New Life in Lugansk

To some, living in Lugansk seems like something taken from the pages of fiction, literally a life under machine-gun fire or in Chernobyl after the accident. But in reality, to many people it’s long-sought salvation.
Thus Lugansk has become a new home to those who were exchanged for Ukrainian POWs.
You’ve learned of some of them from my reports, those are the people we are helping with setting up their new lives.
They are difficult, these lives, since these people left everything they had over there, on the other side. There is no way back.To where their parents and relatives live. Where their homes and lives used to be.
Starting over from nothing, with children, ailments.
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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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Nothing but good news

The last two days were perfectly crazy, as we, dressed up as Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden visited practically all of Lugansk.
By the evening we were barely standing and it seems I dreamed we visited more kids and made them read poetry.
Cars were honking at us, people were waving and nearly all the adults were excitedly conveying us New Year’s greetings.
We visited many apartments, but this post will cover only those which you already know.
The people we help, those whom you periodically see on the pages of this blog.
Here we are visiting the family of Vitaliy, a militiaman from Rubezhnoye. Vitaliy spent over a year in captivity in Ukraine. Now he, his wife, and son live in a dorm in Lugansk.

 

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Survivors of Captivity

Our friends. That’s what we call them–“survivors of captivity.”
Things are improving. The whole family has passports, and not without our help. I’m glad this blog contains not only sad stories but also positive ones, when one has something to smile about or be proud of. I’m glad you and us were to help this family.
All the documents, and all of their lives, remained over there, in Ukraine. Where both husband and wife have arrest warrants for “separatism.” There is no way back for them. Everything–their property and belongings, elderly parents, relatives, is back there. But they don’t have any contact with anyone anymore, “so that nobody is placed in danger.”
They went through a grinder. Vitaliy spent a long time in captivity in Ukraine where he had all of his teeth knocked out and was badly injured. Natasha and her son was in hiding until they managed to escape into LPR where they finally were able to relax. Vitaliy was in the militia from the start. Natasha helped organized the referendum in Rubezhnoye. It’s a miracle they were able to hide. They went from apartment to apartment for months, unable to even go out to shop…
Now they live in a Lugansk dorm. Their son has improved, the problem was in poor nutrition of the whole family. He’s had several hunger-induced blackouts, nervous system issues, and serious headaches.

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“Separatists”

Here is another post about our friends from Rubezhnoye. Who survived captivity in Ukraine.
How are things? It depends.
But the main thing that makes our team happy is that the boy, their son, now feels fine at last.
His fainting spells passed. As did the headaches.
They visited every conceivable doctor, including a dentist. I think it was not a matter of diagnosis and treatment.
The boy simply needed decent food which the family could not afford.
Calm and, of course, the parents who do not fear tomorrow…


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The Real Deal

The top floor of the dorm. A tiny room full of beds.
A slender boy with welts under his eyes, wizened woman with a straight back and beautiful hair, and the unbearably thin Vitaliy, holding a napkin to his mouth
–May I hug you?
That’s the first thing I heard Natasha say when we met.
We had a long conversation.
It defies description.
It defies transmission.

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Helping Vitaliy

Vitaliy and his family lost everything. Yet they were among the first who stood up to defend what they believed in. Vitaliy joined the militia in the spring of 2014. Now they are without home and without health. Their son has been constantly losing consciousness after he and his mother were kept in a cellar for a whole day by the SBU, having to hold their hands over their heads. After captivity, and after Natasha and their son spent six months in hiding, the family has made it to Lugansk. But their house is “over there.”
We wrote about them recently, and that post really resonated. I’m glad that because of that response we were able to help them. And we continue to do so. Zhenya and Lena have done a ton of work. They take them to hospitals, clinics. As of right now, the matter of passports is moving forward, and they should be issued in near future.
Vitaliy may even manage to get work (the process is ongoing).
But the main thing is that now they have hope. They were deeply depressed when we first met them.
They didn’t expect help. So many journalists photographed and wrote about them. But no aid followed.
I want to thank once again all of our people. Thank you for the responses, for comments, and especially for the money that you contributed for this family. I am at a loss for words. Thank You!
Zhenya, who’s been seeing this family the whole month, said this: “Dunya, they are finally smiling. That’s a lot.”


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A story of Ukrainian “separatists”

On April 6, 2014, Vitaliy liberated the SBU building. It was a famous event, but few realize what happened with many of these first “separatists” who remained “there”–in Ukraine.
This is a story about a family from the city of Rubezhnoye, which is now on the other side of the line. Vitaliy’s wife Natasha together with other activists organized a referendum while he was in Lugansk in the spring of 2014.
After the June 22 assault on Severodonetsk and Lisichansk, Vitaliy evacuated families and children from the city, but did not manage to evacuate his own. Then hell began.
When UAF entered Rubezhnoye someone, as often happens in such cases, reported him as a “separatist.” They swept him up right away. I have friends in Rubezhnoye and Severodonets, I know from them that people are afraid to show in any way what they think about Ukraine’s government. If you ask people on the street, they won’t say anything. And then some inspired journalist from Moscow Echo writes that everyone is grateful for the “liberation”…
They and others were thrown into a cellar where they, including children, were kept for six hours sitting on the floor with their hands on their heads. Natasha was hit on the head with a rifle butt, she still has severe headaches and her broken hand still doesn’t function well. Vladislav, the boy on the photos, passes out every day.
Whenever someone knocks on the door, he falls to the floor and covers his head.

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