I will post this video and the translated transcript of Royce the Child Soldier of the Vostok Brigade. Please go to this previous blog post to read more about him.
Russian TV did not specify the boys' exact age, but in an earlier interview broadcast on Finnish YLE television this year Royce said he was 15. He was shown flanked by two young men wearing balaclavas, one of whom claimed to be 17.
Published on Jul 29, 2014An episode of serial "The young and the brave" shown on Finnish television 29th of July, 2014.
Produced by Finnish broadcast company YLE.
Teleoperator: Aleksandr Vatavu
Edit: Erkka MIkkonen
Correspondent: Erkka Mikkonen
Interview with Commander of Training Unit, 15 year old Hero of Novorossiya
VIDEO SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6_Z0a7sTyI
Royce the 15 year old child soldier in Donetsk.
0:25 to 0:37
Rois: Me? Yes, I think I got courage even though I’m afraid to die, but I am more worried about my Motherland than about my own life. Fear of death is on a second place after fear for my motherland.
0:43 to 0:53
Rois: We are now in a sub-unit of the brigade Vostok. My call-name is Rois. I’m a Patriot. I am 15 years old.
0:54 to 1:14
Rois (loading a magazine with bullets): What’s my responsibility? Large responsibility. I’m giving to people kind of knowledge which they can’t get anywhere else. They are going to the war. So, anything new they learn now, that’s all they can use in military operation. (Loading his rifle with a magazine): First of all, I have to look after my team, like you do with children. Have to bring them to dinner, arrange beds for guys who arrive here. And of course I have to train them. (Walking away): It’s not just how to handle a weapon, we also go to the training ground. And we are training there to walk and to move.
Andrey (Royce) feeding the magazine of his Kalashnikov assault rifle
1:30 to 2:13
Donbass Anthem in a remix.
2:07 to 3:16
Soldier (right in balaclava): We used to have a club…something like a military patriot society. And afterwards…our trainer came here and when he settled in, he called us to join. He made us an offer so to say and we accepted it, why not
Journalist: You didn’t meet Andrey before, right?
Soldier (left with balaclava): We did! We are from the same city – We studied in the same school
Journalist: Aha…so all of you have been studying together. But Andrey is younger, right?
Rois: Yes…I came here with my father, as volunteers. He came first and I join him a bit later.
Soldier (left with balaclava): He’s two years younger than me and I didn’t expect at all to meet him here. I came here with a friend of mine, that’s him. I was totally surprised when I saw him here. Because boys, not even 18 (and he is 15 years old!) came here to fight. While there are 20 year old guys, who served in the army and got good military experience but they are staying at home, hiding in their basements during the shelling [2:39 to 3:02]
Journalist: So, you are staying in a casern here…but what do you do in your free time?
Soldier (right in balaclava): We are doing chin ups… all kinds of sports.
Soldier (left with balaclava): And just chilling out too.
3:17 to 4:09
Rois: There are lots of interesting books about arms. Well, I’m still at school, I’d have holidays now. So, I’d be outside whole day, playing football with friends. Doing things what any teenager likes. But football goes first, I like it a lot. I was even thinking about bringing my soccer ball here. To kick a ball in my free time…
Journalist: Did you bring it already?
Rois: No. I don’t have much free time
Journalist: Do you feel sometimes that you miss your old life?
Rois: Yes of course. But mostly in the evening when I’m finally in bed and can relax and think about life. I thought that if I was 18 years old, I’d come here for sure, I wouldn’t be killing anyone. But after my father came here, I asked him to get permission for me to join too.
4:10 to 4:17
Rois (walking next to his dad): Nobody wanted to take a minor…it took a very long time to make all the arrangement. But finally, it went through, my father took me here and I’m really happy!
Sergei, Royce’s father
4:18 to 4:56
Sergei (Rois’s father): Guys have a lot of respect for him because he is so young, but in a uniform and with a gun and he’s training them. It doesn’t bother them at all. On the contrary: it wins their hearts. It attracts them that someone is so young that shouldn’t be fighting in a war yet but he’s here with weapons in his hands and he’s doing something good here.
One more thing I like to add: we got patriotic young guys who are ready to fight fascism with all their heart! I have a lot of respect for them and I respect my son’s choice and I’m 100% behind him.
4:57 to 5:18
Rois: My mother and grandmothers would still prefer me to come back have a peaceful life, close to them
Journalist: And what would you reply to them?
Rois: I’m going to tell them that I’ll go back to this kind of life after our victory, back to a quiet and peaceful life…together with them. They shouldn’t worry.
5:19 to 6:03
Russian Song from WWII: Victory is all we need.
Royce (left) and Stark (right) – two child soldiers of the Vostok Battalion shaking hands.
6:04 to 6:46
Journalist: What do you think, is it difficult to kill a person?
Rois: I think it’s very hard. What if this person isn’t evil, maybe he was forced to come here? Maybe he got a family back home, wife and kids. But when they come here to kill our brothers and families, we don’t have any other choice but to shoot them back. But it’s really hard, nobody wants to do that.
6:40 to 7:06
Rois: I’m sure I’ll get good memories for the future because after we win (and I’m sure about that) then you can tell your friends where you’ve been…It won’t be dangerous anymore. And you’ll have good memories and everyone will be proud of you that in such a difficult situation, you didn’t leave the country and didn’t hide in a basement but join your brothers to defend your land. But we’ll feel sorry for the people who died in this meaningless war.