Tatarsky’s Colleagues Recall His Passion, Patriotism, Push to Improve Russia’s Drone Capabilities
15:30 GMT 03.04.2023 (Updated: 16:36 GMT 03.04.2023)
© Photo : VKontakteDonbass-born war correspondent Vladlen Tatarsky. File photo.
© Photo : VKontakte
Vladlen Tatarsky, real name Maxim Fomin, died in a bombing at a St. Petersburg café on Sunday. The 40-year-old Donetsk region-born blogger, author, and war correspondent spent over eight years fighting in and covering the conflict in Donbass, and Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
Vladlen Tatarsky was passionate, a patriot, and a military professional who not only devoted his life to the conflict in Ukraine, but provided crucial constructive criticism which improved Russia’s military capabilities and ultimately saved soldiers’ lives, his journalistic colleagues have told Sputnik.
“Maxim combined many hypostases within himself: he fought in the Donbass, he wrote about the conflict and was an excellent publicist who formulated his ideas perfectly, very accurately and to the point,” Evgeny Poddubny, a prominent Russian war correspondent, said in an interview.
“He spoke about shortcomings within our forces in quite a sharp tone, which many people probably didn’t like, but the tone was brought about by the situation. Basically, like it or not, but he was right,” Poddubny said.
Characterizing Tatarsky as a “locomotive” who persistently broke through the military bureaucracy, Poddubny said the soldier and journalist did a great deal to improve the use of tactical drones by Russia’s troops, including by plugging gaps in capabilities using commercial drones.
Savva Fedoseev, a St. Petersburg activist and event manager for Listva, a chain of bookstores which sold Tatarsky’s works, echoed Poddubny’s characterization, telling Sputnik that the militiaman’s work to improve the Russian military’s drone capabilities was indispensable.
“I think one of the key aspects of his work was the coverage of pressing topics and problems in the army which no one else raised at the start of the conflict. When alarm was first sounded about the lack of UAVs, copters and other reconnaissance means, Vladlen and his colleagues were among the first to raise this issue, began to provide [drones] for the army, called on other journalists, bloggers, military correspondents and volunteers to do the same,” Fedoseev said.
Tatarsky raised other important issues as well, Fedoseev said, such as the lack of frontline priests to provide comfort to troops.
“He raised subjects which were painful for the army. He didn’t just criticize, but offered solutions, and due to his media influence and weight, could solve these problems, imbue people with his sense of initiative, optimism and desire to win. Indeed, his contribution as a journalist, as a war correspondent, as a volunteer taking part in hostilities was truly immense. His competence and interest flowed from the fact that he literally ‘touched’ everything that could be felt in this conflict with his own hands.”
Tatarsky spent eight years of his life doing everything he could to prepare others who would become volunteers and go to the front, and was loved by soldiers and readers of his books alike, including due to his sincerity and ability to admit his own mistakes, Fedoseev said. “For these reasons he was treated like an older brother. He was a person with such a swashbuckling biography, but at the same time a defender of justice. Furthermore, he was an Orthodox believer, which greatly influenced his actions and statements.”
© Photo : Savva FedoseevSavva Fedoseev (left) poses with Vladlen Tatarsky (real name Maxim Fomin) during the latter's visit to a Listva bookstore.
Savva Fedoseev (left) poses with Vladlen Tatarsky (real name Maxim Fomin) during the latter's visit to a Listva bookstore.
© Photo : Savva Fedoseev
‘Enough Being the Victim’
Tatarsky was a patriot and passionate about Russia, Poddubny said. “He did a great deal to ensure that things were called by their proper names in our country. This war began for all of us not a year ago, but much earlier. All in all, this is a great loss for our country. Maxim was a leader of public opinion and used his reputation to try to influence the situation for the better. This is a huge loss for the country because every passionary, every patriot is valuable to Russia and our country needs them.”
The war correspondent called Tatarsky’s death an attempt by the Ukrainian security services to strike fear into the hearts and minds of Russian public opinion leaders, but said they have succeeded only in evoking aggression and rage, “but definitely not fear.”
“We cannot allow ourselves to be victims. We need to show hawkish qualities and work proactively. Russia has a rich experience fighting terrorist groups. Ukraine today is behaving like a terrorist state. We need to dust off countermeasures we have placed in the drawer. We need to do what’s necessary so the leaders of Ukraine’s special services do not sleep well at night, so that they’re afraid to make decisions which may later affect their lives,” Poddubny urged.
Asked if he had any parting comments for Sputnik’s readers about Tatarsky, Poddubny said that hopefully it would make people recognize that Russia is not the aggressor in this conflict. “This war has been going on not since February of 2022, but since 2014, and it wasn’t Russia that started it. The tragic killing of Vladlen Tatarsky was the point after which we no longer have the right to use expressions like ‘red lines’ and ‘good will gestures.’ Enough of being the victim. It’s necessary to act more actively,” the war correspondent summed up.