Gas was cut off

Elena Ivanovna is a quiet and gentle woman who found herself in deep trouble. There’s absolutely no-one to help her. It’s been like that. But now, thank God, she now has you and us.
We became acquainted during the summer. We’ve been trying to improve the situation since.
Elena Ivanovna lives in Lugansk. She broke a leg when the war started and due to a doctor’s error it fused improperly. She can’t walk now. Then she broke her arm so badly that she can’t work. She also can’t use crutches and is not easily transported. At that time she also lost her husband to cancer. It all piled up during the war, when it was difficult to organize normal treatment and recovery.
That’s a brief summary.


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The pin was removed!

Friends, we finally have good news about Elena Ivanovna!
Do you remember the woman from Lugansk with a major leg problem?
In ’15 she suffered a fracture of the hip joint after which the local doctors inserted a pin and everything fused together improperly. Ever since then she’s had difficulty walking, and only with crutches. Then she broke her arm and could not use crutches. Her husband died of cancer in the meantime. There are problems with the arm, too. We started to help Elena during the summer. She and her young son are completely alone.
The problem lay in that she could not get a free joint in LPR since she is a Russian citizen even though she’s lived there since the ’90s and had a residence permit. She was not able in her condition to leave for Russia and get free treatment there.
But now we have terrific news!

Our friends have done the impossible!
She got an LPR passport in the shortest time possible! Thanks to, specifically, Lena. She simply took Elena Ivanovna in her wheelchair and went to one institution after another. And you know what–people saw her condition and went out of their way to help. How did it happen? Nobody can believe it. Everything was done literally in a week.
Naturally, Lena’s titanic stubbornness were key. One must have enormous internal reserves to do that. Anyone who’s dealt with such institutions knows. My hat’s off to her.
As soon as she got her passport she was operated on. Zhenya consulted with some outstanding doctors.
But it’s not the final joint replacement surgery.
On a tip from Tanya Anikina and a doctor she knew in Moscow who saw the x-rays, we learned that before new joint is installed the pin installed by the “bone-breakers” which basically crippled her must be removed. The operation took place in October ’15. Took 3 hours. The doctors said it was “bloody”.


This post contains photos from before and after the surgery. We bought all the medications and everything necessary for the surgery. Lena came to the hospital almost immediate after it was over.
Zhenya: “Elena Ivanovna was practically born anew. She was very worried, and now she’s not the pain-ridden fearful woman, but instead has a merry fire in her eyes. ‘I still can’t believe it was all done in a week”‘. We were dumbfounded as well. We intensified our efforts and it all somehow came together. Genuine miracles. Such a mad pace, though. You go home, and your head is still buzzing”.

So those are the news. Rather good ones at that!
Now we have to wait 6 months until everything sets. We hope to resolve the joint problem during this time.
Elena Ivanovna practically has wings, she’s trying to move on her own now.
But at night she has terrible pains. Hospitals don’t have morphine, they use whatever they have. Which is not enough.

Big thanks to Zhenya and Lena. It was heroic on their part, obtain the passport and the operation so quickly!
Thanks to Tanya who helped with the information, and thanks to all those to donated money! Thank you all for your participation.
But everything is still ahead of us. The start has been made, though, which is very important.
I am happy beyond measure to be able to write such “news”. Because all of it was in a suspended state for a long time, because nobody wanted to tackle such a hard case.
In hoc signo vinces!

If you want to contribute to Elena Ivanovna’s recovery, please label your contributions “Elena”.

If you want to help the people of the Donbass, please write me in person through LiveJournal, facebookV Kontakte, or email: Paypal address:

Please label contributions for this family “Elena”.

Lone Grandmas

I wrote a huge post about Zelensky and the elections. I gritted my teeth, got angry and, as always, erased it.
To hell with them all…
Instead I’ll write about the lone grandmas in Lugansk whom we are helping. Because nobody else will. You know, there are many such lone, ill, helpless people on the Donbass. Who never had children or whose children died. Or left and don’t remember, or are struggling themselves and can’t help…
In some cases relatives turned away because “it’s their own fault”, and yet others simply lost contact. Elderly don’t cope well with information technologies.
So you are alone, elderly, with a microscopic pension, with jumping blood pressure, heavy legs, and constant stresses. Some started to work together in order to help each other. Please read…
Many stopped calling emergency numbers when the health sharply deteriorates. “What for? They’ll prescribe medications for which there’s no money”. Tiny pensions, thousands of aches and pains, and on top of that the war. Nearly all of them lived through the shelling and sat in the cellars in the fall of 2014, when the city was pounded by all types of artillery. I won’t describe for the hundredth time what it means to quickly evacuate oneself under fire. Many are simply not physically capable of doing that, so they remain in the apartment, frozen in expectation–“will it hit, or not”? Nobody should have to experience that.
I’m having a first-rate deja-vu right now.
It seems like I’ve written posts with this text before.
Well, let there be one more.
Perhaps someone who hasn’t read them will read this one…
Here’s what I want to say.
We have been constantly buying medications for them, and some of them are alive only because you contribute to this aid effort. We try to also help with food, but don’t always have the means to do so ((
Friends, it’s really difficult for them without your help.
I don’t know about all of these politicians, but I do know these lone women need medications. More food would not be bad, either.
Please label your contributions “grandmas”

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We have news

Remember Valera from Lugansk? The boy who, together with his brother, was abandoned by the mother who then disappeared?
The younger boy was taken to an orphanage, the older one has tried to survive on his own. We’ve been helping him since early fall. Food, clothes, money.
Well, we have news.
Lena and Zhenya recently got ready to visit him, but his phone would just ring and ring. When they came, the apartment was locked. So they got in touch with his case workers.
Here’s where things stand.
The mother turned up, took the younger son from the orphanage, picked up Valera, and literally in one week they all left.

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Kalinovka Hospice

One year ago I made the hard decision not to visit hospices. After the New Year’s marathon, where I visited several hospices dressed as the Snow Maiden and with a broad smile on my face in order to give the dying the New Year’s greetings, I fell ill. Upon returning to Moscow I crawled into bed, I was shaking, experienced panic attacks, dizziness, and I started to see a psychologist. I still do. I developed cancer-phobia which is still making itself felt but it’s not as bad as it used to be. In part because I have not been to such institutions. I can’t.
I thought for six months I was about to die. I thought I had thousands of incurable illnesses. Kept looking for them, and lapsed into hypochondria with every health problem.
So, what’s all this about?
Helping hospices is a big part of our aid work. I don’t know how our Lena can find the strength this requires. Lilya was dying in a hospice, and Lena was constantly with her. Many of the people we were helping were there, and Lena sat with them, brought them food, stayed with them until the end. Food and medications are important, but don’t compare to Lena’s moral help. But I broke, and my post about it last year was indeed titled “Broken”. I don’t know if I’ve put myself together since. But I live on, smile, travel, while our aid continues full steam. But I still shudder when I remember the young man with a barely visible beard who was dying of cancer. I’m still horrified by the memory of Nina, whom we brought presents and who died two days later. Liliya, Inna, our Ira, and others.
I don’t know whence the hospice workers’ willpower. I don’t know, I don’t understand, and I simply tip my hat to them in respect as people who are always there.
We try to help them regularly. With cleaning supplies, diapers, detergents. These are seemingly little things, but the fact is that’s simply what’s not available. They get only minimal supplies, and suffer from catastrophic shortages. The worst situation is in the Kalinovka hospice, a town in the line of fire. Last year, when we came to visit, a shall struck two days after we left breaking windows. Nobody was injured. Shells there are a normal thing. There is no bomb shelter, but the workers laugh off such questions. Ordinary life with shells, dying elderly, and diapers in short supply.


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How’s Seryozha?

I have been writing about Seryozha less and less frequently, even though he’d become one of the main heroes of our blog.
Everyone’s been laughing at me because of the mustache, for Seryozha shaved it off six months after we became acquainted. He went and shaved it off. Lena comes to see him, looks, points with a finger: “Mustache, Seryozha, where’s the mustache?”
Seryozha touches that part of his face where the mustache ought to be and looks puzzled. Lena wags her finger: “Mustache, Seryozha, it’s very important!”
Everyone had a laugh.
Seryozha grew back his mustache. I never saw him without one. Then I came to see him in the retirement home in Lugansk, shortly after his leg was amputated. He looks at me, smiles, and says: “Here I am, with a mustache!” His eyes were gleaming with mischief.
We’ve been taking care of Seryozha since the spring of 2015, when we met him in Khryashchevatoye. He was homeless, lived in a barrack without water or electricity, had progressive polyarthritis. A few weeks later he had a bad fall. It was a miracle he survived it, but a leg had to be amputated.
Much happened since then, and he’s become one of “ours”.  To read more about him, click on the “Kutsenko” tag at the bottom of this post.
How’s he doing?
Well, our happy-go-lucky-guy is beginning to give in..


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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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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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