Mobilized to the Northern Military District: Here hard workers and millionaires become the Rexes of war

At the front, people of different professions find themselves

At the front, people of different professions find themselves

Photo: Alexander KOTS

Crypto enthusiast near Severodonetsk

Following the reconnaissance group, I wander through a serene pine forest, as if stepped out of a painting by Ivan Shishkin. Overhead, shells rustle, tearing up the sky, towards the enemy retreating from Severodonetsk. From there they respond with mortars, but at random. Cloud cover is low, and it is almost impossible to adjust fire from drones today.

The scale of the fortifications is amazing. A wide network of trenches dug in sandy soil, high-quality dugouts in three rolls, on the hills there are powerful pillboxes, from which the entire district is covered in fire.

– Why are you here? – I ask one of the “tour guides”.

– Normal men’s work. Money, of course, motivates me, but not hides a machine gunner with the call sign “Pushkar”. “But I can’t look indifferently at how our prisoners are slaughtered, how this international from all over Europe comes here, as if on a safari. We are now on our own safari. Let’s light it from all barrels. There are enough cartridges.

Machine gunner with the call sign

Machine gunner with the call sign “Pushkar”

Photo: Alexander KOTS

-Where did you come from?

– From Sochi.

– What did you do in civilian life?

– Yes, a lot of things. I’ve been a crypto enthusiast lately. I’ll make money here and launch a startup.

– Which?

– Blockchain, mining, integration into the real sector of the economy. For the technology to work at the common level. So that electricity is not just burned to heat up hot water, but cryptocurrency is mined, which allows people to bypass sanctions and make people more financially independent.

– What is your education?

– I’m a businessman. But today I’m a machine gunner.

I have long ceased to be surprised when I meet representatives of professions atypical for the front. On the front line of Donbass I saw librarians, dentists, and sales consultants…

I remember, near Soledar, on the northern flank of Artemovsk, I meet a group on ATVs, to which anti-tank systems are attached. The guys are willing to share their experiences.

– Lately the enemy has been pushing equipment less. Previously, they allowed themselves night raids and evacuations, but now they do this much less often. Groups of two to four people move. There is no large concentration of infantry – our artillery immediately covers. And we work with ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles. – Author), – explains a fighter with the call sign “Commerce”.

Fighter with the call sign

Fighter with the call sign “Commerce”

Photo: Alexander KOTS

In civilian life, in his native Krasnoyarsk, he was an entrepreneur, carrying goods from China. He served in intelligence “urgently” and did not run away from mobilization: “The Motherland called, we came,” he shrugs. He admits that he dealt with “quadrics” in peaceful life.

– My wife and I went on the hills in Krasnoyarsk, either on snow scooters or on ATVs. A familiar topic,” he smiles under his mask. – The machine is multifunctional. You can also carry infantry – three or four people, if there are no missiles. And with missiles, we identify the position, the group equips itself, drives up to the point, fires back, hits and leaves. It takes no more than a minute. Depending on the range. The rocket flies three kilometers in about 15 seconds. Such a wandering ATGM is fast and maneuverable. They fired back here, and there was more ammunition lying 300 meters away. They rolled up there, “blowed it out” from a new place, and rolled back again.

Millionaire from Rublyovka

There are legends about the “Grozny division” at the Svatovsky line. And the point is not even that the artillerymen are extremely accurate and efficient…

They are commanded by a real millionaire who changed the house on Rublyovka to a concrete basement near Kremennaya. He has Hyacinth cannons, D-30 howitzers, Grads and mortars under his command.

54-year-old Yuri Mikhailovich is a successful businessman. But behind him is the Suvorov School, then a military university, service in the Soviet and subsequently the Russian army in the hard years, disbandment of the unit, dismissal, business from scratch…

“I just thought that some of my knowledge and skills would be useful here.” After all, this is my Motherland and I took the oath. This means that he is obliged to protect her, no matter how pretentious it may sound. In addition, for me, like Vladimir Semenovich, “we didn’t have time to look back, and our sons were leaving for battle.” My son graduated from college, he is already here somewhere, almost on the front line.

54-year-old Yuri Mikhailovich (right) is a successful businessman.

54-year-old Yuri Mikhailovich (right) is a successful businessman.

Photo: Alexander KOTS

– Many people here like your service. The division is praised by many. Why this image?

– At the expense of people and discipline, which, unfortunately, was sometimes lacking. I’m sure everything else, including technology, is secondary. And, of course, constant training, training, even if there is no combat. But there is also its own specificity. My division hits targets because we have a little more, for example, our own unmanned aerial vehicle. We immediately become three heads taller than everyone else. Only because we have a crew that can pick up, observe targets day and night and hit them without throwing ammunition into an open field. This is a colossal saving. Plus we have precision-guided ammunition.

Yuri Mikhailovich modestly keeps silent, but I know that he spent millions of his own money to equip the division with everything necessary. From an expensive drone that can hover over the enemy, not paying attention to electronic warfare, to all-wheel drive vehicles and communications equipment. In fact, thanks to these purchases, the unit has the opportunity to work against the enemy around the clock.



Photo: Alexander KOTS

Useful hobby

And it happens that civic passion comes in handy at the front. Here’s Dan whom I met on the Zaporozhye front, found myself in intelligence. He unpacks his suitcase, taking out a sports FPV drone. Lately there has been a lot of talk about them as kamikaze UAVs capable of carrying a combat charge. Here I use it for primary reconnaissance. It is impossible for ordinary drones to fly over enemy forest regiments – they will be suppressed. Flying from above, from the sides – all this at enormous speed, maneuvering sharply and struggling with communication gaps. They land the drone using a cunning algorithm so that the enemy cannot calculate our location. After which the scouts view the footage in slow motion, marking a target in the corner of the forest belt.

In civilian life, the copter operator had his own business. He ran several beer shops, plus fish that he caught himself, dried and sold for a foamy drink. He knows first-hand about unmanned aircraft. I even took part in competitions.

“It was a hobby at home, I like to be taller,” the fighter smiles under the mask. – I studied in civilian life myself. FPV drones are extremely difficult to control. But they are very fast and difficult to suppress by electronic warfare (electronic warfare system – Ed.). Conventional copters are equipped with stabilization systems, and the controls are intuitive. It’s like learning to drive a bad car, and then driving an automatic. Everyone takes a break from work differently. Some people collect coins, but we had our own club for FPV drone lovers. We packed up and flew.



Photo: Alexander KOTS

– How did you get here?

“Many of my friends and classmates had already fought here; it was uneasy to sit at home. Yes, and my grandfather fought with the Nazis, and for me this is a matter of honor and duty. The most important thing is to protect your family. To walk away from this, to say that it’s none of my business, is to cover up one’s own fears. And we must fight them and move forward. If you retreat here, they will knock on your door. I felt that I could help the front and went. Back then, few people knew what an FPV drone was. I bought a drone for myself and trained people.

– Do they help with intelligence?

– Drones in our realities have completely changed reconnaissance tactics. Modern technologies make it possible to do this without risking human life. And this is the highest value. Let’s take a kamikaze. A missile for a modern ATGM (anti-tank guided missile – Ed.) can cost up to two million rubles. While an attack drone can be assembled for 50 thousand. In skillful hands, such a drone turns into a pocket ATGM with the same destruction of equipment and manpower. But this needs to be learned. And regardless of the situation in the world, use today’s experience to develop drones.

Stormtrooper from abroad

Or the fate of the commander of the Storm assault detachment of the Ivanovo Airborne Division – a ready-made script for the series. About how a man wanted to serve his Motherland all his life, but circumstances were such that the Airborne Forces captain waited 20 years for his time. In the mid-80s, he graduated from the Ryazan Airborne School, wrote a report on Afghanistan – they didn’t let him in. After the collapse of the Union in 1992, a promising young captain was fired due to staff reduction.

Next – the security service in a large company, an attempt to build his own business and conduct it honestly, “graters” with the new “masters of life”, which could have ended in tears… Sergei, let’s call him that, was forced to emigrate to one of the countries of Western Europe. He confirmed his professional skills acquired at the airborne school, worked as an industrial demolition worker, a rescuer, at the same time received citizenship, opened his own construction business and lived abroad for 20 long years, building a new prosperous life.

Commander of the assault detachment

Commander of the assault detachment “Storm” of the Ivanovo Airborne Division

Photo: Alexander KOTS

And then he left her in order to live in dugouts in the forests at the Svatovsky line and move forward with his assault detachment to victory.

– Why did you need this? – I ask the no longer young captain in a pine grove near Kremennaya.

– I have Lugansk roots. My grandfather lived here, and after 1945 he caught Bandera’s followers in Western Ukraine and restored order there. So I had no doubt that this was my battle…

– Was it difficult to turn your life upside down?

– Absolutely not. Here, probably, we must proceed from what makes you a citizen of your country, which I never ceased to be for a second. This is when you are ready to fight and die for her. This determines the Motherland, determines life principles. Where you live is not always important. The main thing is where are your roots, who do you feel like in life. I am just a Russian, a Russian.


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