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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Zhenya and Lena

Lena’s hair reaches down to her legs, and few can withstand the gaze of her eyes. Zhenya is tall, so much so I barely reach his chest. He speaks with a low, deep bass voice. Lena–so that you realize what kind of a person she is–sat to the very end with an unfamiliar woman at the Lugansk Hospice. Who died practically in her arms. It was Katya, a young girl who was diagnosed with cancer too late for it to be treated. She was from an orphanage, had no relatives on the Donbass. Lena kept vigil at her bed at night. Because there was nobody else to help her. Dying Katya had one son, Vovka. Her husband vanished somewhere in Ukraine, abandoning his family. The guys–Zhenya and Lena, took him in, even though they saw him only twice prior to that. It will soon be a year since Vovka joined the family. In the midst of war and uncertainty, the two of them adopted a 12-year-old. Now he’s one of our assistants, who brings me tea whenever I’m about to drop dead from fatigue. Zhenka and he struggle with homework until tears roll. Because while his mother was dying, he missed a year of school. Our Moscow Zhenya never did math exercises with him during the trips. At the time, we collected clothes for him and delivered a computer, it’s all described in one of the reports.
Vovka is also a member of our tiny team. Zhenya previously wanted me not to write about it for various reasons. But it’s hard for me not to write about it. It’s been a year now, and I’ve seen it all. How they made their decision. And how difficult it was–after all, it’s not easy to take in someone else’s grown child.
It’s a little detail that will give you an idea of what kind of people life brought me in contact with.


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Lugansk Hospice

I have nothing to say about the US elections. But I do know that Zaitsevo and other border towns on the Donbass were being ground to powder at that time. People died, houses burned. In the literal, not figurative sense…
I also know about ordinary people’s lives in this unusual region where a war is raging.
Everyone’s gotten used to it. The inhabitants are used to it, we’re used to it, I’m used to it. But everyday activities, for example, the operation of hospitals and hospices, suffer from problems whose existence we don’t even suspect.
This is the Lugansk hospice attached to the cancer ward. That’s where our Ira is.
These institutions have the lowest priority for aid. Medicaments are most important. The rest is an afterthought. But how is one supposed to wash, disinfect, do laundry? Nobody’s thinking about that. If they are, they lack the means. And yet this hospice where the ill come to die. Many of them can’t even take care of their basic needs anymore.
The doctors and nurses need paper and pens to write on and with, but those are shortage items too. Lightbulbs do burn out, and switches break, like everywhere else.
The workers here have to bring their own supplies from home. Just think about it–the workers spend their miserly wages so that there is light and paper ant work…And so that the ill are able to read books in the evenings…

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