08 June 201820:07

This is not the weapon that wins, this is the man Father Theophanes, survived the torture of the SBU

This is not the weapon that wins, this is the man  Father Theophanes, survived the torture of the SBU
46 0 0
The editorial office of RIA "SM-News" held a press tour for foreign journalists in Donetsk (Emmanuel Schreiber from France, head of the Bulgarian edition of "News Front" Asya Ivanova). Correspondents met with Father Theophanes, who survived the captivity and torture of the SBU. The Orthodox priest spoke about the situation at the very beginning of the war, about his activities and about the turning point in his life.
- How did you get captured by the SBU?

- I was captured very simply. I was stolen from the monastery. The 3 March, 2015 ... In general, how did this story start? This nonsense began with the war, with unrest in Kiev and so on. Then it was clear to what it all goes.

I have been a priest for a long time, since 1998. In the monastery - since 2001. When it all began ... I was engaged in military reconstruction, created a museum at the monastery, which is very important. The founder of our monastery bequeathed, that I was engaged in a museum: headed, supported the theme. When I already knew that the war was somewhere getting ready, I saw how the fascists were "spinning off" - it was [becoming positive] in the media ... Opportunities arose, and I began to collect military uniforms, weapon mock-ups, blank weapons, some household items that time, front letters, death notices, newspapers, magazines, phonographs. I collected, including, German stuff. I wanted to show people how much the technical equipment of the German army was even better, and ours was a bit easier equipped ... his is not the weapon that wins, this is the man.

I showed guys (I was engaged in military-patriotic education of the youth), how "wisely" the MG-42 machine gun was built, and even with that (the German-fascist invaders - note authors) could not defeat us. So, here something else, the higher one is already interfering? That was the main idea of ​​the museum. And the clothes were German, and banners. Soap was even German. Goose fat of 1940 and 1941. The collection was serious.

In the church environment, many accuse me: they say, you, while living in a monastery, collect weapons, this is unacceptable! I know not one monastery, in which there are large museums, including large collections of weapons. Especially, sorry, Solovetsky Monastery before the revolution had a huge weapons room: there exhibits of almost the XII century were kept as a part of history, for military-patriotic education.

When it all started ... The war ... Firstly, I noticed that we had people in the village, young people who put on masks (balaclava), stuck a strip of stripes on their sleeves with yellow tape, and walked with a bat like that. One, then, I see, two already. They just watched on television that it's "cool" and started the same thing. In general, it became clear that it all have begun.

Then the movement of machinery began in large quantities. First columns of one or two cars, then, on 15 March, 2014, I photographed the first column of equipment near the village of Blagodatnogo Volnovakha district. It was twilight, about 9 pm. Ukranian technics. It was said that Russia had deployed troops, some army had entered ... No, I have not seen Russian military hardware here and until the present. There are a lot of military equipment of Soviet production, but no Russian.

Then (2 May, 2014 - note auth.), The tragedy of Odessa occurred. Personally, I, and I think that all the adequate people, was just burned. Inside, it burned all. Burned out simply. This tragedy had a strong impact on me, until November 2014, probably, I could not come to myself. All this time I lived in some half-sleep.

And all the summer of 2014-year we have a movement of equipment, volleys of the "Hurricanes", volleys of "Grads", volleys of artillery. From there all is here (from the Ukrainian side of the Donbass - note auth.). The movement of tanks, foreign military I saw, too. Americans. It was African Americans who were - in general, no one was embarrassed.

Naturally, the reaction of a person who lives 37 kilometers from his native city, and who sees how artillery shoots through the city ... In your hometown. Where did your childhood go, relatives, parents live ... What kind of reaction can there be, yes? Some strange people came and started shooting at your city, and you must stand and watch: Oh, something bangs?

No. From the very beginning I realized that I would not stand and look, I had to do something. At first, I called my friends, then met militiamen - the guys were already serving in reconnaissance. Slowly it turned out that I had already reported a year about the movement of ukranian equipment, and about where they were shooting from across Donetsk. I was so astounded ... The "Hurricane" will be shot down on Donetsk or Dokuchaevsk, the ukranian medias report: the separatists shelled Dokuchaevsk. And more than once I had ... here, I look, a volley - four rockets "Hurricane" flew, I call in reconnaissance: listen, now in the direction of "Dokucha" four rockets have flown. About ten minutes later they called back: listen, four missiles flew in.

Then the priest does funeral service for his parishioner, who, along with his apartment, has simply disappeared. A missile gets hits yhe fifth floor of the five-story building, nothing remains of the apartment. Old woman lived alone. And no one is responsible for this. Probably, they (the Ukrainian siloviki - note aut.) do not plan to answer? This all went on for a long time. Now they (the Ukrainian security forces - a comment of the author) have become smarter than they were, and then they did not change their positions for years. "Hurricanes" stood in the same place.

I was engaged in sound recording. I put the recorder for a day, wrote down the sounds of "Hurricanes" volleys. In fact, this is a document.

Later, when they stole me, in a criminal case (it's in my hands), when ... in captivity ...

- "How did they figure it out?"

- I was ratted out by a person, my driver, who was offered to go to the ukrainian army with the car, or he will quietly report all my movements.

- At that time you were a figurant of a criminal case instituted by the Ukrainian side?

- Not yet. In general, he was put before such a choice, he began to report everything about me. As it turned out later, he was very interested in the financial issues. When they took me, he turned all my habitation upside down, looking for money. He thought I had hidden a million.

When there was a battle near Blagodatniy, on 22 or 23 May 2014, when "Pravoseki" (members of the "Pravyi Sektor", the organization banned in Russia) SBU fired, remember? I saw this fight from a distance, I heard it. Arrived in the evening, I saw the journalists of Life News. There it was impossible to pass directly - a tree fell down, on it sat two soldiers. We talked to them.

- "Guys, where are you from?"

- From Bucovina

- "What happened here at all?"

- What does your TV say?

- "Well, they say the militiamen did ..."

- "What militiamen are you talking about?" It's red-black (members of the "Right Sector" - note author) came, the guys were shot.

Later, friends told me that the guys who survived (then they, incidentally, were missng), were grabbed by helicopters arrived. They asked the nurses not to give them away.

When the civilian stopped the column on the evening of May 22, the commander of this column, the senior in rank, was called from the "Right Sector", they said: to shoot civilians, to continue the movement. They refused to do this. They were told that if the movement did not continue, it would be too late in the morning. People persuaded the guys not to move on, and they even said: we do not need this war, we'll go home back. In the morning a few armoured vehicles Bank Kolomoisky - "PrivatBank" drive up. A man in camouflage came there (VSUshniki, the guys from Bukovina told me), asked where the commander was?

The commander was in the BMP. They pointed out in which, "pravoseki" knocked on the armor, the commander had only put his head out of the car - they immediately shot him in the head. The battle began. Several "pravoseki" were killed, these VSUshniki, reinforcements - were sent by those helicopters "Right Sector".

"Pravoseki" managed to lay down the corpses in one of tha armor vehicle and set fire with grenade or whatever ... When the helicopter flew, he just repeled VSUshniki not to let them extinguish the car - it was impossible to identify those killed because they refused to carry out a criminal order.

This place is revered by the people, it gives memory to the soldiers.

Then there were moments when I had to win myself, fear in myself. When you decide to risk your life to save someone else's life, it's so inspiring! It is impossible to describe, at this moment you are just born again. I was like this: near the village shooting started, a battle is going on. I understand that I can not just sit, listen to. I made a decision. I took a medical bag (I imagine some of the basics of first aid), got on a motorcycle, and went there.

I'm going, but I'm scared. They can shoot us, neither those nor these do not know who I am, where I am from. I ask myself the question: why am I going there now? Why am I so risking my life? I answer myself: for at least some life to save. Anyone. Any person. At that moment, it was so relieved. I hit the gas, and went forward. What happened next - after the war I'll tell you better.

You know, for the sake of such moments, it's just worth living - when you conquer yourself, you conquer your fears.

And so, virtually every evening I watched as they were shooting along Donetsk, according to Dokuchaevsk. Observed the reaction of local residents. For example, in the village I am somewhere, the "Hurricanes" volley begins one by one. The rockets are flying. Quite a loud sound. People just pass, they look: oh, something "bang", and go on. You see, this is not indifference already, that is, they do not even think that every volley is dozens of lives. They do not care. Probably, therefore, for the time being that on that (Ukrainian - author's note) side that power is.

From my village, I was the only one who helped with reconnaissance. That is hurtful.

Almost every day I called, reported: what, where it happened, where they shot, I photographed even. Photos of bombardments with phosphorus I have, recordings of "Hurricanes" also remained.

The date was 3 March, 2015.

In the morning I was in the service, I sang in the church choir. The night before I moved the collection of weapons for the museum to another place. I was going to preserve: in concrete, in oil, as expected. And only my driver knew about it, nobody else.

And so, I come to this house, I look: below on the road there is a car on the right side, but "forward" in the other direction. I understand that something is not right. I pass further. It turns out that my driver, who lived in this house for absolutely free of charge, says something strange: Father, bless. I am blessed. I hear someone coming on the first floor: "Hey, master, come here." I'm coming down, two guys are standing.

- So, let's talk, we need financial assistance.

- What do I have to do with this?

- Well, you're kind, they said. Come on, let's talk.

- "Look, it's not for me, it's for the abbot.

Not long circus lasted. They grabbed the pistols: so, let's get your hands on it. I tried to go up to the second floor, but I was grabbed by the leg. They zipped me in handcuffs, shouted something on the radio, and then they fly into the house with machine guns, masks ... Like in a movie. Here is this idiotic pose (Father Theophanes gestures to show how they are aiming - a note of the author), as if they do not see anything around, they look at this "pipe". Then I tried to understand what it was for? Just had to realize the show. Do not even scare me, but for themself.

We went up to the second floor. "So, open the room" where the weapons that only the driver knew, is. And he did not even stick his nose out of the room. The door closed behind him. As soon as the handcuffs were buttoned, they shouted: Wolik, you can go down, we buttoned it.

A minute before that he approached to take the blessing.

Then they began to take out of the house everything they liked. Everything. First, I was amazed that they knew about the weapons. The room was opened, where it lay wrapped in a cape-tent, the guys who took it away were not surprised at all. Generally zero reaction.

When my MP-38 was torn out of the package, a real German machine under a blank cartridge, a revolver, a parabellum, then ... zero reaction. They all knew.

- So, he always reported?

- Yes. I just did not know where the weapons were stored before. And then they took my keys, went to the monastery. There they took the professional camera, a reportage video camera. Everything, that was pleasant. I had a collection of antique coins, every old thing ... The Scythians had a collection, arrowheads ...

I was taken out of the house. We took them to Mariupol. And there began the most ...

- "Excuse me, do you know who detained you?"

- "I can even show you." By the way, this is a man who admitted that he likes to torture. He was introduced by the SBU [to the monastery].

His main reproach, when he detained me, was that I broke the fasting.

- Just a minute. It is not clear: the SBU detains you, and charges you with non-compliance with the fasting?

- This man started to speak to me, they say, here you are "separ" (separatist - note aut.), Such-and-so, also broke the fasting. Is it normal, in general? And I, he says, have been holding fasting for six years.

Interestingly, he says, he has been observing fasting for six years, and all the laurels of Ukraine have traveled around. It was already a week of Lent, and they took me back on Tuesday. And on Sunday I drank a hot brandy for my throat - I could neither sing nor speak. In fact, hot cognac is an eerie thing. And so he said that I thus broke the fasting.

When they brought me there (in the Mariupol administration of the SBU - an editor's note), he so heavily bathed me with a bat. Then he drowned me.

- In the basement?

- "In the basement, shooting gallery." And he tormented me. After him - others. Colonel [SBU Alexander] Haraberiush (was blown up in a private car on 31 March, 2017 in Mariupol - author's note) tormented me - it was not the same.

- What was torture done for? What did they want from you?

- So I said that I work for the FSB.

- To continue the criminal case.

- Yes. Also to hand over the people who carried information to me.

- How long did it last?

- Three days. The first day a few hours, the second day a few hours, the third day a few hours. In between, you could hear others being tortured.

To be continued…

Elena Winter Translated by Elena Winter
All materials published on the site, owned by the editors and are protected by the copyright law. Use of materials is allowed only with the written consent of the owner and with the obligatory direct hyperlink to the page on which the materials is posted.

Topics Related

11 July 2018
This is not the weapon that wins, this is the man. Part 3 Father Theophanes, survived the torture of the SBU This is not the weapon that wins, this is the man. Part 3 Father Theophanes, survived the torture of the SBU
04 July 2018
This is not the weapon that wins, this is the man. Part 2 Father Theophanes, survived the torture of the SBU This is not the weapon that wins, this is the man. Part 2 Father Theophanes, survived the torture of the SBU
18 June 2018
The Surrealism of the War in Donbass and the OSCE "Terminators" The Surrealism of the War in Donbass and the OSCE "Terminators"
All topics related

Comments (0)


Editorial IA "SM News" publishes the most relevant materials on the work

SM-News in Russian