In mid-January I wrote a post about POWs who were exchanged by Ukraine and the Republics. Some of them turned out to have nothing at all to their name–their houses are on the other side, in Ukraine, which considers them “separatists” and which kept them in captivity. Many have homes right on the front lines, but just on the other side. They were settled in a dorm in Lugansk.
I was then approached by an internet-friend, who didn’t know whom else to turn to. Or rather, he approached everyone he could find to ask for help. We went to the dorm ourselves. Or, rather–I was still in Moscow, our Lugansk Zhenya went.
At that time, these former POWs were literally starving and had nothing, not even elementary personal hygiene items. They weren’t just military men, but also women and ordinary civilians. For example, those who helped organize the referendum in another part of the Lugansk Region, in Rubezhnoye, Severodonetsk, Lisichansk, and other towns. Which are now under Ukraine. We collected money for these people and brought them food. After we left, they were helped by the Red Cross, some social organizations, and even the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. They also started to receive help from local inhabitants and volunteers. I’m glad many people read my post, and help arrived not only through us.
Some of the POWs, especially those with families (women and children arrived to be with them in Lugansk) were settled in various dorms, and got almost no aid. Organizations all serviced this one dorm I wrote about. Other dorms got nothing.
We just happened to get acquainted Petya’s and Ira’s family (we made a separate collection for them), with three sons.
But there were also other families which were struggling. We decided to help them using money left over from the POW collection. These are really complicated stories, some hard to believe, they are so horrifying to listen to. I will write about them separately later.
Dima was born in 1976, in western Ukraine. His father was a soldier, he came with his family from RSFSR to western Ukraine when he was still a boy, during the Soviet era. As soon as the events in Lugansk and Donetsk got underway, Dima immediately joined the militia, “because I couldn’t otherwise.” He participated in fighting from the time of Slavyansk. He was ounded there. Zhenya writes: “After recovery, he went back to ‘that side’ to get his loved one. He was betrayed by a former ‘friend’. He was arrested on March 11, 2015, and he was treated harshly. He got 10 years. But then he was exchanged…He’s not broken, not angry. Has a sense of humor. And said that ‘I will never go anywhere, will never beg anyone.’ He’s awaiting his documents impatiently in order to be able to get work.”
I want to thank one more time everyone who responded to my call for helping the POWs. You know that I and my friends provide aid to civilians.
Thank you, friends. Thank you for your concern for the people of the Donbass. People like Dima stood up for their beliefs, their positions, did not sit on their hands. That’s worthy of respect.
May those who are spreading demagoguery about “it’s their own fault” choke on their own poison.
It’s not interesting. I don’t respect it.