In Memory of Mozgovoi – “To die in May is not so bad” [Video]


Translated by Tatzhit. November 24th, 2015

This video was just released by Prizrak brigade, and I think it’s quite moving.

The poem “To die in May is not so bad” was written by Alexei Borisovich 2 years before his death

He was, indeed, ambushed last May. Of all the victims of the Ukrainian civil war, he was probably the most missed – because he was a leader of the people and for the people.


“To die in May is not so bad”
A.B. Mozgovoi – 2013

To die in May is not so bad – the earth is soft to dig a grave,
And nightingales are all around, to sing me on my final way

May thunderstorms will roar for me, instead of droning farewell prayers
And rains that wash the grief away will more than substitute for tears

Grass will engulf on my earthen mound – much better than the gravestone moss
And birch trees will lean over me, although there may not be a cross

Their branches reach out to May sun, The meadow is with flowers gilded
And in a world that bursts to life I’ll be the only thing that wilted

To die in May is not so bad, to stay forever in the spring
There are some things I left undone, and yet, I don’t regret a thing…

To die in May is not so bad…


Mozgovoi himself was a poet, singer, orchestra conductor (also soldier and construction worker – because earning a living in Ukraine wasn’t easy). Here is him singing a song about his hometown (in Ukrainian), with a video about an orthodox holiday celebration:

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A couple quotes from people that met him –

Ukrainian politician Tat’yana Montyan:
“He was a non-typical commander. He was charismatic, played a local Che Guevara, really tried to pass justice in the area he controlled… He was confiscating drugs by the pound and burning them on the central square of Alchevsk. He personally came to resolve conflicts – almost down to family squabbles. He was playing Robin Hood, and people loved him. This is shown by the number of people who came to his funeral – the people now slandering his memory, I don’t think such a number of people would even bother coming to spit on their graves. 

Mozgovoi was very inexperienced at running a city, and running any sort of government, really. The maximum he could do is deliver humanitarian aid, organized by him for the population. He had four free canteens running for the people. When I was there, he was arguing with the Russian customs because they weren’t letting through food, and he was shouting – what will I feed my soldiers, my civilians, children in our kindergartens… He didn’t much care for the elections or stuff like that – non-typical. 

Anybody could have killed him – from local drug dealers for burning all the drugs, to anybody else, he did not fit in there and did not have powerful backers. There is only one road there – plant an IED, sit and wait for him to come. And that’s that’s how it happened.”


kenigtiger AKA murz had this to say:
“The first time I met Mozgvoi was in the winter, during the fighting for Debaltsevo. Our company combat group was moving through Komissarovo, and radio car got stuck overnight due to fuel pump failure. We stayed with “Prizrak”, who quartered in the local jail, they were very welcoming. 

Living quarters were in the repeat offender barrack, which was a grim concrete building sunk in the ground almost all the way. The place was shelled by mortars and howitzers from time to time, but usually no KIA. Me and the driver were sent to the “guest” cell, as others were already taken by the communist detachment and other Prizrak fighters. 

I threw down my gear and went to HQ to talk to familiar officers. At some point Mozgovoi showed up, they started a meeting, so I left to radio for a tow truck. Our guys said they’ll send one tomorrow – I decided to lay down then, and went back to the guest cell. 

Mozgovoi was sitting upright on a jail bed next to mine. In full gear, with his AK and chest rig. Brigade commander was catching some sleep.”


Further reading:

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