Shoulder to shoulder: at the front and in the rear

Shoulder to shoulder: at the front and in the rear

Recently we marked two years from the beginning of the anti-terroristic operation on the east of Ukraine. During this time the country faced a lot of dramatic events. And estimations of the armed confrontation in the Donbass region and prospects of its termination have been changing drastically. Experts and politicians keep on locking horns over it but, discussions aside, the crucial thing is that in spring 2014 sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country became at risk. And those who realized it defended their country, some of them at the front and others in the rear. The staff of PJSC “Zaporozhtransformator” can be considered as the bright example of unity of all patriotic efforts.

Soon after the situation in Donbass ran high and the question of mobilization of persons bound to military service was raised ZTR plant decided to give charitable assistance to military enlistment offices because the results of the call-up depended upon their well-coordinated work. Household appliances and office equipment, stationery and construction materials were purchased for the needs of Zaporozhye united city military enlistment office. In addition the plant undertook production of printing products for the military office and helped to organize transferring of persons subject to military service to duty areas.

At the same time for upgrading of military combat readiness and quality conduct of military service the plant allocated financial assistance for the regiment 3033 of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs of Ukraine and helped with the departure to the ATO region.

As soon as it became clear that the Ukrainian army confronts heavily armed enemy, on the ZTR administration’s initiative there was organized extensive volunteer work in structural units, the labour union and the youth council of the plant. There was promptly formed a fine-tuned system of informing, fund raising and places for collecting, sorting and transportation of stuff, which allowed on a tight timetable to supply our defenders with the first collected funds and purchased accoutrements: bullet-proof vests, sleeping bags, knapsacks, goggles, helmets and many other things that were so much needed on the frontline. Mobilized workers of the plant were also amongst those who received that volunteer help. In total 104 workers of ZTR were mobilized including 31 persons who were directly involved in the combat actions, three of them have been awarded with the orders and honorary titles.

“But for volunteers, - says Mikhail Ternavskiy, the worker of the transformer shop (from July 2014 to September 2015 a soldier of 25th separate airborne brigade), - ATO would have ended for us very quickly and deplorably. There is no point in listing everything they delivered to us and ipso facto saved many lives. It was comforting to understand that the plant efficiently transferred wages to my cashpoint card and my wife and children didn’t suffer hardships. A special thanks to my co-workers for the raised funds that allowed to buy a sleeping bag for me. Awareness of the fact that I have a secure rear at home kept me strong and inspired.”

“At war people become closer to each other but at the same time they show themselves most clearly what they are worth of, - recalls the foundryman of the hardware workshop Viktor Kitsenko (from April 2014 to March 2015 an operator of the radar station of artillery reconnaissance). – It has been said a lot about volunteers. I can just bow low to these people for their assistance and support. On the other hand, I was lucky to be called-up as an employee of “Zaporozhtransformator”. The plant didn’t just fulfill the requirements of law and hold my position of employment, pay my wages but also took care of my family. My co-workers raised the money and gave it to my wife who was waiting for me at home with my little daughter. We got in touch on the phone and communicated often. People cared if I had everything necessary, sent their best regards. That bond with peaceful life is extremely important there on the frontline. I want to show my sincere gratitude to everybody for support and my special thanks to Alexander Dmitriyevich Aksyonov, the head of the casting floor.”

In order not to confine itself just to charitable and volunteer assistance, PJSC “ZTR” took under its patronage Zaporozhye separate artillery brigade #55. As a present from the plant artillerists got a car “UAZ” and on the top of that since 2014 they have been given foodstuffs, linen, warm clothes and other.

“It is hard to forget that terrifying rustling sound of the falling shell, - tells the leading designer Pavel Kurgan (from August 2014 till September 2015 a soldier of the 55th artillery brigade – a participant of the Ilovaysk events who covered our soldiers near Volnovakha, Avdeyevka, Donetsk airport). From the very beginning it petrifies. Then you remember suddenly and try to dig yourself in. At first we literally spent a lot of time on the ground not just during artillery bombardments. Nearly until December 2014 we spent the nights on the ground. We didn’t have enough tents and lacked sleeping bags. Thanks to volunteers I was given a sleeping bag and warm clothes. They also arranged food supplies for us. There were times when we had to eat just canned food with dried crust and drink water from the brook. My deep gratitude goes to all volunteers and co-workers, especially Yuriy Zakharovich Trofimenko who often phoned, worried about us and actually linked me with the plant. A special thanks to the volunteer Gennadiy Startsev who, as far as I know, is assisted by someone of the leaders of out plant.”

“I began to serve in the armed forces in august 2014 in the 55th artillery brigade, - recalls Vitaliy Nadolskiy, the worker of the welding shop. – It was rather well supplied though volunteer assistance also came in handy. Soon I was moved to another battery which was formed from square one. That was the place where nothing would appear without volunteers. In order to carry shells up to 86 kg, anyone needs strength but if you were freezing all night long, could not sleep enough and didn’t eat properly, you lack that strength. Blankets, clothes, accouterments and food – all of these were transferred to us by volunteers from Kirovograd, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. Until a certain time we were sleeping on the bare ground. Later guys from Orekhovskiy district brought us wooden plank beds. We were also brought children’s drawings that warmed the cockles of our hearts. There was a whole wall covered with the drawings at our location near Volnovakha. It should be mentioned that at some point there was so much help that we felt uneasy. So I asked my colleagues at the plant to give their assistance to those who needed it more. However, this unity, when people want to share your tough front-line fate, is worth a lot. But again, when being on guard, coffee transferred for us from the workshop came really in handy. Thanks a lot.”

In the very beginning incomplete assembly of our forces also appeared in old equipment that exhausted its performance potential. That’s why PJSC “Zaporozhtransformator” by its own efforts repaired two automobiles “UAZ”, handed over a truck “KAMAZ” for the use of regiment A1978 and a car “Volga” for the needs of the military enlistment office, granted fuel and buses for transportation of soldiers to the post.

The overman of the transformer workshop Sergey Filonenko is no stranger to run-down, old equipment as he served as a driver of an armored troop carrier at the 95th airborne brigade from August 2014 to September 2015. “I was always a file closer in the motorcade. We used to go in the dark, lights off because all the roads had been already adjusted, no spotter needed. One night we were carrying shells, fuel. On a sharp bend I countersteered and the vehicle got stuck in the side ditch. The motorcade got ahead and we stayed. In the daybreak we saw a village just in hundred meters from us. Our first feeling was confusion because anything could have happened. But everything turned out well.

Thoughts of my wife and children supported me all the time that I was in the ATO region. Thanks a lot to our plant for support. My wife got my wages and my son was given a present and an invitation to the celebration of the New Year. My friend with the assistance of the labour union organized fund raising and I could buy a decent NATO proof-bullet vest. And when I came back home I resumed my holidays that had been interrupted by the call-up to the military service and got another leave prescribed to the ex-servicemen.”

Speaking about life-expired equipment the overman of the welding workshop Alexander Kuzmenko, who served as a driver of an armored troop carrier near Donetsk, also adds the issue of stunning propaganda coming from media in the ATO region. “We had to talk to local residents to assure them that we don’t shoot civilian population, we are not aggressors and just do out constitutional duty. Sometimes we had to save out relatives persuading them that we are safe and sound and not encircled. Connection with home and realizing that behind us we have peaceful life of our relatives, friends and colleagues helped to cope with that tension. The plant allocated financial assistance, people from the labour union, personnel department and my boss phoned to hear from us and get evidences we were fine. In such situations you understand that you just can’t let these people down.”

It should be mentioned that not all of those who served in the ATO region are ready to talk about that time. Some of them want to adjust to peaceful life, others are modest and terse in a masculine way, some lost their sworn brothers and that pain never fades away. The worker of the transformer workshop Yevgeniy Gombalevskiy who was at war near Donetsk airport thought that he would continue to defend the country but didn’t manage. ”I am deeply grateful to everybody who supported us all this time, - says Yevgeniy, – and most of all to the administration collaborate of the plant Inessa Zubkova. Her sincere interest in our lives, sympathy and concern moved me deeply.”

The worker of the preproduction workshop Yuriy Yushin who held the line near Avdeyevka and Gnutovov persistently refuses to take sanatorium vouchers that are offered to him by the plant staff as he was directly involved in the combat actions. He says there are people who need them more.

The assembler from the workshop of magnetic cores Vitaliy Lisko (July 2014 - September 2015, tank battalion of 92nd brigade) and the metalworker from the welding workshop Viktor Naumov (August 2014 – August 2015, artilleryman) currently undergo preventive treatment at the hospital at Velikiy Lug. Thereupon both of them mention that attention and care given to the workers-veterans by the plant helps them to believe that someday our country will also become progressive and socially oriented.

“When our guys called from the forefront and thanked for supporting them with fire, we felt really proud, - tells Victor Naumov, the oldest of the workers of out plant who went to serve to the ATO region. – Now I feel satisfied because of doing something worthy in my life, protecting my homeland. There remains just to live to see that all sacrifices made in Donbass were not in vain. I believe that Ukraine will rise from the ruins.”

It is hard to predict for how long this war is going to test Ukraine’s patience. But there are no doubts that Ukrainians are going to pass this test because in the rear as at the front brave and courageous people stand for peace shoulder to shoulder and solid staff of “Zaporozhtransformator” is amongst them.


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