Journalistic materials, like children, are born in different ways: some “childbirth” is easy and painless, others - in agony, for the third it is necessary to resort to measures that are not quite ordinary. For the sake of this material, I had to go to such an extreme measure. Namely, to say the notorious stupidity of Mikhail Chaly, whose presentation to the people of Sevastopol is not necessary. It was probably not entirely ethical. But much of what was said here was said only because “Mikhail Zavilov, who was buttoned to all buttons” and was in no mood to talk about the difficulties he had experienced, became angry ...
“You acted better than right”
Remembering February 23 2014, all the people of Sevastopol with whom I spoke had talked about the incredible relief that replaced uncertainty and fear. The rally on Nakhimov Square showed that the city is one and intends to fight. And most importantly - that there are those who are ready to take responsibility for making decisions. And these are not any random citizens without a king in their heads, but people who have proven their loyalty to Sevastopol and the ability not to grind the tongue, but to do business. This was confirmed by the rally itself.
Aleksey Chaly did not promise easy life to the citizens - he said that the situation was critical, that the count went on his watch, and left the podium with the words “I went to work”. But these words affected people better than the most optimistic promises from the mouth of another person could: some of the rally participants, trying to convey their feelings, used the eloquent word “let go”.
But one thing - to know that someone reliable took responsibility for themselves, and quite another - to feel its burden on their shoulders. Only a very naive person could presume that the rally brought Alexey Chaly to the state of euphoria and his closest associates. It was this role that helped me to hear a sincere story about what the main characters actually felt. stories.
- I want you to understand how it all happened in reality and in what situation we acted.
February 22 and in the first half of the 23rd there was a feeling of impending disaster. It was clear to everyone who knew Sevastopol and Sevastopol that there would be a massacre, because Bandera’s accounts with our city. Until the 22nd, we still had hope that Yanukovych would create an alternative government in the southeast of Ukraine. And we prepared a resolution for the rally - on our joining the Southeast. But it soon became clear that none of this would happen, because Yanukovych escaped. All regional, district, city councils, including Crimean, swore allegiance to the junta. The Sevastopol authorities also did not show determination to resist - they hesitated, argued among themselves, and time passed, like sand through your fingers. The Internet was full of reports that on February 23 the evacuation of the Russian fleet. “Official information” was also circulating that an American warship was moving into our waters. The atmosphere was extremely heavy - as if a huge lead cloud hung over Sevastopol.
Events evolved from bad to worse, but we knew that it was necessary to perform under the most difficult, most vile and unfavorable circumstances, because otherwise, pravoseki will enter here, who will not stand on ceremony with Sevastopol and Sevastopol. We didn’t count on any help either - the history of the 1991 referendum of the year and subsequent events gave no grounds for that. Therefore, any nonsense, even the creation of a city-state, seemed more real than the hope that we would become a part of Russia. And 23, after the end of the rally, everyone was well aware that in the event of an unfavorable development of events, paying for what we do will not be long in coming. The state machine, against which we spoke, could move us and not even notice it. Therefore, we had no euphoria and could not have it!
I remember well how immediately after the rally the people began to disperse, and we moved to the courtyard of the fleet sports club. There were about six of us, light rain drizzled ... It was pointless to go to the administration building - without reinforcement, we would be sent from there. The first thing I did was to ask Lesha Kabeletsky, the former head of the State Security Service Department in Sevastopol, who knew all the security structures in the city, to provide Alexey Mikhailovich with protection.
- I replied that they have time until the morning: for the night, the special services of Ukraine will come to their senses, and everything will be over. Therefore, we must immediately run and knock on the doors of any Russian military unit — it is impossible to ensure the safety of Aleksei Mikhailovich and other leaders who appeared at the rally at a rally. On the one hand, the Ukrainian authorities were against them, on the other hand the militants, whose hands were making the “revolution of dignity”. These people did what they wanted and went unpunished. Going to a rally, I saw one such group - a dozen guys in tracksuits. That is why, after the end of the rally, I became really scared - Alexey Mikhailovich and his team seemed so defenseless.
There is one important point about which I want to say. Everyone who took part in the “Russian Spring” has its own history, and all of them are great fellows. But to express, shout out your opinion in the crowd is still not a feat. You can’t sew a person’s presence at a rally to the case - he can always say that he didn’t speak “for” but “against”, they just didn’t hear him. And if Vasya or Petya say the opposite, then this is simply slander. Even at roadblocks, you can stand relatively calm if no one knows you. The one who identified himself, that is, came to the podium and openly declared himself and his intentions, really risked in this situation. It is like a step off a cliff, after which there is no going back. Especially if we are talking about a famous person, whom everyone in the city knows. And call me at least one public figure, which would appear in a similar way in the first days! Later, when it became clear that they wouldn’t hit, other heroes would be drawn up. And then ...
- And then Lesch Kabeletsky replied that we need to take families and run to the Russian military, and then with their help evacuate to Russia. But no one did this, and two people continued to guard us, one of whom had a traumatic pistol, and the other had a fighting Makarov. I knew that Leshyn's advice was not useful, because it was impossible to intimidate Alexei Mikhailovich. And imagine that he will throw people who believed him, too. A huge plus was the fact that everything we did in previous years - support for any pro-Russian movement, 35 battery, all our resistance to Ukrainianization of the city - my brother managed to organize so that we remained out of sight of the Ukrainian security forces. Those who shouted too loudly and tore at his shirt on the chest, they scanned and realized that it was not serious. And we never promoted and generally worked “on the cipher”, so we were not seen. Well, I built some kind of crazy memorial - apparently, there is nothing for man to do. Well, I published textbooks on sevastopoledeniye - nonsense. And suddenly 23, February, we are in all its glory, under the camera ...
So when you say that after the rally, everything became good, this is complete nonsense. We had only a tiny chance to weed between the raindrops and somehow get out of this situation. All this month we walked on some chuik, on the tip of consciousness - it was like running across a burning bridge that collapses behind you. And you should never turn around and slow down, otherwise the abyss will absorb you. Later, very serious experts told me: you acted absolutely wrong, but better than right. Because if you acted by the rules, you would have failed ...
Do not be a victim
Gosmashina would indeed easily crush those who stood in her way if it were not for the townspeople. It is thanks to the cohesion and organization of people who rushed to the city center at the first call that the attempt to arrest Alexey Chaly failed and a session of the City Council took place, at which the deputies confirmed his authority as the head of the executive power. The most tragicomic is that now some of the then people's representatives, who tried in every way to prevent this and threatened the national mayor with severe punishment, are already writing “heroic memories” about those days.
But we will not be distracted. For the right not to act as the submissive victims of Sevastopol began to fight much earlier - soon after the well-known events began to unfold on the Maidan. There were, of course, optimists who did not consider the next clashes of Ukrainians with each other something serious. But soon it became clear to them that the good will not end.
- To wait, when pravoseki will go to Sevastopol and start to bend everyone here, we could not. People in Sevastopol are unusual, and many also have an army background, so the townspeople began to organize themselves into self-defense groups. But the level of organization they had was very different. There are several categories of self-defense units, and chances of survival in a collision with an organized enemy have units of at least the third category. And the highest of them, except for self-organization, implies the existence of communication and direct contact with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. That was the detachment we created back in January. Before this, we carefully studied the experience of Bishkek - the most recent at that time experience associated with mass riots and murders. The main conclusion that follows from his study is that trying to sit out in his yard, picking up a shotgun and letting the dog go off the chain is nothing more than a complicated method of suicide. Imagine - on the street three hundred courtyards, each of which sits frightened, locked up people. A gang of 20 man takes one yard, cuts the family and the dog, and then goes to the next house. And so the whole street is destroyed. Although if these three hundred people with a hundred guns got together, they would have torn this gang like a tuzik hot-water bottle ...
We really prepared to protect our families, our city, and if necessary, evacuate people and provide cover. And there were many similar groups of different levels of organization in Sevastopol. After February 23, when it became clear to everyone that there are people capable of taking control of events, we didn’t have a shortage of people willing to help. On the contrary, there was a surplus. The unity of the city was incredible, just crazy, it's true.
I had a real problem - it was enough to appear on the street, as I was grabbed by the hands and each offered his own algorithm for saving Sevastopol from villains. If I listened to everyone, it would take exactly 24 hours a day. That is, the activity of assistance was such that it also had to digest. It was difficult to organize people, many of whom never even took the oath. But it turned out. I think it helped that all the people of Sevastopol wanted one then. And it is very cool saved from misunderstanding.
Many traveled to the aid of Sevastopol from other cities. Some offered financial assistance, others simply came and asked what should be done? There were also Ukrainians from other cities, for each of which this act was a treason. Unfortunately, there were also those who from the very beginning hoped to receive maximum dividends from this fantastic event, to monetize patriotism. They could be seen immediately - they began to show furious activity only with the appearance of television cameras. In the end, I just forbade letting them into the government building, because their task was obvious. But this manifested itself later, when we began to win. And the first five or six days, when the danger was real, everything, including thieves, prostitutes and villains, was abandoned to do their own black work and went to the barricades. Watching February 24 people, I saw not a crowd, but a very large, but highly organized group of people. Even the transport among them went normally - when the bus appeared, everyone parted, missed it and closed again. The power in Sevastopol was the people, so we won. But in Odessa did not, because there was no worthy leader ...
One of those who did their job well and without fanfare, Mikhail Chaly calls Vladimir Melnik, the material about which was posted on our portal a little earlier. And when it was all over, the commander of the Rubezh detachment handed over powers to his deputy and engaged in normal peaceful work. So did the other participants and commanders of the units spontaneously arising during the "Russian Spring". That was exactly what Aleksey Chaly was going to do, shortly after the signing of a historic treaty with Russia, he refused the post of governor of Sevastopol.
- Alexey Mikhailovich never wanted to become a governor in his life! Let's imagine that a residential house is burning. Firefighters are afraid to put out his fire, but there is a person who does this by risking his life. Does he then have to become a firefighter? Of course not. At the same time, Alexei Mikhailovich was not going to be removed from participation in the life of the city, as he had not been removed from him before - on the contrary, he planned to provide the governor with all kinds of assistance.
Alas - the cooperation of the heads of the two branches of power did not happen. But this, as they say in such cases, is another story. And nevertheless, I could not not ask Mikhail Chaly about his attitude to the notorious film “The Fourth Defense” and the role that ex-Governor Sergey Menyaylo was assigned in him. I will not give the answer completely, but one detail seems to me extremely eloquent.
- Already in March, 2014, Sergey Ivanovich Menyaylo asked me to meet with Alexei Mikhailovich - he brought a resume, he wanted to be either a port director, or something like that. I didn’t let him go to my brother, but I still have my resume. There is also a mention of his last job: “since February 2013. to April 2014 - General Director of CJSC "MorGidroServis" ...
Anyone can compare this information with the pathos of the “Fourth Defense”.
But back to the last days of February. Despite the 24 th change that occurred, the successful final was still very, very far away. Russia at that time did not declare its participation in Sevastopol affairs. Much later, rumors appeared that the ships of the Black Sea Fleet were ordered to return to Sevastopol, because it became clear that it was not just a speech of a small group of madmen that the city really intended to fight. How true this version is, it’s not for me to judge. But to argue with the fact that the events in Sevastopol played a crucial role in the fate of the entire Crimean peninsula, I think, is silly.
- On the night from 25 to 26, we landed Sevastopol "golden eagles" on the isthmus to block the way from Ukraine to the Crimea. How I phoned travel companies to find a bus that will take them there is a separate story. At first, nobody even wanted to talk about it, but in the end one of those who hung up, nevertheless called back and, having learned that it was Chaly, he said - well, then come. He was not afraid - he pulled out the PPSh from the basement, some grenades, he got behind the wheel and went to the "golden eagles", and then with them to the isthmus. It was a very courageous act — Sevastopol was ours, and the Crimea was not yet.
At first, there were 16 "golden eagles" on the isthmus, by the morning - already 35. Thanks to the Ukrainian authorities and the “activists” of the Maidan who arranged for them what they arranged for - it was thanks to them that the “golden eagles” were with us. True, at first they did not have weapons. But the first decree of Alexei Mikhailovich was the decree on the creation of the municipal militia "Berkut", thanks to which they received this weapon. We were ahead of events by just a few hours - in the morning of 26, children in sports suits showed up at the Isthmus, but ran into sniper ambushes. They were shot in the wheel, and then they did not go. The Crimean "Berkut" at that time was sitting at its base, barricading itself with the help of sandbags, and the Sevastopol detachment was on the isthmus in full force.
- It is possible to understand the Crimean "golden eagles" - they returned here in shot through buses, on some rims. They were told that they would all be judged; they saw their colleagues being forced to kneel down and ask the Ukrainian people for forgiveness for the fact that they were doing their duty. Therefore, they took a round-robin defense. They, too, things could be different, if there was a man for whom they could go. But he was not found ...
- Also - on the shot-out wheels - the Sevastopol Alfa also returned home. Shooting from their heavy shields, they passed all Ukrainian roadblocks - very tricky, kilometer-long, with zaanuhami and traps. And since February 25, if I'm not mistaken, have already been with us. Then it became clear that Russia is also with us, and our joint work with the special services began. At meetings, representatives of the Black Sea Fleet sat at the same table, SBU, counterintelligence, police, and self-defense officers who came over to our side ... Life was not inferior to the action-packed film - which cost, for example, “butting” with the headquarters of the Ukrainian fleet. Alexey Mikhailovich visited the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy four times. The first time we were not allowed on to the checkpoint - Haiduk refused to negotiate. The following visits were more productive. We went into the yard, where there were dozens of people in masks and with machine guns. We were accompanied by two guards who performed the functions of a grenade with a ring pulled out. So did our soldiers in Afghanistan: going to the negotiations to the dushmans, they would take a grenade in hand, from which they would pull out the ring. And the dushmans knew that if such a person fell out, the hand would open up and it would be bad for everyone. If we went to the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy together, we would simply be tied there. Well, so it was clear to them that they would not manage without firing. We came, Alexey Mikhailovich and Haiduk went into the next room to talk, and we stayed in the “waiting room”. I watched our guards stand in front of four people in masks and with machine guns, and recalled a scene from the film “Professional” - it was very similar, all that was missing was music (laughs). And on one of these visits, an amusing incident occurred - a whole delegation went to the headquarters. Some of ours thought that the Ukrainians were ready to surrender, and people came to take the keys and raise the flag over the Reichstag (laughs). But Haiduk said - I will talk only with Mr. Chaly ...
Between Scylla and Charybdis
The swiftness and effectiveness of what is happening in Sevastopol came as a surprise to both enemies and friends. Even now, after three years, these stunning and completely bloodless events seem to an outsider to observe the result of the fantastic dedication of people, multiplied by fantastic luck.
In fact, “luck” was a brilliant solution to an incredible task in its complexity. And it, in turn, consisted of many smaller tasks - from guarding the city and its life support to finding a compromise with the “thousand and one” characters of the historical drama that unfolded before the eyes of an astounded world. Could it have been possible to cope with this huge object without a great deal of managerial experience and talent, for which Mikhail Chaly calls his brother a “natural strategy”?
It has been said that the “Russian Spring” would have taken place without Aleksey Chaly - not him, since the other leader would have appeared among the citizens anyway. No doubt. Moreover, I personally spoke with people who were going to call Sevastopol “to revolt” in the event that the February 23 rally demonstrates the organizers' desire to “blab” the topic and end the matter with the “compromising” world. To predict the results of such a development of events is, in my opinion, not difficult - especially considering the number of “hot heads” per capita of the Sevastopol population.
Alexey Chaly knew this specifics of the city very well. It was this knowledge, multiplied by managerial experience, iron restraint and the same determination to prevent bloodshed and gave the result, which now seems natural and organic to many.
- Alexey Mikhailovich led all this literally at his fingertips - I can cite many examples. What is worth only one ingenious idea with payments for Ukrainian soldiers! And everything was done in such a way that people were not ashamed to accept this offer. The servicemen of the Ukrainian units were asked to come to the military registration and enlistment office of the Coordination Council before making a decision on the status of Sevastopol and register. At the same time, those who wished to leave the city and leave for Ukraine received tickets for the train to their place of residence and daily allowances - for example, two thousand hryvnias and a ticket to Lviv. Those who did not want to leave were given daily allowances in such a way that they could live in peace for two months. And after that, if the city remains part of Ukraine - please serve further. If not - leave or stay already in the Russian city, as you wish. But then the servicemen were practically not paid at all - the confusion was complete. And so we organized a military enlistment office on Marshal Krylov Street, where they came and said, I wish you health, I want to leave your crazy Sevastopol to my beloved Ternopol. Please, no questions! Here is a ticket for you, here is money - for a thousand hryvnia per day of travel, and all the best! Others said, “I want to register and calmly wait for how it will end.” Also, there are no problems - here's 5 for thousands of hryvnas, sign up and stay at home. And people left military units - they sat at home, called the rest of the cell phone, told them how good they were, and advised them to do the same. So was the determination to pull the trigger.
Negotiations for which there was no number worked on the same goal. At the very beginning, for example, Alexey Mikhailovich came to Haiduk or the commander of a military unit in Belbek Mamchuru with the text of the Ukrainian military oath and said that you swore allegiance to the people of Ukraine and the supreme commander. Who is your supreme commander, tell me the name! Yanukovych? Wonderful! And in the Crimea, does not the people live? So who are you fighting against? To obey? Turchinov? And who appointed him? And who shot the president? The Ukrainian soldiers and officers saw that the commander of the Naval Forces of Ukraine was talking to Chaly. And since the dialogue is on, everyone is waiting and nobody pulls the trigger. And everyone remains alive - both from the one and from the other side ...
Seeing that not some bawlers are at the helm of the city, but serious people, representatives of various state departments began to catch up to them. At first, as Mikhail Chaly says, all this was done “on the cipher” - people promised not to come into conflict with the new government, and they, in turn, were guaranteed that the Ukrainian authorities would not know anything. There were also those who openly and resolutely took the side of Sevastopol. But the only security official who made it 23 February, came to the rally in the Ukrainian police uniform and with St. George ribbon, Mikhail Mikhailovich calls police lieutenant colonel Alexander Dorokhov. The man was well aware of the risks, but he decided everything for himself even then ...
However, let us return to the Sevastopol "miracle", or to the question of how to accomplish the most bloodless and civilized revolution in the world. One of its "bricks" was the feeling of confidence that was provided by the payment of wages and pensions to people. Whether this grace has fallen on the rebellious city from the sky, we propose to decide for the readers themselves.
And there was also a hard barrier to any attempts by violent heads to turn Sevastopol into anarchist freemen. More precisely, there were no real attempts - precisely because any desire to “show off” and write off everything as “hostile whirlwinds” was stopped at the root.
- It happened that we “packed our own” - for example, for broken glass. Otherwise it was impossible.
But what an awesome and solemn mood I had when I read through the Internet before the referendum that in Sevastopol there were barbed wire on the streets, broken glass and in general complete ruin, I left the Government House on Lenin Street in 6-7 in the morning! Silence, cleanliness, wipers in special vestments sweep non-existent garbage, and only one of the urns hangs the Ukrainian flag. Yes, even a lady with a dog walking in sables and high heels. Here it is, the face of the Sevastopol revolution! I remember how astonished visitors were - many in fact actually believed that everything was dug up, mined here, continuous chaos and marauders. And we have no cigarette butt on the street and people drink coffee in a cafe on Primorsky Boulevard.
And this calm was not born by itself - it was created by the hard, painstaking, every minute work of Chaly, his team and, of course, the citizens themselves. If people didn’t hear, didn’t come out, didn’t realize the task, didn’t do what they did, nothing would have happened. We had self-defense detachments, the existence of which we learned after the victory and the signing of the papers in the Kremlin. Especially in the villages with which there was no connection. People understood the task and blocked not only the roads - mountain paths! Would they do this if they did not understand how real the danger is?
Now some people say - you will think, nothing terrible happened to your Sevastopol! But it did not happen precisely because we did not allow it. The best fortress is the one that the enemy has never tried to take by storm, because he understood: it is a meaningless and hopeless business. Whoever says that the city was not threatened, simply has no idea what Sevastopol is. For those who burned "golden eagles" on the Maidan, demolished monuments and put people on their knees, our city was like a red rag for a bull. A triumphal entry into the Crimea after they had finished “sorting out” with all the other regions would have been an indicative, most important victory for them. And there would be a lot of blood here, especially given the mentality of Sevastopol. I think it would be fierce and chaotic resistance, a couple of thousand people would be killed, a couple of thousand people would be planted, and the rest would be startled. And after that, Sevastopol would shout “Glory to Ukraine!” - except for those who would go underground and continue to fight. And the machine of repression would work without stopping. This is a completely real scenario. And we were ahead of its development on some 2-3 days ...
The same day
Personally, I would advise a skeptical reader, who in February 2014 was probably far from Sevastopol, not to refer to the fact that the story does not know the subjunctive mood, but to look at what is happening in the Donbass or recall the terrible day of 2 in May of 2014 in Odessa.
But back to Sevastopol and its inhabitants. On the question of where and when he first felt right to relax, Mikhail Chaly answers - in the St. George Hall, where his brother signed an agreement on the accession of Sevastopol to Russia. By the way, with this historical event, my interlocutor could well be present in an even more “informal” form than Alexey Chaly. The legendary black sweater of his brother, which seemed to many to be an ingenious discovery of image makers, was in fact an ordinary clothing of a man who had lived for several weeks at the limit of human strength and was unaware of the real purpose of an urgent trip to Moscow.
“I remember that day well — I was in a vest, a shirt, and a leather jacket. Alexey Mikhailovich and I drove in a jeep, Kirill (the one who was carrying the "golden eagles" to the isthmus) was driving the bus. At first we were informed that we were leaving from Simferopol, then it turned out that we were going to Kerch and beyond. And Kirill didn’t even have his passport with him ... And already in Moscow, a girl from the Presidential Protocol Service said - let me, we will change your clothes! I immediately bought a white shirt — well, not in my vest to go to the Kremlin (laughs). That would be the view - revolutionary sailors take a rest!
Then there was a holiday both in Moscow and in Sevastopol, where people cried and laughed, watching what was happening in the St. George Hall right from Nakhimov Square. Did I find the answer to the question of what the "Russian Spring" cost its "instigators" to judge the readers. Personally, I think not so much. Probably, this “price” is fully understood only by themselves and those who were with them during the most difficult hours and days. Here are the words of one of these people who prefers to remain unnamed.
“It so happened that I had to watch the events more than anyone,” he says. - And I can say that for the first few days, starting from February 23, we didn’t eat at all. Firstly, there was no time, secondly, the tension was such that it was not desirable. They slept only in fragments, and where exactly we would spend the night, nobody knew in advance. It was possible to relax only in one case - if no one was notified where we were going. It looked like this: finish the working day (usually it was already at night), go out, call any friend, agree and go. Of course, all this could not help but - the body is not an iron ...
- A huge amount of information, meetings, talks every day ... The situation changed every hour and sometimes a minute, and every change required an immediate adequate response. To the journalists who tried to interview my brother, I asked the question - do you want him to die? There were moments when he really was on the verge of fatigue and overstrain. On one of these days, he had a meeting with representatives of the State Duma of Russia. And one of them, taking me aside, said: you are the closest person to Alexei Mikhailovich, take him quickly, take him somewhere and immediately call a doctor ...
We all know how many people in our world want to translate history in accordance with their tastes and interests. Before our eyes, the same facts were repainted from black to white and back, and yesterday's heroes went into the shadows, replaced by new figures. With such metamorphoses we will not be surprised - we are experienced people. But when they try to do the same with the events that happened almost yesterday, this is an obvious search and, at a minimum, disrespect for the witnesses. And there are thousands of them in this story.
The memory of Sevastopol is good, they know how to distinguish between good and evil. And hardly anyone should convince them that everything they saw was just an example.
Word and deed. Mikhail Chaly: "We ran along the burning bridge"
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