Humanist in camo: a portrait of Alexei Markov, founder of the Communist Unit


Susann Witt-Stahl
In Junge Welt, December 30, 2015

Translated from German by Tom Winter, January 8, 2016

He loves literature, Remarque, Márquez, Pushkin, and classical music. He had never served in an army. “War is a repulsive and profoundly inhuman business,” Alexei Markov said in an interview with JW. So why is he nevertheless voluntarily wearing military camo, and is even the senior political commissar of a military unit, who has fought in the bloody encirclement Debaltseve? 

It is owing to the insight that “sometimes in history there are even worse alternatives.”

Born in Omsk, Siberia in 1973, he had initially embarked on an academic career. At the 16 he moved to Novosibirsk and studied atomic physics. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he left the university and headed up the IT department of various companies for many years. 

When the Kiev coup government launched its “anti-terrorist operation” in April 2014 against the two unrecognized republics Donetsk and Lugansk, at first, he just collected money for the progressive forces among the insurgents.

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 Markov, domiciled in Moscow since 2001, during a visit to the Prizrak Brigade, promised Alexei Mosgovoi (since killed) that he would come back, and with reinforcements. Mosgovoi had only replied: “A lot of people have said that.” 

But Markow kept his word: On November 6, 2014, he, with 18 Russian comrades, founded the Volunteer Communist Detachment 
(Доброволтическый коммуниситическый отряд, DKO).

“Since I was able to think, I’ve been a convinced communist,” says Markov, who was politically socialized in the Komsomol. After the unconstitutional actions of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin against the Congress of People’s Deputies in 1993 he entered the Communist Party, but he left them in 2001 due to their “slick politics.” Markov – the fighters of the DKO lovingly call him “Dobriy” (the Good) to this day is decidedly against the sale of the principles of communism, and feels committed, as he says, to the thinking and actions of Lenin, the resistance fighter Julius Fucíks, the humanistic instruction of Anton Makarenko of Che Guevara. “For him the people’s happiness was more important than ministerial posts.”

Both of Markov’s grandfathers died fighting in World War II in the Red Army against Nazi Germany. Like Hitler was then for Thyssen and Krupp, today for the oligarchs in Ukraine, the fascists are “an instrument” to achieve their profit interests. Who is investing so much in war, have no interest in stopping. Markov recalled the Ukrainian artillery attack, late summer of 2014: “I’ll never forget the image of the father who had to watch as the tattered body of his little daughter was being loaded onto a truck.” This was on the beach of Sugres, a city in Donetsk Oblast. “For the fascists, it’s all according to the motto ‘the Donbass is going to be Ukrainian or a desert,’ and the many children killed are nothing but the ‘breed of Kolorad'” (potato beetle – dirty word for the insurgents) he says. But “I feel for them, as if they were my own.”

Nevertheless Markow warns against demonizing the Ukrainian soldiers. “They’re not all fascists. Many were forcibly recruited, and manipulated into thinking the people of the East are their mortal enemies,” he explains. “We do not hate the Ukrainians” However, Markov is convinced that a just peace isn’t going to happen without a military victory over the Kievan troops. – a precondition for a historical process, that, for Markow, is categorically necessary. “The Ukraine must be denazified.” Like all Communists and Socialists, on January 15 he will commemorate two revolutionaries and anti-imperialists, who embodied a great hope of the labor movement a hundred years ago and whose ideas Alexei Markov considers “still contemporary” “The treacherous murder of Luxemburg and Liebknecht* has robbed mankind of brilliant minds.”
*Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg were cofounders of the Spartacist League, and of the Communist party of Germany. Killed in the Spartacist uprising of 1919.

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