Shards of Death

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.


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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.
Why?
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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“How are things over there?”

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.

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Tank

“Guys, thanks for the tank!”
That’s the message I recently got from our Seryozha Kutsenko.
He’s been traveling since morning till the evening, up and down all kinds of ramps and trails.
What can I say–last year, he’s been outside only a few times between October and end of April. Ramps are so steep that he couldn’t ascend them on his own. He’s embarrassed to ask the nurses, and they are not always available anyway.


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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: littlehirosima@gmail.com. Paypal address: littlehirosima@gmail.com.

“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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Lidiya Yakovlevna’s War

Perhaps you recall this woman?
I wrote about her in May. Her name is Lidiya Yakovlevna. We visited her at home a year prior to that post.
Actually, not at home. She and her husband lived in a dorm–their apartment in Pervomaysk suffered from the shelling and became uninhabitable. The old lady can’t hear at all. Her husband took care of her. A year later we learned he became bedridden and then she started to take care of him. Her husband. It was a complete role reversal. She got renewed will to live and she once again began to walk, even though prior to that she hardly got out of bed…That’s when we took that photo.

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And then the war happened

There are stories where something bad happened. Some got ill, some died, some lost their homes.
There are also stories in which nothing happened. Or, actually, it did. The war happened.
And hit the most vulnerable. The elderly.
A Ukrainian blogger for some reason wrote a post about me. He acidly wrote that I’m very sensitive when it comes to the elderly.
He’s right. It gets to me. And not only me. All of us. I see my own bedridden father in every elderly person who’s been with us–accidental children. I don’t know whether I did enough for him in those days. It seems I extremely little. All the weight fell on the mother. His departure was protracted and difficult. There were diapers, pain, and shouting. And it’s so inexpressible. So difficult.
We plainly can’t get used to the ordinary life of lone elderly people. Without children, relatives. Living off pensions. With nobody to help them but us. Almost none of them complain or ask for anything.
Zhenya wrote: “A lump in your throat is a constant when visiting these women. It doesn’t matter we’ve been seeing them for nearly 3 years. Impossible to get used to. 2.5 thousand ruble pensions. Nearly all of that goes for utilities. NONE of them filed for Ukraine pensions. None have close relatives. These 2.5 thousand is all that separates them from death, allows them to exist. Exist, because “living” is not the word here. These people did a lot of honest work all their lives. Now they’re surviving. It’s understandable that the young republics don’t have enough resources in time of war and blockade. But…that doesn’t make it easier.”

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Wheelchair Needed

We haven’t written about Seryozha a lot lately, he usually gets a mention in the general reports.
Lena is trying to visit him as often as possible in the retirement home in Lugansk.
Seryozha is sad. He’s had problems before the war, but the amputation of his leg in ’15 broke his life.
We already wrote last year he finds it difficult to be alone and confined to a wheelchair. He’s not strong enough to roll up the ramp into the home. He has polyarthritis, after all. So he can’t traverse any obstacles without help. And yet there’s a lovely forest park right next door.
He’s very sad and asks about us and Zhenya all the time.

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