Our Lives’ Backdrop

I was sorting through the photos from our March visit to Lugansk and found this one.
That’s how the three kids of Ira and Petya were seeing us off. They are from Pervomaysk, or rather from a small village nearby that’s under UAF control.
It was snowing, and the boys were glued to the window and kept waving to us while we were trying to start the car. We looked at each other to the last.
Now it’s hot summer, Moscow and other big cities are up to their ears in the World Cup carnival.

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War? What war?

We bought ice cream in Crimea. Excellent ice cream of the Gerkules brand. We’ve been buying it here for as long as I remember.
But this surprised me, because it’s a Ukrainian company, and all the products from The Independent One vanished from the peninsula’s shelves. I also know there’s no shortage of contraband. So I read the label and see: made in Donetsk. But not DPR but Ukraine.
DPR and LPR make many products. Shops in the Republics are full of them, but they all say “Made in LPR/DPR”. Sunflower seeds, groats, chicken, everything. But none of it is labeled “Ukraine”, and hasn’t been for a long time. Maybe in ’15, but it’s been so many years.
So what’s this, then?

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A New Year like this

A week ago I met with Vitya, we drank tea and he gave me money.
It just so happens that every time he makes the donation in person. We run into each other in the city and casually learn something about one another. He’s a handsome young man who’s been living abroad for a long time and who sometimes visits Russia. He’s got a successful career and a brainy wife.
In the course of our conversation, I accidentally said:
–I was planning to give it all up and stop going to the Donbass.
He sharply replied:
–Please, don’t!
And I was taken aback.
Just as I was taken aback on the New Year’s Eve.

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Moscow’s Pigeons

On the Garden Ring, next to the Red Gate, a bear dresses doves in armor vests.
Earlier that wall was decorated by something like an aquarium with sharks or piranha (as I remember), and in the background there were stars against a blue backdrop and red stripes. I used to have a photo of them, but it disappeared together with the phone.
Right now my phone has no instagram capability, therefore I’m putting the photo directly into the blog.
So cute.

Memento Mori

At the start of the second year we were gathered at the departmental meeting. We answered in alphabetical order which area of scholarship interested us most. I was the second on the list and I mumbled something clueless and embarrassing, since I only with difficulty remembered what “area of scholarship” actually meant. I remembered how a member of our group, after one of our disputes about this very area at a beer hut, told her mom upon coming home that her “peculiar” smell was due to the library being cleaned with alcohol. And thus each of us signed a four year sentence with our mumbling.
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Novorossiya Graffiti

If you want to see a city, get on a bus.
If you wanna understands its inhabitants, ask for cigarettes from passers-by at bus stop.
If you want to absorb the essence of time and place, look at what’s written on the walls.
“Kittie was here,” four-letter expressions of fertility, and “Masha is a stupid c***” is the very essence of life.
Zarya (Dawn) is one of the militia battalions.

“Zarya is mowing dill” (Ukrop, slang for Ukrainian)

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