Every day, literally every day, I get messages saying “why help these idlers, our own people are struggling too, let them find a job!” Others say they are themselves struggling, but are not “begging”. Every time I explain why this is false logic, but people keep coming and spitting their venom. I want to respond: just walk by, nobody’s forcing you to give money. It’s all voluntary. It’s up to you! But most importantly, never make such comparisons! Everyone is in a different situation, individual people are different too. Thank God you can make do without assistance! Not everyone is that strong, dammit. I’m writing banalities here, but where is all this anger coming from?
People! Just be thankful you don’t know what it is to be under mortar fire! Or spend the night in a bomb shelter! Be thankful you don’t know what it’s like to live for several years without electricity or tap water.
And you know what? It seems everyone thinks they would do everything right in that situation! That they know how to live right because they are so awesome! They’d leave Donbass, find work someplace else, their husband would never abandon them, and they would definitely would not let an asshole like that be the father of their children, and in the end they’d proudly collect alimony. He’d never hide from them!
Nothing of the kind.
I’ll say one thing–don’t tempt fate! Nobody knows what will happen. Just be thankful none of that happened to you. Walk by if you don’t want to help, but don’t judge! Life is unpredictable and the law of boomerang works all too well, as I’ve seen.
What is this all about? Many people are criticizing the family of our Ira from Vergunka. They condemn her, the kids, us for helping. But Ira does not have it easy, and she’s no beggar. She always works, often on multiple jobs. She’s alone, with two kids. She never asks for anything and never complains.


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Every day is like the last one

I don’t know what an aneurysm is.
They say it’s something terrible, particularly when it affects blood vessels in the head.
Imagine everything going well–you are working, have two daughters, a loving wife. And then, one day, the life changes in a single moment.
Loss of consciousness–ambulance–regional neurosurgery. “Sack aneurysm of the right ICA communicative segment, irregular shape, partial thrombosis.”
Doctors will understand. Non-doctors will understand something really bad happened in the head.
And most awfully, Aleksey’s life is now hanging by a thread. He may die at any moment.
“The family was explained the diagnoses, possible risks, complications, and consequences…up to and including death”.
That’s what the medical history says.

Aleksey and his younger daughter

Shall we help the hospice?

There is a hospice in Novosvetlovka. Those who followed the Donbass events of 2014 know this village well. It was a site of heavy fighting. Whole streets became ruins. There are masses of burned out military vehicles, I saw them myself during my first humanitarian aid visits to LPR. After 2014, the village has struggled without electricity or water. It has been gradually restored.
And so was the hospital, which has not shut down for even a minute. Many people found shelter in its cellars.
But the maternity ward was closed, and later a hospice was opened in its place.
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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: Paypal address:

Please label any contributions intended for Lilya “Lilya”.


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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