Kalinovo is a long village.
It consists of several streets which stretch for 27km from Pervomaysk to Brianka in LPR.
It is considered part of Pervomaysk. It’s 270 years old, and right now it is on the front lines.
Days are quiet, at night there is fighting.

The village is as long as an intestine. There are about 2,000 houses. Inhabited by 2,000 people.
Rita Anatolyevna, the village head, says nearly everyone returned. And perhaps not so many left in the first place. Before the war population was 3,800.

That’s a lot, considering Kalinovo is so close to the line of contact.

Many returned because they couldn’t find a place for themselves elsewhere. Money ran out, and it’s hard to be so far away from home. They couldn’t acclimate. Those who leave usually stay with relatives. Those who don’t have relatives elsewhere eventually return.

It feels odd to be driving through Kalinovo. Calm and quiet. People in gardens, the Sun is blazing.
And then suddenly–a bombed-out house. Empty, with collapsed walls. Bicyclists ride by it, 27km from one end to the other.
That’s how people have lived for 2 years already.
Heat and gardens. And loud noises and incoming shells at night.
So you keep driving, knowing that everything is quiet and there won’t be problems. But you feel an odd tingling.


-What about OSCE?
They just laugh in response:
–They work only until the evening, like everyone. They don’t work at night, which means officially there is no fighting. Minsk has to be respected, afterwards. And it is being respected, in a way. OSCE always travel in such places in armored vehicles. Otherwise their insurance won’t cover them, if they are wounded. My acquaintance chatted with them, says they get $300 a day. It’s good business, organizing security in Europe. My friend, in New York, told me about his girlfriend who “works” there as an inspector. He spoke so excitedly, praising her. I felt odd listening to him, to be honest.
I remember the December of 2014 in Pervomaysk. An empty and noisy city. With Zhenya Ishchenko, then still alive. OSCE in its armored cars refused to drive around the outskirts. But there was no shelling in places where they were present.


So that’s how Kalinovo, Molodezhnoye, Mikhailovka lead their lives. World is telling them everything is quiet and life is returning to normal. And people laugh and keep working their plots.

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