“You can say that everyone was under the risk. Life under occupation is a risk for everyone. Even if you don't do anything. This constant oppressive ... even not fear, but constant reinsurance.
My brother and I took turns watching through a spyglass. We made ourselves an observation post on a tree. They do not look at the tree. If they come here, we have made ourselves two ways of escape from the island. If from that side, we go in one direction, if from this side, we go in that direction. And if from two sides, then we made a path through the swamp, through the reeds. We bought a rubber boat, inflated it, so that, as soon as the swamp ends, we go further on the boat. It was like that. We are like partisans.
In the store, the saleswoman said: “You are living the same way as my grandparents lived during the occupation by the Nazis, ... Nazi Germany.” Just the same, many people simply lived on the islands, in the swamps, so as not to intersect with those invaders. And we, so as not to intersect with these invaders.
Such associations. — Fish, fish, fish… fishing, yes. For about two months we lived purely on fish.”
“At 4 o'clock in the morning all these outbreaks started. My brother on the phone: Putin is speaking, the start of the so-called military operation. Explosions began. My wife and I immediately realized that it is an attack on Kherson.
We decided that we had to leave [for Kyiv]. There were explosions, it was scary. Got in the car, started going. In Chornobaivka we got under missile attack. Chornobaivka airport… we are just passing by in a car and… nearby everything starts to explode. Boom-boom – missiles are falling. We returned. We returned to Kherson, returned to the country house with my brother. Mom stayed in Kherson.
They broke into our apartment ... somewhere ... on March 20–21. They knocked down the door, scared my mother - she told me all this. “Where is Boris?” – FSB men in helmets, with machine guns. They point machine guns at her: “Where is Boris?” Then I immediately realized that this was because of the registration, because only Boris, and not together with Yurii. So, it was not about the past (a public organization where Yurii was the leader, not Boris). Well, yes, they broke in.
We thought, pondered: - to leave - not to leave. The first question: - to leave - not to leave. After the 20th -21st , we realized that we would not leave anywhere, since we were already on the lists. We realized that another life was beginning: that we would no longer be at our country house during daylight hours. We will be on a desert island. Fortunately, from childhood we know perfectly all the islands, all the channels and all the rivers. If something starts, we knew how we were going to leave - we created ourselves escape routes. We bought ourselves a pair of rubber boats, hid them in the reeds, if we could not find a large iron one.
And a period of some kind of stupor began, waiting - we can’t do anything, we can’t go anywhere. ”
“We are all in Kyiv - Yanukovych has fled, everything has calmed down in Kyiv. We returned to Kherson. On the day of our arrival ... we just get off the train at the station, we meet a friend. He says: “Guys, do you know that we have a pro-Russian rally on Freedom Square right now? They are standing there. Russian world, camp. We immediately went right there - what's going on?
There was a group of people. By the way, Hirkin was there. We saw him for the first time then. He was like the coordinator of this whole gang. We see - there are many acquaintances there. And in this get-together, in this group of people, we don’t see a single Kherson citizen at all. No one. Our group approached:
Guys, what area are you from?
It’s clear that from Kherson. But from what area?
Instead of an answer, we got stones thrown at us.
Kherson actually then showed that Kherson is Ukraine.
We arrived in the morning, just gathered for half an hour. And after two hours, the entire Freedom Square was filled with real residents of Kherson, who simply by their number these ...
I'm sure they were brought from the Crimea, maybe from Odesa, but I think from the Crimea - if to judge by the dialect. We are also in the Crimea... I lived in the Crimea for three years. The dialect of Kherson and the dialect of Crimeans differ. It seems to be close, but there is a difference.
The citizens of Kherson gathered. And this small group of people, up to 100 people… It was interesting. Backing away, they were already really afraid that they were not welcome here, they just left. The buses were parked behind the house. They hid their buses. Of course, we wanted to beat them… Then the police protected them and they left.
And after that, there were no similar situations in Kherson any more.
<...> Strelkov-Hirkin gave some interview, talking about that exact day. “I realized then,” - says Hirkin, “that Kherson is lost to us forever.”
“When the active phase of the war began now, there were several calls from relatives from Crimea. And the message of these calls was the following: well, soon you will also become part of our great country. To the question: “name at least three points of this greatness”, the answer was: “Ah, well, you are still “under Bandera’s influence ... well, soon the FSB will re-educate you.” And it was said directly by relatives. You will be re-educated soon. All these re-educations are, at best, carried out in the basement. At worst, they take you out and make you dig your own grave. This is their education. Then they lead you back. Thank God, I did not have to go through this - we hid well on the island. We were not found. But our acquaintances were found. Some we will never see again. They were shot. Someone was frightened and said: - ok, ok, ok, no worries ... I won't do it anymore ... “
“Absolutely private individuals. <...> a group of our like-minded people gathered. We came as a group, but as individuals. We have not affiliated with any organization. We remained our group on the Maidan, and acted on the Maidan as we ourselves decided. No one gave us orders.”
Freedom is the most important thing a person should have
Borys Dmytrovych Kniazhynskyi, the eldest of the twin brothers, was born in Kherson on June 16, 1978. In 1991–1993, after graduating from Kherson secondary school №30, he studied at the Physical and Mathematical Lyceum (now the Kherson Physical and Technical Lyceum). Then he entered the Kherson State Technical University majoring in “Computerized control and automation systems”, which he graduated in 1998. After graduating from the university, he worked at the Aviapro aircraft manufacturing plant, where his career path started from a worker and led to a production manager position. In 2004, together with his brother Yurii, he created the city public organization “Khersonshchyna-Pora”, which existed until 2007, and focused on opposing corrupt judges. In 2013–2014, he participated in the Revolution of Dignity in Kyiv and pro-Ukrainian actions in Kherson. From the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine until November 11, 2022, was under occupation. Avoiding arrest, he was hiding from the Russian FSB on a deserted island for eight months. From 2006 until today, has been the official registrator of Internet domain names.