Alexey Mozgovoy Was the Face of the Left Revolution in Donbass

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“War is the greatest injustice. We are not fighting the culprits. Those who pay, who incite, who use the media to make people turn against each other  – this is whom we should fight.” – Alexey Mozgovoy, commander of the “Ghost” brigade, killed May 23, 2015

May 24, 2015

Colonel Cassad

Translated by Kristina Rus




In this piece Cassad writes an emotional eulogy for Alexey Mozgovoy, who became his personal hero. It shines light on some of the motives for the fight for Novorossia. Many causes came together in the fight for Novorossia, and the common determination which made the resistance possible has evolved into differences in opinions about how Novorossia should proceed in the future. This creates an opportunity for Novorossia opponents to capitalize on the internal disagreements. Blaming Novorossia authorities for Mozgovoy’s assasination could fit into such a strategy and represent a strong motive, as evident in reactions to the murder.


 As a traditional critic of Novorossia authorities, Cassad seems to blame “the system” for the demise of Mozgovoy, which we at Fort Russ don’t necessarily endorse, but we want to bring you different opinions. As expected, Mozgovoy’s murder has divided Russia and Novorossia into two camps – with one blaming Putin, Plotnisky, “another Russian party”; and another blaming the Kiev junta, Ukrainian extremists, or “another Ukrainian party.”

Revolutionaries can be killed, but ideas – never

Colonel Cassad

My personal opinion about Alexey Mozgovoy:

1. That such a person even exists I found out in April of 2014, when he started to appear on TV screens as one of the leaders of the rebellion in Lugansk. Pretty quickly, two centers of power shaped there – Bolotov’s group and Mozgovoy’s group, which had systematic differences. Around April, ending the humanitarian project for Sevastopol, and after receiving a “thank you” letter from Chaly, we began to shift our focus to Donbass. Pretty quickly it became clear that we must choose who to work with – with Bolotov or Mozgovoy. Then we picked Mozgovoy and I don’t regret it. We managed to make contact and start work, which however was not very long, as Mozgovoy soon left Lugansk and went West, after which we started to work with “Batman”, “Leshy” and a few other commanders on Lugansk.

2. In the summer our cooperation has resumed, we brought humanitarian aid to the cities under the control of Mozgovoy, he even visited us at our warehouse, though we did not cross paths for a long time. I met with him for the first time at the famous Yalta conference, where I was able to say hello to the man who in short months had become a legend. I got to know him closer in September 2014 – on the same day with Strelkov, when we discussed humanitarian aid projects for Donbass (which later grew into the movement “Novorossia”), I received an unexpected opportunity to talk to the commander of the “Ghost” brigade. What I remembered about Mozgovoy was the fact that he was not a poser – he was the same in life, as he appeared in his speeches. There’s always a chance that the next “national leader” is disingenuous, wears the mask of a “truther”, but yearns for fame and fortune. And I as a skeptic expected a certain deviation between the media persona and a real life person. Mozgovoy was not like that, he was an ideological man, who chose to defend his ideals, although he could fit into the system, which he disliked so much and be like everyone else, forgetting about justice and other lofty goals. In this respect, with his life and death he proved that he was serious and was willing to die for what he stood.

I then remembered his words: “I left for war 100%,  can not care for my family while there is war, the brigade is my family”. He really sacrificed his personal well being for the sake of the common cause, although he could get pretty rich on the war, even on coal trade. He had a different path, which he walked to the end.

3. Mozgovoy lived very modestly, drove local criminals with pissing rags, have not been spotted in the coal scandals which plagued Plotnitsky and Kozitsyn. Was constantly trying to organize some kind of local projects – not being able to spread his ideas all over the country, tried to do it where he could to at least change something in the outside world.

That’s why he became a local “Che Guevara”, who spoke for the people and tried to be closer to the people in words and deeds, and therefore, he did not fit into a changing political landscape of LPR, for which he was periodically mistreated, as there was a shortage of “Fidel Castro’s” in LPR.

4. His struggle with the oligarchy, which he raised as his banner, drew to him not only a mass of volunteers of the left and Communist beliefs, but also brought him a lot of sympathy from people for whom the word “justice” was not an empty sound. So in his brigade in addition to local volunteers, there were always many internationalists from Russia and foreign countries, while, surprisingly, at the same time he also had nationalists in his subordinate units. All these people were attracted to the image of Mozgovoy, who was FOR TRUTH, which everyone understood differently, but which united them for a common cause. And it was not just a slogan, Mozgovoy had established himself so that people who came to him, really saw him as a beacon which illuminated the hazy future of Novorossia and the reactions to his death clearly show how the tragic death of a commander, who lost a significant part of military and political capabilities, affected a lot of people of different views and beliefs, as if they lost a close family member.

5. Of course, such an inconvenient man was always under attack – he was slung in mud by various Ukrainian immigrants, he was constantly snubbed by the junta media, he was cut off from supplies and humanitarian aid, he was prohibited from holding parades and international forums, he was made a scapegoat for the failures of command in Debaltsevo operation. Eventually, he began to look kind of like a black sheep, as his views already pretty much separated from the new reality. He could go the way of Dremov, take the banner from Plotnitsky and completely submit to him, but he could not betray his ideals. Some think it’s quixotic, others – stubborn, others – stupid. In my opinion, people like him, charged with an idea, can move the masses and move history. It is Mozgovoy, who was among those leaders of the revolution, who with their charge sparked a fire of Novorossiya, which tore Donbass from Ukraine and did not let this fire burn out to their last breath. Without such people there would be nothing – all these People’s Republics and Novorossias until recently were only informational phantoms. These people with their life and death had filled these ideas with real content, which is not as easy to shut down, as the office of Tsarev [the head of Novorossia parliament – KR]. Because in those days, people followed the leaders who carried the flame of a new idea, which has become a real alternative to the repulsive “Ukrainianism.”

6. Of course, he made mistakes when he failed to push the idea of the union of commanders of Novorossiya [a mirror of the “parallel general staff” of Dmitry Yarosh? – KR], or when he began to maneuver in the case of Bednov’s murder, when his traditional integrity was needed. People are not perfect, and Mozgovoy was also not perfect. Do his mistakes and misconceptions outweigh what he did and what he fought for, igniting the hearts of men with hope that change is possible, that a just society is not a figure of speech, and not a propaganda stamp? Because this faith that Mozgovoy represented, has changed the lives of many people who left their ordinary lives and had come to fight in a distant Donbass for the ideas that he preached. It significantly changed my own life, because for me the initially abstract idea of Novorossiya became an important life goal, which I want to achieve.

And this man, like a comet flew before us and burned in the dense layers of the atmosphere. But in his short and rapid path, he did enough to secure his place in history. Aside from a purely historical role of one of the leaders of Novorossia revolution, Mozgovoy for many years will remain one of the symbols of a struggle for a just society and people’s well being. They will say, so what – he was murdered, he was not able to realize his goals. But in my opinion, because he sincerely tried to and sacrificed his life for it, in his short but eventful life, there is more purpose, than in the lives of those who will spend them aimlessly in a consumer stupor, lying on the sofa and watching on TV a very far or already close war. His life and especially his death, will certainly contribute to his future glorification and mythologization. After all, even if the deceased Alexander Bednov, despite certain issues, in public opinion is considered to be one of the most iconic heroes of Novorossiya, Mozgovoy is simply doomed to eternal life as a symbol and a myth. 

In recent history, the closest analogue to Mozgovoy is Thomas Sankara, whose aphorism is the headline of the article. They had similar aspirations and similar fate. When Sankara was killed, it was expected that he, like many African fighters for justice, will disappear from the horizon of history, as a tiny ripple which disturbed the world of exploitation and profit. But time has shown that these people achieve immortality, becoming for future generations the moral benchmarks, the faces of human craving for justice, resulting in more and more new fighters for justice standing up in place of those who had fallen in the fight.

Rest in peace Alexey Borisovich, I hardly knew you as a person, but for the rest of my life I’ll be proud of having known you.

My sincere condolences to everyone to whom Alexey Mozgovoy was dear. 

Aleksey Mozgovoy wrote an epitaph for himself:

It’s not too bad to die in May,
Convenient for the grave-digger.
And nightingales will sing,
The last time, so beautifully.

Under the roar of the first May thunder,
Instead of dull burial songs…
The rain will spill instead of tears,
And wash away the sadness of memories.

The grave mound will give shelter,
Under a blanket of green grasses.
Even if there is no cross,
Among the weary birches.

Under the rustling young leaves,
Just springing towards life.
There are no gray grasses yet,
But everything just came alive.

It’s not too bad to die in May…
To stay in the freshness of spring.
And though I was not able to do everything,
There is no doubt…
It’s not too bad to die in May …

Alexey Mozgovoy

“The Kiev junta hit list” (including Mozgovoy) from the office of former Deputy Governor of Dnepropetrovsk region (to Kolomoisky), Gennady Korban, from the article “Last day of work at Kolomoisky office”  

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