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“Today the mayor, tomorrow – the private”: the head of Chita Sapozhnikov, who went to the front, spoke honestly about the Russian army

The mayor of Chita, Alexander Sapozhnikov, went as a volunteer to the NVO zone.  Photo: Office of the press service and information of the Governor of the Trans-Baikal Territory / Personal archive

The mayor of Chita, Alexander Sapozhnikov, went as a volunteer to the NVO zone. Photo: Office of the press service and information of the Governor of the Trans-Baikal Territory / Personal archive

FORM BUD DO NOT REMOVE

– Alexander Mikhailovich! Thanks for calling back. And I, your countryman, once lived in Chita, on Ugdanskaya Street, 40. Right opposite the Palace of Pioneers.

– Great.

– I was a correspondent there for five years. And then he came to Chita, to the Lada-Kalina with Putin after 20 years. And he flew with Kobzon. So I am mine. Are you already in military uniform?

– Of course.

– And how do you like it?

– As if he hadn’t filmed it.

How long have you been in the army?

– 13 years old.

– That’s what you did when you were a paratrooper in Chechnya, as I understand it?

– Well, I served in Chechnya, and in the airborne troops, then – in the autobat, in fuel depots, I was a foreman of a company.

Then he went to Chechnya for the second time, in the second campaign – in 1999.

And so – until 2009 he served and retired.

THERE WAS 13 “CALENDARS” IN THE ARMY

– And when did you get injured?

– This is 1995, there was a shell shock. Light. I was a soldier then, 18 years old. A shell exploded nearby.

Then healed…

Well, he stayed in the army.

– It’s clear. How did you end up in Chita? Were you born there?

– In Chita, yes. I also did hand-to-hand combat. After the competition, I got a little sick, and ended up in the hospital. I already felt that it was hard in the Airborne Forces. And he began to transfer quietly to Chita, found himself a position.

– Clear. What is your general combat experience?

13 and a half “calendars” I was in the army.

– “Calendars” are years?

– Yes. I arrived at the collection point yesterday morning. And, you know, I have a feeling that I never left the army. I fell into my environment, to be honest. For me, this is all familiar and dear to the heart.

– What are you doing now specifically?

– Well, it’s not worth writing.

– Good. And what position do you hold?

– Place of service – regiment control.

– That is, in the headquarters of the regiment?

– Well, at the headquarters of the regiment, yes.

– What kind of shoulder straps did they give you?

– I was called up as a senior ensign. Now they will send documents to the lieutenant.

I met my wife at the hospital

– What is your wife’s name?

– Elena Viktorovna.

Is she a military medic?

– She’s a civilian doctor. But we met in a military hospital. We have been together since 1999.

– How many children do you have?

– One daughter.

– How did she perceive your departure to the front?

– Well, I have something to compare. When I left for Chechnya, my daughter was 5 months old. And he came – she is already a year old. And now the child is an adult, she is a very smart girl. Independent, educated. Of course, she reacted to this with such respect and understanding of her father’s decision. And worries, it’s a girl.

– How old is she now?

– 23.

PARACHUTE JUMP EVERY YEAR

– But Alexander Osipov, your governor, told me about you that you were constantly engaged in military training.

– Yes Yes. I jump with a parachute every year, so as not to forget.

Governor of the Trans-Baikal Territory Alexander Osipov in the Radio studio "TVNZ".

Governor of the Trans-Baikal Territory Alexander Osipov in the studio of Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda.

A photo: Mikhail FROLOV

– We thought for a long time before telling my wife, at work, that’s it, I’m leaving …

– No, he said right away. Just waiting for orders…

– Whose team?

– Well, how? I had to agree with the governor.

– Why now? The operation has been going on since February.

– No, of course, I made the decision just a few days after the mobilization began. And so all the coordination went. It’s not easy – to leave the head of the city.

And, on the other hand, my grandmother is a veteran (God rest her). I love my Motherland, I’m not leaving anywhere, and I never intended to. It is a great honor for me to defend my country. Of course, we also need to work in the rear, this is also our front, I don’t argue, but I made a decision.

Army 350% better

– I wonder if they gave you the whole uniform, that is, a pea jacket, an officer’s overcoat, boots?

– No, there are no overcoats in the army now.

– What do you have now?

– Well, now the field uniform, pea coats, quilted jackets, winter berets, all-weather, underwear. Super shape.

– Are there any problems with the provision or not?

– Not. In general, everything is fine, and I eat with pleasure. The food is just great

I am surprised, of course, by our army. She improved by 350%.

– Seriously?

– Of course.

– What’s better?

– Yes, everyone.

– What do the others say? Do people know that it was the mayor who came and put on a military uniform?

– Everything is fine. Everything is fine. Because very decent and serious people serve in the army. And no one will ever ask such questions.

Yes, some say: oh, Alexander Mikhailovich, and you, the mayor, are also with us – great …

I tell you again, I feel at home. No worries, no stress. Well, it happens that anyway a person changes the situation, worries, strains. There is absolutely no such feeling here, it is simply absent. I say this sincerely.

Alexander Sapozhnikov: "It is a great honor for me to defend my country".

Alexander Sapozhnikov: “It is a great honor for me to defend my country.”

ARMY IS 350% BETTER

– Did they give you the whole uniform, pea jacket, overcoat, boots?

– There is no overcoat now in the army.

– What do you have now?

– Field uniform, pea coats, quilted jackets, winter berets, all-season, underwear. Super shape.

– Are there any problems with the supply?

– Not. In general, everything is fine, and the food is just excellent. I am surprised, of course, by our army. She improved by 350%.

– Seriously?

– Of course.

– What’s better?

– Yes, everyone.

– Do people know that it was the mayor who came and put on a military uniform?

– Everything is fine. There are decent and serious people serving in the army. And no one will ask questions like that. Yes, some say: Oh, and you, the mayor, are also with us – great …

I feel at home. No worries. Well, it happens that anyway a person changes the situation, tenses up. There is absolutely no such feeling here. I say this sincerely.

ONLY A VICTORY!

– You were a big boss, the mayor of a big city, troublesome. And then suddenly – since you are a subordinate, you must trump, salute …

– I have always said and continue to say that today you are the mayor, and tomorrow you can be an ordinary soldier. Or vice versa – today you are an ordinary, and tomorrow – the mayor.

That is, everything is in your hands. For me, this is normal.

– Do you call home, wife, daughter, do you have time or not?

– Right now they are waiting for a call, I want to call them, but I’m talking to you. And they are just waiting.

– Then the last question. What will happen at the front, where will you go?

– Only a victory. I respect our president, and it is a great honor for me to live in this country, in Russia. We must seek only Victory!

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