Granny Tanya turned 95 so we paid her a visit.
Well, not “we”, of course, but our friends Lena and Zhenya. I’m in Moscow. And they are over there. In Lugansk.
In LPR. On the Donbass. In the middle of war.
Also in the middle of that war lives a single old lady who turned 95 who had nobody to bring her birthday wishes.
–Nobody’s given me flowers in 50 years…
There are great many single grandmothers on the Donbass. One doesn’t want to moralize here, you can do that without me. But it’s a fact–there are many women with children, including with multiple children, abandoned by husbands. And yes, unfortunately, many of these “dads” vanished right in 2014 during the fighting. Of course, these men have their own “truth” which, to be honest, I’m not interested in. They left to get work and then bring family along, but vanished along the way. Or there were disagreements, or he fell in love with someone else.
But there’s also a separate category of women who raise women on their own–grandmothers. Usually they are the parents of fathers or mothers who were raising their own kids, but left this world. So these grandmothers, many of whom are disabled, are left raising their grandchildren. Many of them can’t work anymore, but the kids have to be fed and clothed. That’s how it is.
There are many like that among the people we care for. There’s nobody else to help them. And it’s sad when you see elderly people with very young kids.
Taisiya Ivanovna is once again in hospital.
She was taken there right from the neuro-pathologist’s office, where she was on a routine visit after the stroke. Her right side started to go numb. So she was taken straight from the office to the hospital ward in the midst of an episode. More medications, more tests.
She’ll be there for two weeks, then the doctors will decide. Our Zhenya persuaded the doctor who saved him and Lena in 2016 to look to Taisiya. You remember, I wrote back then the two of them found themselves at the hospital practically at the same time.
We started to help Taisiya and her grandson only recently. Sasha’s mom and Taisiya’s daughter died from a shell fragment which cut open her belly right in front of the boy. She was hit in 2014, but she suffered for two more years with mangled stomach and intestines which the surgeons had to put back together in primitive conditions at the hospital with no electricity.
Lana married young. She went far away to live with her lover, got pregnant, but the beatings started almost immediately. It was so bad the girl ran off with her newborn to mother. The three of them have been living together ever since on the Pobedonosnaya St. in Lugansk. Those who spent 2014 in Lugansk know that in August artillery shells came in every day. Lana described how she saw “a woman torn in half” while waiting in line for water distribution.
There was no water, no electricity, no phone service. One could survive without many things, but not without bread and water. People came out of their apartments to get them, right under the shells.
I remember very well how the locals and Zhenya described August of that year at the time, shortly after these events. People could hardly bring themselves to talk about it. And if they did, only with trembling voices and flowing tears. Zhenya: “At that time, the ‘liberators’ were entertaining themselves by shooting at people who stood in line for water and bread, and where there was still phone service. Hundreds of people would meet there to send news to their relatives they were still alive. But the spotters worked there too.”
I remember how Zhenya told us about going to the roof to catch a phone connection to send a text message he’s still alive. There were no communications, but it was clear the city was under fire.
Lena visited our Seryozha. He was transferred from Intensive Care to an ordinary room.
He really scared us, the villain.
He’s joking and cursing, but good-naturedly, and of course he’s the main raconteur in the room. I have never met anyone who has known all the existing anecdotes in the world. I always collect them to surprise him. And it’s a rare case when he hasn’t heard something. He nearly always completes them after hearing two words. That’s how he entertains the whole room.
Only one nurse can get him out of bed. Seryozha always replies “I’m getting married, you’re mine!”
That’s his spirit.
Seryozha has had a heart attack.
He’s now in emergency care. He’s not allowed visitors, but his condition is stable.
We’ve been in phone contact. But to be honest, we’re in shock.
The doctors say it was most likely caused by the joint pain medication which he constantly takes. It turns out it may cause heart attacks and strokes…
I’m no doctor so can’t comment.
If only we knew…
As of late, one can detect contempt toward our emigrants emanating from among the patriotic community. “Traitors”, “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” I don’t find it pleasant to read, and I want to not only defend our people abroad but say that many of them are bigger patriots than people who put “Thank you Grandfather for the Victory” stickers on their cars, but at the same time behave rudely and don’t let pedestrians cross the road.
I’ve encountered that directly. I’m not talking about the rude individuals but Russian patriots in other countries.
There are many of them among my readers. And!
Many of them continually help the Donbass.
The majority of funds for the aid effort is coming from them, the inhabitants of Canada, USA, Australia, Germany, England, Austria, Norway, etc.
During these years, I’ve found lots of groups on facebook, LiveJournal, VK, where people cooperate, assemble truckloads of aid, and send it to the Donbass.
One can hardly imagine what it takes–organizing logistics into the unrecognized republics from abroad! It’s extremely complex, I know what I’m talking aobut.
They do it themselves, through foundations, through volunteers such as myself. And if you think they are former inhabitants of Lugansk and Donetsk regions, you are mistaken.
Many of them are from families which have never visited these places. And I am once again happy to witness all this and to be able to help.
On the photo is a shard from a shell that struck an apartment in Pervomaysk. It’s interesting that everyone has a different view on keeping what “flew in.” For example, Zhenya took all the fragments (and there were many of them in the garden and in the house) and threw them out. “No need to keep Death around the house.” Others collect them into neat piles. All these pieces of rusty iron. Yet others become superstitious and wish to forget about all that. Then there are people for whom parting with the shrapnel is like parting with a piece of their own body.
Some keep whole Grad “pipes.” We met many families in Novosvetlovka, Khryashchevatoye, Chernukhino, who out back have entire scrap yards of shell fragments that struck their homes. Many were hit many times. And you know, these people are more likely to keep than to throw out.
This fragment struck the apartment of the 96 year old Great Patriotic War veteran Nina Grigoryevna Mironenko.
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.
After every trip to Lugansk I get asked: “how are things over there?” Well, let me tell you–as usual. In other words, bad.
In actuality, things are going this way and that way, and life goes on. Roads are better, many damaged buildings were rebuilt or restored. Some shattered schools or kindergartens were reopened. New shops and cafes are opening. It’s hard to imagine, but there’s nowhere to park downtown. These are good signs. Signs of life. And it would be dishonest for me to write there’s hunger, it’s horrible. Not, it’s not sheer horror. You can find expensive sausage, even caviar, as well as expensive imported cars.
There are people who can afford these delicacies and drive such cars. Those who can will rise to the surface in any situation. Such people only need to be given a hand to jump up and take-off running again.