In Blagoveshchensk on 7 March, buried 25-year-old Alexander Nikulin, soldiers “a private military company Wagner”, who died in early February in Syria. The Correspondent Of “Siberia.Reality” I talked to the family of a soldier about the circumstances that led him to this war.
Alexander died as a result abiadura in the area of the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor. His sister Natalia is sure that he did not know about this operation in advance and to go into battle that day was not planned.
– Sasha always, when going into battle, warned my mother and left contact phone to, if anything, was where to call. He 7 th went to WhatsApp, wrote to my mother: “All is quiet, will come soon,” and, with respect, gone.
Who reported his death?
– Said a colleague, his friend, he also from Blagoveshchensk, and even from one area. He was there, on the spot, don’t know how he survived, but he said mom I saw Sasha died. It was right after the airstrike. And officially we were told only two weeks. My mother all this time running around military units, I in Blagoveshchensk, she is in Krasnodar. First everybody was saying “tomorrow, tomorrow”, two weeks later reported that he had died there, then we can get the coffin.
– Someone from the authorities or private military company helped with the funeral?
– No, no. We are at this point, of course, needed help. Promised, but nothing was given. The only thing – I transferred a small amount from the military unit in Krasnodar, but we realized that it’s probably from the military itself, and collected. All the money went to the funeral.
– Syria – it was the first combat experience of Alexander?
No, he fought for five years. First in Ukraine – in Donbas and Luhansk, then, the last year and a half in Syria.
– How it all began, how he ended up in Ukraine?
– “An acquaintance” turned out. Sasha was 20 years old, he served in the army. And then turned up a friend – a grown man, he has done some fighting in the hot spots. Here and took it with him to earn extra money. Time went, two, three – swept. Well, sucked…
– He wanted it make?
– Yes, for the money. We lived in a room in the hostel. Sasha wanted to do everything, so we didn’t stay in that small room. He mother house in Krasnodar bought, it was her dream. There he managed to live six months, but he still had a place to live, he’s only on vacation came. So all five years.
– As mother used to treat his service?
– Mom told Sasha many times. He explained: “This is mine, after the war, I will not be able anyone to work as a loader in there somehow”. We’ve all perceived negatively, discouraged him. But he was a grown man…
– Withhow much he was going to fight?
– My mother and I are discussing… and I think he’s after this last contract I wanted to finish the fight. Vacation was in August. He came for a month and back to Syria returned reluctantly. He spent three months in December, Sasha had to go back. We waited for him in the New year, and he reported that it extended the contract for three months, in order to make some money. After that, he wanted to stay. He even work in Krasnodar found…
– He talked about the service?
– No, he called and said always short. Nothing told and warned always – any questions don’t ask. That their phones are tapped and check it out.
Yuri Vetrov grew up with Alexander in the same yard, have been friends since childhood. He is confident that Nikulin had made war their profession because of lack of money.
– There is no work, and salary in Blagoveshchensk – 10-15 thousand, the money can not survive. No options either there to sleep or back to Syria. And in the “Wagner” it is very well earned. Family loans are paid off, the house his mother bought, he had a Toyota Highlander, it’s a decent machine, by local standards. I think he got there 150-200 thousand a month.
– You were talking about his service?
I always discouraged as soon as it came. Was his money on the car – I offered him instead of a car in some kind of business to invest. Not to go more on the war. settle down. He didn’t want to. We have eternal quarrels, disputes about it were. The kid just wanted to live a normal life. Like all. They say that the war cattle went… he wasn’t. A normal guy, with him to talk on various topics. Was waiting for the New year, but it has not arrived. We have corresponded with him on social networks, but be careful – “hi, how are you” because the extra words and it could be fined.
Friend Alexander asks him not to call her real name, a pseudonym – for example, Anna. According to her, the main thing that Alex wanted in life is to help mother.
– I knew him for more than 10 years, we had one company. Spent a lot of time together, know his family, mother, sister. He was a very bright and pure person, I really have not heard that someone talked about him bad, just nothing to say. He was loved by all. He was not greedy, you know, just to make money. He did everything for the family – mom, sisters. Bought his mother a house in the Krasnodar region, she had long dreamed to go there. Moved her last year, she began to settle, but it was somewhere near Krasnodar, in the suburbs, and he wanted to buy a home in the heart of Krasnodar, for this and went to Syria. Told my mom that it was looking for buyers for a house, they say, come, and they will see something in the Krasnodar. And she found buyers. After the New year said that he would return home by March. Summer wanted to play a wedding with his girlfriend. My mother was alone there, in the Krasnodar region for a long time nothing really could not say what happened to him after this attack. Said that allegedly went missing. She’s there because of all the experiences was in the hospital. We are using all the channels from the boys, with whom he was in the Donbas, tried to find out what really happened.
Natasha, the sister had to go to my mother in March, she had to quickly change tickets Feb. Went there to her, and panicking – what if the body at this time will bring?! But they are only two weeks really said that Sasha was killed. And the body was brought on the eve of the funeral. Tuesday brought, and Wednesday was the funeral. The date of his death he put reason on 8 February, although the RAID was 7, he and the social network came in that day, when there is in Syria, it was about 5-6 PM. In recent months he felt like. Suddenly began to write the people that haven’t talked, asked how things that happens in life – I already then from them know. About yourself nothing to tell, I think, to them forbade. We are with him in January, spoke many times, he wrote, asked how I was doing. Once even via video link spoke, he congratulated me with my birthday. Showed Christmas gift that they were given, cigarettes, cheese, coffee, something. But the questions where he is, how he’s remained silent. Was only talking about me.
– How much do you think he intended to fight?
I think he wanted to stop it, this war, for him it was a stage through which he wanted to cross and start a new life. I think his plan was that he would return in March and no longer go there. Before he went to Donbass. I know a few guys that were there, back from there, they are very busy, in themselves, and it seems it was not working. Everyone was smiling – maybe it was a protective reaction. They are the sister and mother lived very modestly in a hostel. And he had a goal – he wanted to help his mother. Lived her dream to get out of here. Other earn – and all spend going abroad to rest, for example.
And Sasha that did the repair from the mother, the house she bought. Three years ago, he found his sister and brother on his father that childhood had not seen, United the whole family, they began to communicate. All were supposed to meet in the summer in Krasnodar. I know that we condemn those who go to private military companies, although in the same States, I heard there is a law that regulates it, and they’re soldiers, and we are considered as mercenaries. I think we should not condemn without knowing the circumstances. I know what he lived and for which he risks everything. Now everyone is trying to hide, because Putin said that, withdrew from there. But someone gives them a weapon. Who? I read a lot about this and found information that there during the RAID was our guys are contractors. I think it’s quite possible.
– How the family was allowed to go to such a dangerous trip? To talk was impossible?
– Of course, the mother and sister were afraid and worried for him, but he’s a big boy now was, the house will not close. He’s on all the talk joked.
He’s after the army started it, I don’t know exactly how he got to Donbass, somehow using the guys. Someone said that he was there already in the “Wagner,” someone – different. But then he gave the order, they’re airport defended, and now mother’s posthumous medal “For courage” brought. Funerals were attended by the head of our local organization “boevoe Bratstvo” Valery Voshchevoz, like he promised, buried with full military honors, had the volleys to do it, but only the guards delivered.
So he went there simply because found no other earnings to help my mom?
– I believe that this is not a problem of one family, is a national problem. In our country there are no such possibilities. I know the young man who has both higher and secondary special education, and the army behind him, and the experience of the driver – but he works in shifts. Because there is no work. I know guys our age who are sitting on the neck of the parents. And Sasha found a way, fulfilled my mother’s dream.
– In your circle many earn in the Donbass and Syria?
– No, I know isolated cases of those who were there. The boys picked up somewhere is already a grown man, he explained to them what to do. Said that there and girls went, and women, snipers worked there. All who can and want to, could go there. I don’t know, maybe after the army, he had a passion, and here the application is not found. Turned up the opportunity, he looked at his life, his mom went…
One of the friends of Alexander wrote the correspondent of “Siberia.Realities” in the social network: “he rewards Putin personally signed! And given that only the President! And he said that they weren’t there, and never will be. Soon will come the boys who are there with Sasha was, and tell me what and how! Only they said that before the election you home, won’t come.”