April 24, 2024

"Texas" Killed in Donbas


"Texas" Killed in Donbas
Russell "Texas" Bentley Telegram

Sixty-four-year-old Russell Bentley, an American who operated under the alias "Texas," was recently killed in Donbas. He had previously worked for the Russian pro-Kremlin project Sputnik and fought in Donbas on the side of pro-Russian separatists.

Before his death, he was allegedly kidnapped by Russian military personnel; military bloggers assert that he was killed and possibly subjected to sexual assault.

A native of Texas, Russell Bentley joined the armed forces of the self-proclaimed DNR (Donetsk People's Republic) in 2014, serving with the pro-Russian Vostok battalion. Subsequently, he began working for the Sputnik news outlet, a project of the state-owned Rossiya Segonya (Russia Today). Bentley later married a woman from Donetsk and obtained Russian citizenship. After the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he provided coverage of the conflict in Ukraine from a pro-Kremlin perspective on his Telegram channel.

On April 8, Russell Bentley went missing following shelling in Donetsk. His wife, Lyudmila, said that he had gone to aid victims and had not been in contact since. On April 12, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the separatists Donetsk People's Republic initiated a search for Bentley. Three days later, Lyudmila announced that he had been abducted by Russian military personnel.

"My husband was forcibly taken and is currently being held illegally by members of the military, specifically tank crews from the 5th brigade," she wrote in a post published on the Bentley Telegram channel.

Later, the Telegram channel Kremlyevksaya Tabakerka (Kremlin Snuff Box), citing a source close to Donetsk People's Republic leader Denis Pushilin, reported that Bentley was detained on suspicion of espionage for NATO countries, subjected to sexual assault by the military, and then killed.

Other pro-war Telegram channels also reported on Bentley's killing. Some liken what happened to Bentley to the murder of separatist battalion commander Aleksandr Magushev, known by the call sign "Berg," who was killed in territory occupied by Russian troops with a gunshot to the back of the head.

Notably, Telegram channels that reported not only the death but specifically the murder of an American were censored. Aleksandr Khodakovsky, the commander of the unit in which Russell Bentley once fought, was compelled to remove his post. Other Telegram channels also report receiving threats from individuals wishing to report them for "discrediting the army."

You Might Also Like

A Brick in AWOL
  • April 16, 2024

A Brick in AWOL

In March 2024, Russian military courts began handing down about 34 sentences a day for unauthorized abandonment of military service.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
Russian Rules

Russian Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
Tolstoy Bilingual

Tolstoy Bilingual

This compact, yet surprisingly broad look at the life and work of Tolstoy spans from one of his earliest stories to one of his last, looking at works that made him famous and others that made him notorious. 

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955