"Sometimes you have to fight, even if you don’t expect to win. Ask the Spartans at Thermopylae, ask the Texicans at the Alamo. Or the people of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Because sometimes you win, even when you don’t expect to, even when the odds are stacked against you. But you will never know unless you try."
"(The book) is a primer, a nuts and bolts instruction manual, a very honest and real glimpse of what it is like for a People's Militia to rise up and form itself, and to face a real national military ..."
"We all die in the end, but it is up to each of us to choose how we live. We are what we do. This book is about what I and the Defenders of Donbass did. You can do the same."
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This book is my record of day to day life as a soldier in the Novorussian Armed Forces (NAF) at Yasynuvata, Spartak, and the Donetsk Airport during the times of the heaviest battles in 2015. It is not just a personal account, it is a unique part of the historical record of the Donbass War.
There is not, nor will there be, another book like it, written in English by an American volunteer who served as a front line combat soldier in the war. Those who were not there cannot claim to know what it was like, the suffering, the struggles and sacrifices, why they were made, and who made them.
Those, too, who claim they would be willing to defend their families, homes and honor if Fascism ever came to their land, can learn what it is like, what is required, how to fight, and how to win, by reading this book.
It is not just an historical record, it is a primer, a nuts and bolts instruction manual, a very honest and real glimpse of what it is like for a People's Militia to rise up and form itself, and to face a real national military using every weapon they have, against their own citizens.
This book tells how to rise up against such a ruthless army, and win.
From the Epilogue:
I finished this book in the summer of 2018, three years after the events took place. I had kept a small journal while I was at the Front, and that journal was the basis for this book. Everything in this book actually happened. I have not written everything that happened, but everything I have written is true. I have heard some criticism about my writing things that put DPR soldiers and commanders in a bad light. I showed them as they were, and it is not a bad thing to show the truth. None of us are perfect, and I did not intend to write a fairy tale about epic angels. But I did not have to.
Everyone in Donetsk is a true hero to some degree, some more, some less - it took courage and sacrifice to stay here during the war, and even more to go to the Front and fight. Those who stayed in Donbass, and those who came here to help, especially in the dark days of 2014 and 2015, deserve the respect of all good people. Anyone who has not done as much or more than we did, (and as we continue to do) should overlook our mistakes and shortcomings and learn from the good in our examples. And someday, try to do the same yourself. Or better. None of us here are superhuman, just ordinary people who did the right thing, regardless of the cost. If we can do it, so can you. If you want to.
War is a hard and terrible thing, but it does bring out a person’s true character. Ordinary men and women rose to the occasion, because ordinary people were all there were. That’s all there ever are. Some were good, some were bad, none got through it unscathed. War takes its toll, even on those who never got hit by bombs or bullets. There is a cost that is paid, mental, physical, spiritual, by soldiers and civilians, the good guys and the bad. But those who cower and hide in times of strife, who shrink from standing up against genuine evil, who fail to do their duty, not as “heroes”, but as human beings, they too have a price to pay. Cowardice, ignorance and indifference, too, take their toll.
We all die in the end, but it is up to each of us to choose how we live. We are what we do. This book is about what I and the Defenders of Donbass did. You can do the same.
The thing I remember most about Troishka is the smoke. My lungs have never fully recovered from the infection and the smoke from those early days in 2015. From Milnitsa, I remember the 800 meter walk to Ushi, getting shot at by snipers and machine guns on the way there and back, and knowing the big guns would be shooting at me while I was there. It was like taking that last walk on death row, twice a day, every day, and every night, never expecting to make it back again.
The hardest part of the whole war for me was getting up and doing it again, every day. But at Spartak, where the fighting was just as heavy, I remember most the friendships - Reem, Mir, Poet, Shamai, Garcon and most of all, Pover. Friends, Brothers, for life. So, even though war is a horrible thing, sometimes it is necessary, and sometimes some good may come of it. And there are things that are worse than war.
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!”
Fascism is worse than war. Slavery is worse than war, and worst of all, the willing slavery of those whose honor, humanity, and very souls are sold for bread and circuses, for the measly price of creature comforts. Those who have learned to hug their chains. No good can ever come from that.
But best of all is to breathe free in your own country, where you actually trust and respect the government, where the police and the army are your friends, because they are your friends, because you defended your country together with them. Where you can actually see things getting better, in real and measurable ways, where you have real pride in the present and hope for the future. Where you have a stake, and therefore a say, in the future. Where your country is like a mirror, a reflection of yourself, where it is beautiful, and you are proud of it, and will be proud to hand it down to future generations, which is, after all, our greatest obligation.
This is how a society should be built, and how it should be measured. This is how human beings should live. Fearless and free.
And that is how we live here, fearless and free. We fought for the right to do so, and we have earned it. Sometimes you have to fight, even if you don’t expect to win. Ask the Spartans at Thermopylae, ask the Texicans at the Alamo. Or the people of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Because sometimes you win, even when you don’t expect to, even when the odds are stacked against you. But you will never know unless you try.
A battlefield is a hard school, the costs of mistakes are grave and often fatal. If you think the day may come when you will have to defend yourself and your country from Fascism, foreign or domestic, you need to arm yourself before the war begins, and the most important weapon you can have is knowledge. The knowledge in this book will teach you what you will be facing, how to handle it, and how to overcome it. We did it, so you can too.
People get the government they deserve. The Donbass Republics are an example to the world. It is not a Utopian dream, we have actually done it. The fact that the Republics still exist proves it. And if we can do it, others can too. Take a lesson from it. This is what it costs, and this is how to do it. And it is worth it.
You can get a PDF e-book copy by donating $10 (or more) to Donbass Human Aid. Go to their website, click on the "Donate" button, and fill out the paypal form. Be sure to put "book" and your email in the comment box. You will receive you book within 48 hours. All proceeds from the book go towards our continuing efforts to help the most vulnerable victims of the Donbass war.
Good luck to all good people. May God protect the innocent, and may the rest of us get everything we deserve...
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