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This is not the weapon that wins, this is the man. Part 3 Father Theophanes, survived the torture of the SBU

This is not the weapon that wins, this is the man. Part 3 Father Theophanes, survived the torture of the SBU
Фото SM News
The editorial office of RIA "SM-News" held a press tour for foreign journalists in Donetsk (Emmanuel Schreiber from France, head of the Bulgarian edition of "News Front" Asya Ivanova). Correspondents met with Father Theophanes, who survived the captivity and torture of the SBU. The Orthodox priest spoke about the situation at the very beginning of the war, about his activities and about the turning point in his life.

(continuation, the beginning is here)

— I ended up in jail. And prison laws, in general, are such that … In principle, I can say that I have faced adequate people. They have their own laws, criminal … I communicated before the war. Twelve years I went to the colony with our fathers, we fed the recidivists. That is, for me it is not a new contingent at all. They have learned on the line, who I am and they treated me normally with respect.

There I spent almost a month — three weeks before the 1 April. Then I was summoned to court, changed the measure of restraint, and bring me to Kharkov. There they put me in the SBU prison, which … well, they do not want to recognize officially that there is someone there.

They say: there is no one there, what are you telling?

— There seems to have been a committee against torture.

— Yes, yes, and before such visits they moved all [prisoners] to the basement, and the cells are in order: empty, there is nobody.

I was brought in at two o’clock in the morning, left in the interrogation room — they can not identify anyone in the cell without a shift supervisor. I was at the trial, my friends brought me food, and I had a whole pack of food with me. And I say: come on, guys, they’ll soon release me, why do I need this food. And I so regretted later that I did not … In the package I had two pies, candy.

In the morning we were taken to the cell, and there were our people — militiamen. And the wounded, too. I went in, I say: guys, this is for all of you» They saw these cakes … It was like manna from heaven, these two pies.

Candies were divided into pieces at once. Pies — to each in a piece, for fifteen people. As a result, sweets were given to two wounded. Because, well, how do we eat something delicious when they need it?

Then he ate what he was fed there: some kind of incomprehensible cabbage, you eat it — you «swell up», everything hurts inside. Tea was a brown water, without smell and taste. They brought bread, but it was sticky, and a cup of sugar for two weeks.

We had a delicacy: you’ll pour the bread with sugar, you get a «cake». But we gave the sugar as a result to the wounded, and we ourselves ate what we get.

In the evenings on Saturdays the guards usually get drunk, start walking around the cells and scoff. Who does verbally, who does physically.

One of the guards, I happened to see it, did not remember his name, entered our cell (we just left the shower). It was warm in the cell. And he went in, walked, opened the window and the door. The draft began. And a month or so April, it’s not hot. The cell was cold.

— What are you doing? They say to him.
— You, separe, be silent. Why did you come to my land, why to Ukraine?

One of the guys, «B.» callsign, answers:

«I’m from Lugansk, am not I?»
— Are you clever? Well, — gets the phone, dials. «Now I’ll send you to the bodies.»

And then he stumbled out the door, someone asked: «Do you hear, or, perhaps, when you try to escape?»

«Well, come on,» the voice in the corridor answers.

When the escort walked around the cells, his partner put a machine gun in the corridor. We hear, clicked the fuse, clicked the bolt, steps. I realized that there will be something bad. Near me there was a military intelligence officer on the neighboring bunks. He was very strong, he could just rip them off with his bare hands … And he clamped his ears with a pillow, and lay so that he could not hear anything. Because, well, he is shell-shocked, such people usually do not endure for a long time, they immediately break down.

After my release, they told me that there was only one «comrade» who beat only one — a wounded man. No one else. A plastic baton in the face of forty strokes … The «B.» wounded in the leg right, in the hip bones were spokes — a fragment of a grenade bone was killed — the guard beat on the bar and spokes.

A vial of hydrogen peroxide was used to treat the wounds. One for a month. At best.

«B.», in general, quite innocuous guy, albeit with intelligence. There was one more — that Hamil, dared, he could say: SBUshnikam: Well, what are you, dirty fucking greetings. Once he was taken out of the cell, and dragged by the leg, half-dead.

There I stayed until 7 April. Then Ruban Vladimir Vladimirovich took me.

On the sixth day they came in, checked the data for me, Ruban arrived on the seventh, said: with things to go. I quickly packed. We went out into the corridor, he searched me.

… Ruban was engaged in prisoners of war, exchange. Who is now sitting. He was allegedly caught with a gun. With NATO mortars, and so on. Together with Nadezhda Savchenko is sitting on one case. In Kiev …

He took me to Isum, to the SBU. They put me in the basement. Reminds the basement of an ordinary house, handcuffed to a pipe near the floor, hands behind. I asked to have the handcuffs removed.

— And you will not kick?

Yeah, now before the exchange, I’ll be kicking, yes, definitely.

— Oh well.

They brought food that I can eat more or less. There I began to get used to that you can be treated like a human being, and not as a cattle. At night,SBU official arrived, apparently, heavily shell-shocked, wearing a mask. He opened the door from the threshold and said: I’m giving you two warnings, if you behave badly, I punish you for the third time.

— Did you understand?
— Got it.

I would like to say something …

«I told you: be silent!»

He took the things, he fastened the handcuffs. We got into the car. All the way to Kramatorsk, he hooked up on unloading, unhooked. For about an hour, we drove, and he did «zip-zip». We arrived in Kramatorsk, in some part. It seems to be tank. I was taken to the fourth floor in the classroom. A hat was on a head, and the tape was still shrouded in front of her. So tight that when I took it off, the image was cloudy. VSUshnik went to the commander. I’m sitting, waiting for me to put the bed. The handcuffs were taken off.

The bed is put by two young VSUshniks, and they say: Well, separ, you do not want to normally speak? Like, I did not want to talk? They will talk to you normally now. They thought that they put a bed for torture. The commander came in and asked for a mattress. And they expected that now they will torture me … Twenty years old children. I say: I’m actually a priest.

«What sort of priest are you?» Fucking separate.

And they ask: can they shoot or cut off my ear? I’m sitting, I think, what to talk with patients? They left. The commander brought food, I spent the night safely. In the morning they took me away, this man took me to Majorsk near Gorlovka.

We spent several hours on the road. He got out of the car, saw that the BMPs were closed on both sides. We stand in the low, BMP — behind and in front. I was amazed that Talkov’s songs were heard there, Tsoi … Somewhere a machine gun was working. Closer, then farther, then closer. A few hours later they said: go out, change. I sat down in the army UAZ, and several soldiers of the APU boarded. There were a lot of grenades near me. Go.

The roads were completely «killed» by tanks. From the Maxim machine gun the cart was lying on the road, I saw the 19th century Schwarzlose machine gun — it was still in the factory paint, it was still the time of the First World War. Hose clamps for horses pre-revolutionary hung at a roadblock abandoned, on the barrier. Apparently, the warehouses from Artemovsk were stolen — there were many weapons of cold, firearms, and all ammunition for the First World War, and so on.

It’s all like a decoration for a movie.

We drove into Majororsk itself, already closer to the line of contact. They left the car there. They said: sit, do not move, wait. There VSUshnik was told, that, the monk was taken?

— Well yes.

One came out, coming to the car. In a mask, with a knife.

«Oh, can I cut you?» — and stands, traces a finger on the edge.
«Look, go, do your business,» the other replied.

I’m sitting. I hear cotton and whistling. This booby trap worked. Hence, somewhere someone is making his way across the field — it was the edge of the village, across the road was a field. Near me the escort stood. I did not see it, but I heard the radio. They say: «Separs break through, let’s go to battle.»

Right next to me a fight started.

It was a miracle that none of our people shot this car. And next to me grenades. If they detonated — it would be bad.

There is a fight. The bullets whistle, the weapon thunders. Machine guns. And I was calmly in my soul. The car was not with an iron top, but was covered with a cloth. There was no fear. I think everything is simple here, everything is fair. Here — the life is, here — the death, here — the war, and here there is you. It was more terrible in the basement of the SBU, when someone was tortured, and you are the next one, and you do not know what they have enough fantasy for.

The battle is on. Then it quieted down. An officer came who was taken me, he said: everyone, sit down. Nobody was with us any more. We went to the exchange point, the «zero» point.

The subtlety of the situation was that they had to come in two or three kilometers to our territory (DNR — approx.). We go, the commander gives his order on the radio: if someone hears shooting, let them get in the BMW, come here and shoot at everything they’ll see.

So, they have panic fear. Well, what shooting is to arrange at the exchang?

We’re going, the panic is growing. He calls up with ours.

— Where are you?

The car was there. He slipped his hat over my face.

«Oh, the Toyota is over there.

The car turned back to the Toyota, I get out. He slapped me on the back: «Come on». They picked me up here. I pick up the cap — on the machine there is the number of the commandant’s office of the DNR, tricolor. Somehow it flashed in the mind: tricolor — and they will not kill me, not make me disabled …

It was already calm. I knew that they were mine. I did not know where they would bring me. The commandant’s office handed me over to the ORT film crew, they left their body armor on the backs of the car, and we went to Donetsk.

— What was remembered most of all?

— When I dictated the testimony to the investigator, in general, he falsified them.» I only talked about common things, so that nobody would be harmed. He typed the text right on the laptop. Printed, gave to sign.

I read: it turns out that I «acted with the blessing and sanction» of one of our higher representatives of the clergy of Donbass.

— Stop. Did I mention that name? Did I say anything like that?
— Is it written there?
— Well yes. You typed, I did not write it.
— Really? I’ll fix it now.

So he has invented. Then he began to think that if it was signed without looking, they would say: look, here is the testimony. And there would be a big trouble in our church here. He deleted this insertion.

By the way, when the second day they tortured me, they tried to «rub out» me, where I hide my millions of dollars, and where my Mercedes stands. They did not believe that I did not have this.

— You all have it.» I saw in the program «Groshi» [on Ukrainian television], you all have «Mercedes». Where’s your Mercedes?
— I haven’t!
— You’re lying! — and they start to beat.

As an afterword

— The right to impunity. If a person is told: «You can do whatever you want. We need information. You take a person, financially do what you want. We will have the information, you get the «star».

He takes everything that a man had at home. All that they liked — this is what they call «trophies». Plus gets rank increase.

If they had an ideology, they would have gone to war long ago. And so, what is it for them, for Petya [Poroshenko] to fight? No, they do not want to die.

I believe that they can only fight if they are thrown at us by Americans and «right-wingers» (members of the «Right Sector» banned in Russia — author’s note).

Father Theophanes stressed that he could tell a lot more. And on the proposal for filming a documentary he replied: I think that after the war in Mariupol, it will be possible to film. Probably, everything will remain there by this time.

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