Slavka! He was only 22
Almost a month has passed since the publication “I was asked to write about my father. Because he is a “twice” Hero “in the” Military Review “. I did not even expect that this simple story about my father would arouse such numerous, and most importantly, warm reviews from VO readers.
And I decided to return to the story I started then to tell about Slavka Tokarev – the deceased friend of my father Oleg Petrovich Khmelev. Vyacheslav Vladimirovich Tokarev is also a Hero of Russia.
But a border guard officer died in a fierce battle with the Mujahideen for the Turg Hill in Tajikistan. Therefore, he will always remain in this rank – lieutenant.
His friend Oleg Khmelev, my father, having learned about the death of a colleague, in a fit, with difficulty holding back a flood of tears in his throat, blocking the roar of machine-gun bursts and the thunder of explosions, shouted a drawn-out: “Hello!”
The name of the deceased comrade spread through the mountain gorges and echoed with a booming, drawn-out echo.
I gaze intently at this single photograph, already published in the first essay, in which the defenders of Thurg decided to take a picture a week before those August battles for the height. In the first row – Lieutenant Vyacheslav Tokarev, fourth from the left.
The commander of the Turg temporary border post smiles serenely. He is young, strong, he is only 22 years old. Whole life ahead…
Don’t miss a word
A dictaphone is working on my desk. And the trembling voice of his father. Decades later, he talks about his friend and calls him usually, as he did then:
And all his eloquent phrases and memories are formed by themselves, as in that song, the most beloved of his father, from Vladimir Vysotsky:
“Everything that is empty now is not about that conversation.”
Listening to my father’s voice, with each new word I feel how he lacks a comrade in arms in this life, now, although more than twenty years have passed. And he, Slavka, for him always, as then,
“When he did not return from the battle.”
And more and more often I remember what each of us heard from childhood:
“About those who left, it’s either good or nothing.”
Not so long ago I learned that the first to say this was the ancient Greek politician and poet Chilo, a native of Sparta.
Chilo gave us a moral guideline for centuries. But few people know that the saying has a continuation – immediately after “nothing” follows
“Except for the truth.”
So you won’t hear anything from your father about Tokarev except the truth.
Do you remember how it all started
Vyacheslav Tokarev’s life began on a frosty day (as you can see, this was reflected in his persistent and bright character) on February 19, 1972 in the city of Biysk, Altai. The future Hero grew up in a friendly, loving family: dad – Vladimir Petrovich, mom – Maria Mikhailovna, son – Slava and daughter – Svetlana.
Vyacheslav’s parents worked at defense enterprises, often staying late after shifts and staying overtime. Only on weekends did they all come off together to the fullest, and it was then that Slavka and Svetlanka fully felt the love and joy of an ordinary family.
It all starts from childhood. And even then, Slava was distinguished among his peers by his straightforward (just like that) character.
He was only nine years old. Once he was visiting grandfather in the summer. And with his cousin Alexei he went to swim in the river.
The boys left, as expected, having asked for time off in advance. And they promised to be back in time for dinner. But they were shopping, spinning, spinning. And, naturally, they stayed for several hours.
Alexey offered to come up with a good reason, but Slavka radically rejected this. A loud boyish argument around the corner of the village hut, involuntarily attracted the attention of adults. They hid and waited patiently for what the guys would agree on.
“Let’s tell the truth!”
– as if Tokarev burned out.
We will not lie to grandmother and grandfather!
If we are to blame, we will answer! ”
Slavka, apparently, already then knew about the responsibility for everything that surrounds you in this life.
He was carried away by military history literature and especially emphasized the hussar lyrics of Denis Davydov – the Hero of the Patriotic War of 1812, a military historian and poet, who understood what honor was no worse than others.
Tokarev knew by heart many of his works about the valor and honor of a Russian officer.
But if the enemy is fierce
We dare to resist
My first duty, a sacred duty
To rebel for the Motherland again.
In the guy, the dream of a feat was ripening, a desire to feel needed by his country and society.
And the purpose of his life, he chose the military craft.
That fateful day
The deafening silence at the site of the 12th frontier post of the Moscow detachment broke on August 18, 1994.
Almost everything that is written below, I heard from my father.
Two weeks before these events, biting with shovels, crowbars and picks into the rocky ground of Turga, the border guards prepared trenches for future battles. And the Mujahideen fired at the temporary border post “Turg”, located on the top of the mountain. Three rockets.
And on that day – August 18th, they released not three, but eighty-three PCs. And most of them went to the positions of the border guards.
Towards evening, covered with heavy fire from rocket launchers, DShK, mortars, recoilless guns, RPGs, machine guns and machine guns, the “spirits” themselves came.
The assault began at night – militants from the Islamic Revival Movement of Tajikistan, Afghan mujahideen and Arab mercenaries went into the attack.
It is known that in order to win in the mountains it is necessary to occupy the dominant heights. Capturing the posts of the first line of defense would allow the enemy to freely shoot the 12th border outpost located below, which was simply impossible to imagine in the current situation.
The “Spirits” were eager to make this happen. Their commanders wanted to prove to the entire Islamic world that they are a real force. And to show their owners how they work off each ruble they received – then Soviet rubles were still in use in Tajikistan.
The border guards managed to repulse the first assault.
But an hour later, after a slight lull, a new shelling of the positions of the 12th outpost began. At some point, the enemies transferred fire to the top of Turga. Breaks followed at intervals of 10-15 minutes.
Anticipating a future massacre, Lieutenant Oleg Khmelev, before the combat crew, sent Private Sergei Penkov to the observation post “Trigopunkt” for reinforcement. And when the combat crew was already ending, the border guards heard indiscriminate shooting at the “Trigopunkt”.
The command sounded
The contractors junior sergeant Nikolai Smirnov and sergeant Anton Zherdev, together with senior post lieutenant Tokarev, moved to the “Trigopunkt” to find out the reasons. There was no longer any connection with the post at that time.
From a survey (reconstruction of events) of survivors at Trigopunkt.
They knocked out the border guards with grenades from the grenade launchers. And at the same time they attacked Sergei Penkov, who was climbing at that time along the path.
According to intelligence, the group of militants in the attack on the runway “Turg” numbered up to 200 militants, who were moving in three hidden routes.
To distract the attention of the observers, constant shelling was used with a characteristic whistling sound.
Bullets overtook him at the top
Tokarev and his group are rapidly climbing the trail to the top of the mountain. They all dissolve at once in the green stuff. Machine-gun and submachine gun bursts are heard. There is a fight.
Vyacheslav Tokarev is fatally wounded under the heart and in the head.
Private Alexei Pavlov and Vladislav Baev rushed to his aid. They were able to transfer the body of the commander to the thick grass.
The battle does not subside for a minute.
Under enemy fire, Anton Zherdev takes out Tokarev.
Anton swiftly slides down the sheer crumb and hides the lieutenant’s body among the stones. The border guard quickly and thoroughly sprinkles Tokarev with gravel and then rushes up again.
All this time, Zherdev’s fast movements are covered by the machine gunner Nikolai Smirnov. He fiercely fires deadly bursts of deadly weapons at the enemy.
When the ammunition ran out, Nikolai throws a grenade at the Mujahideen who surrounded him and dies with them.
The fight continues.
“Spirits” already occupy three dominant heights. The firefight is carried out at pistol distances using grenades. But after an indefinite time (in battle, the hours turn into seconds, which sometimes also stretch), unexpectedly for everyone, the KNB fighters of Tajikistan took off and left the top of the mountain.
All the dominant heights of Turga (by order of the commander of the border detachment, Lieutenant Colonel Vasily Masyuk) were under constant fire from infantry fighting vehicles and tanks located at the base of the mountain.
Sniper Private Oleg Kozlov was covering the approaches to the left summit at this time, preventing the militants from pulling up their heavy weapons to a height left without cover.
At that moment, Lieutenant Oleg Khmelev, finally making sure of the death of the commander, colleague and friend, and shouted the same:
His scream scattered through the ravines, eating up the air currents and echoing with a booming, drawn-out echo.
Under a flurry of fire
And the militants are pressing from all sides.
And Khmelev clearly understands that that moment has come.
He communicates by radio with the head of the Moscow border detachment, Lieutenant Colonel Vasily Masyuk and asks to call fire on himself.
All this is carefully recorded in a special journal.
Further investigation showed that if Officer Masyuk had not made this entry, all actions of the border guards would have been regarded quite differently.
And then – artillery pieces unleash a barrage of shells on the runway “Turg”.
From the foot of the mountain, ACS 2S1 “Carnation”, BM-21 “Grad”, 120-mm mortars, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles are hitting in height.
And the “spirits” could not stand it, scattering, leaving the dead and wounded, and fled.
But it didn’t end there either.
After a brief lull, another attack was launched.
She is repulsed.
Behind her is the next one, during which Private Shukhrat Sharofutdinov was wounded.
But the dead were gone.
And the enemy failed to capture the heights.
Khmelev together with the fighters knock out the last “spirits” from the “Trigopunkt”.
In the morning, when dew began to form tears of grief on the stones, Khmelev gave the command to collect the dead border guards. In silence, with bowed heads, the soldiers on the Turga helipad froze, saying goodbye to their comrades killed in battle.
When the shift has already arrived
Suddenly, a board came and there were some soldiers in it. They, armed with video cameras, jump out of the helicopter and rush to the positions. All this is so unexpected, surreal.
The military is filming the destroyed positions, feverishly asking some questions. The border guards are reluctant to answer them, shaking their heads disapprovingly.
At this moment, they see off their dead comrades, trying to leave in their memory the faces and the last moments of their lives. Everything blurred before my eyes.
A new shift arrived at the post. Guys from the outpost where Khmelev began his service a year ago. All familiar faces, but among them there is no longer Vyacheslav Tokarev, Sergei Penkov and Nikolai Smirnov.
Withdrew from the post in a day.
Landing at the 13th outpost, report to the commander on the circumstances of the battle. There, at the outpost, Khmelev learns that he too
This is how the first, second and NTV channels inform in their news. His surname sounded second after Vyacheslav Tokarev.
Khmelev runs out after the surrender of the weapon and rushes on duty “UAZ” to the village of Moskovsky. From the local telegraph, he sends his loved ones a telegram:
“Don’t believe the TV, I’m alive and well, I’ll be back soon.”
If you are in Biysk
If you are in Biysk, go to school number 40, where Hero of Russia Vyacheslav Tokarev studied.
There is a memorial plaque on the facade of the building.
And in February 1995, the Tokarev room-museum was opened.
In 1998, a bust of the Hero was installed on the school grounds.
On the house where Vyacheslav lived, on August 18, 1996, a memorial plaque was opened.
The Memorial of the Heroes-graduates of the Novosibirsk VOKU in September 1997 was marked by the installation of a monument to the Hero-border guard.
In the village of Kosh-Agach of the Altai Republic, by order of the Director of the Federal Border Service of the Russian Federation dated December 22, 1994, the Biyskaya outpost was named after Hero of Russia Vyacheslav Tokarev.
The tradition of visiting birthplaces, schools and graves of Heroes, followed by the Russian Association of Heroes, remains unchanged.
Oleg Khmelev, whenever possible, flies to Biysk, visits Vyacheslav’s relatives.
For him, he always remains Slavka. A companion and friend who has gone into eternity.