Aug 24th, 2015.
Another excellent video from Sharii (source) that I, Tatzhit, have humbly translated. One of the things it shows well is the real way those “Russian mercenary interviews” are produced by Ukraine’s State Security.
Of course, the true nature of SBU’s work has been known to the informed people for some time:
For example, see Koleda’s interview about how she, a former anti-Putin teen protester, was beaten to attempt to get her to say she was GRU Spetsnaz agent (!) – a year before the man in the video below.
Or watch old interviews of the Russian soldiers that wandered into Ukraine, and note that they’re all spouting the same drivel about realizing (after one day in captivity!) that Ukraine is a great country and Putin is evil (their statements are similar enough that they’re probably reading them off the same piece of paper).
Or even look at the story of Rustam Tashbaev, a US citizen and a nationalist who merely protested the government “not doing enough” and was kidnapped, tortured (he claims the SBU team that kidnapped him was preparing to kill him before they found out he’s a US citizen), branded a “Russian spy with ties to terrorist organizations” by the head of State Security himself and forced to run for his life, etc.
However, this video is interesting in that it combines the guy’s story with news coverage of it from both sides, and explains in detail how the ‘confessions’ process worked.
To understand how bad it is, you must also realize that Zharnikov, Koleda, soldiers, Tashbaev, and others we know of, were ‘important people’ in a way. The fact that they were captured was immediately known, they were used for propaganda, etc.
Imagine how much worse regular people have it, and how many unmarked graves fill the lists of ‘missing persons’ that are in the thousands since the ‘revolution’ (government maintains there are ‘only’ 1200 missing in the warzone alone, but according to Gen. Ruban, his organization already has statements from relatives of 3,900 missing persons).
This is formatted as follows:
- First, some key moments as text transcript
- Then, full video, where the two main characters are voiceover, and news broadcasts are subtitled
- Finally, there is a short satirical video by West Ukrainian activist Artur Sen’ko, poking fun at State Security propaganda with ‘Russian soldier interviews’
This is the story of Alexei Zharnikov, a Russian citizen who was detained in April of this year … this story was well-publicized, and it’s interesting because the two sides of the issue were lying approximately the same amount about the story. … I advise you watch and compare the coverage from the Russian mass media and how it was reported by the Kiev government mass media and officials, very interesting.
… I came <from Russia> as a volunteer on August 9th, 2014, to Lugansk, … and joined the Commandant’s office, the militia.
Title: “Captured by punishers”
… after this, the welder from Orel, Alexei Zharnikov, who never held a weapon had his ribs broken and kidneys bruised, and then the humanitarian worker was thrown in a cellar.
We were escorting a humanitarian cargo – food, medication, seeds for farmers… we got it at Krasny Luch, then went to Donetsk… we made a wrong turn, and the DPR checkpoint just let us through, didn’t tell us that was a Ukrainian checkpoint in front, nothing. We let our guard down because we thought we were behind our own lines, on our land. The first Ukrainian checkpoint let us through, but the second one was already expecting us. … Our truck said “Aid for Novorossiya” across the side, and we even had Moscow license plates. … We could have tried [to fight], but they were already waiting for us, took up positions on both sides, had an armored carrier on us, plus civilians already drove up behind us – so commander ordered us to surrender, we laid down our weapons and came out with our hands up…
Anchor: What can you tell us about captured enemy saboteurs?
State Security spokesman: The information that there were two armed Russian citizens among the detained is correct. They did not get far – thanks to the efforts of our soldiers the sabotage-reconnaissance group was detained. We can’t divulge all the details for now…
…. then there was the usual “working over” – they started beating us, down right at the checkpoint, their scouts came, or something. I got hit pretty hard, I think they just jumped on me and the commander, as it later turned out, he had three broken ribs from that, and I had eight. Plus they kicked my face.
… [Next morning] I was taken to interrogation. First off, they started beating me, when I fell out of a chair, their officer asked me why am I falling, I told him that most likely my ribs are broken, so they stopped beating me … they interrogated the commander … from what I found out they tortured him with electrical shocks and a stun gun …
At that point some journalist, I guess, showed up. … So she interviewed me, I really would want to look her in the eyes because when you’re being interviewed and you can barely breathe and stand, and they’re laughing…
We were taken to Kramatorsk, as we later understood … I was dragged out first since I was with the Commandant’s office [of the militia] in the LPR, they smashed my head against the wall and started kicking … they were beating me and shouting things – I was telling them that I’m a volunteer and that I’m not getting paid any money, that I’m not a mercenary but they didn’t care, they tried to beat it into me that I’m a mercenary, that I came because of the money and all those things. I guess I kept saying what I was saying, so they took me to the investigator. [talking about mock executions of his comrades and further beatings, and being kept chained in a dark basement for two days]
… after that we were dragged out to a gym, the same journalist was sitting there that filmed us the first time – I remembered her voice. She told me “I will film you on camera, here’s a piece of paper, read what it says, do you understand?” I was like “yes, I understand”.
So I repeated that piece of paper while she was filming. Usual stuff, about me being a Russian terrorist, that it was a mistake coming to Ukraine, crying about it, etc. Some of it was pretty complex, I spent like 10 minutes rehearsing. … The main thing at that point was surviving, getting back, so I didn’t really care what to say – because I couldn’t breathe at that point, and I already didn’t care – you know, I thought they should either execute me and be done with it, or give me a doctor or something.
Interview with a pro-Kiev ‘journalist’
Alexei: Zharnikov Alexei Yurievich, born in 1983… 87, in the city of Orel. At the moment I live in the city of Lugansk on the grounds of the ammo factory, which I guard. Yesterday we were detained at the Ukrainian Army checkpoint. We were escorting humanitarian cargo from Krasny Luch towards Novoazovsk and Shirokino
Journalist: Who was the humanitarian cargo for?
Alexei: I don’t know. Militia, most likely, because it also included body armor
Journalist: Who loaded up the cargo?
Alexei: We did, and the policemen.
Journalist: Who is the commander of these policemen?
Alexei: I do not know.
Journalist: What were their callsigns?
Alexei: I also do not know.
Journalist: You are a Russian citizen, what are you doing in Ukraine?
Alexei: I came to defend Donbass after seeing the news,
But when I came here I realized that I was wrong.
Journalist: When did you understand this? When you were detained?
Alexei: No, in October, when I left the Commandant’s Office.
I did not go to the front lines after that, I stayed in Lugansk because I had no money to leave.
Journalist: Which Commandant’s Office did you serve with?
Alexei: Lugansk city.
Journalist: What were your duties?
Alexei: Rifleman. We were patrolling the city and also went to frontlines by Roskoshnoe
Journalist: Did you shoot [at UAF]?
Alexei: Not me.
Journalist: Where is Motorola right now?
Boris Borisovich (?): By Donetsk city.
Journalist: Were you supposed to report to him this time?
Boris Borisovich (?):No.
Journalist: Okay, fine.
… in the interrogation video, the prisoner’s eyes are taped over with scotch tape, and hands are tied with barbed wire.
Then we were transported again. … [when we arrived], they told us “You are in Kiev State Security building, so we’ll figure out what to do with you guys”. We were given a shower, some clothes that were more or less clean because we smelled wet from the cellars, and urine, and God knows what, so they decided [to make us more presentable].
… Interrogation started again, put a camera up in front of me, before filming they gave me the text and told me to read it. I refused, because they were telling me that I am a Russian paratrooper from Pskov, and I spent a long time explaining that I’m a volunteer, not a Russian Army paratrooper.
So then they started beating me – didn’t beat my face, just the [broken] ribs mostly.
Then they gave me the text again and told me to say that I’m a Russian mercenary, a Pskov paratrooper – I guess those paratroopers became something of an obsession for them. But I refused – lying [like that] was too much. … They said “You will hold a Russian passport and [military] ID”, and I told them I will not do it or say anything of the sort because that’s complete gibberish, I came as a volunteer in August. So they started beating me again…
[Answering a question] no medics, no medical attention.
So, eventually, after all the beatings, they told me to give this interview, I told them “no” again, but the last straw was that I couldn’t breathe anymore and they told me that if I don’t say this, there were “Azov” [terrorbat] headquarters nearby there. They would send me and Boris Borisovich there, and “if you make it till the morning then we will exchange you, if you don’t make it, we will just write you off and say that you’ve vanished” [or killed during escape attempt]. So in the end I decided that I wanted to live, so I got my strength together and gave the interview.
State Security “interview”
Alexei: [watch how his hands are shaking]
Zharnikov Alexei Yurievich, born February 11th 1987, in the city of Orel, citizen of the Russian Federation.
State Security interrogator: Under what circumstances did you decide to come to Ukraine and why?
Alexei: Due to Russian TV propaganda I decided to come and join the illegal armed gangs of the Lugansk Republic. We had two platoons there and we would take turns [at the frontline], until we took Georgievka and Lutugino [*note that this contradicts previous interview].
State Security interrogator: Who took Georgievka and Lutugino?
Alexei: First, Russians tried to take it, and they failed, we were helping with the wounded afterwards
State Security interrogator: Which “Russians”?
Alexei: Pskov paratroopers.
State Security interrogator: Have you seen them personally?
Alexei: Yes, I did.
State Security interrogator: How many of them, approximately?
Alexei: There were about 200 of them, because the scouts reported that there were few UAF in Georgievka. So about 300 men attacked it. About 100 Chechens went on the left, and the Pskov paratroopers were in center and right flank
State Security interrogator: Did they have unit markings on uniforms and vehicles?
Alexei: No, nothing.
State Security interrogator: Did you ask why?
Alexei: I assumed this is to conceal their presence
State Security interrogator: Were Pskov paratroopers [successful]?
Alexei: No, back then we got destroyed. First platoon got surrounded and barely made it back.
State Security interrogator: How long did the battle last?
Alexei: About two hours
State Security interrogator: Were there a lot of casualties?
The rest of the story details how State Security, having gotten what they wanted, lost interest in Alexei and his comrades, they were handed over to the police, finally taken to court, officially registered, tried, and charged, received a day of medical treatment (that’s when Alexei found out about broken ribs) and got prisoner exchanged back to LPR some three months later.
VIDEO INTERVIEW OF ALEXEI
*in order to speed up watching this and Koleda’s lengthy video above, I suggest you watch this short instructional video first, about speeding up Youtube videos and saving yourself tons of time.
(Voiceover format is done to save time. Video being changed to black-and-white is to compensate for color problems during re-coding, here is the video with color that’s somewhat off)
SATIRICAL VIDEO BY ARTUR SEN’KO [NSFW – PROFANITY]