Pervomaysk Swans

The first shocking thing I encountered on the Donbass in December of 2014 were the clean streets. I drove with my eyes wide open, trying to understand what was happening. Grannies were sweeping up the trash right next to bombed-out buildings. Sweepers with brooms marched down roads. Swings were being installed on playgrounds. “One of the neighbors did that”. Fighting at that time was intense, and people were trying to keep their cities in order. I never stopped being amazed by that–the cleaning was being done by public service workers and by ordinary citizens. A little thing, it would seem, but it really stood out given what else was happening.
I particularly like the decorations next to houses–swans from tires with hats from cans, bellflowers made from bottles.

They use whatever is available. Tires, helmets, cans, bottles, pieces of iron…Many may think this odd. As to me, I like them. We’ve seen many such “decorations” there. Not only on the Donbass. Tires are the best way to make a flower bed, a swing, anything. I took these photos in Pervomaysk.

My favorite photo. A granny and cats. How did she feed them in ’14?

This photo is called “count the cats.”

Local characters.


People love their city, want to make it as good as they can, as beautiful as they can even when it seems impossible.
Pervomaysk is after all one of the most damaged cities in that war. 600 multi-story buildings were damaged, over 1000 individual houses, 200 of which were totally destroyed.


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