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Donetsk in Donetsk

Донецк в Донецке

Donetsk opens small stores, restaurants. Once in the centre, you might think: in this town people only do what you eat, drink, smoke hookahs. With food establishments adjoin the newly opened budget stores cosmetics, household chemicals. On Lenin square and in side – to-three fee and Commission store, where they sell slightly used things. The existence of such citizens in the post-Soviet years had forgotten, but now there is a demand. You will find Nightclubs, but they will have fun until dawn. With the onset of curfew clubs lock the doors, and open them early in the morning, when he ends.

Locals say: for those who are starting a small business from scratch is the most proper time, because a lot of free space and a lot of unsatisfied requests. But the average business to open is not at risk, until the redistribution of property. In the city local return, went to “the other side” of the war. Complain to break into Kyiv business failed, there is availability for Donetsk no. But the returnees bring with them money, while not quite knowing what to do with them. And those who had no money before the war, there is no now, sarcastic remark: “If before the war could earn, and now you can.” However, some enterprising residents are finding ways to earn thanks to the war. The war itself gives them a chance.


– How to earn money? It’s as if to ask – “How are you doing in the war?”. One says, “Bad!”, he has no job. Another, like me, will say – “Okay!” I found a way to make money – says Oleg sitting at a table in the café in the centre of the city.

It carries passengers to the other side he owns the van. Oleg just got back from the site. Including yesterday and today slept for three hours.

– Public transport is forbidden there, from there, suppressing a yawn, he continues. – Only for cars to drive there. Everything you need to have a passport, pass. Mostly people go there for pensions, you can skimp devour in Russia the food is more expensive – in guests. Therefore, passengers fully. We come out at night, curfews, but here we go, risking to be stopped, anyway. If you do not travel at night, will be at the border for hours to stand in the queue. That’s so like me, thanks to the war, and there was a possibility of earning money.

– All the familiar faces, – grumbles the other driver, red Sergei. He had just entered the cafe at the entrance faced with other attendees, dressed in a smart red dress. – This is our enemy, – says Oleg. Activist. We so often go to the other side and stand in line at the border that already all know each other in person, explains to me. – Among the same travelling we already have friends, and there are those that Hamet, enemies. This, in the process, a shopkeeper, she constantly goes for the goods and carries around a baby in the car, and this is speculating – “I Have a child in the car! And here the terms stretch marks!”.

– Yes, blew up a bus recently, – speaks Oleg, yawning.

– What is there to say? Who had come, and rode that first. Us – marshrutochnikov – nobody likes. Because I, for one, came first, and I told him, nodding at Oleg, I got it. And he keeps all for us. In the end it turns out that you come and keep turn thirty minibuses. What do we do? If we’re late, it is likely that the checkpoint will close and we will have to spend the night right there. When I slept at the checkpoint the first time, I dreamt that I had feet. Well, imagine you in the car nine people, the seat pushed back, fell asleep, Wake up and first thought – “her Legs gave out!”. And I suggested to the passengers – “we Have two options: go somewhere and sleep, the question price – a hundred and fifteen hryvnia. Or stay in the car and sleep. They say – “we Have no money, sleep.” In the end, and I suffered with them all night in this car. Basically go older, their children on the other side powitali, and my parents stayed here for apartments and animals to watch.

And we will, when stuck, always staying in the two-story house, he’s standing next to, it recently started to take, also learn to earn money, – Oleg interrupts. But as a result, people are forced to sleep in the same bed. One comes up to me – “Well, how am I going to sleep with him?”. And I say, “what choice is there? In the car to sleep?”. Recently on a post eight vans spent the night, did not manage to pass the night in them, two grandmother wrapped herself, well, she died that is. Why? Well, maybe the time has come…

– Just grandma, grandpa nervous about the trip, they ask “what are these!? How to look like? Very terrible?”. They are the same – old, don’t go, as they have for retirement at such distances to travel. They usually travel with accompanying relatives. And if this family member planted on a post, it’s starts to shake, she was crying. One son dropped off, so while he was passport control took place, she cried and begged me to wait for him. I told her in the beginning said “I’m no your son will not go!”. Old people in the Ukrainian roadblocks, as five-year-old children are frightened, and if they have a weak heart, plus weather… And it happens, we’re going to spend the night, and those who had no money for the night there, in the bus remain. Call us in the night – “it’s so scary! Bomb!”. What to do? We had been warned.

Sergei goes to the toilet, and when he returned the nose-to-nose encounters with a young man, and as they will know each other.

– I’ll be to afraid to move to Donetsk, everywhere familiar with roadblocks, he says. – This recently was driving in a nearby car and saw me on the Ukrainian customs globally searched. All things are made to get the spare tire to remove, the seat to twist. It is the human factor, it’s there on the border plays a great role. The customs officer just woke up in a bad mood and began to spoil it all. And you, Oleg, heard it recently a woman took, which was carrying six kilograms of gold?

– I think they have again started to drop and all to inspect.

– And remember this – with Avon cosmetics? I saw her bags, just ask – “Do you have something forbidden?”. She looked me in the face and said “I’m all right.” Enter for inspection, and there is, apparently, the kid was new, plus myself earned. I realized it’s new? When there were shots in the distance, he was twitching. And here already on these shots nobody pays any attention. And this all the time on vanity. Starting to watch, opens the first bag and that one is full of cosmetics. She pulled out hair dye from the box and stuffed the pantyhose tubes. Well, it sounds funny, but actually it was. And here I’m getting an idea – “what’s that other passengers are you carrying?”. With this is mind they are all good, beautiful. And this kid begins to get – twenty lipsticks, mascaras, in General, a passenger uploaded this smuggling the eyeballs. Well, there on the website of the SBU posted a list of what can and how much. The idea is that the Ukrainians had to gather her things and get her at a checkpoint or arrested for smuggling. And she – Boo knees. Is so, weeping – “I’m in kindergarten worked, but Ukraine was supporting me out.” Well, complete nonsense carried. She is an artist, real artist. Let her go, the tears immediately dried up, but I have something so quick shifts of emotion do not believe. Played.

– Ukrainian border is the issue of nationalism is not affected. It just has become their work, – says Oleg.

– On the Ukrainian territory recently in the “New Posto” went out there one miracle without breaking the queue. Bold is – “I am fighting! Miss!”. But see – people do not support it. He again – “You would go themselves to war with drowsy and separatists!”. But it was not allowed, and I then another twenty minutes of his words twisted in my head – “what dnrovtsa differ from separatists?”… There’s another one activist went, – he nods at the woman entering the café. – The same as the driver hit the bus? Because of such activists. And we, the drivers of minibuses, not for their turn, not to keep – we’re people driven. Them to bathroom. While dark, you can still enter near the bus to sit down, and can not go on – there stretch marks. And if it’s light, not all come, sit, stand for hours. And we say to them – “You that prefer to experience shame, showing her ass, or that you tore off arms and legs?”. And that driver on the road just got three active women. They leave their cars and block a road to marshrutochniki and those to whom we took, before they traveled. So real out here, – he spreads his hands and block the road. Can on the hood to jump it. And there Busik this situation happened: here’s the roadside, – he lays the phone on the table – that’s the slope. And, it turns out, they closed three of the road, he passed back, slid down. Tried to get up, he has options, he had simply to travel. They are not missed. He involuntarily retreated even further and touched mine the rear wheels. Three activists were killed immediately, and he died in hospital. Well, these women, too, can understand… This is the life we now have that. To understand them, have their lives to live. But a stranger can’t feel it. Recently Kurakhovo checkpoint was fired, we went through the other. We go one-on-crutches to block the road. I still rode, he ran after me, and I’ll think, “Well, run, run as you can last”. I on posts open to the Ukrainians say – “I have a family to feed. And I chose at this point that such way of earnings”. And they within the law to give me the opportunity to earn. But… then I come back to Donetsk from Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, and it seems to me that there is life and there is no. There are all gray, gloomy, gloomy people. And here shops, lighting. Well, maybe I think so because Donetsk is my home. Tomorrow going? – he turns to Oleg.

– Yes.

Night patrol

After six in the evening, once the frontal zone past the police leave, the night crawl will go patrol, composed of volunteers. Evening is approaching fast. The last residents disappearing off the streets. Mediocrity, hiding potholes in the asphalt. lined the road along which the patrol is walking, and seems to lead not to the forefront to the night, sending on the area of the darkness and sadness.

– We’re all ex – military, the militia, says senior group. – Organized a patrol, go a few hours from evening to morning. Spend our personal time. Do it for free. Why what? This is my hometown. I’m over here on the street Stratonavtov live. We don’t need anyone’s gratitude. In your opinion, should definitely help people in exchange for what? The important point is that we patrolled without arms. We are no longer military, we are civilians. Civil in the Republic to bear arms is prohibited.

Patrol delves into the yards. In the beginning they come across a man with a baby stroller. Five minutes later the cyclist. Then the grandfather, skipaway the ground in the front yard of the apartment buildings. Patrol go into the private sector, where in the silence we could hear the sounds of their footsteps and breathing. Pass by an abandoned school. Playgrounds, rusted from the rain. On one, with bowed head, sitting on the bench man. He doesn’t pick it up when the patrol approached and closely inspects it. Patrol come into the yard of a long house, the balconies of which is embossed. The ground is littered with shards of glass, slivers of wood pieces. In the beds, nothing grows. Tables and benches in front of the entrances, artificial palm trees and yellow iron chicken get wet under the rain starts.

In this house there were seventeen hits, the last one five days ago, says one of the patrol. We thought, no one lives. Until I saw the pants on the clothesline. Here one grandfather left. Yesterday at this house we came under fire. From here to the forefront – seven hundred meters. Here and the spotters, and snipers, probably, somewhere to sit, and Ukrainian subversive groups come in. And we are not allowed to be up in arms…

– Guys! – there was a hail from the balcony of the house. Guys, keep it up!

Our people do not lose heart, ten patrol.

– No, never! – Santa hanging from the balcony.

– Yesterday was the arrival in this house, says the patrol. – In the Russian news it is not, it has not already been said, but people still die. The houses are largely empty. People ran away in what were, all the property in the flats left. The marauders know we are here walking around, and they’ll think twice before going out on the case. We won’t kill, to bury, but if we take them, and we are likely to take, you will surrender to the police.

When the distance between the patrol and advanced is further reduced, and the evening now turns into night, men are starting to stay closer to the walls of houses. Hear machine gun fire, but they say not for long, and soon subside. Patrol rounds a corner of the house where the yard with the demolished external walls and seen the flats and in the wind and the rain bring your mess.

– That’s all I think we have some kind of gratitude waiting for, ‘ says the eldest of the group, avoiding a purebred cat, bristling and hissing, dying on the road. – I am a retired officer, served in the armed forces. I can pick up weapons, can not find a place for me neither in the military nor in law enforcement bodies of the Republic, though I and fought in the ranks of the militia. But the right to do what I see fit, I have no one to take not be able. I’ll go to patrol, as a responsible citizen. My story is the confrontation began in Kiev, on the Maidan. I was burned alive by Molotov cocktails, and me, to put it mildly, did not like. The slogans of the Maidan I also do not like. On the enemy attacked us, and we have two years with him fighting. But, in your opinion, I certainly should demand someone for yourself… I’m sure if the party will now go on the offensive, as she can go, I’ll come to any part of the Republic, and I will immediately give automatic even name without asking… And on this background, he dribbles through the eyes of another broken home – we are in the center of Donetsk night clubs are opened. That’s really a shame.

From the depths of the next courtyard shows a pack of large dogs. Dogs go around the patrol from the back, approaching matinada, barking, trying to grasp his feet.

– I here you now! – thrown from the entrance of the house the thin woman in the red jacket. Swings at the dog with a stick. – They are hungry – according to the patrol. – All are afraid. Especially people in uniform. And one goes there and always threatening – “I will Make you a hamburger!”. They hunger so angry.

The patrol turns into another dark courtyard, where not burn Windows. For men stretches a dog barking. They come across an old woman coming towards you with an empty bucket. Thanks for the service, talks about a sick rotten grandfather who was waiting for her in the apartment. Patrol shrug – they have no money. They are held until morning, unarmed, not speeding of step, but straining in the legs, when packs of dogs will get them back, order them in teeth caviar. To get into sound waves then closer, and then flying shells. Pull over to mills seemingly empty houses, when machine gun fire will dry to crack the night air somewhere quite close. But they will not find a single Marauder, though, and several times during the night will risk my life. And then it becomes clear – they go in order again to be needed, as needed when in the Donbass began a war.


One, entering the premises of the military unit, where the beds sleeping soldiers, declares: “the Commander!”. I love you! The commander of the battalion “East” Alexander Khodakovsky, dressed in camouflage, passes quickly through the rooms. When he appeared, the soldiers get out of their beds.

Where Is The Cross?

– The cross is asleep. Now raise.

Under Yasinovataya there are fights. The soldiers of this unit had just returned from the front. They were ordered to gather in the dining room.

In the dining room, the sunlight comes in gently through the beige curtains and through the downcast heads of the fighters falls spots on the tables where the darker parts of the disassembled machines. Young rebel bear jacket black puppy, picked up at the front. He quietly whimpers.

– I don’t know where his mother is, he says. – Probably, there there were.

When all had assembled, appears in the white house in support of the cross, which is tied with a bandage hand. The commander holds the word before just returned from combat unit (the journalist at the time asked to leave the dining – PP).

The courtyard stand two wide painted benches. Enter Gazelle. We get it from the open coffin and put on the bench. Soldiers line up near the line. The door to the Gazelle remains open, spring sun creeping up on her, and there, in the dark, touches the coffin. Next to the car stands a woman. She smokes, swallowing tobacco smoke, like bitter medicine. Swollen eyes looking in the direction where the coffin come say goodbye to the militia. The cross stands over the coffin. Farewell salute out of automatic gunfire into the sky. Fearing, from the roofs and trees, bustling about, the birds leave.

On the road from Yasinovataya Khodakovsky asking the question – so if he saw the future of the region, when two years ago entered into a confrontation with Kiev.

– The future we saw in the Union with Russia, “he says,” and not according to NATO-European scenario. Want me to tell you how infancy my personal motivation? We think of ourselves as people who defend the legality and constitutional order of Ukraine, paradoxical as it may sound. We are accused of terrorism, but we see the situation with accuracy Yes on the contrary. Initially, I did not wear any ideological sentiments, plans, scripts. But my way of life was associated with Russia – I was there and after the dissolution of the Union was there to serve. In me Russian sits not on ideological, but on a genetic level. Can’t we do to overcome, if we wanted to. In Kiev there was a coup. I am a person who is responsible for social stability, the law enforcement authority. I regarded this coup as something totally hostile to the state. My position was against any violent actions against the system of power.

– Because you with Yanukovych was in a good relationship?

– With Yanukovych me the life brought before Yushchenko began to apply for the post of President of Ukraine, in the ninety-ninth year. With Yanukovych and I had a very complicated relationship. We are, at our service lines to ensure their safety. We are very hard tolerated each other. I was next to him during long trips, and once spent almost a month, fully absorbed in the man himself, and everything in me rebelled against him.

– What?

And the level of its development, and the level of its requests, and all this crazy craziness even not on money and power. He then thought would be President and all this assured. But I, as his assistant for security, communicating with him every day, was filled with very serious internal negativity. He understood, and he demanded my replacement. The rule of law is my principle that has nothing to do with the person Yanukovych. Will tell you another episode. In 2004, before the presidential elections in Donetsk came Yushchenko. The team under my leadership was assigned to him to ensure his safety. It was a critical period, and Donetsk stood prancing. Having learned that his at the airport waiting for the crowd where people left and right were shouting slogans against him, he decided not to go through the lobby. We made it to the landing and caught him at the ramp that led to the cargo exit. His assistant Chervonenko was hit by the Shoe lock on the gate, but when we started of them come out to our minibus, the crowd saw it and started in our direction to move. And there’s nothing worse than uncontrollable moving the crowd at five thousand people. We pressed Yushchenko to the van, stood around him in a semicircle, shoulder to shoulder and held the onslaught. And it is because of our spin trying to the crowd to apply. At that moment for us was no matter what power is this Yushchenko, we were performing their duties, protected from the crowd. And worthless law enforcement agencies, if they fail to abstract from the personal relationship and refuse to perform their duty. So when in 2013, in Kiev there was the same situation, I, as a militiaman, to the last defended the law and the state system. Economically and politically when Ukraine was in a very deplorable condition, from any coup had to expect only deterioration of the situation. But come to Kiev authorities I do not consider legitimate, I did not vote for it. And now there is the euphoria passed, but the grim reality remains.


In an anonymous conversation, the Pitmen engaged in intellectual work and who asked not to name their names, lead to the metaphor, Kiev – Donetsk the mirror. And here, too, the euphoria has passed, and the grim reality remained. And, as they say, is visible to the same “mirror” – they do not pronounce the phrases: “We want to go back to Ukraine” or “We don’t want DNR”. Many of them say – “We want everything to be as before”. They repeat these words like a mantra. Don’t speak for the futility of only one – more than “as before”, they want to be in Russia. But in this prospect in Donetsk has seriously few people believe – “the desire of the left, faith is gone”.

Since the establishment of the people’s Republic it was not long, but many Donetsk players refuse to confide to a journalist anonymously. And to hear the frankness is needed, not pretending to be a journalist, to listen to conversations in queues, on public transport and on the market. You need to listen to the conversations away from the city center, which itself has long been a city within a city. And both Donetsk in relation to each other are cities of contrast.

Local journalists write only about the positive and negative local Ukrainian. And in this they once again reflect Kyiv. Also anonymously, also asking not to name real names, they reported that all television releases and articles are censored in a special Department of the MGB of the DNI. And gradually, the censorship is embedded in the minds of editors on a whim they guess that will recognize what will be rejected, and includes the track “free broadcasting”, which are dominated by their own fears not to meet the highest expectations.

– Of course, in our town all is well, with last year and not to compare, says a local resident Alina (name changed – RR). But there is no movement. My dad and I this morning went to work, and I’m telling dad – “some dead Kingdom.” In the “Continent” (Shopping center – PP) we had not dressed. Still, what is on the market to dress. We are in the “Donetsk city” went shopping. I now have in “Continent”. Earlier in the weekend we went to the Mall, watching a movie, sitting in a cafe. And now anything it is not. Not using the o-l-ex-Donetsk (olx – PP)? There can be cheap things to buy and sell. When my child was born, my grandmother and aunt gave the baby kit. I cheap never used. I placed an ad on the website – will give a hundred and fifty hryvnia. Immediately came the girl took. What? The kit is new, never used. And mom always looks out the window and said recently – “I’m Tired. Motion want.” Before that we have so much youth in the city. We have lived in Donetsk fashionable young people, whose all was well. Now everything is good too, but a lot sad. No, in Donetsk everything is in order, and people smile. But how do you explain that? There is no movement. Marsh, perhaps, standing. Though my son’s life was normal. He is now two years.

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