But not Lev. He led his men from the Front, and he was there with them when it mattered, when things got hot. He was a local from the Yasynuvata area, defending his own hometown for all 5 years of the war. He was a real soldier's soldier, but what he was really fighting for was  peace.  In his own hometown. He gave his life for it.
Lev, in one of the frontline bunkers that I helped build with him and his men.
Lev got hit during a ukrop attack on a position near where his guys were. The ukrops had already killed one of our guys, wounded another, and a soldier from another unit was trying to recover them under heavy fire. The soldier radioed for help, and Lev himself responded. It was an ambush. It was later said that the ukrop nazis worked very effectively and professionally. They used RPG's, SPG's and heavy machine guns, working along with the ever present snipers with .50 cal Barret rifles, which are supplied by US tax-payers free of charge to the nazi murderers in Ukraine. Three of our guys, including Lev, died as a result of this ambush. Not a shot was fired by us in return. We have been ordered not to return fire, and soldiers follow orders...
Lev and Commander Alexander Khodokovsky on the Avdeevka Front

Alexander Khodakovsky, the founder and Commander of VOSTOK said that the loss of Lev was the greatest loss VOSTOK has suffered in this war, and we have suffered many great losses.  Among them,  "Greek" and  "Ural", Commanders who died under fire at the Front with their men. Too many great men, Warriors, Heroes. But Lev was special. A "богатырь" (pronounced "bogateer") which means more than "Hero", it means a legendary Hero sent from God. And that's what Lev was.

I know. He was not just my Commander, he was a real friend. He respected and appreciated my work, and treated me accordingly. When I made a video under heavy fire at Lev's position back in May, Lev's comment to my wife upon seeing the video was "Texac красавчик".  It was a genuine compliment from a  богатырь, one of the great honors of my life.

 I last spoke with Lev by phone on Thursday, September 5th. I was arranging a trip to his position for a visiting tourist/journalist for Saturday afternoon. Lev was hit on Friday evening, so we did not make the trip. The last time I saw Lev was August 30th, about a week before, when I went to the position with some Belgian film makers. Lev was as friendly and helpful as ever, and we had a chance to sit and talk for a few minutes outside under the trees behind the barracks before I left for the frontline position. Just the two of us. If only I had known it would be the last time I would ever see him in this world... I'd have offered to trade places with him. But he, even had he known what was to come, would have refused. Man, I miss him.

Lev was not just a good guy, he was a badass soldier and Commander, and he was tough as nails. If you broke  regulations or made a mistake that endangered his people or the mission, his justice was swift and harsh, but fair. During my stay in 2017, I saw two instances of Lev's form of justice.

Walking to breakfast one morning, I saw a soldier standing outside, with his hands stretched out above his head, handcuffed to a radio tower. He was still standing there at lunchtime, and still there at dinner. When I walked out later in the evening, around 9 PM, he was no longer there. Instead, he was lying in the grass with his hands cuffed around the base of a small tree. Next morning, he was back on the radio tower, all day, and next night, back around the tree. Next morning, back on the tower, but by lunch, the wayward miscreant was freed. I saw the same handed down to another soldier, a friend of mine, a sergeant called "Bear". Hard justice and harsh punishment, but meted out with fairness and even a sense of humor. In the end, it made both men better soldiers and better men, and brought more strength and honor to Lev's unit. A unit that already had and has plenty. And will earn more.
Lev's men accompany him to his final resting place
 Lev's unit also served another very useful and interesting disciplinary function. VOSTOK is officially listed as MVD troops, policemen who serve as combat soldiers, like COBR here in the DPR, or like OMON in Russia. MVD are cops who serve in frontline combat positions, but also enforce criminal law among citizens. As is well known, not all policemen are angels. Sometimes an MVD cop might drive drunk, steal something or take a bribe, beat his wife or perhaps a prisoner who didn't have it coming, serious infractions that require a serious reprimand. And that reprimand often entailed being sent to Lev's unit as a "robot", basically an unarmed laborer working under fire digging trenches and building fortifications on the front lines.

My last trip to Lev's position, a few weeks ago, I saw maybe a dozen such men, working hard under fire, but with good humor and the understanding that it was fair punishment and they had it coming. Hard, hard, dangerous work, through which they redeemed themselves. These cops too, were made better men because of Lev's sense of justice. And now, Lev is gone, and we will have to make ourselves better men (and women) on our own accord, through our own sense of justice. But we do still have, and always will have, Lev's example, for as long as real Heroes are remembered. And as long as there is life, real Heroes will always be remembered.

There is another subject that Lev's death brings up, of strategic importance to the Republic and our conduct of the war. This subject was covered by Alexander Bogdanov in a recent article on entitled "The Main Problems of the Donbass Army".  (The article is in Russian, but well worth the time to translate and read.)

It is a fact that the Russian Army is not "occupying" or actively fighting in Donbass. It is also true, well known and not denied, that there are Russian military officers in command, I mean "advisory", positions in the DPR Army at the battalion level and above. (Just as US Army commands/"advises" the Ukraine Army here and ISIS in Syria.) Many of these Russian officers are real soldiers and real comrades, but there are also some here who are criminally incompetent, if not outright traitors. This is also a fact, and it is not a secret from our soldiers, from the people who live in front line areas, nor from our enemies in Ukraine. The most glaring shortcoming of these incompetents is manifest in the idiotic order that our soldiers cannot defend themselves when fired upon unless they are given permission from higher commanders. This has been general policy for well over a year, but in June of this year was reinforced with a contract which frontline solders were required to sign, that threatened jail time for returning fire without prior permission from their "superiors".  Of course, the fools and cowards who came up with this idiocy do not spend time on positions that are getting bombed every day, where good men die every day.
When Ukrainian war criminals shoot and kill people who cannot shoot back, it is not war, it is murder, even if those who cannot shoot back have weapons they cannot use even to defend themselves, because of the order of some clown who threatens them with prison if a single round is fired without permission. Those who give such orders are also murderers, responsible for the death of Lev, the men who died with him that day, and over 30 DPR soldiers killed so far in the month of September alone.

When ukrop nazis fire on our soldiers and civilians, secure in the knowledge that there will be no return fire, no retribution, they laugh. This is a shame and disgrace to every patriotic citizen of the Donbass Republics, and to every Defender, both living and dead. Our soldiers cannot be ordered to sit like sheep, to be shot, and to do nothing. They are lions. We tried a patient and peaceful approach, sticking to a futile ceasefire that the Nazis were and are laughing at. This plan has failed. The Nazis are only becoming bolder and bombing us even more. The time has come once again to hit back. Hard.  I was here in 2014 and 2015 when we did hit back hard, and a lot of ukrop nazis learned their lessons the hard way, and never fired another shot at us, or anyone else, ever again.  

The commanders here, competent or otherwise, must take a lesson from Debaltsevo and Ilovaisk, from Syria and Hezbollah. The time has come to once again punish "the Punishers", There is only one way to deal with them, and sacrificing our citizens and soldiers to some fake ceasefire or Minsk Agreement that has only ever been observed and upheld by one side is not the way.

It has long been known among the well informed that Ukraine has been sending soldiers and mercenaries to fight along ISIS in Syria for years now. And it is a fact that during this time ISIS terrorists have been fighting alongside the Ukrainian Army, and are doing so to this day in places like Avdeevka, Gorlovka and on the southern Front near Mariupol. Let us deal with these terrorists and cannibals and their fellow murderers in Ukrainian uniforms the same way the Russian Army deals with them in Syria. Who defends Donbass defends Russia, from a common enemy. At least let us defend ourselves while we are defending you. 

And as for those who try to tie our hands, who stupidly or treacherously order us to sit and die and not fight back, if they wear a Russian Army uniform, let them go back to Russia and let real soldiers take their places here. Or better yet, send them to Lev's position to learn to be soldiers, with a shovel to dig trenches under fire until the war is over. Let them count the bombs and bullets that are fired at them instead of the bullets our heroes are not allowed to fire back. We cannot win if we cannot fight. So let us defend ourselves when we are attacked. Let this be the legacy that Lev leaves to his men, to his comrades, and to his Republic.