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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These kids are special

A young father stands by the doorway. He’s pacing in the snow, he’s not dressed for the outside, jumps up and down. Sees our car, waves at us.
–We’ve been waiting for you since early morning. Got very nervous.
He speaks in plural, gets frantic–he’s trying to shake our hands, runs ahead of us, then lets us pass.
–Vika, they’re here!
We enter the apartment, and there’s an 11 year old girl with her mom, trying to avert her gaze. She saw us, crossed her fingers, and turned away.
Mom is holding her by the hand, hugs her, but the girl is still afraid, though she’s no longer looking away.
Then everything was like in a fog. The girl haltingly reads poems about frost and wind.
She’s very shy, though it’s clear she’s trying very hard. Everyone is helping her, the mom, and dad, Grandfather Frost and I. Then we hugged her, and she was speechless.
As we’re leaving the mother grabs us by the hand–her eyes are full of tears.

At Vika’s

–Mom, give me your hand.
Vika jumps onto the couch, spreads her hands, and fixes her long, lovely hair. Sveta holds her hand, but Vika is already performing.
–Music, more music! I’m singing!
We visited Vika in Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden costumes, and the girl decided to honestly earn the presents we were bringing.
She couldn’t see our New Year’s costumes. Between you and I, she doesn’t even know what I look like. To her, I’m some Dunya who’s her height, but she knows my voice, knows it very well.
When she listens, she tilts her head and tries to listen not only what is being said, but sense all the intonations.To capture the connection between what is being said and how it is being said.

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Things are on the mend

–Hey, open up!
We are pounding on a recently painted gate.
–I’m coming!
Odd–that’s not Sveta’s voice.
–I’m coming! Oh, who are you?!
Vika is feeling the door, her hair is scattered, she’s holding a cane for the blind and is smiling from ear to ear.
–It’s YOU!!!! Awesome!
Vika opened the door on her own. For the first time. Every other time we visited them in Lugansk, we were met by Sveta, her mom, while Vika waited for us sitting on the couch.

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“Simply” Reunification

There has been a change of government in Lugansk. Kornet, Plotnitskiy.
I have nothing to say. Everyone is asking my opinion, but I am a little person, can I really influence anything?
But I will write about something that perhaps is not related to these events, but which bothers me personally. If there is a reunification, it would be a betrayal of the people of the Donbass.
Sometime ago I was told that “it will be better if they simply reunify, then it will all end.” You know, this is not even funny, because it’s obvious this reunification will not “simply” happen. Only on Facebook and on Ukraine Channel 1 things will be fine.
After three years of this, about every other family has ties to the Novorossia militia. Every other family has a “regime supporter”, people whom Kiev considers “criminal authorities”–officials, militia, firefighters, doctors, courts, village councils, utilities workers, etc. All of these people are working for the “regime” and from Kiev’s point of view they are “traitors” and are subject to being tried for “terrorism” and “separatism.” As do their relatives. Simple math–two thirds of the population would have to be arrested. Of course, they wouldn’t do that, that would be genocide, since, to the envy of Russia, Ukraine has become Europe. One has to save face, this is not Somalia after all. Therefore the “purification” will be more selective. A few public floggings, the rest will be taken care of behind the scenes. People will be disappeared and nobody will know anything about them. They don’t have Facebook accounts and therefore nobody will raise a stink.

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Thank you for Vika!

Yesterday Vika went shopping on her own. Alone!
Sveta, her mom, quietly observed her. She says the girl messed up only once, she walked past her home. I remember how she, literally a tiny kitten, couldn’t even walk about her room–she took such careful steps, as if afraid she’d fall through thin ice.
Also our lovely lady recently appeared before the local blind circle, sang contemporary songs. People say the girl has quite a voice, strong and clear.
And look at these cheeks!!! You just want to squeeze them!

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He just lay there

Gennadiy Vasilyevich became bedridden two years before the war. He stopped walking altogether. This is what happens to people with Parkinson’s. Motor skills gradually vanish, and the body forgets how to move. I have seen that in my family–the  individual moves less and less, and then completely stops. Then you spoon-feed him and turn him from side to side to prevent bed sores.
Gennadiy Vasilyevich lives in Pervomaysk, he has no relatives.
Or, rather, he does, but they live very, very far away.
And now imagine this is how the war found him. .

For Pervomaysk, the war until mid-’15 was constant hell.
Many forget about that. I do, too.
But then, in ’14, people live in bomb shelters and were hit by shells when going to the store, coming out of shelters to wash, to change clothes in their apartments. As soon as something distracted you, shells would come down around you. Hundreds of houses, of stairwells were wiped out.
Gennadiy Vasilyevich spent that whole time quietly laying in his apartment…The whole war, all these months.
His apartment had windows blown out, but that was normal. There isn’t a house in Pervomaysk that didn’t suffer in ’14. NOT A SINGLE HOUSE where I haven’t seen some damage.
The neighbors didn’t abandon him. They washed, fed, helped him…
He just lay there. And had no way of knowing whether his apartment would be hit or not.
So many tens of lives were carried away. Forever. Because they didn’t have the strength to make it to a bomb shelter. Because they were too old, because they were alone, because their legs couldn’t walk. No electricity, so no elevators, and many couldn’t even make it down two flights of stairs. How many such lonely elderly lived between heaven and earth?
Gennadiy Vasilyevich is still stuck to his bed. Social workers and neighbors are helping him survive.
May God grant them health.

Our humanitarian aid. Thanks to everyone who is pitching in!
The girl next to me is Olya, a social worker in Pervomaysk who is helping many people.
She also helps us help this city. Olya, thank you for everything1

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

“Nobody needs us there”

Iosif Yuryevich has been disabled since childhood.
No family. No apartment. Or, already no apartment.
He’s from Pervomaysk. That same LPR Pervomaysk.
In August ’14 Yosif Yuryevich left for Kharkov.
He was in Ukraine until spring ’17.
Then he returned.
Returned to Pervomaysk, which is on the line of separation.
To the city on the very edges of continued fighting.

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“It’s me, Seryozha, don’t be afraid!”

“Hello, Dunyasha! It’s me, Seryozha, don’t be afraid! Private Kutsenko!”
I was so stunned by the call that I fell silent for several seconds, forcing Seryozha to explain who was calling. But I recognized him right away.
–Seryozha, good to hear from you!
It turned out he also called our Moscow Zhenya. He spent most of his pension, half of which goes to the retirement home, on calling us.
How he misses us, and how sad he is when we leave him…

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Vika sings!

My daughter was ill, and in the heat she looked at me seriously:
–Mum, I’d rather have Vika get well and me get sick.
It’s not to show how kind my daughter is. Many kids sometimes say such things, and perhaps even draw them.
It’s rather to show how Vika became part of our lives. Theo has never met Vika, but she has seen plenty of times how I ran to and fro to get the medications she needs. Which I do all the time. Half the fridge is filled by medications awaiting dispatch to the Donbass. The majority of them are for our Lugansk girl.
When Vika was in a TB clinic near Moscow, we often visited her. Theo wanted to go too.

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