“Keep On Working, Brothers!” – Motorola Lives On through Fort Russ


October 16, 2017 – Fort Russ –

By Fort Russ Special Editor Jafe Arnold –

I usually dislike personal reflections. More often than not, I find them either irrelevant or written for the sole reason that the author is incapable of expressing their ideas in concrete analysis. After all, as should be known by all, geopolitics is not individual personalities, and there is no room for emotions in geopolitical processes. We are all – from the most genius analyst to the tireless info-warrior to the courageous soldier on the frontline to this or that political figure – to a certain extent ants in a war that is bigger than us, and whose very immensity is what gives our otherwise uninteresting or irrelevant lives meaning. Our personal reflections, in this context, are only supplemental or purely sentimental.

Today, however, I feel that this is an occasion on which I can and should break my own rule, and admit that the feelings which engulf me belong to the category of experiences which, on a very personal and yet still greater level, can only be cathartic if they are shared with others in precisely such a human, delicate form so that they might ground us in the individual reality in which we each experience the war in Donbass, the US-NATO war on Russia, the Great War of Continents – from whatever angle you might christen that which is still unfolding before our very eyes. 

This occasion is none other than the murder, the death of Arsen Sergeyevich Pavlov, known to many as “Motorola” – the fearless commander of the Sparta Battalion of the Donetsk People’s Republic who, on this day one year ago, was killed in the elevator in his own home by Ukrainian terrorists. 

I felt Motorola’s death “on my own skin” as the Russian saying goes. It was while working on Fort Russ materials in a cafe in Wroclaw, Poland, that I learned of his death and quickly became, if I’m not mistaken, the second or third person to report this tragic event in the English language. For me, Motorola’s death was a reminder of the tragedy – and cost – of any war, no matter how just, defensive, or sacred it might be. And it was a cold-shower reminder of how some of us have given all, and how all of us have given some – but still some all. 

Motorola was an ordinary working-class human who became an extraordinary hero. He gave up a rather normal life of labor, hopped on a train, and took up a weapon to defend the frontline of Donbass, the frontline of the Russian World, the frontline of multipolarity, the frontline of resistance to the US Empire, the frontline of resistance to the genocidal, cannibalistic disease known as Ukrainian “nationalism” – the frontline of frontlines as it was in 2014. Motorola was everything that any one of us could have been – in terms of volunteering, sacrifice, and courage – but he was more than all of us, because he broke the barrier between words and deeds, between the survival instinct of life and “normalcy” and the heroism and eternity of death. Motorola was not in the right place at the right time. He put himself there, and he saved thousands, perhaps millions of lives at the cost of his own. 

I can say with confidence on behalf of many of us who have been on the frontline of the information war that not a day goes by when the rational intellect of calculated thinking doesn’t clash with the romantic and passionate draw of what it would be like to fight with guns, not keyboards, with our lives, not our accounts. Motorola’s death was a painful reminder of the chasm that exists between different fronts, aspects, and personalities. Today, thinking about Motorola, we are inescapably confronted with the idea of Motorola, and why and how we are somehow mystically connected to the event of his death. 

Re-watching Graham Phillips’ famous interviews with Motorola on YouTube, I’m shocked at how the profound words uttered by the profoundly ordinary Motorola continue to resonate to this day. “When we’re no longer here, others will take our place” sticks out to me as one of Motorola’s most prophetic phrases. It’s as if something is evoked by Motorola’s simple yet profound words, something universally mobilizing yet personally grounding that puts all of us in our place while reminding us that we could all stand up and fight just like Motorola did. 

If I had to name that one thing which unites all of us from the reader to the writer to the translator to the volunteer on the frontline in Donbass, it is the Idea. This idea might go by different names, fly under different colors, or even be disputed within our own circles, but this idea finds its very different manifestations in objectively, ultimately the very same trajectory. Motorola was an ordinary expression of this idea, and therefore he was extraordinary. “We’ll win back our land, and then work like we did before,” he once said. This rather ordinary profession of a desire to live peacefully was made extraordinary by the war forced upon the people of Donbass by Washington and Kiev, and Motorola was one of those ordinary Russian people who thought beyond their noses and went to fight in a war that might not have affected their lives in the next week or month, but would for sure, in the long run, decide their future. And ours. 

Motorola fought with bullets, guns, maps, radios, and, most famously, black tea with sugar. Yet he never called himself a hero – for him the heroes were those on the front line. He was “just their commander.”

- Advertisement -

While I might be proud to say that Motorola’s fight inspired me to translate and author more than 1,000 articles and news pieces for Fort Russ, I will forever feel the regret, or perhaps the awe, that some people did what I never did. In the end, the argument over whether the pen is mightier than the sword can very well be made, but it is pragmatic, and not existential in nature.

In November of 2015, I wrote that Fort Russ is more than what its name or articles might immediately display. It is something greater, whether consciously or not, and its efforts draw in and tap into forces which are far beyond our small – but wonderful – team of volunteers and resources. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past three years of active participation in the information war, it’s that it is not simply information that we are dealing with. We are fighting with ideas, and our ideas are incarnations of the realities which people like Motorola saw everyday on the frontline in Donbass, but which we must work so hard to be revealed as reality past the blockade and propaganda of the Western media machine.

In the end, we owe the dissemination and discussion of these ideas to Motorola and the people of Donbass who, having no time to philosophize, shot and took bullets for realities that only make their way into our words and ideas with significant delay. 

There is only one #je suis that I can imagine sharing, and that is unquestionably Je suis Motorola. And for that reason, and vice versa, je suis Fort Russ. 

Alas, Motorola has passed on to the heavenly realm. And Fort Russ has been under an unprecedented attack from search engines, ad companies, and social media censors for half a year now, a challenge which has led many of us to meditate on the value and seriousness of our work. As follows, we have been forced to remember that the deaths of some linger on as undying inspirations for our endeavors. For this reason, I consider Fort Russ, one of the leading organs in the information war today which I was honored to join in August 2015, to be a living tribute to Motorola and all the others who have been lost in the war that we can and must win. We fought to spread the truth about Ukraine, about Donbass, and about Motorola, and we are still fighting. We will keep fighting, and in doing so keep Motorola’s flame lit. 

In closing, I’d like to evoke the inspiration himself. When asked what those people of Donbass still stuck under Ukrainian occupation can and should do, Motorola replied: “Most important is not to just sit silently, but to fight back in the information war from within so as to not let what is happening now become the norm, so that people won’t accept these crimes.” 

Despite the “ceasefire”, the war in Donbass is still very much raging, and Fort Russ is still fighting as well, despite the heavy blows we’ve been dealt by “fake news” censors. While Motorola is no longer here, we are. This struggle, which is lasting so unusually long, should remind us of the equally long-term effects of our daily slugging through the trenches of information war.

Here I find it impossible to avoid quoting the profound words of Lenin: “We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and we have to advance almost constantly under their fire. We have combined, by a freely adopted decision, for the purpose of fighting the enemy, and not of retreating into the neighbouring marsh, the inhabitants of which, from the very outset, have reproached us with having separated ourselves into an exclusive group and with having chosen the path of struggle instead of the path of conciliation.”

Any freely adopted struggle for the truth is inevitably accompanied by a struggle to uphold the dead while addressing the living. This day should serve as a reminder that those who have passed are still with the living. We, the living, must necessarily fight until the end for peace – peace for those who will not live to see such, and for those who will. I can say with great confidence that Fort Russ will be in this fight until then, and perhaps even after. 

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000}
p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 13.0px}
span.s1 {font-kerning: none}

Motorola’s comrade-in-arms Givi, whom, unfortunately, we will also soon have to commemorate, more than once evoked the solemn phrase: “God is with us.” In conclusion, I would combine this assurance with the last words of the young Dagestani police officer, Magomed Nurbagandov, before he was executed by US-backed ISIS terrorists. His last words, “Keep on working, brothers!”, were cherished and carried on by Motorola in his time, and should be by us in ours. 

“Heroes don’t die: Arsen Pavlov – Motorola”

Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up here to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered directly to your inbox.