Death of Ukrainian Baritone: More Details Emerge

Dear Readers:

Another Ukrainian story I have been following is the death of Ukrainian opera singer Vasily Slipak.  Slipak was killed in combat a few days ago, 29 June somewhere around the front lines of the Ukraine-Donbass shooting war.

Vasily Yaroslavovich Slipak was born on 20 December 1974 in Lviv.  Doing the math, he was 41 years old when he died, which is not old for an opera singer, necessarily, provided they keep their pipes in tune.

Vasily Slipak

From 1983 through 1994 young Slipak sang as a soloist in the Lviv State Academy male acapella choir Dudarik.  Showing talent that would put him at a higher level, Slipak began more intensive musical studies at the Lviv National Music Academy named after Nikolai Lysenko.  While still studying, Slipak began to widen his classical repertoire, and also settled into his specialization as a bass-baritone.

Slipak’s big break came in 1994 when he won the voice competition for his category at the annual contest in Clermont-Ferrand, a city in the Auvergne region of France, situated on an extinct volcano.

In February-March 2017 the citizens of Clermont-Ferrand will be holding their “25th annual opera competition”.    Again doing the math, if they have stuck to this pattern, year after year, then Slipak won at the Second Annual in 1994.  I googled all over the place, trying to find some documentation of this particular competition, but it seems to be lost in the mists of time.  However, I did find this youtube video from 2011 showing Slipak performing at a different competition, at Armel, here he is singing the famous “Toreador” aria from Bizet’s “Carmen”, and winning the prize of “Best Male Singer”:


After his triumph at Clermont-Ferrand, Slipak moved to France  in 1997 and sang with the Paris Opera for the next 18 or so years, enjoying an international career and reputation as an elite performer of classic operas.

Mephistopheles Goes To War

After the Maidan coup of 2014, Slipak, who was a strong supporter of the Ukrainian nationalist side, became politically active in France.  He joined a French and Ukrainian diaspora movement («Fraternité Ukrainienne») in solidarity with the Ukrainian nationalists. This movement organized military assistance to neo-Nazi Ukrainian “Volunteer” Battalions fighting in the “Anti-Terrorist Operation” in the Donbass region of Ukraine.

Slipak’s new “do”

The specific Battalion which Slipak supported, and later joined, was called the “Ukrainian Volunteer Corpus” (in Russian Добровольческий украинский корпус – or DUK).  The DUK is the military wing of the Right Sektor political party.  Right Sektor follows the teachings of Ukrainian nationalist hero Stepan Bandera. Banderites routinely conduct torch-light parades, brandish swastikas and give the “Sieg Heil” salute.  Due to these, and other, reasons, Right Sektor is considered an extremist organization and is officially banned in Russia as a political party.  Articles in the Russian press are allowed to mention the party in news stories, but are legally required to always follow this with a disclaimer footnote.  This is the reason why you will see this warning time and again in the Russian press, every time these people are mentioned, thusly:

* Организация, в отношении которой судом принято вступившее в законную силу решение о ликвидации или запрете деятельности по основаниям, предусмотренным ФЗ “О противодействии экстремистской деятельности”

(*An organization in connection with which has been established by law the decision as to their liquidation or banning of their activities, in according with the legaling ruling “On the banning of extremist activities)


Be that as it may, Slipak abandoned his opera career in France in order to return to his native country and fight for what he believed in.  Volunteering for the war, he was off to the Donbass to fight against pro-Russian Separatists.  In what has become a long and protracted trench war, resulting in the death of thousands of civilians, and in the displacement of millions of refugees.  Slipak adopted the call-sign of “Mif”, short for “Mephistopheles”, a role he had sung on the stage.  But unlike Mephistopheles, who lives forever, Slipak met his end near a Separatist checkpoint outside a small village in the Donbass.

Slipak’s body was shipped back to Kiev for a hero’s burial.

A source within the Donetsk Peoples Republic (DPR) is quoted as saying dismissively:  “Slipak… yeah, on 29 June he conducted a chaotic shoot-em-up of the DPR positions, thus provoking some units of the DPR army to shoot back at them.  He (Slipak) led his comrades into the attack.”  The source goes to claim that Slipak’s incompetence and hot-headedness led to, not only his own death, but those of all his comrades as well.

Another source, a sniper named Moryachok, claims that he shot Slipak.  This source gives Moryachok’s story.  According to Moryachok, the incident happened outside of the village of Luhanskoe.  The Ukrainians were shooting at them all night long from heavy artillery.  Towards dawn, the Ukrainian militiamen advanced more aggressively on the Separatist checkpoints.  “My comrades were pinned down by automatic rifle fire, they couldn’t even raise their heads.  I made the decision to liquidate the machine-gun nest.”  Moryachok says he was able to vaguely detect in his sights the figure of the machine-gunner.  He had no idea who the man was, whom he liquidated, let alone that it was a famous singer.  Only later did he learn the identity of his target.

Separatist soldiers were able to collect Slipak’s body and ship it back to Kiev, where the singer was given a hero’s funeral.  In this particular competition of Toreador vs Bull, Bull won:

Le taureau s’élance
en bondissant hors du toril !
Il s’élance ! Il entre, il frappe !…
un cheval roule,
entraînant un picador,
“Ah ! Bravo ! Toro !” hurle la foule,
le taureau va… il vient…
il vient et frappe encore !

This entry was posted in Celebrity Gossip, Opera, The Great Game and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Death of Ukrainian Baritone: More Details Emerge

  1. Cortes says:

    Is that Carl Orff playing in the background ?

    “Oh, Fortuna!”


    • yalensis says:

      Could be, could very well be him…
      Meanwhile, a good theme song to Slipak’s fate might be this bit:

      Sors immanis
      et inanis,
      rota tu volubilis,
      status malus,
      vana salus
      semper dissolubilis,
      et velata
      michi quoque niteris;
      nunc per ludum
      dorsum nudum
      fero tui sceleris.


  2. anonym2008 says:

    They found more of Slipak’s stuff:


    • yalensis says:

      Good find, anonym!
      I’ll translate that first paragraph for the benefit of non-Russoreaders:

      Самой распространённой версией гибели певца было описание того, как он геройски стрелял из пулемёта, обороняя украинские позиции, когда и был убит снайпером ВС ДНР.
      Эта версия активно продвигалась Украинской стороной, но внезапно вступила в противоречие с фактами. Так в распоряжении ВС ДНР оказались его личные документы :
      «1 июля 2016 года, при эвакуации тела военнослужащего ВСУ представителями миссии ОБСЕ в районе н.п ЛОГВИНОВО, был обнаружен бронежилет, в кармане которого находились личные вещи и документы на имя Василия Ярославовича Слипака: украинский паспорт, зарплатная карта «Приват Банка», вид на жительство во Франции и нашивки, выдающие его принадлежность к «Правому сектору». Насколько мне известно из украинских СМИ в Украине сейчас пытаются из этого человека создать образ героя. На самом деле – это преступник, который нарушил международные договоренности, за что и поплатился жизнью.» – заявил на бриффинге генерал-майор Синенков.
      Таким образом, получается, что Василий оказался далеко не на позициях Украинских войск в момент своей смерти. То есть мы получаем подтверждение того, что Правый сектор пытался, несмотря на минские соглашения, атаковать позиции ВС ДНР. Сколько будет продолжатся ложь украинских СМИ неизвестно…В качестве доказательств – приводим фото документов оказавшихся в нашем распоряжении.

      The most widely spread version of the singer’s death was how he [supposedly] heroically was blasting away in his machine gun [nest], defending Ukrainian positions, when he was killed by a sniper working for the DPR armed forces.
      This version was actively promoted by the Ukrainian side, but was recently shown to be in contradiction with the facts. After Slipak’s personal documents came into the possession of the DPR armed forces.
      [Next comes a quote from DPR Major-General Sinenkov at his press briefing:]
      “On 1 July 2016, while representatives of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] mission in the region of Loginovo were evacuating the body of the serviceman of the Ukrainian armed forces, they discovered (the man’s) armoured vest, in the pocket of which they found the personal items and documents in the name of Vasily Yaroslavovich Slipak. The items were as follows: a Ukrainian passport, a debit card [Mastercard] from Privat-Bank, a French residency visa and various insignia denoting his membership in Right Sektor, From what I can tell from Ukrainian media, they are trying to fashion the image of a hero out of this man. In reality, this was a criminal, who had violated international agreements. For which he paid with his life.”
      And thus it would appear, that Vasily was actually not in his proper position on the Ukrainian front lines at the moment of his death. In other words, we see confirmation of the fact that Right Sektor was attempting, in spite of the Minsk Agreements, to attack the positions of the DPR. How long will the Ukrainian media continue with their lies? As evidence we show here photos of the documents which we have at hand.

      yalensis: Actually, not sure that these documents prove that much, it’s just Slipak’s personal stuff. It’s more interesting if his PLACE of death shows that he was violating Minsk agreements. Which Ukrainian side does all the time, we know that. Still, it doesn’t prove that Slipak wasn’t behind that machine gun and didn’t die bravely. In which case, he is still a hero to the Banderite side. They would only be turned off him if it was proved that Slipak was a coward. Which he clearly was not.

      And indeed, the Right Sektor fanatics are the best fighters that the Ukrainians have. Which is precisely why they were put into play in this regional war.


      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        ‘Best fighters that the Ukrainians have’

        Really must disagree with this.

        The army occupied Slavyansk, the army took Saur-Mogila (and immediately lost it but that’s more than Right Sector will ever do), the army nearly cut Donbass in two at Shakhtersk and the army did most of the fighting at the airport.

        Right Sector do a fine job of getting their men killed, but what results have they produced to justify the money and press adulation invested in them?


        • yalensis says:

          Well, you’re right Pavlo. These guys are not exactly star material for soldiers.
          I should have said “best motivated.”
          They’re the only ones in Ukrainian army who actually want to fight!


          • Jen says:

            Slipak’s actions that led to his death smack more of recklessness and disregard for his safety and his comrades’ safety than of bravery. Being brave or courageous (and thus heroic) paradoxically includes being aware of the risk to your own life (and maybe the lives of others) you take to do something that you know is important, more important than your own safety.


    • yalensis says:

      Wo – was just reading through the comment thread and saw something genuinely interesting.
      Read this comment by someone called “garmin_1”, the comment is dated 2016-07-09 18:39 UTC. Here is the link, unfortunately it doesn’t jump directly to the comment, it starts at the top of the piece again, but if you are patient and keep scrolling down it will bring you right to garmin’s comment.

      Garmin is making the point, and it sounds at first like conspiracy theory, but in reality I think he makes a good point, that Slipak in the photo might be wearing ISIS insignia. We have seen in past examples that some Right Sektor Ukrys had taken to wearing the Arabic scarf. What they call in Russian the “Arafatka”. And the black-and-white plaid pattern has something to do with ISIS.
      But the kicker – and I didn’t notice this until garmin pointed it out — is that Slipak’s vest possibly has some Arabic writing on it. For comparison purposes, the ISIS guys are shown in the photo below, their banner has Arabic writing on it (obviously).
      Since Slipak’s insignia was yellow, I barely glanced at it, just assuming that it is some Ukro trident, or something. But no — take a look! This might be Arabic writing. Not sure, though. I don’t read Arabic. Anyone out there who can help decipher this?
      What would this prove? Well, we know from other sources, that Right Sektor has been cooperating with jihadi forces, be they Mejlis, Chechens, or directly ISIS. I think it is a fair supposition, and not at all conspiracy theory, to think that Slipak’s battalion is working in alliance with jihadi forces.

      Here is another photo from the web, of Slipak wearing that same insignia:


      • yalensis says:

        P.S. – doing a bit more research into the Arabic lettering, as best I can, and with the assistance of a friend who knows a bit of Arabic — it’s a tough alphabet, because the letters keep morphing into different shapes, depending on their position in the word.
        Anyhow, here is the ISIS banner:

        The first set of letters spell the words

        لا إله إلا الله

        which are transliterated as a cute little tongue-twister:
        la ‘illah ‘illa alllah (“There is no god but Allah.”)
        That’s the official spelling, but the ISIS boys seem to use a slightly different spelling.

        It’s hard to recognize that first symbol, it’s two “L” letter together.
        One “L” is written like this:
        But when another “L” is added, the combo looks like this:

        And that’s what you see on the ISIS banner.
        And that double-L might be also what you see on Slipak’s insignia (the symbol over his right chest), although the symbol over his left chest- who knows?
        Maybe could be double “Alef” letters, like this, except that bolt-looking line underneath them doesn’t look like a diacritic.:

        Just a theory…If true, it implies that either (1) Slipak converted to radical Islam, or (2) was hanging around with radical Islamists.

        Not so far-fetched, I repeat. Please remember our Aidar pin-up sweetheart, Vita Zaverukha, this Ukrainian Banderite girl also liked to dress up as a suicide bomber, it’s like, chic, for these people:


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