“I was not surprised that Misha joined the army. This was his approach to work. He was looking for himself. I understood that today he works here, and tomorrow he could change everything drastically.”– says a colleague and friend of Mikhail Vladimir Gavrilyuk.
They have known each other for 18 years. Once together they worked as sales agents in one of the Ternopil companies. And even when the paths parted, the comrades continued to communicate.
In recent years, Vladimir treated his daughter abroad, she had leukemia. Dianov, he says, even responded from the front: “Misha helped us a lot. Constantly called by phone or wrote, was interested in how we are. He said: “I am at war, you treat the child. Everyone must do their job””.
Vladimir says that Mikhail changed many jobs: he was an administrator in Bukovel, in Chernobyl, a sales agent in Ternopil.
“From the outside it looked like he feels comfortable in any job. But at some point he said that everything was not his, ” recalls a colleague.
And then one day he took it and went to the army. Nobody expected this.
“He always, always wanted to make a career as a musician, specifically as a bass player. I was shocked when I found out that he wanted to go to war. Because he never dealt with the army. Misha was never inclined to this, because he is a creative person. And then he went not to write music, but to fight, ”- recalls Igor Shvedik, Mikhail’s best friend.
I have known Mikhail Igor since the late 1990s. Music brought them together. Then Igor also played the guitar.
“We went to the Ternopil city rock club, we were one of its first members. Underground, because there was still a semi-Soviet union, ”- he remembers.
Mikhail during joint performances in early 2000
provided by Igor Shvedik
But it turned out that there was much more of a soldier in Mikhail than his friends saw. “He is a military man to the core. Then, when he came on vacation, he said that he did not regret for a second that he went to the army.says Igor.
The younger sister Alena Lavrushko says that her brother has changed a lot since the Revolution of Dignity and the beginning of the war: “Then he knew he had to go. Because it won’t end today or tomorrow. Everyone saw that everything was dragging on.”
To the front Michael volunteered, saying: “How will I sit at home and watch with folded arms? Although in everyday life he was no different from other men.
“I never thought that he would connect his life so closely with the army. Of course, if it were not for the events of the end of 2013 – the beginning of 2014, I would never have thought that he would go and consciously associate himself with the army for so many years. Wrong,” Alena says.
Dianov told his relatives: “I’m going there so that you can be calmer here”.
First he went to the 79th brigade, later became a marine of the 36th brigade, served near Mariupol. There was a period when Mikhail complained that he could no longer and wanted to go home. But he came on vacation for a week and a half, and then returned to hot spots.
Facebook / Mikhail Dianov
Mikhail is 42, he is a resident of Ternopil. He graduated from a music school in piano, but his real musical passion is the guitar.
“Wake me up at night, give me a guitar – he will play”says the sister.
He also enjoys fishing and loves to read.
“He is a different, creative person. Restrained, never say too much, never do harm to someone intentionally. But if you go at him with evil, he will definitely hit back, will not let you offend yourself and your loved ones. Very well-read, educated, he has a perfect ear for music, which is cool.”says friend Igor.
“I’m fine, we’re holding on”
In Ukraine, Mikhail Dianov became famous after the publication of photographs of the defenders of Azovstal, which were made and posted online by the Azov fighter Orest, aka Dmitry Kozatsky.
“When I saw my brother in the photo, the phone fell out of my hands,” Alena recalls.
This happened two days after an SMS message from someone else’s number that Mikhail was alive. Prior to this, there was no news of him for more than a month.
After February 24, Mikhail every day tried to call by phone or write: “alive”, “+”, “everything is fine”. Communication with him disappeared completely on March 5th.
“On April 8, he called my husband back, but did not say where he was and what happened to him. The next call was on April 14, first to my husband, then to me. Then we learned that he was at Azovstal. The voice was… I can’t tell you. I thought it was such a bad connection. But this is how Michael said – with the last of his strength.
On that day, Mikhail’s relatives learned that he had been wounded. There are bullet holes in both legs, the bone of the right hand is crushed.
Mikhail Dianov at Azovstal
“From April 14 to April 18 there was still communication, calls or messages. April 18 is the last day he was online. Even today I go into the conversation, I look – there is nothing. And on May 8, I received a message from someone else’s number: “Everything is fine with Misha, he’s alive.”
Where Mikhail Dianov is now, neither relatives nor his friends know.
“He is deeply intertwined with my life. Misha sang songs at my wedding, was at the christening of my child. He is a very close person to me. I’m not only worried, I’m just very worried. And I’m waiting” — adds best friend Igor.
On February 6, 2020, Mikhail Dianov wrote a post on his Facebook page:
“I can die as and when I want – it’s not up to me to decide. But it is up to me to decide how to live. Bold or quiet. Here I’m just all-powerful. It is obvious. This is an axiom. If something bad happens in the world, you can do nothing, but you can do something. I have tried nothing.”
This text was written in August as part of the special project “In Steel Embrace”. In it, we have collected more than 30 stories of different people who were united by Azovstal. All these are stories about hope and struggle, about the thirst for freedom and love for Ukraine.
Now Mikhail Dianov is finally in Ukraine, he is one of 215 heroes who were released from Russian captivity on September 21.