Farewell, Givi!

Dear Readers:

Today a very sad day for many Russians:  In the city of Donetsk, people are saying goodbye to Givi.  Hundreds of mourners attended the ceremony; and thousands more have arrived to the viewing to part with Givi forever; current count is up to 4,000.  The wake and the showing of Givi’s body is being held in the Donetsk State Academic Theater of Ballet and Opera.  Mourners range from small children to elderly pensioners.  Entire families wait in line to show their respect.  People bring flowers, mostly red carnations and red roses.  Many of the mourners are unable to hold back tears.

Mourners wait in line to say good-bye to Givi.

Typical Donetsk resident Lidiya Azizova told the reporter:  “We are accompanying [his coffin] as if he were our own son.”

Givi, of course, was Commander Mikhail Tolstykh of the Donetsk Peoples Republic (DPR) and Armed Forces of Novorossiya.

Goodbye, Givi!

Givi was famous for his fearlessness in battle.  He could stand in the middle of a shelling, with shrapnel rolling right up to his feet, and never bat an eyelash.  Givi fought against the Banderite junta in several of the fiercest battles of the Ukrainian Civil War, including the battle for Donetsk Airport.  He survived several assassination attempts, and it was said jokingly that he had nine lives, like a cat.

But in the end, even Givi’s cat-like reflexes were not a match for the assassin’s shoulder-fired rocket launched directly into the office where he worked.  Givi died two days ago, February 8, 2017.  Ukrainian nationalists rejoiced and gloated; but most of the Russian world mourned the loss of this brave and amiable hero.

Tolstykh was born in the city of Ilovaisk in 1980, in what was then still the Soviet Union.  In those days ethnic differences between, say, Russians and Ukrainians; or people speaking different dialects of Russian or Ukrainian — didn’t matter all that much.  Everybody was just a Soviet citizen.  Like many Soviet people, Tolstykh was an ethnic mix:  Some Russian, some Ukrainian, some Gruzian.  His Gruzian heritage can clearly be seen in his physical features, and also possibly in his thickly-accented patois.  Among his comrades in the Donbass regiments, Tolstykh was alloted the callsign Givi as a joking reference to his ethnicity.  Among Russians, “Givi” is considered a typical Gruzian name, like (among Americans), say, “Patrick” for an Irishman.

Givi with Motorola: Besties in both life and death.

As he was growing up, Mikhail was a typical representative of the Soviet/Ukrainian working class.  He came from a humble family and received just a basic education.  To make a living he worked various jobs, for example in a rope factory; and also as a security guard in a supermarket.  Nobody at that time knew that Givi’s true calling, and his true talent, was to be a soldier.  And quite a brilliant soldier, if truth be told.  Here is what DPR President Alexander Zakharchenko said about Givi during his funeral oration earlier today:

This hero of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Colonel Mikhail Tolstykh, will be remembered by the entire world as the legendary Commander Givi.  And thus will he remain in our memory as an undefeated warrior, a true son of his people, a defender of the Donbass.

Givi showed us what a warrior spirit is made of, he showed us what the Donbass character is made of.  With just a small unit of soldiers he fought against the numerically superior forces of the Punishers, and he always delivered major defeats to them in battle.

This entry was posted in Breaking News, Human Dignity, Military and War and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Farewell, Givi!

  1. Grimgerde says:

    Very sad day indeed. So young, so full of life. Sigh. True hero, fearless leader who loved his land and his people in a way many still aren’t able to understand. Rest in peace and eternal memory Mikhail. And thank you Yalensis for your words.


  2. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    ‘Ukrainian nationalists rejoiced and gloated’

    As well they might, with no heroes of their own to boast of.

    Speaking of which, crazy bitch Savchenko of all people has condemned Poroshenko for the assassination:


    Her release pays dividends again.


  3. marknesop says:

    It is a strange outcome that Givi might never have been anything much, were it not for the war in the Donbas. Certainly none of his previous employment suggests much opportunity for greatness – but great he became nonetheless. What is that quote from “Twelfth Night”? Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. His is an example of the latter – he had greatness thrust upon him, and he seized it with both hands.

    He was a symbolic leader rather than a tactical genius, but the Ukrainian attacks were such a hamfisted display of incompetence that his courage was a force multiplier – all it would have taken would be for a few people to run rather than standing and fighting and even a stupid attack could turn into a breakthrough and a rout. Ukraine only has to win once, while the defenders have to win every time.

    He will be greatly missed, but his physical presence is not necessary for him to continue contributing; his example will last a long time, and those who stand and fight rather than breaking and running will feel they owe it to him. Long before he is forgotten, another like him will emerge.


    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, Mark, those are very important points.
      It is right to see Givi as a type of Shakespearean character.
      In the eulogies, the soldiers who served under him mentioned that he was the type of leader they would follow into the fire. Because he never hesitated himself.
      He never asked his men to do anything that he wouldn’t do, or go anywhere that he wouldn’t go.
      The Ukrainian side slimed him and accused him of brutality. The only thing they ever had against him was one incident where Givi snapped and slapped a couple of POW’s lightly across the face. If you see the videotape, it was barely a touch.
      Not that that was a right thing to do, but it was very mild, and, like I said, he lost it, just that once. After living his life for 2 years full of non-stop pressure and the physical and psychological trauma of war.
      The Ukrainian nationalists, on the other hand, are notorious for employing extraordinary torture and brutality against their POW’s.


    • Jen says:

      I think much the same could be said of Motorola; were it not for the war in Donbass, he might never have had his chance to be a leader.

      RIP Givi and Motorola.


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