On the Front Line

–What is your name?
–Zhenya.
–Where are you from?
–From Sverdlovsk. Nearly all of us are from there.
Zhenya is so young, tanned, and cute, that one wants to hug him. In a motherly fashion, with no ulterior motives. And it’s so wistful, so sad, when one realizes where he is.
I don’t know what they call the line of contact in other hot spots, but on the Donbass they say “the front”. It’s the very edge. You look over, and 800m away is “their” checkpoint. “Ukie” one, as they say.


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Time to split ?

Once upon a time had a chat with a liberally-minded friend. It took place before all the Maidans and Crimeas. We were talking about mutual aid and about the flood in Krymsk. The friend then uttered a phrase which cut to the quick.
In the US, where there was yet another tornado, people came from all over the country to help, brought clothes, money, food. They put people up in their homes. The friend said that our people are not like that. Here it’s everyone for himself.
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To survive one’s second war

Nikolai Ivanovich Kozlov
House completely destroyed. Only stumps remain of the walls.
On August 14, 2014, he lost a hand to shrapnel.
Anna Nikolayevna, his faithful wife, is sitting next to him on the bench, placing her hand over his leg. She automatically tries to find his hand, to cover it, to stroke it.
But the hand’s gone. She takes her hand away in confusion, then places it back, trying to find it…

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Saving Lives

–A week ago, we had five direct hits, not counting the powerplant.
Visiting the Pervomaysk hospital was the most memorable of everything I saw on the Donbass. The most horrifying and saddening.
A nurse is standing next to the main entrance and smoking.
–Whom do you need?
–We brought humanitarian aid. Do you have people in the cellars?
A smile appears on her face.
–We live in them. You’re here to see Nikolai Aleksandrovich?
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