To Understand Ukraine, Read 85 Days In Slavyansk

The Current Thing is the war in Ukraine. Maybe not the most current thing pending Roe v. Wade, but the full force of propaganda is an ongoing pressure campaign. One of the features of this propaganda campaign is that nothing happened in Ukraine until Putin decided to invade. Quick online searches reveal what a fraud that is, but how much does anyone know of the fighting that began in the aftermath of the Maidan Revolution? Even as one who followed the events in Ukraine in 2013-14, I was unaware of how wild the action in the Donbas in 2014. If you want to fill in the blanks, buy 85 Days in Slavyansk.

This book is a war memoir by a Russian who volunteered to fight with the pro-Russia separatists in the Donbas in 2014. It relies on a collection of primary source material, interviews with fighters and even collections of Internet posts. It walks you through the fighting in Slavyansk from the initial entry of 52 men to the evacuation of the city by the drastically expanded fighting force that fought for freedom from Ukraine’s new post-Maidan regime. I was surprised by the number of maps and pictures of key figures and locations, which are a boon to the reader. Western readers will find these useful.

The narrative itself is pro-separatist with a nice introduction early on to explain why the separatists had the desire to break away and just how manufactured the Ukrainian nationality is. One must keep in mind that the Euromaidan movement sprang to life immediately after Ukraine’s president pivoted towards Russia with an economic agreement. For that infraction, he was ousted in a color revolution and his replacement cabinet was a mix of Ukrainians, Americans who received Ukrainian citizenship days prior to becoming cabinet members and random, tie eating failed presidents of Georgia. These are not exaggerations. Ukraine did become a full-fledged US State department puppet regime culminating with a president whose path would be like Jon Stewart becoming president in 2008.

The memoir goes into details on what daily fighting was like. It is not glorious. There is bluffing. Skirmishes are often punctuations in boring days. Artillery is a killer of partisans and civilians. Many men die due to sacrificing themselves to provide cover for more troops to evacuate. Frankly, this book, had it been translated sooner, would have been a perfect preview for what fighting is like for near peer forces using artillery and actual tank on tank fighting. The new phase of the Donbas War was never going to be an Iraq or Afghanistan fight, and it feels a little more Korean War in action. Had this come out six months ago, there might be more redditors alive today. The outrageous lies of today’s Ukraine fighting like the Ghost of Kiev were already there in the Donbas in smaller form and not given the media spotlight. The action and behavior of 2022 was there only lacking a proper American media treatment.

Wonderful passages in the memoir cover militiamen named Brick, Gypsy, North, Bear and the most interesting Motorola. These men had humble backgrounds prior to the conflict but left a legacy after their contribution. Motorola had no military background but became a capable leader and tactical commander. He was also a capable propagandist and psyop manipulator. It made me think of the chest thumping by American militia guys who weigh 250 lbs at 5′ 9″ and talk of a shooting civil war. The saviors of a new conflict would likely be more like Motorola. Men who are moved by passion for the fight who in the moment shine as the eons of warfare within the DNA activate. He was an average man who activated dormant capabilities. Many men said no, and others could not be properly equipped, but the call to arms pulled in an odd array of unlikely soldiers.

The figure who stands above it all is Igor Strelkov. If not for his band of 50 odd men, a band so small a large coach bus could carry them, the Ukrainians would not have had much to worry about in the Donbas. His words both in interviews and via writing or posting pepper the book. He was a strategist, a fighter, an inspiring speaker and a true alpha: a leader of men. He also reveals some finer details of what was going on in 2014, and some of the confusion on his side. They expected quick support from the Kremlin. Putin did not intervene quickly as he did in Crimea, and the pro-Russian forces suffered for it. Within the greater view of geopolitical events, it might have been because Putin’s clique was setting up the intervention in Syria at the same time and did not seriously plan for the Donbas on short notice. Russia may have not wanted to be stretched too thin. Russia can kick off a war now in Ukraine because their commitment to Syria is massively scaled back.

One would be a failure to not mention that this memoir is only available because of the translation by the Twitter user @Peter_Nimitz. He is the man who made this happen. I could not help but see that dour profile pic in my mind while reading this as if Wrangel was reading along with me. This work puts the 2010s Ukraine conflict in better context. It also provides English readers with a better understanding of the forces behind the current mess. The memoir is a church bell reminding you that just 52 men can make the difference in an entire conflict. It was not just about holding out in one city, but in holding out in one city to protect an entire region. They held off the faux sovereign for 85 days who was being supported by the global empire. To understand those few men and to pay them proper respects, purchase this book and light a candle for the men only known by callsigns who gave their life for their nation or even just the idea of a home.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. redcaer1690 says:

    A fantastic review: off to get hold of this book immediately!


  2. NC says:

    Thanks for the review, but I can’t give a jews nose about Khazaria. Its a deep dark world bankers war sucking resources and souls for the daemons. We need to purge all that support it, starting at the top of the Corporate and Government food chains.
    Just my 0.02 worth.


  3. Lon Spector says:

    We are living in a “Through The Looking Glass” (Alice In Wonderland”) society. Falsehood has been substituted for reality on just
    about every level. It’s like the opening chapter of “1984.” Everything is twisted for propaganda and control purposes.
    The top 1%’s take on things is depraved and cockeyed. Their lies are being pulmagated by the mass media, educational, and
    corporate systems.
    What it all comes down to is a mass hypnosis project followed by a mass EXTERMINATION PROJECT of the undesirable and
    anyone who threatens the Demonic social order. The “Great Reset” is another name for it.
    And there’s no hope because “You can’t fight City Hall.” Satan himself is “City Hall.”


  4. The American Russophile says:

    Claiming that one can “understand Ukraine” based on a single book is a very ignorant venue to pursue.

    I think one of the main factors this context, that reinforces the anti-Western sentiment in American dissent right, is the myth of Euromaidan being an CIA-led revolution. In my opinion it’s not true. I believe the pro-Western pivot in Ukraine is popular, organic and driven by people’s desire to increase quality of life for themselves and their children.

    Ukraine was a country richer and in much better position than neighboring Poland after fall of the USSR. Highly industrialized, technologically developed and with access to nuclear power. 25 years later, Poland was 2.5 times as rich, per capita, which goes in line with quality of life as well. Just before the war some sources estimated about 2 million of Ukrainian economic migrants in 37 million Poland.

    Ukraine being a part of Russian sphere of influence, for so many years after the fall of USSR, didn’t bring it any favor. The country fell into a state of decay and suffering from rampant corruption.

    However their pro-Western neighbors who integrated into western structures, managed to successfully overcome these problems in a far greater extent. In 2004 Poland joined European Union, at the same Ukraine voted out their pro-Russian government for the first time. Ukrainians started to see that pro-Russian alignment hinders their flourishment and serves no purpose in their lives.

    In the end, Russia ultimately failed to convince Ukraine to stay on their side. Even Igor Strelkov that you mentioned (who by the way is a Russian ex-FSB glowie) said in one interview recently that Russia never had anything to offer besides celebrating 9 May together. Not to mention DNR and LNR are now much more miserable places to live than under Ukrainian rule. And certainly it’s not Ukraine’s fault.

    Lastly, American Right is very tempted to see the war on Ukraine as a culture war. It’s everything but. It all boils down to a question of quality of life. Russian rule on foreign land turns, and always turned people’s lives into misery. It’s like a law of nature at this point.


    1. Ivan Georgiev says:

      Surprised to see a commenter going by “The American Russophile” give such an even handed take on this subject. Frankly, it is bewildering that this review still feels the need to assert just how “manufactured” the Ukrainian identity is while at the present moment the Russian “special military operation” has been bogged down for admittedly a myriad of reasons but one of the key ones being that the Russian leadership (or—specifically Putin, if we are to take Luttwak’s assertion that Naryshkin and the intelligence community were skeptical about such notions at face value) believed that the Ukrainian was a paper thin identity and that most citizens would revert back to being Russians with the restoration of Russian dominion.

      This assertion has been proven false by the war. It had already been proven false by various social research post-Euromaidan which came to show that amongst ethnic Ukrainian Russian speakers and even ethnic Russians identification with the Ukrainian nation and Ukrainian state has increased and strengthened, but this war has been an excellent practical demonstration of this reality. The 2014 Russian annexation has in fact accelerated the nation building process in Ukraine. Putin is far more responsible for the creation of the Ukrainian nation than Lenin is, really. We’ve seen massive guerilla resistance against the Russians, the Russians being forced to pull back from Kiev, etc. It’s embarrassing how many otherwise intelligent right wing figureheads have completely humiliated themselves over this war purely in some misguided attempt to “BTFO ZOG.”

      This war has utterly upended the fantasy of Putin and Russia as some anti-ZOG bulwark that will liberate the decadent West from itself yet people nonetheless persist in deluding themselves that that will be so. They repeat Russian talking points constantly as men far more intelligent than them such as Strelkov himself have found themselves disillusioned by the Russian conduct of the war. It’s facile and ridiculous.

      Ultimately I find it a bit sad that Nemets has gone in this hard on promoting this one specific book. I fully understand it he will receive monetary gain from doing so and it is his personal project, but nonetheless I feel that it is regretable that Nemets’ promotion of such excellent scholars such as Serhii Plokhy, Paul Magocsi, John-Paul Himka and Jonathan Smele will ultimately be ignored in favor of a skewed biased narrative which while highly illuminating and valuable is ultimately useless and deceptive on its own. Much as I like Nemets, is his being able to buy a second Vegas condo really worth the continued spread of misconceptions on Russo-Ukrainian history? I guess that’s up to everyone individually to decide.


  5. Lon Spector says:

    Ukrainian Nazis are the worst of the worst. So fanatical were they that they helped the Germans in the Battle Of Berlin during the
    end of the Second World War. They are money laundering bank for corrupt devil worshiping politicians and were behind the
    bastard Color Revolutions that took out our glorious Trumpster. Alinski is worth billions and has a 25 million house in FLA.
    Damn Satan’s deep state to hell. The Russians are winning now, and they shall defeat the greedy Western pigs.


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