Friday, July 11, 2014
Part II - Press-Conference of Igor Strelkov and Alexander Borodai, Donetsk, July 10, 2014 (UPDATED with video!)
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov
(Note: Rough Translation; Subject to Change)
Video: Part II of Press-Conference of I. Strelkov and A. Borodai, Donetsk, July 10, 2014
"Believe it or Not" or Truth and Rumours About Igor Strelkov
Igor Strelkov: (cont'd from Part I) ... all the light arms and a portion of our armour and heavy weaponry, such as artillery, were taken out of the city and are currently here.
Reporter: Igor Ivanovich, a question from the “Believe it or Not” category. Owing to the fact that for a long time you remained in Slavyansk, and journalists did not have an opportunity to interact with as closely as we can now, there were a lot of rumours about you, rumours which you surely must have heard yourself. Were there any that truly amazed or astonished you?
Igor Strelkov: (smirking) That I rip open people’s bellies and then float them down the river.
Reporter: Oh, well this is too scary. Perhaps something a bit lighter?
Igor Strelkov: Well … it’s difficult to say. In reality …
Alexander Borodai: (laughing) [indecipherable].
Strelkov: (smiling) [indecipherable].
Reporter: But you are covered in legends!
Strelkov: Frankly speaking, you see, I perform my duty, and I am not concerned about the rumours that people make up about me. What’s most important is that my conscience is clear and that I am sure that I am doing the right thing. The rest does not matter to me.
Reporter: If I may another question ask on the topic of the rumours about you. Can you please tell us if you are now a part of the Joint Staff of the GRU [Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Federation] or of any other such structures in Russia, or were you such in the past?
Igor Strelkov: In the past, I was part of the staff of the Federal Security Service [FSB]. I resigned. On March 31, I was discharged with the rank of Reserve Colonel.
Reporter: In what year?
Igor Strelkov: Last year.
Reporter: Did you fight in the former Yugoslavia?
Igor Strelkov: Yes, I fought in Transnistria. For five months I fought in Serbian Bosnia. I took part in both the First and Second Chechen Wars [indecipherable].
Reporter: When were you in Grozny?
Igor Strelkov: In the first war – from December 30, 1992 and until March 26, 1993.
Donetsk People's Republic Militia Recruitment
Reporter: Igor Ivanovich, how many people signed up to join the ranks of the Militia after the redeployment of your garrison [to Donetsk]?
Igor Strelkov: There has been a lot. The thing is that at least several battalions worth joined us right away, numbering between 300 and 500 men. These battalions were already here in the process of being formed and immediately joined the ranks of the Militia. Every day we receive people both at our headquarters and through the battalions stationed on the outskirts of the city. Accordingly, I find it very difficult to say exactly how many. However, we must be talking about at least a thousand men over the course of the last month.
Denis Pushilin's Future in the Donetsk People's Republic
Reporter: Thank you. And, Alexander Yuryevich, will Denis Pushilin remain the Chairman of the Supreme Council [indecipherable]?
Alexander Borodai: Until the Supreme Council votes otherwise, for now, he will remain in this role. However, everything is possible.
Pending Voluntary Evacuation from Donetsk
Reporter: Alexander Yuryevich, you mentioned that the evacuation will encompass several areas of the city. If you can, would you please provide concrete information as to which areas of the city are the most dangerous?
Alexander Borodai: It is specifically for reasons of security that I will not provide any more concrete information.
Reporter: And how many people, how many people are we talking about?
Alexander Borodai: I am concerned that the evacuation could involve tens of thousands of people at the very least.
Reporter: Tens of thousands?
Alexander Borodai: Tens of thousands. To begin with. After that, we will see. Judging by the situation.
The Relationship between Igor Strelkov Alexander Borodai
Reporter: Alexander, please tell us, where did you and Igor Ivanovich meet? In Chechnya? It is true that you have been acquainted for a long time?
Alexander Borodai: Yes, we have known each other for a long time. (addressing Igor Strelkov) How many years already?
Igor Strelkov: Since 1996.
Alexander Borodai: Since 1996.
Igor Strelkov: After the First Chechen War we were introduced to each other, [indecipherable] introduced us.
Alexander Borodai: Yes, we … I was also in Transnistria, naturally; however, we were stationed in completely different areas. (addressing Igor Strelkov) As I recall, you were in Bendery, right? (continuing) He was in Bendery, and I was at the Kickanskij bridgehead.
Reporter: And you wrote … you were a journalist there?
Alexander Borodai: No, I was also a volunteer.
Reporter: How will you be organizing the evacuation? Because you need buses, trains. How are you planning to do this?
Alexander Borodai: Well, you see, here we have three people whose fates somehow are linked to Transnistria. Let’s not shy away from this word. (smiling) Vladimir Yuryevich was also somehow at that time in Transnistria. He was also was what we call a volunteer, except that he had the rank of Minister of State Security.
The Fate of Transnistria and the Fate of Donbass
Reporter: And what’s good about Trasnistria now? It’s an unrecognized territory. Specifically, what did you achieve in Transnistria?
Alexander Borodai: (smiling) Don’t ask questions that …
[Reporter and Alexander Borodai speaking over each other]
Alexander Borodai: What I want to say is …
Reporter: Are you not concerned that there will be a repetition here of what happened in Transnistria? An unrecognized state without an economy?
Alexander Borodai: First of all, I would not call Transnistria an “unrecognized state without an economy.” What I would like to tell you is that Transnistria is still alive. Whereas the state that it was in 1992, people, and Russian people in particular, could not have continued living there. They would have been expelled, expelled or murdered. (turning to Igor Strelkov) Do you have any comments?
Igor Strelkov: No, that’s all.
Vladimir Antjufeev: Transnistria was demonstrating and has demonstrated miracles of survival. Any other state would have been destroyed and its population – dispersed, given the pressure that was put on the people of Transnistria and on the state of Transnistria. Transnistria is a symbol of the Russian people’s struggle against national-fascism. Transnistria is the Russian Spain.
Alleged Incidents Involving Ukrainian Orthodox Priests
Reporter: Alexander Yuryevich, a question, particularly in connection with the arrival today of [indecipherable]: two priests of the Orthodox Church of the Ukrainian Patriarchate have been detained, and it is not clear where they are being held now for several days in Donetsk. One of them is Father Tikhon, a fairly well-known person, and another – I can’t remember his surname, perhaps it’s Ivanov, certainly, or maybe Antonov. According to his relatives, it was demanded of him that he call on the Bishop of the Ukrainian Church to come here, and he was threatened. When he refused, he was taken from his home in the Petrovskiy area, and he was taken in an unknown direction. Could I ask you if you know anything or can make inquiries about this?
Alexander Borodai: Well, unfortunately, I know nothing about this incident now.
Alexander Borodai: As you can understand … About these two incident, all right, excuse me. About these two incidents. Frankly speaking, as you can understand, I also arrived in Donetsk not too long ago.
Reporter: Will you make inquiries?
Alexander Borodai: I have no information. Yes, of course, I will make inquiries. Thank you for the information.
Further Clarification Regarding the Voluntary Evacuation
Reporter: Alexander Yuryevich, one more question. How are you planning to organize the evacuation of tens of thousands of people? It’s a lot more than in [indecipherable], for example.
Igor Strelkov: Yes, there was enough there.
Alexander Borodai: This is a technical question. We know how to organize this. Well, overall, I think that we can tackle this task. Unfortunately, we [no longer have time] to answer technical questions like this. I believe there are still a lot of questions [to cover]. Ok, let’s do one more, last one.
[Reporters and Alexander Borodai speaking over each other]
Alleged Meeting with Akhmetov in Moscow
Reporter: I haven’t asked any questions yet. Did you meet with Messr. Akhmetov in Moscow?
Alexander Borodai: No, I did not meet with Messr. Akhmetov in Moscow. There was no such meeting. Thank you.
Igor Strelkov's Decision to Come to Ukraine
Reporter: May I please ask one more question? This is the first time we are seeing you live. Can you tell us when was it that you made the decision to head up the Militia in Eastern Ukraine?
Igor Strelkov: I received a request to help in the creation of a military unit and to head up a group that was ready to raise a rebellion. There were people who were with me in Crimea, in the same volunteer unit, who considered me capable of doing this successfully. More successfully than they could themselves. I accepted their proposal and, as a result, came out here.
Protocol in the Event a Militiaman Wants to Lay Down Arms
Reporter: Igor Ivanovich, if I may, another question. If a militiaman wants to surrender his weapons, will you permit him or not?
Igor Strelkov: If a militiaman wants to surrender his weapon to whom?
Reporter: And go back home, go back to Russia, stop fighting?
Igor Strelkov: This will depend on the situation in which this occurs. If he intends to surrender his weapons to the Ukrainian forces, then he will be brought before a Militia field court-martial. If his desires to leave the Militia for some other reason, then he must do what is done in any army – he must offer up his resignation in writing.
This written resignation will be reviewed by his commander and a decision will be made in reliance on the motives behind the resignation. Whether the decision is negative or positive will be determined by the military regulations pursuant to which we have been conducting our [military affairs]. Thank you.
In the Background: There will be no other end to this war but victory!