Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
29th March, 2016
“The brave Russian commando, like Rambo, deserted during a single mission to hunt for militants, died as a hero calling in an airstrike”, – noted the popular British tabloid Daily Mirror, referring to the heroism of the Russian military.
The Russian Khmeimim airbase confirmed that an officer was killed “while performing a special task to guide Russian aircraft strikes on targets of the Islamic State terrorists” in the area of Palmyra. The soldier during the week, “revealed the most important Islamist objects and gave precise coordinates for the strikes by Russian aircraft and… summoned the airstrike, after which he was discovered by terrorists and surrounded”.
The best in the Military Academy
A “KP” correspondent learned that the “Russian Rambo” was a man from the heartland – 25-year-old Alexander Prokhorenko. A tough muscular movie hero, which the foreign media compare to Alex, however, does not look similar. He is lean and smiling. He gladly shared pictures on social networks of his years at the Military Academy of Air Defense of the Armed forces of the Russian Federation in Smolensk. Here Alex graduated with honors. Everywhere, he’s happy.
“He is in a lot of military families, and he always wanted to go,” – a friend of Alexander told us, with whom he studied with in the Academy. “He and I were friends from the first day of service. I last saw him in December.”
Probably just before Alex’s trip to Syria. But then he didn’t mention anything to his friend. It is understandable – a military secret.
Father and mother are waiting…
Alex was born and grew up in a village 130 kilometers from Orenburg. His parents showed us the house immediately. Father Alexander is a tractor driver. Mother Natalia is the employee of the village administration. The town learned about Alex’s death a few days ago.
“For us, the news came on 19th March,” said the villagers. “Experts from the Ministry of defense arrived at the administration. They did not really say what happened, but as is customary in the military, they thanked the parents for having raised such a son.”
The Prokhorenko house is mourning. A photo of Alexander in a black frame sits on the table, next to an icon. Mother Natalia Leonidovna cries all the time.
“Forgive me, there is not enough strength to speak,” Alex’s father came out, holding out his hand, greeting us. “We don’t know how our son died. We were told only that it happened during a combat mission. It’s really hard.”
When they will bring the body and the family can say goodbye to Alexander is still unknown. His mother and father are still waiting.
His friends called him Alex Prokha
These days his native school all speak about Alex. A picture of him, as the best student, is still on the honorary board.
“No one really knew where Alex is, they said that he’s somewhere in a secret army,” said the head teacher of Gorodetsky secondary school Natalya Meshkova. “He graduated from the school with a silver medal, and was always the first in all the competitions, thanks to him the school won. He is someone who is not afraid of anything in difficult situtions. Overall he was a mountain.
Friends affectionately called Alex Prokhorenko – Prokha
“He was very sociable, loved life, a year and a half ago he got married – we were with Katya at the wedding. I remember there is a video in which he says that he is the happiest man, all his dreams have come true,” said Peter Rusinov, the class teacher of Alexander. “He wanted to become a soldier and became an officer. He dreamed of a family when he met Katya.
When Alex flew to Syria, the couple knew that their firstborn was waiting for them. He didn’t tell his wife about where exactly the business trip was, he didn’t want to upset her.
Katya was worried whether Alex would return in time for the birth of the baby, and told friends – “Not yet…”
“We would like to name our school on behalf of him,” said the teacher Nadezhda Rusinov. “It is quite a feat, which we will tell our students. Not everyone would be able to take the fire themselves.”