In which I translate fragments of the actual interview.
The interview is 30 minutes long; some breaks were probably edited out. Givi smokes throughout; sometimes he drinks tea. The interviewer is not named; he is an unseen voice on the other side of the camera.
1:35 – Question about the “truce”, is it real or not? The Ukrainian army suffers from a serious shortage of heavy equipment. Due to this, they were forced to pull back in certain areas of the front lines.
2:45 – Info that people still living in “occupied” (by Ukrainians) Donbass territory support DPR and are waiting eagerly to be liberated. Places like Konstantinovka, Artemovsk, and Kramatorsk.
4:00 – On the Novorossiya website they collected some questions which people wanted to ask Givi.
People living in “occupied territories” such as Mariupol, Artemovsk, and so on, who are trying to resist, all want to know the same thing: When will help arrive?
4:58 – Givi replies: They should be patient, help will arrive. At the same time, Givi chides the people in the “occupied territories” that they did not rise up when they should have, at an earlier time. Now they see how bad things are. Statistics show that people living in Donbass are actually better off now than the rest of Ukraine. We (people of Donbass) do not want to see any futher destruction, we want to live peacefully and without conflict, we like to see faces that are not crying and covered in tears, from their grief.
6:30 – Question about monitoring mission (OSCE), why are they not reporting on the fact that DPR moved their weapons back from the front lines, like the treaty stipulated?
Givi responds that the DPR army had to cycle some of their heavy equipment back for repairs. He criticizes OSCE, says they don’t do anything useful and have not been any help whatsoever.
8:00 – President Poroshenko – will he abide by the Minsk Accord to a certain degree?
Givi: The key phrase here is “to a certain degree”. Poroshenko is Obama’s trained monkey, he will do whatever Obama tells him to do – if Obama says fight, he will fight. If Obama says kill the people, he will kill the people.
Givi: Ukrainian special forces are working on Donbass territories, they have spies and stool pigeons.
9:50 – On the third phase of Minsk agreements.
Givi: Ukrainians are not fulfilling Minsk, it is just “pokazukha”.
11:40 – We have a volunteer army.
12:00 – The Ukrainians thought they could win easily, that they could simply put people of Donbass down on their knees. They wanted to show us “who was boss”. But this can never happen in our land. We are Russians. We are Donbass. We are the strongest ones.
12:30 – Interviewer: When this movement began (the “opolchenie”) at first there were just ordinary people: ordinary workers, miners, kolkhozniki, etc. who came to defend the Donetsk Peoples Republic. The “opolchenie”, the peoples militia, was not nearly as developed in those days, as it is now. Now we have an actual, real army, which grew out of the movement. Is this army of the DPR able now, with its own forces, to conduct a full-on offensive operation against the Ukrainian army? And to return the occupied areas to Donbass? Or will it need some help to do this?
13:51 – Givi: To be honest, we never summoned help from anybody. As opposed to Mr. Poroshenko, who calls on his friends for military help. From America, Europe. He begs them for weapons, he begs them for money, he begs them for heavy equipment. Israeli tanks meant for desert warfare – how will they fare in the frosts of winter?
14:47 – On the question of armed forces – Givi lists the battalions and regiments available to the DPR.
15:10 – Givi: These are the strongest men in the world. They are trained and ready.
Givi goes on to list a whole state structure for the DPR, which also includes army, police, and prosecutors. They operate according to the law. Givi and the others enforce a strict military discipline. They will not allow anyone in the civilian population to be harmed or offended. Nor do they allow any of their soldiers to violate the truce.
17:18 – Interviewer: If true peace were to come, and Donetsk were to gain its autonomy, via federalization, the fact remains that everybody in Donetsk lost someone: a wife, a husband, a child. Everyone experienced grief and loss. Will people be able to forgive what was done to them?
18:27 – Givi: “Autonomy” is bullshit, excuse my French. We are the independent Donetsk Peoples Republic. Nobody can dispute that. Nobody can forget the losses we suffered. It will be very difficult to forgive. I have lost friends, I have lost comrades. People have lost wives and children. The houses destroyed – those can be repaired.
19:35 – Poroshenko needs to think very hard about his own situation, and the losses that he suffered. He is in danger from his own side: from the “fanatics of Ukraine”. It’s not so terrible when people carry the Ukrainian flag. But when people carry the German swastika… What have they descended to? They praise Bandera. Who is Bandera? How many Nazis are out there? They will pay for what they did, according to the law.
20:49 – Question about final status of Donetsk – remain independent, return as part of Ukraine, or reunification with Russia. Should we petition the President of Russia to become part of Russia?
21:38 – Givi: I am not a politician and not qualified to discuss these issues. After our country (Donbass) has been liberated from the occupiers, then the people will decide (by voting) what they want to do. I personally fight for Donetsk, for the DPR.
Givi: Remember the story with the Lenin statues, they started knocking down the Lenin statues, that was how it began.
22:51 – Givi brags that they are living well now in DPR. An army man or officer can make a good living. “I live in the barracks and on the front lines, and even I live better than they do back there, in the rest of Ukraine.” Donetsk is flourishing: We have coal. We have grain. People are going to work, and working hard. To be sure, some mines and factories have been destroyed. But we will repair and restore them, and all will be well.
24:06 – Interviewer: What do you plan to do after peace comes? In other words, what are your plans for the future? Will you stay in the army? Will you start a business? Will you get involved in politics?
24:29 – Givi: I can’t even think about that. I don’t know (what I will do). Once the war is over, then I’ll start thinking about that. Right now, I have nobody to be with, and nowhere that I have to go. I live by myself. My family is my battalion. My home is the barracks.
25:42 – Interviewer: I know that you don’t like to answer questions about your personal life. But I will ask you all the same. After we saw that famous (youtube) video in which, on your birthday, you were dancing with a group of pretty girls…. Have you seen or met any of these girls since that day? [Givi shakes his head] Did you have any desire to see one of them again?
26:10 – (Givi laughs, embarrassed). Givi: No, I would be lying if I said there was no desire to see them again, and I apologize to these girls, but I did not phone or make contact with any of them afterwards. You have to understand: I don’t live in a virtual world. I live in the real world. My life is very dangerous. Just going outside is a risk. There have been already three attempts on my life. In general, no, I do not have a personal life. I am a single man. Personal life has not happened for me.
27:32 – Interviewer: A moment of humor. Ukrainian media are claiming that Motorola is fighting in Syria.
[Givi laughs.] Givi: People who respect Motorola, they need to know that he is alive and well, that he is on the territory of the DPR. It is true that Motorola was on leave for a time, with his new family. Now he is back, he is commanding a battalion, I am in contact with him, we are friends.