Dmytro Linartovych is a junior lieutenant in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, a Ukrainian theater, film and dubbing actor. He played the lead role in several Ukrainian films and dubbed more than two hundred roles in foreign films.
From the beginning of Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine, he participated in the defense of Kyiv, then, as part of an airborne assault unit, fought in the Kherson direction, near Bakhmut, in Soledar, where he was seriously wounded.
Dmytro Linartovych in an interview with "Ours at the Front with Oksana Klymonchuk" StratCom, he told about his motivation to serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, how he recovered from his injury, his Ukrainian "firmware" and how he psychologically prepares recruits for the trenches.
- Dmitry, I know that your regalia can be listed for a long time. Can you help us with that?
- I teach at the Taras Shevchenko University at the Department of Film and Television Arts, I am a TV announcer and presenter, I have taught five courses, I am engaged in artistic words, stage speech, acting, and I am also spreading something bright, giving young people a way forward, a guideline.
- So you're also a poet?
- Now my collection is being published in Dnipro, in the publishing house "Lyra", it's a wordplay, 50 of my own poems. My very good friend Artem is helping me with this, and there will be a presentation of the book in Ukraine. I am also performing the same chant among the military.
- Did you start writing poetry a long time ago?
- I've been doing this for about thirteen years, or 15 to be exact. At the beginning it was a lyrical type of poetry, and then something civic awoke in me...
At first you write something, rhyme, look for consonant words on the topic of inner experiences, torment, gnawing, and then, from a civic position, you start to reflect, write... Now I have a word chant that is different in genre. There is a lot on military topics, then on social and domestic, ironic, and the relationship between a man and a woman. But the most important thing is that there is an absolutely clear drawing of our Ukrainian nature, our Ukrainian "firmware," which is the word chant. I put it all on a rhythmic basis. The guitar instrument, my voice - and with this I perform, and we have creative meetings.
- And what is our Ukrainian food?
- I call Ukraine "vertepniks" because we are very much layered: irony, seriousness... Ukraine has all kinds of humor, including sarcastic notes, cynical notes, and black humor, especially now, during the war, in such a cruel time.
- I know that you also visit the guys, different brigades, and support them psychologically with your lyrics. What are you trying to convey to them?
- First of all, I am trying to prove that a person is a personality in himself.
It's easier to communicate with such hardened people horizontally. But those who are just going to the front line, for example, are young guys or already men with a manly spirit, but who have never held a weapon in their hands. And they have to leave the training center in half a month to go fight at the front, where they will see everything, go through the whole range of feelings, have time to fight, see death, and experience a lot of difficulties of military service.
And for this purpose, I give them a kind of spring in their step, motivating things.
In my speeches, I always make my way to one point and say: "Don't forget that you are on your God-given land. And I have a very rich military cycle of stories, song stories in my lyrics. I share my military experience. For example, I warn them that trenches are waiting for them.
I will move until I fall,
If I fall, I will still crawl,
I'll put my shovel in the ground,
I will dig here, I will not go further.
The forest sister whispers:
"Soldiers, I will disguise you,
Let the leaves rustle for you,
You're gaining time."
There are explosions! Everything is moving!
We crawl like snakes,
And the body trembles from the inside,
I'm trying to calm things down.
The artillery is pounding! It's not stopping!
Everyone was hiding in shelters.
Leaden sky at dawn,
We've fallen through the earth.
It will cover us at any moment,
I lie in the soil like a deposit,
The shovel is a tool of chance,
I'm blistering my hands, digging for shelter.
The deeper the hole I dig,
The deeper I dig, the deeper I go.
The earth said: "I will take care of you,
"I'll take care of you.
The trench is the last refuge,
My home and my salvation,
I lay down in it, sand on my teeth,
On an empty stomach.
The artillery is pounding! It's not stopping!
Everyone was hiding in shelters.
Leaden sky at dawn,
We fell through the earth.
And when a person hears such a genuine tone, a sincere conversation in the training center, he realizes what he is doing, and then it becomes easier for him. Because when I was fighting at the front and when I was looking into the face of death, such things helped me to take the blows of fate more calmly.
That's why you need to talk to them, to hold a kind of moral and educational hour, and you also realize that this is still my own work, that I'm basing it on my own experience and I'm holding an instrument, strings, guitar, and energy, respectively.
I lay this thing in young guys that there will be losses, I immediately warn them that this is a war...
I used to perform in any condition and anywhere, and often there were no microphones connected, you can imagine, it was squares, maidans, and I had to get the word out...
- You have to strain your vocal cords, and then take care of them.
- People often ask me: "Dmitriy, where did you train your voice?" and I say: "On the street and at stadiums".
Well, I'm a grated biscuit. I went through, let's say, a boarding school and a communal apartment, the street and sports, and I have three army services behind me. The first was the border guard service in '97, and I was mobilized in 2015. Now I'm in the full program, like all citizens of Ukraine. And so these are already well-established connections. I have a question about this:
"I can hear my heartbeat pounding, my ligaments are strained, but sound is pouring out of me, the audience will not see defeat."
- Dmytro, have you ever lost anyone in this war?
- Yes, a lot of people. In my airborne assault troops, my reconnaissance platoon had very heavy losses, very few people were left alive, all dead. My platoon commander, Ihor Doroshenko, from Poltava, is now there, of blessed memory. His stomach was so injured that in the intensive care unit all the fluid was leaking out of his abdomen, and his cardiovascular system could not withstand the second surgery, the stress, and that was it.
I'm telling you only about single cases. I had a man with the call sign "Grandfather" in Soledar. There was such a mess there, we were already getting hit by everything and anything. I was sitting there, talking to a man like you, and he said: "I'm going to have a cigarette." And a delta-shaped fragment from a mortar just pierces his brain. And his brain is knocked out on the asphalt. And it's winter, it's cold, the brain freezes, everything is numb, steam is coming out of the body, they take him to the hospital... And this is a real hero. His father is a colonel, and he could have refused, somehow avoided the service, but he did his duty. And there are many such cases.
Every time I leave after combat, when I come back, I always ask myself a question: "Why not me, why them, why such injustice?" I always ask myself this question. I guess it's the Creator's way.
- As psychologists say, it is wrong to ask yourself this question. If you were supposed to be in this place, you would be in this place. And someone has to survive...
- That's probably why I was doing this "road of chanting" for my brothers. Let's say I say what they want to say for them, because they are not all creative people. There are a lot of horizontal people who are just good workers, hard workers, who know military affairs and, by the way, approached it mostly creatively, but they could not articulate it all out loud, and maybe my duty is to simply express it all for them, to speak when it comes time for me to speak at training grounds, in combat units, and in hospitals.
And in hospitals, it comes to the point where I take, say, some blues or hip-hop theme, but the lyrics are Ukrainian. There is a man who has one leg missing, but the other limb is still there, it is plastered, but it pulsates. And he beats the pulse with his stupid foot, because he is caught up in it, and for a moment he forgot about everything and lives by the lyrics or follows me as a performer. And this is already my small victory, because I somehow distracted him, took him aside.
I myself fought the greatness of PTSD in the same way - in my creative work. It helped me a lot.
- How did you fight it?
- Distracting thoughts, art, creativity, feature films, paintings, communication.
You see, I don't know why I am so lucky... When I was crossing the border after my severe mine injury, I was crossing in different ways. I was treated in the red zone in Soledar, then by some miracle we got to Kramatorsk, and the ring was narrowing there... At first I was in Mechnikov Hospital in Dnipro. They injected me with morphine to prevent intracranial pressure. I was trying to get through with my tongue that I wanted to go to Kyiv.
- You wanted to go home, am I right?
- This is the land. I wanted to get to Kyivan Rus, to stay here, to be here.
- To the heart of Kyivan Rus.
- That's right. And this distracted me. There was a question about PTSD, how it helps. When I was cut, darned, and patched up in the hospital, I even read the poem "Nurse" to the nurses. Well, I had nothing to pay them with, I said: "Sisters, sit down, I'll read you some poetry."
In the hospital, the deputy nurse, Mrs. Maryna, came up to me and said: "Okay, we'll send a psychologist to you, a young psychologist." I said: "That's so nice, let's do it." "If she doesn't cope, that's not all, we'll send you someone more adult, more conscious." Well, I kept listening. "If that doesn't help, we'll bring you a psychologist who listens to generals, he's so serious and experienced. If that doesn't help, we'll prescribe you some psychotropic wheels or a sedative."
And this psychologist helped me, and I talked to her. However, I was waiting for all the psychologists to come, but they did not. And I never got to the wheels.
- So the young specialist did well?
- Yes, she did. By the way, I must pay tribute to the fact that hospitals now give time to the wounded, those from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and treat them very well, so thank you, doctors, doctors, low bow.
- But you talk about it not sadly, not tragically, but somehow with humor, with irony.
- Well, the thing is that in war, a sense of humor saves you. Even it is a little bit hyperbolic there. You are always on the verge of life and death. You have to grab hold of some kind of activity to distract yourself. You cut a piece of bread with a tactical knife, for example, or you took some food and ate it, passed a cartridge to someone... You are constantly laughing at some things, always at irony... That's why I remember all this with humor.
- Were you mentally prepared for the great war?
- The fact is that the war did not begin today or yesterday; it has been going on for over four hundred years. Yes, the current Russian-Ukrainian war has been going on since 14...
I knew all this a long time ago, because I am of the Ukrainian "firmware". I know what a Muscovite is like, with a conquering psychology, what he does, what he does, and so I took a deeply civic position to this, I went voluntarily. And now I've become a soldier of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and an official serviceman, because I signed a contract, I serve the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
I have completely changed my activities, my sphere, and I am fully committed to this work, because I know that at this time we need to fight for what we will leave to our descendants. This is our time. Many citizens want to live a nice, sweet, colorful life, but we live in such a time, in such an era, so I made my conscious decision. I knew what I was doing. Maybe someone will listen to me and think that this is some kind of romance, but no, no, no, it's not a romance. I sat down and thought very carefully beforehand. First, I joined the territorial defense (TRO), cleared Kyiv and the surrounding area, did some convoys and checkpoints, and then I did some volunteer work. This was not enough for me. I decided to join the airborne assault troops. I had two months of serious training, where I received the 106th Airborne Division, which is a scout. There were shootings: day and night. Being there, you become a grated mess and feel that military brotherhood. You go through topography, camouflage, tactical movement - and you become a warrior.
- And yet you continue to be engaged in artistic activity and teach. I know that you took a vacation to appear in your father's movie. Did you?
- I constantly give performances for Cossack soldiers. And they are interested in seeing me as an actor because I also dub films for Ukrainian cinemas, I have a string of film works... They recognize me, I have something to tell them, and it turns out that my work is intertwined with military affairs. I share some of my military experience with them...
With one creative person, we decided to make a movie script. So who do I go to? I go to Kostiantynovych, my father. I said: "Kostiantynovych, let's write, there is such a story."
He read the screenplay and was really impressed. And then he said: "Go ahead and direct it." I persuaded him for a long, long time and finally persuaded him, saying that this picture was necessary, that it was timely. I took a vacation, but I was still working all the time.
The film is about how a veteran adapts to normal life. I am your humble servant in the lead role. I like the film because there is no blackness in it... We showed how the main character, a military man, gets to the village, how he behaves in everyday life, how he has problems with his other half, how he solves them. The film is also about the fact that there are still villages in Ukraine, and they are picturesque, and that we have wonderful people...
It's a short movie called Phosphorus. The movie will soon go to festivals in Germany and England. In Ukraine, it will be shown at the Brookivka Film Festival, and it will actually open this festival.
- We are looking forward to the film's release. For many years, we were told that there is no Ukrainian cinema, that we are somehow different. Well, you, as a person of art, as a person of cinema, must have felt this somehow. Many of your colleagues, I mean from Ukraine, went to Russia to get a ruble... But neither you nor your father went.
- We had a very clear position, we were already making a distinction...
Our actors, screenwriters, and producers were afraid of losing contact with the Muscovites, losing their funding.
You see, everyone wants everything to happen at once, quickly. There were few people with a position.
For me, it was the opposite. I refused many Muscovite films because I knew that, first of all, it would undermine the prestige of my country, my nation. And why? I am a Ukrainian. If there had been more of this kind of thinking then, there would have been less of all this trouble... But this is another story, it cannot be brought back.
And I was already writing my lyrics in Ukrainian, even then I was traveling to centers and hospitals to give speeches. You have to fight for what you have, you have to defend what you have and fight for it, for sure.
When the movie "The One Who Walked Through the Fire" by Mykhailo Illienko, where I played the main role of pilot Ivan Dotsenko, a prototypical Ukrainian, was released, it was 2011. At that time, theaters were either showing overseas films or, worse, films by Muscovites.
And our film with Illienko broke through this gateway, and Ukrainian films began to be shown in theaters. Later, other films by other directors came together, but they were Ukrainian films, in the Ukrainian language, which is very important, and this formed contemporary Ukrainian cinema...
Of course, this had to be done earlier, just like Ukrainian dubbing, the dubbing of foreign characters in Ukrainian.
- By the way, we recently had a discussion in our society about whether foreign films should be dubbed into Ukrainian. My position is that it is necessary. I have visited cinemas in Germany and Spain, and all foreign films are dubbed into the national language...
- And for good reason. First of all, when a person does not know another language and is only offered subtitles, he or she wants to get sensory information from the word. Because in the beginning there was a word! And, not understanding the meaning, they will read the ticker at the bottom, the subtitle, but they miss the eyes, the acting, the sensual side, the range of feelings.
- And in general, the enjoyment of this art.
- And so it turns out that it limps along, which is a very big disadvantage. And, besides, Ukrainian dubbing gives Ukrainians who want to learn the Ukrainian language the opportunity to come to the cinema and watch exquisitely good, competent translators and philologists and slowly learn.
Ukrainian dubbing makes it possible to show the classic Ukrainian language. I have spoken about this. And, of course, Ukrainian dubbing is needed, definitely. This is for the development of our nation, because language is the face of the nation.
- How many films have you dubbed so far?
- It's already over two hundred. I've been doing this since 2006. It was also "Cars"... The feature film The Rescuer is a military film, a very good movie about divers who rescue people from the water.
Will Smith's "I Am Legend", where he finds himself in a deserted city, is a fantastic movie. "Captain America", where I played a skipper, and "Madagascar", where I played a penguin.
- You still transform into this role, even though you are not visually visible, you need to convey the timbre and everything. Which role did you like best?
- To be honest, I treat every role as if it were my last. I have this trait. I need to know his trail, his autobiographical things, how he lives, how he breathes. Just to be funny, I need to know his foot size and what he likes in the morning, whether he likes eggs with bacon or just fried eggs, whether he drinks tea or coffee. But seriously, I need to know his way of thinking, his temperament... I put energy into each role. That's why they are all close to me.
- You received a very serious head injury. But your line of work is such that you need to have a good memory... Did it affect you in any way?
- I remember when they removed this fragment from my cerebellum, stitched it up, and the phone rang: "Hello, Dmytro, the Zhovten movie theater is showing the movie "The One Who Passed..." in your support," or something like that: "We need to raise money for drones there, can you do it?" I said: "Of course I can". And so it all heals on me, I go there to the screening to say a few words before the screening of my movie. A man comes up to me and says: "Dmytro, there's a little bit of a delay, people are gathered here, you have your guitar with you, right?" Well, I, an honest man, said: "Well, I have a guitar in the trunk, where would I go without it?" "Could you do a hymn?" So I sing. The first song story, the second, the third, everyone is sitting down, and it's a concert. And it happened that I sang, but I didn't know whether I would finish the song or not, maybe I would fall because I was singing it like the last time.
And so I trained my memory, performed, recalled the lyrics, and reproduced them.
- This is a bit extreme on your part.
- Yes, it is. But I'm a fan of the fact that the brain has to work, and it really needs to be trained constantly. And my recovery was all in my work, in my performances. As I said, I performed, and my scars healed.
Interview with Oksana Klymonchuk, StratCom - Ukrinform