Military commissar Dmitry Steshin: if they want to kill you, it’s indecent to walk without a weapon

Plot RF special operation in Donbass and Ukraine

When my colleague and friend, the Komsomolka military commissar Dmitry Steshinreturned from Mariupol — I almost immediately took my children to him: so that they could talk live with a witness to historical events. Dmitry patiently answered the questions of teenagers, showed his findings at Azovstal. For example, comics about the 1917 revolution in Ukrainian, where Russians are assigned the role of villains. Or the textbook of the Nazi scholarHans Günther“Raciology of the Jewish People”. The children saw the tank battle on the video from the reconnaissance copter, and not in the computer game “Tanks”. And then the meeting turned into a big conversation about the modern role of a journalist in the war. 

Comics about the 1917 revolution in Ukrainian. Photo: from the archive of Dmitry Steshin

Textbook of the Nazi scholar Hans Günther “Raciology of the Jewish People”. Photo: from Dmitry Steshin's archive

“Protected my child”

Valery Rukobratsky, Dima, when you returned, were you not struck by a certain dissonance between what is happening here and there? Here — well-fed glamorous Moscow. It's as if the new reality we found ourselves in after the start of the special operation in Ukraine doesn't exist.

Dmitry Steshin: I can't wish what I saw to anyone so many years in the Donbass, and especially in these last months. This would be wrong. And when returned — experienced what he described in his novels Remarque. The guys from the First World War, our future enemies, are returning, and how is everything wrong with them, and why are we back? Should have stayed. How are the comrades? In general, I went through all this, it was very unpleasant. It turned out that I accumulated considerable anger in myself, which I even fell asleep with difficulty. And for four months in the war, I tried not to think about the house, because I only poisoned my soul. jpg” height=”600″ width=”450″ ​​style=”display: block;” />

Dmitry Steshin. Photo: personal archive

— You also had a baby, three days before the start?

— Three days was my daughter, as I left. But nothing, he returned and already taught her to crawl.

— How did you correlate all this in yourself: there is a child whom you have not seen, and it is not clear whether you will see it at all?

— I felt like I was doing my best to protect my child. Because everything with these scum was clear what they were preparing for, why their anti-Russia project appeared at all and for what. So, with goal-setting, everything was fine with me.

Journalist and machine gun

— In Donetsk, you joined the Vostok unit and they gave you a machine gun. Does that mean you've become a combatant? Although it is generally accepted that a journalist is, as it were, over the fight …

— This schizophrenic mindset was instilled in us in the early 1990s by people who, after the collapse of the USSR, were creating journalism in our country in a new way. These were Western consultants, funds. And they organized journalism for us in their own interests. Therefore, during the first Chechen war, 80% of the interviews with our Russian journalists were done from the enemy side. And this, in fact, is a betrayal of both the army and its people. Those consultants told us that the journalist — over the fight. Although they themselves normally choose a side for themselves, they have no doubts. And it's good that such idiotic myths collapsed. You have to be a schizophrenic to cover the same conflict from two sides.

And as for this 1980 machine gun, from which I never fired, of course, never… As my fellow militiaman said if they shoot at you and want to kill you, being unarmed is simply indecent. Well, all our military correspondents during the Great Patriotic War were with weapons. And nothing, they didn’t complex about this. 

And besides, I have driven thousands of kilometers through the war zones, through the territories that have not been cleared, and I am wanted in Ukraine. If they would have caught me alive and healthy, taken me to Kyiv, they would have mocked me for a long time. I don't agree with all of this. I will resist. 

“Whole houses are not interesting to shoot”

— Regarding Mariupol — was it possible for us to take the city without all this destruction?

— The fact that the city is destroyed — it is a myth. This is the picture given by the journalists. Shouldn't they rent entire houses? It is not interesting. Only the outer houses of the city blocks were damaged. You go inside, go around the smoky house — and there are houses with glass. There are also a lot of houses where getting only into the last floors — it's all being renovated. This is not my empirical reasoning, I spoke with the commander of the detachment of the Tula Ministry of Emergency Situations. He shows me the house, says — this entrance will have to be dismantled, and we can save the other three. In the city, 20 percent of houses were damaged, everything else is being restored. And according to the experience of Grozny — done quickly enough. 

And as for the assault — there were no other options. The enemy quite consciously prepared residential buildings for a long-term defense. I know the technology very well, how it's done. Let's say a nine-story building, three entrances. All local residents are driven into basements. On the first floor, entrance doors, usually made of iron, are flattened with a sledgehammer so that they cannot be opened. After that, the house can only be accessed by a ladder, which retracts behind it to the second floor. That's all, the defense of the house began. Places for shelter are chosen, these are, as a rule, inter-apartment corridors on landings — there you immediately 3-4 walls close. Can't get a tank. And in such a house you can sit for a long time. What the people of Azov* demonstrated to us — they stayed in the city for about two months.

— Can we assume that they will use similar tactics in other cities?

— No, you know, the example of Mariupol was very revealing. There is no point in defending in the cities, ours will still crush them, drive them into the dungeon, and they will come out of there with their hands up. I think that's why it was so important for us not to kill them all there. It is important that they admitted that they were defeated, broken, that they went out and surrendered. It was after the victory at Azovstal that there were a lot of videos from Ukrainian soldiers, where they cry that they are not provided, that all commanders — zradniki (Ukrainian — traitors. — Approx. «AiF».). There was a psychological breakdown, everyone was waiting for it for a very long time.

Photo: from the archive of Dmitry Steshin

— I monitor Ukrainian publications, and this defeat at Azovstal as if pulled out of the information field…

— Yes, an uncomfortable story, ugly. Imagine, the elite, “Azov” *, an analogue of the highest political school NAPOLA from the Third Reich, where political workers were trained for the Wehrmacht. People from “Azov” they were evenly distributed in the APU and metastasized there. Therefore, we are surprised to see so many Vushniks in swastons, in Wehrmacht eagles, runes. How is this even possible? And so, they trained the entire army according to the ideological patterns of “Azov”. And in Mariupol, this happened to them — they didn't want to become dead heroes. At first they tried to crow something about the evacuation, but the public space, which is accessible to everyone, immediately reported that these scum had been taken to Yelenovka, to the pre-trial detention center. Elenovka — this is an unfortunate village that has been shelled for 8 years. And then the guys told me that the Ukrainian gunners immediately reduced their ardor in relation to Yelenovka. I would also seat them on chairs somewhere in the center of Donetsk. To stop covering the city with heavy artillery.

“They are to blame”

— When you are inside the event, the units went out on combat missions, do you see only your piece of responsibility, or do you understand the whole plan of what is happening in the theater of operations?

— It is tunnel vision, I have said many times that I see only a fragment where my battalion is fighting. Objectively. Then, already in the smoking rooms, after talking with commanders, with comrades, you begin to more or less imagine what is happening around. In fact, nothing so ingenious, Jesuitical is happening: well, yes, we are storming Mariupol, taking it from all sides. Well, yes, ours cut off the Ilyich plant from Azovstal and cleaned it up. It's really just down to earth.

— I saw about 200 captured Ukrainians, all of them were Westerners. Everyone has the same story: they mobilized when I went for bread, they gave me a machine gun, the first battle began, I immediately went to surrender. But the backbone of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as our military say, — guys from Odessa, Nikolaev, Kharkov. And these are the most stubborn fighters. What to do with this backbone of the army? Can these Russians who have become Ukrainian nationalists be reprogrammed?

— I will say a cruel thing that was discussed with the fighters there. If all the defenses of the Ukrainians fell down in the first days of the special operation, Zelenskywould have fled, and we would have safely occupied Ukraine — then they would have received in the liberated territories such a quantity of Bandera scum, Nazi, Svidomo, forelock, that no FSB could have coped with. This is not a bandit underground in the North Caucasus, a country of 30-40 million people. Now all this scum is simply being ground — and thank God. Their losses are huge, and ours are minimal. And everyone who was ready to shed blood for Ukraine as an anti-Russia project — must be destroyed. And then we will have another country, and Ukraine will be without them. They themselves are to blame. I have no pity for them, they deserve it.

*”Azov” — organization banned in the Russian Federation

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