Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
11th December, 2015
Who was Oleg Muzhchil, the man shot dead by special forces during the arrest in Kiev. "Public Radio" has collected some facts and views on this controversial personality.
He considered himself a supporter of Buddhism, and at the same time was of a very radical nature. A victim in Kiev during detention, Oleg Muzhchil had at least three names. In social networks he was known as Sergei Amirov. In the Volunteer Ukrainian corps (DUK) he was a scout under the pseudonym "Forester", but three months ago, he left the "Right Sector". The Buddhists of Ukraine knew him as Jamba -Lama, a Buddhist Abbot of a monastery in the Donetsk region. In this publication, "Public radio" tries to assemble relevant information in relation to the man, who before his death, claimed the life of a member of the special forces of the SBU.
The "Right Sector" Fighter?
Oleg Muzhchil, pseudonym "Forester", was headed by an agency within the DUK (this came from their own chatter in late summer). As was described by a blogger and fighter of Right Sector (RS) Elena Belozerskaya, he was "a highly skilled spy-saboteur, and an adventurer to his core". According to him, he fought in the Second Chechen war on the side of the Chechens. He was repeatedly arrested.
"He was a native of Eastern Ukraine who led several autonomous groups, which, since the beginning of the war, actively worked in the occupied territories and even in Russia. I've seen videos of their operations — he worked well. Later — the reason is unknown to me — Forester settled in controlled territory in Ukraine, and moved some of their people there. Among them were citizens of the Russian Federation, within the local radical opposition circles, I personally saw two," writes Belozerskaya.
According to the blogger, Oleg Muzhchil admitted that he was in RS in order to have the opportunity to make useful contacts.
"He said that he had ambitions, that he wanted to be a dictator — but, in my opinion, it was not those ambitions, but the attraction of adventure, the eccentricity of nature, which led to his death. His energy and knowledge was in the right direction... There, in the summer at the base, he often turned into Kikimora and disappeared somewhere half-day. One day was hilarious, he taught a lesson to some soldiers who had relaxed and went fishing, not wearing proper protection. He crept up to them under the guise of a "separatist" commando, disarmed and captured them. He told them that if they continue, they will not eat the fish, and the fish will eat them."
|Forester on his Facebook|
He left the Right Sector in the summer of 2015 at his own request. Prior to this, he constantly publicly criticized the leader of RS Dmitry Yarosh, and in private conversations it was stated that he was targetting the President of Ukraine.
"His relationship with the "Right sector" was very difficult. He hated Dmitry Yarosh stupidly, he associated himself only with DUK and even then it was with some "reservations". He was constantly calling for riots, terrorist attacks, any military action, and in all arguments on the subject, he said that the view that it was impossible to do such things while the country is on the brink of revolution was nonsense. Convincingly, in both historical and contemporary examples, he explained that the majority opinion meant nothing. Not all his conversations revolved around this. He spoke calmly, earnest, seemed quite sincere. On his page on Facebook he constantly berated Yarosh, RS and the rest for lethargy, indecision, unwillingness to blow up everything that moves, and shoot anything that showed its head. It was too much for even our most radical of radicals, and in the end we said goodbye to Forester. I don't know if he was kicked out — I left. I don't know about other people, but I honestly breathed a sigh of relief," writes Belozerskaya.
Oleg Muzhchil, on his blog, wrote: "Now there is no national leader who will lead us all! Another mantra that is constantly calling for different pseudo-revolutions".
"The idea that the fight is as important as the birth of a national leader, and not visa-versa, first the leader then the fight, is a mistake. The conclusion: Do not to base the organization on a "leadership" structure, because the leader is easy to destroy (Sashko Biliy) or scrutinise (like Yarosh). The rebel organization should work on the basis of a network structure, where each personally acts autonomous and strategic issues are decided by a collection of commanders (on this principle it is like the Islamic military organizations that the most powerful States in the world can't do anything about). In this case, the rebel leader will not be declared a political bigmouth, and the crowd cannot choose the commanders on the ground".
Dmitry Yarosh commented on his blog regarding "Forester". The MP noted that he did not know if Oleg Muzhchil was an agent of the Russian special services. But believes that the evidence should be made public.
"I did not trust Oleg Muzhchil , never – those were my reasons. We met him in the war once. Last August, 2014, we had just come out from under Saur-grave, and he appeared with the 5th battalion DUK. He said that he had a desire to join our front-line activities. I was interested, because he was local and people with knowledge were needed. Intelligence then arrived that in the area of Olenevka were Russian "Tigers". Accordingly, it was decided to send our DRG to the area to ambush the Russian invaders. Work had started: the group was released, Oleg went to the main patrol and got lost somewhere... the job was not fulfilled.
After that, together with arms and grenades, which were allocated to him, he disappeared. After some time, he appeared in the rear of our base and was officially involved with DUK in the collection of intelligence. He was not successful in this field..." — wrote Yarosh.
In 1993, Oleg Muzhchil created the Spiritual administration of the Buddhists, but the monks lived partly on donations and partly on revenue from the manufacture of preparations of Oriental medicine. His Highness Jumbo-Lama, as he called himself, gave lectures and seminars all over Ukraine and abroad.
The Buddhists, led by Mr. Muzhchil, had a clear political stance. "We have always supported and support the Ukrainian national-Patriotic movement, considering that without a conscious and Patriotic citizen, there can be neither a strong state nor a decent life in this country. And that's why we were in hard opposition to the Yanukovych regime, believing it to be a threat of dictatorship and the criminalization of power. And that's why we fully support the appeal to the new authorities of the Committee for the Liberation of political Prisoners," Jambo Lama wrote on the website of the Spiritual administration of the Buddhists of Ukraine.
Oleg was known as Jambo Lama from 1991, Eugene Іhelson wrote on his blogger page .
"His interest in Buddhism was sincere and genuine, he practiced the Buddhist teachings, we all have something to say to him - thank you. However, from my point of view, only a vain man becomes a Buddhist monk rapidly - he is an impostor, and so was Jambo. Maybe it will be a revelation for his disciples, that they learned from a person where all his stories that came from his biography were lies. He invented the monastic name and school himself, but that's what happens in countries where people are ignorant and can't verify information. However, I want to believe that the person that wears "the clothes of the Buddha", did it with honest intentions" — he said.
"Buddhism is a peace-loving religion, and is not forced upon anyone. Its application is not forced either. But this does not mean that Buddhism professes peace at any price. We have the concept of patriotism. There is a Sutra (rule) on war from the Buddha — what war is fair and what is not. Buddha said: "Forget yourself for the sake of the village, forget family, for the country forget your village, for the sake of teaching forget it all. This is the priority of values, — said Oleg Muzhchil in an interview with LB in 2014.
He participated in rallies against Yanukovych in the Donetsk region, and began fighting at Hrushevskoho in Kiev. Forester said: as a result of scouting for the "Right sector", he knew about the impending invasion of Russian troops in Crimea two weeks before the invasion, and reported it to the management.
His parishioners of the Buddhist monastery in Volnovaha, according to Oleg Muzhchil, were directly engaged in hostilities, or were supporting the forces of the ATO as volunteers: the war touched everyone.
"At the time, one commander came to the Buddha, and, after a philosophical dispute with the Buddha, he accepted his teachings. He said: "I Want to follow the Buddha, but I have one question. I'm a captain, my job is to ensure that the village doesn't get attacked by enemies, robbers. Should I do what the Buddha himself did, leave the worldly life and become a monk and renounce all violence?" The Buddha replied: "nowhere has the Buddha taught not to leave anything to the forces that represent evil, be it humans, spirits or forces of nature . But, if fighting, remember what you are struggling for. Wrong is the one who attacked, started the war — but not the one who has risen in defense of their country. The accused was the one who started the war ". And the Buddha said: "Say, o commander, fight with all your strength. But remember what you said — what you struggle for" — said Oleg Muzhchil, interpreting Buddhism.
The saboteur and the Russian agent?
The Press Secretary of the SBU, Olena Gitlyanska, said on Friday, the third day after the raid in which Muzhchil and the commando were killed, that "Forester" had repeatedly traveled abroad under fake passports.
"We can announce that we eliminated the head of the DRG, 50-year-old Oleg Muzhchil. We have additional confirmation of the facts of his numerous trips abroad using fake passports. It is established that the last trip to Russia of the head of the group took place in September-October this year. Remember the detention of Luhansk resident Anastasia Kovalenko, in the centre of Kiev - the Russian special services had to investigate the explosive device in the women's bag. Later, in Kiev, two subversive groups were arrested in September and October of this year that were planning attacks in the capital at the Feast of the Intercession. In the case of confirmation of connection of this group with special services of the Russian Federation, does this indicate that Russia intends to blow up the situation inside Ukraine, including terrorist methods?", she said.
Andrey Lempicki, who commands the "Right Sector", denies Oleg Muzhchil could be an agent of Russia.
"Right sector", in the commentary on the incident in Kiev, wrote that "it is unknown whether the man killed is Oleg Muzhchil". RS confirmed that Mr. Muzhchil, on the 31st August, terminated its cooperation with the organization.
As was stated by the Press Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Artem Shevchenko, the ATO probably fought another fighter, nicknamed "Forester". He fought in the guerrilla group that helped liberate Sloviansk. Mr. Shevchenko asked not to confuse two different Foresters. He claimed on his page that "Forester", member of RS, and the commander of the "Ranger group", are two different people.
"If he worked for the FSB or GRU — I don't know. To say such things without hard evidence is inadmissible. Who did he work for? For me, he could work any mission in the world with which cooperation could satisfy his desire to live the way he wanted to live, to do what he wanted to do. I think that by training his mind he expected victory, but not in the interests of Ukraine or some structure - but more so, for the sake of his own pleasure" — wrote Elena Belozerskaya.
On the 9th December 2015, as a result of a security operation, the activity of a sabotage-intelligence group that operated in several cities of Ukraine, including in Kiev, was suppressed. Two citizens of the Russian Federation and three citizens of Ukraine were detained. Another member of the DRG resisted arrest with automatic weapons, wounding two employees of special forces, but was neutralised, reported the press service of the SBU. It then became known that during the operation, in addition to "the saboteur", an employee of "alpha" was killed.