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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Meanwhile in LPR…

I have visited the Donbass so many times already that all the years are running together. But this trip stands out for several reasons. Including bicycles and empty bus stops.
There are many cyclists on the roads. Big groups, small groups, with backpacks, without–there are really many of them. Several times more than ever before.
There is also far less Republic symbolism along the roads. There was a time, particularly during the summer of 2015, when all the bus stops were repainted. One could see pathos-laden “Donbass, don’t be sad. We’ll break through”, “Donbass, hang on” slogans everywhere. I couldn’t keep up photographing them. But now they are almost all gone.

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