Don’t forget about this!

I really don’t want my reports from the Donbass to be only about sad things. Or, rather, I’d prefer that, when you saw my posts in your feed or on your wall, your heart did not shrink with sadness and you did not think that it’s another awful story about how someone died, is dying, or has lost everything. Yes, there are many such stories. War is a tragedy, broken lives, pain, and our shame.
But in reality, the history of the war in these posts is not only a story of suffering, unlucky people. It’s also stories about heroes, about strong people. About closely knit families, about people with unbelievable willpower and–most importantly–this blog’s story is the story of mutual assistance. Of the great cycle of goodness. And I want you to know that hundreds of people are behind our goodness. Various people. And all of them have enormous hearts.
Please remember this when you read my stories and reports.
Here, for example, is Anya from Moscow. She is in a very difficult situation–her daughter is disabled. I first encountered her in my life when I read about Vika whom we then took to Moscow for eye treatment. It turned out she has TB. She then lost her boyfriend, her grandmother died, and she had already lost her brother before that. Vika was greatly depressed and I didn’t know how to improve her mood. She needed strength and hope.

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A single piece of shrapnel

This is Natasha and her grandmother. They live alone because on August 3 of the bloody 2014 their garden was hit by a shell. The house survived though the blast shattered all the windows, but a single piece of shrapnel flew in. Just a single piece of shrapnel. That was enough to kill Natasha’s mom right in front of her. The shrapnel pierced her head.
Natasha did not say anything for a week, and it was a miracle she resumed talking later. She stuttered for a year. Her grandma really aged in that instant. She’s only 70, and at the time, 3 years ago, she looked different.


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Grandma Frost

I have an incredible pile of reports on the recent aid work in Lugansk. I don’t know where to start. Then there’s the damned injury which has temporarily deprived me of sports, which is always dangerous to people around me. Peaceful atom, if not released, may become dangerous.
So I’ve decided to remind New Year is nigh.

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Pretty good news

That happens too. We have pretty good news, although maybe that’s not the right phrase to use when you are talking about someone with advanced cancer…In mid November, I wrote about Lilya, a woman who got cancer in ’14 and wasn’t able to obtain treatment because her house was right in the line of fire during the bombardment of Lugansk in the summer and fall of ’14. Time was lost, and all the evaluations said the case was hopeless. She remained home to die–there are lines to get into the hospice, people are laying in the corridors….((( She lost control over her legs and can no longer take care of her basic needs. We decided to try to make her life easier during her final days by finding money for a caregiver. But we also decided not to give in and try to talk to the doctors.
We spoke to the head of the cancer clinic and…


She’s now at the ward (it’s a miracle she was admitted) and is undergoing tests which will determine the type of chemo. I won’t lie–Lilya is past being curable. But the doctors said it might extend her life greatly if everything turns out well. She first has to raise her hemoglobin which is not simple to do.
It’s important Lilya keeps on living. She has a young son who is undergoing a difficult period. No father, no relatives to help them.
The boy would end up in a shelter, then an orphanage, he’d be all alone in a wartime Lugansk…What else is there to say?
But if Lilya lives for the next few years, these very important years in her son’s life, it will be an important accomplishment.

I want to thank everyone who sent money for Lilya. We are continuing our assistance, we bring medications, diapers, food, all of which she needs to raise hemoglobin. The family is broke.
We found a caregiver, she’ll start working soon. She’ll also take care of Lilya at the hospital. Cooking, feeding, washing. Zhenya and Lena spent a long time looking, one had to find someone who would not merely perform the functions but also someone to talk to. They will spent a lot of time together. That’s how it is.
Big thanks to everyone!
There’s one more key detail–Lilya is in the hospice for tests, the very same spot that was occupied by Ira where she was only a few months. We thought that’s a good sign. Ira was given a few months to live, but two years later she’s walking, taking care of herself, and living with her amazing daughters.

If you want to help the people of the Donbass, please write me in person through LiveJournal, facebookV Kontakte, or email: littlehirosima@gmail.com. Paypal address: littlehirosima@gmail.com.

Please label any contributions intended for Lilya “Lilya”.

Parthenium

There is a truly wonderful place in the world. It’s Crimea.
It has sights that take your breath away. No matter how many times you’ve been there.
It’s impossible to become accustomed to such beauty. Eyes do not grow dull.
And if you haven’t been to Cape Fiolent, you haven’t seen Crimea.


Smirnov in Prison

Sometime ago a got a letter from someone.
Attachments included scanned hand-written notes from Aleksey who is now in the DPR pre-trial custody. The letter was intended for a narrow circle of people which, to my amazement, included me.
Aleksey Smirnov is the head of the Angel Battalion, which rendered aid to the civilians in border areas right from the start of the war. The battalion took thousands of people from under the shells, and saved tens if not hundreds of them from certaind eath.
On September 16, 2016, he and his friends were arrested and sent to the Ministry of State Security cells. Everyone but himself was since released. Right now he is in the Donetsk Pre-Trial Custody Center No. 5, and friends say they are afraid for his life for he’s a marked man.

Aleksey Smirnov. A photo from the internet.

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Insulin

Morning. I’m running to class. IM: “Insulin urgently needed!” I have no clue what’s happening, so I call Zhenya.
–Got a call from Nikita’s mom. She was crying. She said they went to the clinic for insulin, AND THERE IS NONE. The boy has only enough for two more days of sots.
Do you know what it means for a diabetic to be without insulin? First your blood sugar jumps, and then coma.
Over the last year, insulin situation in LPR has seemingly improved, so nobody even suspected this might happen. Two months ago the doctor said there is enough insulin in all forms, whatever you need, you’ll get. And now this.
Mom is crying because there is no insulin. NONE. Not in pharmacies, and not for any amount of money. How this happened is another question. I’ve been getting such news from various parts of LPR. Nobody knows when it will become available. The boy can’t use just any kind, because otherwise we could have obtained something in Lugansk.
I finish my lecture and then I hurry to call everyone.
–Les’, will you buy? I can’t manage myself, but I’ll send you money!
Money is transferred, insulin procured. Lesya helps out once again, but it soon turns out she can’t take it to the Donbass.


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The Death of Arseniy Pavlov

When I read about Motorola’s death, my insides churned.
As they did a year and a half ago when we, after an accident, in the midst of fighting, were going to the Donbass with aid, and we got a call that Zhenya Ishchenko was killed. The acting mayor of Pervomaysk. Someone who would take unexploded shells out of the asphalt with his bare hands and who delivered bread to bomb shelters even as shells kept falling. Who personally dug up people from under the rubble. Several volunteers from Moscow were killed too, and everyone thought it was us.

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“Political Officer”

There is an unusual monument in one of the unrecognized Donbass Republics. It stands right by the border with Ukraine, where shelling is frequent. It’s scary to go there by car–nothing but shell-damaged trees and craters in the asphalt. The monument is based on one of the most powerful photographs of the Great Patriotic War–“Battalion Commander”. But, as it turned out later, the photo does not show a battalion commander but rather a political officer. The young, handsome officer raises his TT, and the soldiers rise off the ground behind him. The photo was taken only a few seconds before the hero’s death, near Lugansk, in the village of Khoroshee which was the site of a hard-fought battle.

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