Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/Getty Images and Courtesy of Alexander Teploukhov
Months after returning home to Russia from the frontline in Ukraine, he can’t escape the explosions, the violence and the terror. They echo through his head. Private Alexander Teploukhov has seen more carnage and brutality than any man should endure, some he witnessed firsthand, some he caused himself.
In episodes he calls “memory holes,” the 52-year-old is transported back to the Avdiivka combat zone in war-torn Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine. Every emotion rushes through him again as the scene unspools before him: his unit has to run; his partner is shot; they are digging; flames erupt; they run again. He can’t escape.
It’s “torture,” Teploukhov tells The Daily Beast.