On April 7, we published a message from a Belarusian anarchist refugee who lived in Poland and is now fighting in Ukraine. War Diary Part 1 is the start of a series with translations of posts on his Telegram channel. Trigger warning: death and violence.
Originally published by Diary of an Extremist Telegram channel. (A court in Brest declared his project @barankipunx “extremist”). Translated by Riot Turtle with support from translation tools. We apologize for any minor errors.
February 25, 2022
I should probably write something about the war and what an asshole Putin is, but I don’t have time for that.
Yesterday I spent the whole day at the demo, today I’m going again and preparing to host the first refugees at home, while trying to find out if it’s possible to go to Ukraine and help on the ground.
I don’t have much time to write, but I do want to say one thing:
“Fuck you Putin!”
March 8, 2022
This is how it looks like on the Ukrainian side of the border today.
Denazifiers and “liberators” displaced millions of civilians from their homes.
What kind of degenerated human being do you have to be to justify this?
Second entry March 8, 2022
Thousands of refugees are waiting at the border, and the queue of cars is several kilometers long.
There are numerous checkpoints from the border to Lviv.
In Lviv, like everywhere else in the country, there is a curfew.
There are a large number of people in uniform with yellow tape on their arms. Some with weapons.
There is no gasoline at some gas stations, but diesel seems to be available everywhere.
The number of reports of warfare, ordinary military and personal messages from idiots on advertising banners is unmanageable.
Cash can be dropped off, but not withdrawn.
On the radio there is only propaganda and information about the war.
Until now there were no murders in Lviv because people spoke Russian.
March 9, 2022
Now I know what are sirens and air raids.
But I didn’t see any planes or heard any explosions.
Maybe it was a drill.
Second entry March 9, 2022
The fact that Ukraine is at war becomes increasingly clear the closer one gets to Kyiv.
The number of checkpoints, their size and the number of soldiers stationed there have increased.
Equipment has also improved, there are no more people with hunting rifles, and work clothes have been replaced by military uniforms or, less frequently, police uniforms, though not in all cases. Helmets and bulletproof vests are on the rise, and everyone has a Kalashnikov of various types.
The influx of cars from the east has increased as people seek safety from the “liberators”.
Vinnytsia greeted us with a touch of fear.
There are practically no people on the street.
Third entry March 9, 2022
Going to war. You expect to shoot, to crawl in the mud and hiding from enemy planes. In reality, I started with patches with unicorns and bears.
March 10, 2022
This is the second night that I sleep in my “barracks”.
I received my uniform today. I realized that I had brought some of my stuff here for nothing.
My mother said she didn’t expect to ever see me in a uniform, but, as the song says, “The hardship of life determines the course of events.”
The food situation was very encouraging. It’s easy to eat a vegan diet and not be starving.
The bad thing is that you can’t leave the compound, but there is always something to do without having to walk around outside.
March 11, 2022
Well, I am now officially a fighter for the territorial defense of Ukraine.
I just don’t know whether to be happy about it or not.
March 12, 2022
A buddy in my unit has a 1944 Degtyaryov machine gun.
Frankly, I’m screwed.
Second entry March 12, 2022
I Received my gun today, or rather yesterday, it is a 1989 AK-74.
Obviously the barrel had been stored all these years and I had to work hard to make sure everything was taken apart and put back together properly.
Fortunately, I wasn’t the first to encounter such problems, and there have long been methods to solve them.
Another novelty: I started attending meetings, and I would like to say that they are very funny. The local military leaders talk some wild nonsense and according to my comrades they don’t really understand what is going on in general, but they try to give a serious impression. For example, during the first training we were afraid of the SBU channel and martial law.
It’s good that we obey them only formally.
March 13, 2022
March 14, 2022
With each passing day, the war comes closer and the threat becomes more tangible.
At first it looked like a pioneer camp, only with rifles, but gradually it became much more sinister.
Air raid alarms, reports of casualties in other units of the battlegroup, reports of comrades in arms, explosions somewhere in the distance. Each story is sobering and reminds me of where I am, why I am here, and what I might have to face.
Whereas I used to undress before bed, now I lie down in my uniform, with my weapon, warm jacket, and gear nearby.
There is no guarantee that I won’t have to run into a shelter at night, repel an attack on our position, leave for a combat mission, or simply run away.
March 15, 2022
Last night I wrote that there is no guarantee that we will not have to run to the air-raid shelter at night, and that night I went to the shelter three times under the sound of howling sirens.
The most interesting thing is how we woke up the first time.
One of my comrades in arms was texting with a woman on Tinder, and he got so carried away that he stayed up until 12:30 in the morning. He was the first to hear the sirens and woke us all up.
So Tinder saves lives 🙂
Second entry March 15, 2022
Sad news: anarchist Igor Volokhov has died near Kharkiv.
More details in Ressentiment channel (https://t.me/ressentiment_channel/19152).
I hope he will be the first and last anarchist to die in this war.
Eternal commemoration to the comrade!
March 16, 2022
I went on night patrol for the first time last night.
It wasn’t immediately clear what I was doing here and why, everything was quiet and there were cameras hanging around. But the thunder of cannons somewhere in the distance quickly reminded me that a war was raging around us and we could be attacked any moment.
One of the explosions was so powerful that we felt the ground shaking. It was frightening to imagine the destruction that such a powerful explosion could have left behind.
As we walked around the site, I thought about how the push of a button could destroy the fruits of many generations’ labor and the lives of hundreds of people in a matter of seconds.
Nothing is more horrific than war, but unfortunately the anarchists and anti-authoritarian leftists in the region do not yet have the strength to end war through revolution, so this nightmare must be brought to an end through violence.
(Image: Multi-storey building in Kyiv after another act of “denazification”).
March 17, 2022
Lately, I even hear sirens during the day. At first I wondered why people from the other trenches didn’t run with us to the shelter when the alarm sounded, but now I understand. The noise has becomes routine and no longer triggers any emotions.
We changed our location, on the first day there was a problem with the food for vegans, but you can live on apples and bread. Today this problem has already been solved. So I can continue to live vegan here.
There are more trainings and more volunteers from other countries. It definitely feels good.
Tonight I’m going on guard again instead of going to sleep.
March 19, 2022
Do you remember that I wrote about the machine gun from ’44?
Well, it did not survive the experience with our Makhnovshchina and will be repaired tomorrow.
March 20, 2022
My second week in Ukraine is coming to an end.
Somewhere in the distance, the explosions during the second week can still be heard.
Yesterday, during a night patrol, we saw the flash of explosions on the other side.
The air raid alarm goes off frequently, even during the day. Now I don’t react to it at all anymore.
More and more people are being trained, and that makes me really happy.
March 21, 2022
Yesterday a roommate called his relatives who live in a small village in the south of Ukraine.
His family told him the story of how Putin’s military had killed a teacher, or rather beaten him to death with clubs. The explanation was that they had found a red and black UPA flag on his phone.
That’s denazification and liberation – killing people for photos on their phones!
But you are still a fascist!
Second entry March 21, 2022
Today I got acquainted with the anti-tank system Panzerfaust 3.
A very interesting device that is easy to operate. Too bad they didn’t let me take pictures.
A few of these and we could stop a column of tanks. But who will give them to us?
March 22, 2022
After three nights on guard duty, I think I’ll finally get some sleep tonight!
But it’ s not for sure…
Second entry March 22, 2022
It’s not for sure.
I will not sleep again 🙁
March 23, 2022
The weather today is very mild. Outside it is warm, about +18 degrees, and sunny. There is a light breeze that rustles the dry grass and fallen leaves.
The chirping of birds and the buzzing of insects can be heard everywhere.
This idyll is disturbed by the noise of cars, roaring radios, distant explosions, and the sound of air raid sirens.
The latter reminds me that not everything is so rosy and beautiful.
Second entry March 23, 2022
Belarusians in the ranks of antiauthoritarian squad of Territorial defense of Kyiv oblast.
As always, I am the most stylish.
March 25, 2022
I slept eight hours for the first time in fourteen days.
I feel great!
Second entry March 25, 2022
I once wrote in the comments that TRO issues not only Degtyarev machine guns, but also Maxim machine guns. Here is the confirmation.
This marvel of engineering was also equipped with a sighting telescope!
Here it is, the Machnovshina of the 21st century))
Third entry March 25, 2022
I made my first trip today, although it wasn’t very far away.
I was very happy to finally be able to leave the compound. I have seen how people now live.
Shopping centers and markets are functioning, public transportation is running, people are going about their business, waiting for buses at bus stops, mothers are out with their children in strollers, couples in love are going for a walk, children are playing, bars are open.
If it weren’t for the roadblocks, the barricades with sandbags and the armed people around them, I would have thought the war was over.
Fourth entry March 25, 2022
I used to not understand and condemn the position of Kropotkin and a number of other anarchists on the First World War. No war, but class war and so on.
But today I am in Ukraine, wearing a military uniform and I am armed. And I agree with every word that Kropotkin wrote 105 years ago.
Maybe I am wrong, like other comrades, and my presence here contradicts anarchist theory. Nevertheless, I think I am doing the right thing by participating in this war on the side of the Ukrainian people, if it can be called like that.
March 26, 2022
Today my voice was heard at a major rally of Belarusians in Warsaw.
Modern technology has made it possible for me to give speeches in Warsaw and be near Kyiv at the same time. All I had to do was to record my voice. Exactly this recording was used in today’s action.
The only thing is that it wasn’t as emotional as usual, but okay.
Here is the text of the speech:
Greetings, dear Belarusians!
My name is Yauhen Zhurausky. I am an anarchist from Baranavichy who, like most of you, was forced to leave Belarus due to the repression in 2020.
Unfortunately, I cannot meet with you on this beautiful day because I am in Ukraine, where I have joined with other Belarusians to form a coalition of anti-authoritarians fighting Russian imperialism for our and your freedom.
Today, like 104 years ago, we Belarusians are not servants of our country. Once again our homes are controlled from Moscow and the population has no hope that they can intervene in what is happening in our country.
Unfortunately, our attempt to live as free people at home in 2020 did not work.
The dictatorial regime of Lukashenko regime was supported by the same Putin regime, and the resistance of the population was broken by the repression of the judiciary system.
But despite all this, Belarusians, in Belarus or outside, are trying to fight for a new, free Belarus and now also for a free Ukraine.
Today I want to say that I fear for all of you! Each and every one of you is a hero. And every small deed serves the purpose for which the Belarusian secularists who proclaimed the BPR 104 years ago – independence, autonomy, freedom, dignity and political justice for all of us.
I realize that we still have many hours ahead of us, but I believe that we can achieve this path to freedom and build a vibrant Belarus!
Long live free Belarus!
March 28, 2022
The denazifiers of Putin are preparing to use chemical weapons. Their attack has failed, the war is dragging on, and these scumbags are ready to commit any crime to win.
This is what I call liberating civilians from Nazis! You don’t want to be liberated? Then you will die an agonizing death….
Now I remember how to put on a gas mask, I hadn’t practiced that since high school.
I wonder if we’ll get chemical protection suits and how many extra protective coverings we’ll have to wear.
Second entry March 28, 2022
The trial against my comrades starts tomorrow (In Belarus, Enough 14).
There is no hope for a positive outcome, but there is confidence that we can destroy the prisons before their term of imprisonment expires.
Don’t forget to write letters of support to these people and other prisoners.
March 30, 2022
I have some thoughts on the withdrawal of Russian troops.
The withdrawal could be a delay of a new attack on Kyiv. Putin’s troops have failed, they are exhausted and defeated. They need to regroup, develop new tactics, and then strike again.
Either Moscow has finally realized that things are not going according to plan and taking Kyiv will not work. But you can’t just leave Ukraine, the masses in a patriotic rage won’t understand that. That is why they have decided to declare the “liberation” of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as their main goal. For this, they may have enough power.
Anyway, I believe that this retreat will not bring anything in the near future and the end of the war is still far away.
What do you think?
March 31, 2022
So this is how my lunch looked today.
The only non-vegan food in this photo is bread.
There wasn’t much vegan food available during the trip yesterday. The food came from another kitchen, and I had to eat vegan rations. Turns out you can survive on it, but it’ certainly not tasty.
April 1, 2022
April 2, 2022
Second entry April 2, 2022
This is what their denazification looks like.
This is the kind of liberation that the Russian world they praise brings us.
This image explain better than any text why I am now in Ukraine with a weapon in my hand.
April 3, 2022
It is said that the uninvited guests have been driven out of the Kyiv region.
The announcement is, of course, good news, but I wish I had been involved in all this.
April 4, 2022
And this is what the inside of my IFAK looks like.
I will explain to you what can be seen on this image:
two different sizes of hemostatic dressings;
two pairs of gloves;
two hydrogel dressings;
two occlusion patches with and without a valve.
All this is in a small bag, which is on the left side of the image.
This first aid kit was put together for me by Polish medical instructors when they found out where I was going.
I will write later about the solidarity and support I have received since the start of the war.
April 5, 2022
I had a look at the positions of the occupiers yesterday.
They had entrenched themselves well there, and in one of these camps we found a bathhouse.
They fled in a hurry, leaving ammunition, bulletproof vests and other things in a pile of garbage.
A local resident told us that in one of these camps a pile of mines was found and handed over to Ukrainian soldiers.
In another camp we saw an abandoned car, the wheels were quickly removed by local residents.
Second entry April 5, 2022
Yesterday I had a personal glimpse of the hell that the Russian world is giving us.
Dozens of destroyed cars, a large number of bombed and shelled houses, including multi-story buildings, blown bridges, looted stores and piles of garbage.
There is garbage everywhere. Especially a lot of it in the places where the Russian troops were stationed. Ammunition boxes, food packages and alcohol bottles are everywhere.
The images show traces of Russian peace in Borodyanka. Yesterday I saw many more such traces in other places, but did not have a chance to take a pictures of them.
The Russian world is pain, destruction and dirt. It brings no liberation, no peace, only pain and suffering for some and enrichment for others.
Third entry April 5, 2022
I lost the number of extremist organizations and groups in which I was somehow involved.
We thank the court fascists in Brest for their recognition and interest in our initiative.
The dogs of the so-called Ministry of Interior are barking, but our caravan moves on the road to victory!
Fourth entry April 5, 2022
In the Chernobyl zone there was a restored Soviet militia vehicle.
And this is how it looks now, after meeting with Putin’s soldiers.
Now we know what “real de-communization” looks like, which Putin promised to show to Ukrainians.
April 6, 2022
A cat came to us)
April 7, 2022
In 14 days I will be 30 years old. I had many plans to celebrate this milestone, but the war prevented them from coming true.
When Russia attacked Ukraine, I didn’t hesitate for long and swapped the quiet and safe life in Poland for a military uniform and a machine gun in Ukraine with the first opportunity.
With the withdrawal of Putin’s troops from the Kyiv region, my chances to live on my birthday have increased considerably, which means that it is worth thinking about gifts.
For all who wish to congratulate and support me during this difficult time:
Second entry April 7, 2022
The band Тараканы (Tarakany, “The Idiots”, Enough 14) has announced that it has broken up. Of course, that is sad news.
The first time I heard them was around 2004, when some music station aired their clips “Silence is Death” and “Hymn to the Democratic Youth of the World.”
Both stuck in my mind, but I didn’t really get to know her work until I discovered the Internet and downloaded “Liberty Street” in 2007-8.
I can’t say I followed their music all that much,
But from time to time I still listen to the Freedom Street album, and Rockets from Russia.
I remember I thought the band had run out of steam in 2019. Then, against the backdrop of the events in Russia, “This Will Pass” and “The Case of the Young” came out. And if the first track made you raise your fists in anger and all this insane injustice, then the track “The Case of the Young” just made you wonder what liberal values we’re talking about here.
But during the 2021 protests they released a very powerful song “…And nothing but the truth” that perfectly reflects the feelings I had going to every rally, knowing we will never win, but for this outing I will get another 24 hours and an unforgettable conversation with the security forces.
Hopefully, when this hell comes to an end, I can still go to their concert in the ruins of the Kremlin.
April 8, 2022
I know a lot of people are waiting for images of burning equipment and other delights, but unfortunately I don’t have them. Hopefully there will be more 😉 .
But there is an image of an APC abandoned by retreating soldiers. I will share it with you.
Second entry April 8, 2022
Today it has been exactly one month since I entered Ukraine.
It’s only been a month, but it feels like I’ve been here for six months, maybe even longer.
A month ago, I didn’t know where I was going, what to expect there, whether I would be allowed to cross the border, and whether I would reach my destination. I expected to get to the heart of the matter. Of course I was scared at the time, but as someone tweeted before Volia Day during the 2017 protests, “To go is scary and not to go is shameful.”
Eventually, I crossed the border, reached my destination, and didn’t end up on the front lines, but at a point that enemy troops had not yet reached, with us waiting for them in the first few days.
A lot happened during that month, some things I wrote about, some things I didn’t. There have been many doubts and internal struggles, but I am still here.
I don’t know what awaits me next, but I am sure that I don’t plan to leave Ukraine anytime soon.