“Zakhar is, first and foremost, a man of great altruism, who does not spare himself one bit to help the weak, the oppressed, and simply those he considers good people,” Anna Dolgareva, poet and military correspondent who has known Prilepin since 2016, told Sputnik in an interview.Dolgareva said Prilepin has spent time recently supporting the Oplot Battalion, a tactical unit of the Russian Ground Forces formally subordinated to the Donetsk People’s Militia.“Zakhar’s foundation provided the battalion with a great deal of assistance, and Zakhar himself previously served there…He is a political officer serving on equal footing with everyone else, without any PR. I think RT were the only ones to ever do an interview with him, and literally just a couple weeks before the end of his tour,” she said.Prilepin, known in Russia for his best-selling novels, as well as his work as a popularizer of history and hot-button political topics, and most recently as a politician from the A Just Russia Party, “is a person doing a lot for Russian culture,” Dolgareva said, noting that he is perhaps the most significant modern ‘duty officer for culture’ in the country today, “doing everything that the state should be doing” in this area, and doing it on his own.© Photo : Alexei Iovchev’s personal archive.Donetsk. 2017. Zakhar Prilepin (center), members of the Moscow-based rock band Zveroboy, poet Elena Zaslavskaya and Donbass militia volunteer Anna Lisovenko, call sign ‘Zvezdochka’ (‘Little Star’).Donetsk. 2017. Zakhar Prilepin (center), members of the Moscow-based rock band Zveroboy, poet Elena Zaslavskaya and Donbass militia volunteer Anna Lisovenko, call sign ‘Zvezdochka’ (‘Little Star’).Prilepin has also been a consistent proponent of greater Russian support for the Donbass, the war correspondent noted, pointing to the two books he wrote on the conflict – ‘Some Will Not Go to Hell’ and ‘Militia Romance’. “These are really the only big works of prose dedicated to the Donbass War. These were his two important works,” she stressed.Dolgareva believes the targeting of Prilepin by Ukraine’s security services isn’t solely about trying to kill him, but about trying to liquidate the leaders of public opinion – “passionaries working to create the Russian national idea. And yes, Ukraine has now switched to terrorist methods of warfare, acting as a kind of second Daesh,* but which has settled in the heart of Europe,” she said.
“All of the well-known Donbass field commanders – they died not in battle, but were killed in terrorist attacks. Now we had an attempted terrorist attack against Zakhar Prilepin…He served for several months in the special military operation and was seriously wounded only after returning home, which suggests that the Kiev regime cannot cope with our commanders on the battlefield, with our well-known, ideologically motivated people. That’s why they use terrorist attacks in the rear areas inside Russia,” Dolgareva pointed out.Natalya Makeeva, a journalist, author and poet who is a member of the Russian and Donetsk People’s Republic Writers Unions, echoes Dolgareva’s sentiments on Kiev’s motivations, but suggests one has to look deeper to uncover the true culprits of attacks on figures like Prilepin.“The Kiev regime is, of course, involved in this situation to a certain degree, but not more than as an intermediary. Because behind the Kiev regime itself, which does not enjoy sovereignty, are our so-called ‘Western partners’ – Washington, London, the CIA or the Mi-6. These are the forces responsible for what’s happening on the territory of the former Ukraine, and, without exaggeration, for everything happening in the post-Soviet space. What’s happening today is the continuation of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and we know very well who was behind the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Makeeva told Sputnik.The journalist believes the Ukraine of today should have been internationally recognized as a ‘terrorist organization’ a long time ago, because the territory can no longer be considered a state in the direct sense of the term due to its tolerance for absolute lawlessness and criminality. This contemporary Ukrainian “pseudo-state” is being “used as a weapon against Russia,” according to Makeeva, and the attack on Prilepin was another example of this.“Zakhar is without question one of the most prominent representatives” of Russian Spring movement that emerged in 2014, the journalist said. “Moreover, he has participated in all of these events starting from 2014. This is something I emphasize to those who think the conflict started in 2022. Beginning in 2014, he took part in hostilities, organized the supply of huge amounts of humanitarian aid.”Makeeva, who knows Prilepin thanks to ties from the worlds of literature and poetry, said that politically, Zakhar is one of few public figures who have not abandoned their political and ideological convictions, and someone who has proven himself a man of principle.“He has proven it throughout his biography…He is a man of principles, a man of ideas, a man of the ‘Russian World’. He once published a book called ‘Platoon: Officers and Militias of Russian Literature’, and then he himself became a militiaman of Russian literature,” she said.“He couldn’t not go [to the Donbass, ed.], because he’s someone who’s ready to stand up for his convictions – for him these are not just words. His books are not just some kind of abstract literature, they are his life,” Alexei Iovchev, a Russian rock musician and friend of Zakhar’s, told Sputnik.“He talked about the need for military support for the Donbass, but did more than just talk. He put on black boots, tied the laces, packed his backpack and went off, and organized a battalion there, and supplied it. He was, in fact, a fighter of this battalion. His words don’t diverge from his deeds. This, I think, is one of the most valuable qualities this person has,” Iovchev said.Iovchev says Prilepin specifically was targeted because he’s probably “the best warrior of the information front” that Russia’s got, someone able to concisely formulate meanings and convey his truth.© Photo : Alexei Iovchev’s personal archive.Alexei Iovchev (left), Zakhar Prilepin (second from left) and other members of the Moscow rock band Zveroboy pose for a photo.Alexei Iovchev (left), Zakhar Prilepin (second from left) and other members of the Moscow rock band Zveroboy pose for a photo.“The enemy considers its necessary to remove these people, because in 2004 [the first Maidan in Kiev, ed] we lost the war for people’s minds specifically, and now we are now forced to fight it with steel, because the war for minds was lost and the Americans ‘recoded’ Ukrainians, turning them into weapons against us. That’s an important message – that losing the war for minds is unacceptable,” Iovchev said.”It’s said that no one is irreplacable but using the example of Zakhar I say – there are such people…I would like to wish Zakhar a sure recovery, and our inevitable common victory!” the rocker summed up.* Daesh (also known as ISIS/ ISIL/ IS) is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.