According to the hero of our program, he always wanted to do something that would be useful and necessary for people. For example, some interesting project or product. Long years of hard work allowed him to achieve certain goals, and the zigzags of life opened for him new roads, along which he confidently stepped or, rather, ran.
-I was born into a military family. Sergei Mikhailovich, my batka. Ludmila Alexeevna. They’re both from Orenburg. They got married there. And my father was sent to serve in Ukraine. Alexeevka village, Belgorod-Dnistrovsky district, Odessa region. I was born there, I spent 12 years. Then my father was transferred to Floresti to serve. And I ended up in Floresti. I entered the Chisinau Polytechnic Institute. My parents left for Orenburg. And so I was left alone in the country. They called me to come with them. They said: “Dima, what can you do here? You have no housing here, no family, no friends, no relatives, no connections. You don’t even know the language. And I said, “No, I’ll stay. I see the prospects here. I feel it.” This is, after all, the capital, and Orenburg is a province. And then my mom would nag me for ten years: “Come to us, let’s go to Orenburg, to our family”. And it was only after 10 years that she came here, she looked at me and said: “Stay here. Everything is fine with you. You shouldn’t go.”
I graduated from the Polytechnic Institute. I’m an engineer. And it was there that my classmate and I came to know the concept of the Internet. The Internet appeared. It was 1995. Students of the Polytechnic were among the first to know about the existence of this new trend. It was then that I felt there was a future for the Internet. So we created our first website.
At the same time, I became interested in computer graphics and animation. In 1996 I saw for the first time the potential of 3D graphics. It was on prehistoric computers, on floppy disks. I was fascinated by how the cubes were spinning. I was totally hooked. I started making commercials. I spent a lot of time making sure that Chisinau recognized me, that I existed, that I could. We acquired some kind of name by the year 2000. Everything was done in the apartment. And then came Dan Balan, the band Ozon. We shot four music videos for them. All four clips were made by us. Both with computer graphics and with shooting. And when I realized that the number of people around me had grown to 5 or 6 people, and I needed to open a company to be able to officially accept money. An account, etc.
Dji was born in an interesting way. When we decided to do animation, to give up commercials and start making cartoons, we wrote the first script. And there was a story about a peasant who was going to the fair. And one night his horse went missing. It turned out that a burglar had stolen it and dragged the horse into the woods and tied it up. And the peasant had to steal this boogeyman, the horse.
Then, quietly … When he managed to steal the horse, he came to his tent to harness it. He looked – his wheels were stolen. He harnessed the horse, but the wheels were gone. That was the story there.
And then we realized that it would be much more interesting if the horse would die, and death would take the horse. He comes in, and there death has taken the horse. So for the first time we had the character Death. And we thought it would be interesting to give him some human-like features and make sure that not everything was OK with him, not everything always works out. And so we created Dji – Death, who doesn’t always work out the way he wants. Such a Dji (Death) is a loser.
To be honest, it’s received with gusto everywhere. First of all, it’s unexpected. When you say that the cartoon is about death, they say, “Guys, you have mental problems, you look like goths. I say, “No, you watch it, then speak out. And everyone’s watching, laughing. Something fresh, unexpected. Everybody’s used to this classic image of death. It’s a complete reversal. And some people see themselves in it. And it’s always cute and funny. Very well received.
-From Dmitry Voloshin’s personal blog: “At a certain point, there came a period for me when everything fell into place in business, and I sort of realized myself creatively. I began to feel a little sad. I did not know what to do next. Then I got a link to a report from someone who had done IronMan. In it he told me that he was a fat mold rubbing his pants in the office. Told me how he then started training and became an “iron man”. It was 2012.
-I didn’t know what it was at all. I was far away from sports. People ask me: “Dima, you probably played as a kid? No, I didn’t do anything as a kid. I was the weakest in my class, I couldn’t do three pull-ups. I got beat up by my peers. I couldn’t run one lap of the stadium. It was like most people. And then I suddenly realized that I had to prove to myself that I am not a jellyfish, I am a strong person, I can do anything. And something clicked, and it started happening.
-What is IronMan, or “iron man”? IronMan is a triathlon distance in which the athlete has to swim almost 4 km, bike 180 km and run 42. The participant is given no more than 17 hours to cover the distance. And in total, the athlete covers a distance of 226 km. IronMan has a motto: swim, run, run a marathon and be proud of it for the rest of your life.
-Then I realized that it worked, and that it made me happy. I started encouraging my friends to do it. Telling them, showing them, convincing them to run and swim too. And then I realized, why only my friends? Let’s do all of them. And so it began. Chisinau Marathon, “Sportster”, swims, events, etc. Now there are a lot of people who say, “Thanks, Dimon, I didn’t know there was such a huge segment in my life, now it’s occupied by sports, and there used to be a wasteland, there was a desert, there was nothing. And now it’s blooming and smelling like sports.”
It was very hard to explain at City Hall that you have to close off the whole city in order for some runners to run. There was also the question: “Guys, why don’t you run somewhere behind Muncheshskaya? Or go to Donduszan to run. Why run downtown?” I had to explain that every city in the world has marathons. It’s the main sporting event of the year. Lots of tourists from all over the world come there to see the city. And that’s why it’s a bad thing to spend it on broken roads in Munchables. We have to show the city with its face, as beautifully as possible, to make a holiday for all the guests of our capital. And we had to show different clips from Berlin, New York, Chicago. They said, “Oh, I see.
And then the trolleybuses stand up, “Are you implying that the trolleybuses won’t run for half a day?” I say, “Yes.” – “Then give us 700,000 lei and we won’t ride, okay, because we’ll lose a lot of money.”
And then the talking, the convincing, etc. starts again. It was very hard. So hard that the first year we wanted to do a marathon, we couldn’t do it. That marathon, which was the first one in 2015, was already the second attempt, because the first one failed. It didn’t work out for us. But the second year we were able to do it.
-The marathon is not just a sporting event. First of all, it is a big holiday for the city.
People come out on the street with their families, support the athletes, cheer for them, rejoice. And when you get to the finish line, they hang a commemorative medal around your neck. They pat you on the shoulders, hug you, congratulate you. They say words of encouragement. And you feel like you made it. And that’s the best feeling in the world.”
-I’ve been to different marathons and I’ve seen how many wheelchair users start before the start. But the situation here is much sadder than in some Berlin, because our city is not adapted for people with disabilities at all. That is, for a person to go into the city to go for a ride, well, it’s unreal.
A couple of weeks ago Sergey Afanasenko and I… He offered me… I mean, I didn’t believe him. I said, “It can’t be.” He said, “Let’s go out with you at 6:00 in the morning. I’ll find you a stroller, you sit next to me, and we’ll take a walk downtown. Only we’re in strollers.” I said, “Okay.”
We got in the strollers with him and we drove around the city at six in the morning. He says, “Dimon, here’s the deal, now you… Here’s a credit card, withdraw money. Here, find an ATM and withdraw the money.” The ATMs that I could find, I couldn’t reach. There’s a thing up there that just doesn’t allow a wheelchair to get up. The ramps are made at terrible angles, it’s impossible to drive up them. There are no toilets in principle. So I found myself in a very stressful situation. I wanted to hide somewhere, to go away, to cram myself in, because it’s impossible for a person in a wheelchair to feel comfortable. He, thank God, has a car that can lift. Most people don’t have one. So I decided, first of all, to show the problem of our city to the authorities that these people are sitting at home, not because they are socially impaired, but because the city is not designed for them to be there comfortably.
-Yes. For them to live outside their apartments. And secondly, I want to show people that in addition to the four walls, there’s also the world, the big world. And don’t assume that you can’t do anything. You can just as well go out to the start, get in your stroller and run a kilometer with your friends. Just like everyone else. You don’t have to have any superpowers. To give them a charge of positivity, to give them something to change. Maybe they’ll want to go in for sports, to drive, to swim. And that’s why together with Sergey we’re going to look for possible candidates for this trip. Everybody who wants to go. We’ll bring them all, take them to the starting line. I expect, that 30-50 people will come to the start, go and show that nothing is impossible.
I have a list in Excel like this, where I would like to get. I searched the whole Internet, collected the craziest races that are in the world. Picked out the top and little by little I tick these boxes. If new ones appear, I add them to the list. And the North Pole has been beckoning me since I was a kid. Traveler. I loved reading Amundsen, how he traveled to the South Pole. With Scott, they had a struggle. That always inspired me a lot. And when I realized that in principle I could go to the North Pole, run a marathon there, I got very excited. I bought the slots and drove off.
I go all over the world, I see: “Ah, well done. Well done. Let’s do it here.” I come in, and that’s it, do this race here. It was Tough Guy in England. We went with friends to this adventure. Froze all our limbs off. It was awfully cold out there. It was the end of February in England. You can imagine. The water was three or four degrees. It’s 7 or 8 degrees outside. And we’re walking waist-deep in this icy water. Everybody’s shaky, muddy. It lasted three or four hours. Terrible condition. At the finish line, when we crawled in, they were handing out hot cocoa. Can you imagine, hot cocoa after this freezing cold! I took a glass and the first glass I just couldn’t get to my mouth. It was just like that. Threw it down. Took it with both hands and sucked it into myself.
-From Dmitry Voloshin’s personal blog: “Tough Guy is the world’s most extreme obstacle course race. The oldest and toughest among analogues. You can often find the description: the toughest of the legal trials. You’ll still sign your own death warrant. You take all the responsibility for your life off the organizers and go to the start. You’ll bury your dead bodies on the Tough Guy course: the fears that have plagued you all your life. Crawl to the finish line on your willpower alone and swear you’ll never agree to take part in Tough Guy again. But not until you’ve warmed up over a glass of hot liquor.
– The interesting thing is the capacity of my body. How long could I not breathe? Turns out I can go long enough not to breathe. I stopped at 6,5 minutes. I didn’t develop my abilities further, because you have to devote your whole life to it. If you want not to breathe for 8-9 minutes, it is necessary to give up everything seriously. Give up swimming, running, biking, stressful jobs. You have to go completely into yourself and do nothing but that. I wasn’t ready to sacrifice, so I gave myself a fat comma for now. But thanks to freediving, I came up with the “Lobster,” the kind of thing that you wear around your neck, for long dives underwater. And now you already know that world champions use it and set world records in the Lobster. That’s pretty damn nice.
-From Dmitry Voloshin’s personal blog: “I got into the Freediving World Championships in Belgrade. And all the time I kept thinking: why do the world champions dive with a bicycle tire around their neck? A freediver’s collar is not bypassed in the pool, so that the athlete does not float up, because of the air in his lungs, but stays in the water column. This is necessary in order to avoid wasting effort on constant diving and to swim only forward underwater. Thinking that our freediver brother should not dive in the old way in grandfather’s tire, I decided to develop a new comfortable, beautiful and, most importantly, functional collar for diving under water.
– So we started doing the Sea Mile, this race. It’s two to three miles on different bodies of water. But we have a problem with bodies of water in our country. We have no beautiful, clean water, no reefs, no corals, no sea, unfortunately. And we have to balance among our puddles to make it interesting. Next year, secret information, no one knows yet, I decided to do the Sea Mile along the Dniester, downstream. That is we will sail along our river. I think it will be something new, something fresh. It’s a little bit cleaner than our lakes.
-This year was the sixth Open Water Swimming Championship. It is a three-distance swim of your choice. The results of the participants are recorded by a professional timekeeping system. The competition is held with the support of the Swimming Federation and the Triathlon Federation of the Republic of Moldova. The sports event is included in the official calendar of sports events of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research of our country.
-I believe in karma and I try to tell all our kids that in order to feel good and to have a good life you have to give a lot. Not just take, but give. And so one of the projects was when we woke up… We all remember that awful day when it snowed and when the trees were crumbling, and when the trees woke up to the crack of the trees breaking in the morning. And of course, the city lost a lot then. So we got together and decided. We got together, we thought: what can we do for the city? What can we do to help? The idea was born to make Verde.md – a site where you can buy a tree, and it will be planted by volunteers. Choose a place, a hole, a type of tree, and plant the city that way. Started, made, planted. There were 500 trees planted last season. Now in the fall we will start planting again. And it’s not a seasonal butterfly project. We’re going to do it for the long haul.
The city greeted this idea with great warmth and supported us. I wanted to say thank you to the citizens, by the way, for this. Very cool.
-The Verde project aims to return our Chisinau to the status of the greenest city in Europe. And everyone will be able to contribute to this good cause. Together with the municipal service, the Botanical Garden and the park “Arboretum” there was developed a list of necessary varieties of trees which need to be replaced. As well as the places where the new trees should be planted. In the near future, it will be possible to choose the installation of benches, trash garbage cans and other useful elements of the urban landscape.
-I would like to get to the point where I don’t need any of this to be happy. That I could just be with my family around me, the four of us, and that I didn’t have to conquer the poles, create a bunch of new projects, run away, sail away, turn the whole world upside down. I have a spring inside me that makes me do all this. I don’t know if God made me this way, that I’m so frantic. But it would be great if I was just happy sitting on the couch hugging my family. But that’s not enough for me. I need my family. I love them very much and my life would be incomplete without them.
– Say: Bear okay, say, because it’s tasty, because there’s a tasty thing inside. What’s in there? Do you have any associations, maybe from your childhood?
Misha: There’s ….. There’s ……
– I don’t understand what he’s saying.
After I’m 40 years old, I feel like my ambition starts to go down a little bit. I’m, yeah, starting to settle down. And I like that. I go into old age with a smile. Like, it’s still early in my old age. But I know that when I’m 60, I’ll be that smiling old man on the bench. Maybe I’ll be reading something. And I’m enjoying the hell out of it. And I’m beginning to strive to face my old age with a smile and peace of mind, so that I don’t feel like I haven’t accomplished something, overcome something, experienced something. I want to have the peace of mind that I’ve done everything I need to do, and now I can just rest easy.
It’s not so cold. Not so cold. No, no procedure. Okay. Thank you very much.
I think that even though I speak Russian and am a fan of Russian culture, I cannot call myself a Russian person in the sense in which people in Russia live. That is, I am not like a Russian who lives in Moscow or in Orenburg. I am a bit different. I am not European, not American. I am a mix between a Russian and a Moldovan. That is why I am a Moldovan, because I would be a completely different person in Russia and I would think a bit differently. That’s why I’m not shy. Although I don’t know Romanian perfectly, I admit it, I’m learning it, I’m chiseling away and I think that by the end of my life I’ll speak it fluently. But so far it’s difficult. Nevertheless, I consider myself a Moldovan and a patriot. And I want our country to prosper and I believe it has a future. This is the absolute truth.