Five photos that fit life. The widow of the "Azov man" talks about her family and how she copes with the loss

Kostiantyn Golubtsov

Kostiantyn Golubtsov

Published: August 19 2022 at 12:37 pm

Oleksiy Yanin comes from Zaporizhzhia. Champion of Ukraine in kickboxing, world champion in Thai boxing. Tamara was fascinated by authentic antiques, traveled to festivals, and searched for the most valuable samples. Both are strong and inspired individuals. Both in their own way created a strong, independent and beautiful Ukraine. In 2014, Oleksiy went to the front as a volunteer: first in the ZSU, and then in "Azov".

Tamara Yanina is my compatriot, a second-generation Khmelnytskyi resident. From an ordinary or, as he says, an average Ukrainian family that "departed from tradition from generation to generation." But in many photos of Tamara in an ancient folk costume, she is beautiful, like a picture from an ethnographic museum.

Tamara herself cannot explain where she has such a love for antiquity. She bought her first shirt at a fair in Ternopil at the "World of Embroidery" festival, and there she fell in love with folk clothing. She laughs that she will always remember that day - August 28, 2011.

"I didn't choose the clothes, he chose me," says Tamara. The woman sincerely believes that there are people-guides who should carry something from the past into the future. He sees collecting as his mission and is not afraid of the word "bereginya" for himself.

The woman talks frankly about living with the death of her "Azov" husband and shows five photos that fit her life.

I am worried that I will hurt you again with my questioning. "Don't worry," Tamara calmly answers, "I'm upset even without your interviews. No one is to blame for this, except for those who killed my husband."

The first photo is a wedding

Tamara in old clothes, Oleksiy in a shirt embroidered by Tamara. The story of their meeting and love is worthy of a separate novel. Oleksiy Yanin comes from Zaporizhzhia. Champion of Ukraine in kickboxing, world champion in Thai boxing. Tamara was fond of authentic antiques, traveled to festivals and searched for the most valuable samples. Both are strong and inspired individuals. Both in their own way created a strong, independent and beautiful Ukraine. In 2014, Oleksiy went to the front as a volunteer: first in the ZSU, and then in "Azov".

The couple first met in Berdyansk. And not long after that, Oleksiy romantically confessed to a girl in the Carpathians, near the Inscribed Stone. Mountains were also their common love. The wedding of the young took place according to a pagan rite on the Cossack island of Khortytsia. They were crowned at the holy temple by a magician, Alexei's friend. All friends were delighted with the wedding photos.

Wedding of Oleksii and Tamara

Friend's photo - wedding rings

Tamara and Oleksii got married in 2017. The newlyweds exchanged special wedding rings with Ukrainian ornaments. Oleksiy honestly told his wife that he would fight for victory in the war. He is a warrior by profession. Scout and sniper. In 2020, he again signed a three-year contract with OZSP "Azov".

"Azov was an ideal structure that suited him," says Tamara. "The people, activities, and atmosphere suited him."

Special wedding rings with Ukrainian ornament
Special wedding rings with Ukrainian ornament

The third photo is pregnancy, waiting

A tender photo in which Oleksiy kisses his wife's stomach. Such an awe-inspiring attitude towards her body!

He finally arrived! "I was so happy that we are all together! It was probably the peak of my happy family life," recalls Tamara.

Tamara's stomach is tattooed with lines from a song by her favorite band "Rokash":

Frairk of the present

You smell like cherries

Frairochko, you are mine

White rose-lily...

Oleksiy came from ATO a month before giving birth

Tamara would like to pay proper respect to her husband's body. He has not yet been buried, his body has not been found. It is unknown under what circumstances he died. All the commanders from Oleksiy Yanin's sniper group died on May 8. The few relatives who survived were captured. Their fate is also unknown. There has been a long wait since April.

At first, Tamara did not understand the situation in Mariupol. And then, when she looked at the map, which showed that Mariupol was occupied for 150 km around, she was afraid that the Russians would not let anyone take the bodies of the "Azov". Enemies hate the "Azovians" especially fiercely.

"I can't bury it, and it's no less painful than the loss itself," says the woman. It is very important for her to bury at least something, "at least a shoe. So that it...". And to have a place to come to the grave.

The fifth month has passed since Tamara has been waiting for her husband's body.

The fourth photo is the birth of a child

In the photo, Oleksiy is playing with his son. In 2019, a month before the birth of his son Nazar, Oleksiy returned from the front to his beloved, resigned from the service and moved to Khmelnytskyi. The woman's joy knew no bounds! The man was in labor, he welcomed his son into this world - he cut the umbilical cord...

Oleksiy and his son Nazar

The last time the family got together was in February of this year: Oleksiy came for Nazar's birthday and planned to stay until March 5. But on February 24, at 6:00 a.m., he was already on a combat mission in Mariupol.

On April 7, Tamara texted her husband that everything was fine with her son. The man did not answer. Not that day, not ever again.

The main thing is to light a little sun in yourself

"A child forces you to live. I'll say it like it is: you can't do anything for yourself. It's small, he's three years old. He lost his dad, he's left with only his mother. All our grandmothers are far away. And you have no right to end the course of events like, maybe I would like to. You have to live!

Life goes on anyway. And it pushes you ahead of itself. Because if you live, if you haven't done anything to yourself, you haven't fallen from the tenth floor, then you leave. You take your child to kindergarten because he has to go to kindergarten. And you need him to go to kindergarten, because you cry all day and you don't want your child to see you curled up on the couch crying. Then you have to do some laundry, cook something to eat, because you have this little person who is completely dependent on you. And then you need to take him for a walk, buy a car, make him happy. And that's how you slowly pass out."


On May 2, Tamara herself joined the aid formation. Helps other widows of fallen heroes with small children, who are even more difficult. It is very difficult to get at least some kind of payments from the state when there is no body of the deceased. So far, not even an official death notification has been received.

"I still have my favorite bed, my cup of coffee, a jar of jam. And someone doesn't have that. How do they live?

The main thing is to light this little sun in yourself. Then it goes by itself. You can become a victim and cry for days and feel sorry for yourself. And you can gather the remaining strength and become someone's support, consolation and help. It's not even about the payments that won't be given, it's about the fact that it's unfair."

Tamara is a volunteer, currently 20 families are under her care. Most of them are immigrants.

The fifth photo is Oleksiy working in the sky

Oleksiy Yanin, an "Azov resident" with the call sign Indeets, died on the night of April 7 in Mariupol. The last message from the man was on April 6 - he wrote about how he tracked the movement of Russian groups, how he hid from a tank, escaped from an airplane, how he found candy in the ruins of the house and took it to the children in the basement.

Tamara learned about the death of her husband from the Internet, then the information was confirmed by the Azov patronage service. For another 9 days, she did not believe and wrote him messages.

Cried, cried, cried...

"I thought that nothing could be worse than your death. I thought that it would not be worse than in April. But I could not even imagine that the worst thing is to survive your death; to survive the death of almost all your friends; to survive all these tortures of living people, men, women, old people and small children; to live through the mass execution of those who defended me with you; to live through every news about deaths in explosions; to live through every news about the 200th soldier - and now live with hereby...

I now know what it's like when a soul dies. It's when you're alive on the outside, doing everything as usual, but inside you're dead. She's just dead.


Today, the daughter of the deceased Azov hero told me that soon her uncle will come and they will play. Her uncle is my father's brother. And he will not come. Because he burned in Olenivka. The girl does not know about this, they do not tell her, because she has not yet recovered from the loss of her father."

Tamara invented a fairy tale for her son that dad is a superhero who now works in the sky. He was given wings, he has superpowers. Keeps bombs from falling, but can't come home either.

Tamara and Oleksiy lived together for less than 5 years.

In memory of Oleksiy and other fallen defenders, Tamara set up patriotic flags on Khmelnytskyi Square. On each is the name and date of the hero's death. Somehow, Nazar fell, bruised himself and ran to the ensign dad to complain.

Flags in honor of fallen Azov heroes in Khmelnytskyi

- Tamara, how do you feel about Russians?

- I hate them. They killed my family, killed the father of my child. Therefore, to be honest, I hate everyone: from small to large. Although I was never taught to hate in my life. I have neither desire nor time to find out who is guilty and who is not. Russians support this government of executioners, rapists, and marauders. The definitions of "aggressor country" and "attacker country" in relation to Russia have long been outdated. Russia is a solid country-cat.

The Janinny family

- What do you think, would Oleksiy agree to surrender? Wouldn't that be a better solution?

- Definitely not. The man always said that nothing could be worse than being captured by a Muscovite. I think he would not obey the order, because he never trusted the Muscovites. Oleksiy is a person who performed his work very conscientiously. Military or non-military. Even if he didn't like the work, he still performed it flawlessly. As a soldier, he was simply exemplary. A warrior by profession. But I am sure he would not have followed this order to surrender.

I am glad that my husband did not live to see the day when the Ukrainians were handed over to the Russians. He died instantly, and it was the best death that could have been.

Oleksiy at the front

- Do you have any dreams outside of the war?

- Not a dream, but a goal - to go to Mariupol first. I don't know if I can bury my husband. The chances of saving his body there melt inexorably. Therefore, I will go to Mariupol. Where he stayed forever. To find the place where he died. No matter how my life turns out, I will go to the place of his death every year on April 7.

And the dream... Maybe visit Australia. Oleksiy really wanted to see this country. So if I have the opportunity, I will definitely go to Australia and show it to him. Because now I am his eyes.

- Will you return to collecting clothes?

- I do not know. Now it does not cause me any love. I was indifferent even to what I had. I don't want to get rid of it, but I also have no desire to buy something new. I look at photos of beautiful things and scroll through them like an advertisement for denim jackets. But I give myself time. I understand that I am now in such a period that I have never had in my life. Perhaps, fondness for antiques will return. But nothing, not a single element of my life will be the same as before April 7. The war changed me from the inside.

Tamara Yanina
Tamara Yanina

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