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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Maybe I’ll tell you about Seryozha?

Stories Seryozha are simply stories about a distant uncle. Perhaps that’s why I’ve written fewer and fewer stories about him. Some stories are not suitable for public consumption, others have been written so many times it’s becoming awkward. Seryozha Kutsenko probably got the biggest chapter in my “People Live Here” book.
So, how’s Seryozha?
Seryozha is sad and is very bored in the retirement home. Even though one can’t call it an ordinary retirement home.
Beautiful trails, benches, bridges, all fixed up, great food, but…

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Bellflowers

In spite of our frequent trips to the war zone, we are not in contact with any fighters. We usually work with “civilians”, administration services, social services, etc. Although, if LPR becomes Ukraine and the reunification our liberals want takes place, all of these civilian workers will be lumped together with the militiamen and charged with “separatism” and “treason.” Whether you just helped the elderly or sat in the trenches, you aided terrorists.
But we do have friends among the militia. I briefly mentioned one of them, a fellow student from MGU, wounded near Debaltsevo.
There is also Kolya. We met in Chernukhino in the spring of ’15. Zhenya invited Kolya to be our escort. I wanted to write about him then, but it didn’t happen.

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Donbass Humanitarian Aid, Part 19

Here is the report on the trip to the Donbass in December of 2017 and everything we’ve done since then until mid-March.
I wanted to write this was one of the hardest trips, but then I read earlier reports and realized they are all like that. Though the first visits were dangerous in the direct meaning of the word, since we saw rocket fire and were practically making deliveries under fire as in the besieged Pervomaysk. Just being in LPR was dangerous. Now, of course, it’s different, though things tend to get…complicated. But now we face other problems. Mostly psychological in nature.
We are ordinary people, and our entire team consists of people who were never psychologists or physicians or even volunteers. and sometimes it’s hard to come to grips with the reality of what’s happening. Like human villainy and treachery. Many other things. It’s hard to accept things you can’t change.

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First help after three years of prison

“Greetings. I’m Dima ****, I want to thank you and your team for the provided help. It was the first I’ve seen in the three years of prison! Thank you!”
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.
 

Ira had left us

No miracle happened.
Always with a beaming smile, head raised high, and a guitar in her hands–Ira was a real fighter.
She fought cancer for several years. It was discovered during her pregnancy–she gave birth to a daughter in 2015, and was immediately sent to the cancer ward.
The pregnancy gestated for much of 2014. You know what that year was like in Lugansk–war in its most awful form.
Then it was a life of endless struggle–chemo, medications, metastases, hospice. Over and over again.
It’s a miracle she survived the last 18 months.
We showed her medical history to Moscow physicians in the hope that in Russia she could get help, but they said there was no hope for recovery, and she had weeks left to live. But Iran kept on living, and fully participating in her family’s life.

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Happy International Women’s Day, Lugansk!

Everything in Lugansk is under a thin layer of ice. It’s very difficult to walk or drive. The elderly don’t venture out at all, too easy to get an injury.
It’s under these circumstances that our friends drove all over town to bring greetings to our girls.
These “girls” are mostly single retirees to whom nobody else will bring these holiday greetings, as they have no husbands, no children, and they are completely alone on this day. Many have incurable illnesses, and it’s not just people under our care but also hospice patients. Yes, the staff there is all women, and they are working. It’s difficult for men to work there–this is no empty phrase, in general such institutions employ mainly women.
This is a very spring holiday, a very touching one, and also a badly needed one.
And you know, it’s nice to see the smiles of our women who find themselves in such trying conditions.
May everything turn out well for them! Maybe for some not for a very long time, but even that is something! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to visit everyone. But I can’t imagine how our friends managed to make their way around the city.
This is Lera. She’s an orphan, her mom Inna died last year of cancer–he helped her with the treatment and with money.
Look at how she’s grown. She’s a beauty!

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Bringing “ours” greetings

Shortly everyone will be greeting women on the occasion of March 8, the International Women’s Day, and I’m still writing about we, on February 23, brought greetings to people under our are. But it’s better late then never, right?
You know, February 23, May 9, those are days when people OVER THERE are so happy that we can’t even imagine.
Over there–in LPR. Over there–in Novorossia. Over there–where there’s war. Where people have been living on top a volcano for 4 years already.
This day is unbelievably important to the Donbass people.
We brought greetings to the men under our care with what many internet users think foolish, ironic, but to them important little things. Not everyone can always afford to buy shaving cream or deodorant.

Seryozha…Seryozha was a tank commander and served near Moscow. Once upon a time he was Ukraine’s boxing champion.
Now he’s disabled–he’s lost a leg, he has polyarthritis. He lives in a retirement home. His house in Khryashchevatoye is gone, it was bombed out during the summer of ’14.
But you know Seryozha!!))) Our Seryozha!
If not, please click on the Kutsenko tag at the bottom of the article.

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Nobody But Us

It’s difficult to write a post based on someone else’s words. It’s important for me to look the person in the eye. But one sometimes has to write on the basis of what Zhenya or Lena wrote about people whom I haven’t seen. Therefore sometimes these posts turn out to be lean. But now I’m reading what Zhenya wrote about Petya and Ira, about whom I write in early February. And I don’t know what to write now. There are only Zhenya’s words, which I’ll cite. He’s never said that about anybody:
“Their love fro one another is unbelievably strong. It shines bright and strong. They know how fragile everything is, and how happy and fortunate they are to be together. They have deserved this happiness. More than anyone else. I don’t even know how to express this. It’s the small things, one can see it in the details, how they worry about one another, they are almost blowing dust motes off one another. And not for show, either. They still can’t believe their luck to be with one another. If anyone wants to confirm such love exists, they just have to cast a glance at this family. They are LIKE THAT… They are a source of light. It can’t be expressed in words. People who went through real hell and did not lose the ability to stay happy, and they are happy earnestly and at the smallest things. One gets a sense they are making up for lost life…”
Petya and Ira.

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Sofiya and Nastya

Sofiya and Nastya are sisters and one can say with certainty they are children of war. Nastya was born in the summer of 2013, while Sofiya in October 2014, at the height of fighting in Lugansk. They have known no life other than war. The family lost its home and now lives in a dorm. The girls, thank God, have a family–they have loving parents, but both are de-facto disabled.


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