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    September 28, 2016

    Soldier's Story #34: Callsign "Rudolph"

    Fort Russ, September 28th, 2016
    By Tatzhit Mihailovich

    < Rudolf (in uniform) and Lilya>

    Mihail "Hrustalik" Polynkov, who helps the volunteers join DPR militias ever since May 2014, often posts video interviews with militiamen that he knows.

    I find such stories to be very valuable, since they talk about things that aren't covered in day-to-day news or official reports. I hope to translate more of these interviews in the future, including one with Mihail himself. 

    For now, here's Rudolf's story (video, ENG voiceover):

    Briefly, Oksana AKA "Rudolf" is a native of Slavyansk. When the unrest started, she came to a nearby checkpoint to help - by cooking, etc.
    Others noted that she was reliable and skilled, so Oksana quickly progressed from a helper, to a designated communications person, to a "curator" in charge of a checkpoint (it should be noted that checkpoints at the time were manned by loose collections of volunteers, armed only with sticks and an occasional hunting shotgun).

    When UAF soldiers surrendered a number of armored vehicles at Kramatorsk, one of the "curators" from a neighboring checkpoint wanted her to be a BMD-2 crewman (small stature is a big advantage in cramped vehicle interiors - ed.), Eventually she agreed, quickly becoming turret gunner (previous one fell sick).

    (BMD-2 in Slavyansk, about 50% chance it's the same one Rudolf served on; looks like "Motorola" riding on it)

    Oksana's IFV spent the rest of the siege defending Semenovka. During the retreat from Slavyansk, the armored group took heavy losses.
    Apparently its commander "Taran" misinterpreted Strelkov's orders - instead of shelling the Ukie checkpoint from afar, then retreating across open field, he charged the checkpoint head-on. Ukies took some losses, but most of the armored group perished. "Rudolf" was injured when the BMD got hit - she managed to bail out, but her legs were torn by shrapnel.

    She was captured by former "Berkut" riot police unit, and held for a couple days, but when one of the soldiers saw that she's not safe in captivity, he arranged for her to crawl away. She managed to find friends in Slavyansk, and later escaped to Russia, where her wounds were treated. 

    After a 9-month Odyssey there, Oksana managed to return to Donetsk - and although she didn't plan on it, rejoined the DPR militia - first as a clerk, and then as a BMP turret gunner once again!

    The interview also mentions several instances of overwhelming support that the people of Slavyansk showed for the militia, and a number of anecdotes from those times in 2014. For example, the first captured vehicles had a hard time getting through Slavyansk, because pedestrians would assume they're government armor, and immediately run to lie down in front of them, blocking the "assault".


    Video Source: Polynkov Youtube Channel

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    Item Reviewed: Soldier's Story #34: Callsign "Rudolph" Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tatzhit Mihailovich
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