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“He neither sought pardon nor cried before death”. The anniversary date of Stepan Chubenko’s murder

“He neither sought pardon nor cried before death”. The...

“He neither sought pardon nor cried before death”. The anniversary date of Stepan Chubenko’s murder

“He neither sought pardon nor cried before death”. The anniversary date of Stepan Chubenko’s murder

“He neither sought pardon nor cried before death”. The anniversary date of Stepan Chubenko’s murder

Five years ago the members of the Kerch gang brutally murdered Stepan Chubenko, a sixteen-year-old guy. By the order of their chief Pogodin, his subordinates Mikhail Sukhomlinov and Yuriy Moskalyov took the guy outside the village in Donetsk outskirts where tortured him for a long time and eventually shot dead. Having committed many crimes in Donbas, Pogodin later escaped to the occupied Crimea where he was arrested on demand of Interpol. On the 30th of July, it was reported that the occupiers in the Crimea released the DPR terrorist Pogodin charged with murder of the schoolboy in Donbas.

On the 10th of November, Toretsk district court sentenced the murderers of the Ukrainian schoolboy Stepan Chubenko to a lifetime imprisonment.

Today, a six-year-old dog Bim lives in Stepan’s room. The dog is lying on his owner’s bed looking out of the window with sadness. He’s still been waiting for Stepan’s coming back. The guy dreamed of a professional soccer player career and had managed to become a successful goalkeeper of the local Avanhard team. At the upper secondary Stepan was a conscious citizen interested in politics and concerned about his home country’s future.

But on April 12, 2014, his native town of Kramatorsk got occupied by Russian invaders. Stepan couldn’t stay aside so he organized a number of activities aimed to support Ukrainian military. Together with his young friends, they supplied our fighters with water and food; removed separatists’ flags in the streets, and distributed patriotic leaflets intended to remind local citizens that “Kramatorsk is Ukraine”, all over the town.

Stepan’s mother, Stalina Chubenko, feared for her son’s life, but he remained resolute: “Why should I be afraid of those intruders? I’m on my own land, at home, in the Ukrainian Donbas”.

But in Jun of 2014, due to continuous threats of violence on the part of the so called DPR terrorists, Stepan had to leave for Kyiv where he stayed at his friends’ place. In a short period of time, Kramatorsk was liberated at last, so the guy rushed to the railway station to buy a ticket for a train to his family home and to his puppy Bim whom he missed so much.

At the ticket office, there were only tickets via the occupied Donetsk with which the railway service was still available then. The guy wanted to surprise his family, so he didn’t inform anyone about his arrival. Later, Stalina Chubenko got a horrible news from the occupiers: “Your son is arrested”. The months of a terrible search for the dearest one started.

The woman immediately arrived in Donetsk where she was said that allegedly, Stepan was sent to the village of Horbacheve-Mykhailivka. The relentless mother wandered the streets of the village with a picture of her younger son asking whether anyone had seen the boy. She was hoping her son was alive and kept somewhere in the basement in an abandoned household. But all her hopes were dashed. After she met the DPR chief Zakharchenko, the woman was informed that Stepan was dead.

Militants admitted they arrested Stepan because he wore a blue and yellow stripe on his backpack and his fan scarf with symbols of the Karpaty FC. The woman was told that following the arrest, her son had allegedly been sent to dig trenches for terrorists from where he escaped after another shelling along with the rest of captives. And that nobody seen him afterwards. Later, one of the militants confessed: “There was no escape at all. The boy was killed. No one knows where his body is”.

After the DPR militants’ confession about the murder that had happened soon after the arrest, Stepan’s parents literally dug up the soil around the infamous checkpoint. It was the occupiers themselves who finally found the guy’s body. 

The sixteen-year-old Ukrainian was killed with exceptional cruelty: his arms were tied with tape behind the back, the terrorists smashed his teeth off, tortured him for hours, then covered the guy’s eyes with his own t-shirt and made five deadly shots in his head.

Stalina recollects: “At the confrontation, one of the witnesses said that my boy behaved heroically. He neither sought pardon nor cried before death”.

The exhumation was held on the 6th of October. Before, Stalina used to celebrate the Teachers’ Day on this date. Today, for the Chubenkos the day became the most tragic one in a year.

Nowadays, Stepan’s mother keeps asking herself how her son’s murderers feel. How it is like to enjoy life for those who failed to deliver justice. “Every night we go to bed cherishing the hope to see him in our dreams: to talk to him, to embrace him, to kiss and protect him. Still such dreams rarely happen… It is almost five years from the moment Styopa’s soul said farewell to terrestrial life and gone to Eternity. On the 27th of July, on Saturday, we will honor and remember our son at the cemetery in Dryzhby Street. (4th line on the right). Father Oleksandr is to cinduct a service at 11AM. We will be very glad to meet those who knew Styopa in person as well as those who didn’t have a chance to meet him. Let us remember who he was and what he did. At the same place, everyone interested will be able to get an issue of Styopa’s book,” – the guy’s mother wrote on her FB page.