Who is “Motorola,” a Man Glorified by the Russian Media?
19 March, 2015
Who is “Motorola,” a Man Glorified by the Russian Media?
EXCLUSIVE: A Chilling Interview with a Notorious Separatist who Keeps Coming Back from the Dead

Who is Arseny “Motorola” Pavlov, a separatist leader whom Russian media hails as a legend? Before the conflict in eastern Ukraine emerged, no one in his hometown, let alone Donbas, has heard of him.

“War will last for a long time, a very long time. Maybe even five or more years.”

DONETSK, Ukraine _ Those who keep an eye on developments in Ukraine are, no
doubt familiar with the sites of the bloodiest clashes between the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Russia-backed separatists: Ilovaisk, Debaltseve, Uglegorsk and, of course, the Donetsk Airport. Loss of control over these locations by the Ukrainian army is attributed precisely to plans made by Arseny (or at least plans relayed through him) and participation of his armed group “Sparta” in fights for these locations. Despite heavy losses, this armed group remains the largest, most organized, most experienced and most well armed of all separatist formations roaming eastern Ukraine.
Today “Motorola” commands a lot of auth­ority and influence, both as a combatant and a member of the separatist “government.” He has fans among the local population who consider him a hero. However, he owes his rise to popularity to Russian media, which is hardly surprising. After all, separatists need recognizable faces and tall tales about their heroics, and Russians are happy to oblige, since this is a great boon in waging information warfare against Ukraine. Russian media dubs “Motorola” and his goons “freedom fighters” and “rebels,” while for most of Western and Ukrainian media they are simply “terrorists” or “separatists.”
How did Arseny Pavlov end up in Donbas and how did he rise to prominence? It was precisely after his emergence that Russian Special Forces began removing or relocating Girkin, Bezler, Kozitsyn, Babai and other leaders of “Novorossiya” from Donbas. They disappeared as quickly as they appeared – apparently, their superiors in Kremlin decided that they accomplished their objectives and were no longer needed or useful. Numerous versions, reasons and theories of their disappearance from the region exist, but the truth currently remains unknown.
As for our respondent, he used to fight under Igor “Strelkov” Girkin’s leadership and, as he himself claims, has no political ambitions. According to him, he is there only to “protect the peaceful local population from ‘genocide’ by Ukrainians” and considers the Donbas region to be a “rightful part of the Russian World.”geotv.ge

“If we were assisted by Russia’s regular army, we’d be in Kiev already.”

– Tell us about yourself. Who is the man behind the nickname?

– Name is Arseny Pavlov. I was born in Ukhta, Komi Republic, on February 2, 1982. My parents died when I was 15, and then my grandmother oversaw my upbringing. I failed to get an education, so I enlisted in the army. Today I lead the Special Forces Battalion “Sparta” of the Donetsk People’s Republic’s armed forces.

– Why “Motorola”?

– I served for four years as a wireman in the army and worked with Motorola-manufactured equipment, hence the nickname. It stuck to me during the anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya.

– How did you end up in Donbas?

– What do you mean “how”? [he laughs] I just got on a train and came here.

– Why did you decide to come?

– After these fascists at Maidan declared that they would kill 10 Russians for every combatant they lose, I decided that instead of watching all this unfold on TV, I’d rather come here and make a difference.

– You mentioned the Chechen War. Do you see a difference between what was happening there and what is happening here?

– Of course. In Chechnya, there was fighting between two sides, while here Ukrainian fascists try to exterminate the peaceful Russian population and want to cleanse Donbas of Russians. Donbas is Russian land, it is part of the Russian World, and we are here to protect the peaceful population from Ukrainian fascists that are supported by the West.

– But this is internationally recognized Ukrainian territory.

– Ukrainians live in Russia and no one tries to exterminate them, while here they try to exterminate the Russians. This is the reason why the local population has decided, through a referendum, to live independently from the fascist Ukraine. This is no longer Ukraine; this is the Donetsk People’s Republic, the people of which have elected their own government.

– What is your final goal?

– We already control 40 percent of Ukraine’s territory and will fight until it is completely cleansed of Ukrainian occupants. We have more than enough resources and ambition for that.

– By “resources,” you mean Russian troops and military vehicles?

– Russia helps us neither with vehicles nor with soldiers. All Russians here are volunteers. All you have heard about is merely a part of information war waged by Ukraine and the West. If we were assisted by Russia’s regular army, we’d be in Kiev already, the war wouldn’t become so stretched out and there would be less civilian victims. Nowadays, Russia is the only country in the world that acts to protect children, women and the elderly of Donbas. It is the only country that provides the regions’ peaceful population with humanitarian aid. You will not hear anything about these people in the rhetoric of Western countries that support the Ukrainian government – all they talk about is money, territory and power. This is what their politics are about. They do not care about the fates of the people who live here, while we do.

– You were blacklisted by the European Union. Can you comment on that?

– I do not have a bank account abroad and I do not plan to visit the countries of the EU, so their sanctions against me are misplaced and pointless.

– How long do you think military activity in Donbas will last?

– War here will last for a long time, a very long time. Maybe even five or more years, but it will inevitably result in our victory because truth is on our side. God is with us.

– Where do you think the border will be drawn, then? Do you plan to assume control of the entire Ukraine?

– I can’t comment on that. We live by the will of the people; we aren’t ukrops [a slur for Ukrainians] to impose anything on anyone. People themselves will decide what their country will look like.

– What are you planning to do after the war? Do you have any skills applicable outside the military?

– I’ll work as a rescuer [laughs]. Just kidding, I actually won’t. I am going to raise my children after the war; I want to have six sons and a daughter.

I’ve tried several times to find out what “Motorola” did before coming to Donbas, but to no avail. Then I, assisted by my Russian colleagues, attempted to dig up information on him myself. It turned out that he had been living in Rostov for the last few years, working at a car wash. He had serious problems with Rostov’s police due to going on a drunken joyride in a car stolen from the car wash. Given a choice between going to prison and going to Donbas, he chose the latter. All information about his subsequent adventures turned out to be a bunch of myths cooked up by Russian media. Not even Russian journalists who know the score have a sliver of doubt that “Motorola” is merely a brand created by Special Forces.
Today “Motorola” rents an apartment in Donetsk for 2,500 hryvnias per month and moves around in a Lada Niva that was gifted to him by Russian MP Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

P.S. Right before the interview was published, Ukrainian media declared that “Motorola” was killed by a Ukrainian sniper. We relayed that information to his wife Elena, since separatist leaders themselves did not comment on this. She said that information of his death was merely a rumor released by Ukrainian media, adding that this is hardly the first time they claim that he is dead. Indeed, next morning “Motorola” was sighted attending a meeting.

Author: Jambul Tsulaia
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