Eyewitness: Surviving in Donetsk

By Galina Vogt
10.17.2014
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Market in the Oktyabrsky district of Donetsk after the shelling. Photo: A.Umanets, "Segodnya"

Market in the Oktyabrsky district of Donetsk after the shelling. Photo: A.Umanets, “Segodnya”

From Galina Vogt…

Good afternoon, my name is Sergei (I will not mention my surname, it is very dangerous), and I am living in Donetsk. Or rather, surviving. Why did I not leave? Because my parents did not want to go, and I cannot leave them here. You probably want to know, what it is like for us to live here? To be honest, many even rather like it, especially those who were no-one and, having taken up arms and joined the army of the DNR [Donetsk People’s Republic], have become big people. They are allowed to get away with a lot now and they actively use this.

If you do not pay attention to the buildings broken by artillery shelling, the city is more or less clean, and surprisingly, the municipal services are somehow working. Also many entertainment venues are open: bars, restaurants and night clubs. But at the same time for many there is simply nothing to eat; they join kilometre-long queues for the distribution of free food.

You know, many are under the impression that we are seemingly under fascist occupation by the Nazis, as if what we have seen in films and heard from grandmothers has come into our lives: in the evenings the bandits party in bars; some girls get their lives sorted and even marry in with men from the “militia,” some girls disappear; cars fly around the city full of insurgents looking for partisans and espionage groups, sometimes they find someone and take them away to the cellars.

There is only one clear difference from those days: when the cities were occupied by fascist Nazis, people knew that sooner or later they will be liberated, and now there is no such feeling. There is a feeling that we were simply left at the mercy of these non-humans, so that they would calm down.

But we still wait, there are still many of us like this, but every day there are less.
And the guys at the airport are real Heroes, you cannot even imagine what forces are thrown to knock them out from there.

Photo taken through the damaged windshield of a vehicle in Donetsk's Oktyabrsky district, adjoining the airport,on  October 2, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL

Photo taken through the damaged windshield of a vehicle in Donetsk’s Oktyabrsky district, adjoining the airport,on October 2, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL

Source: Inna Scherbininia FB

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This entry was posted in "Voices" in English, English, Eyewitness stories, Pictures, South&Eastern Ukraine, War in Donbas and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Eyewitness: Surviving in Donetsk

  1. Keith Dunwoody says:

    Good luck Sergei. God bless you and your family.

  2. Doug Williams says:

    May your day of freedom come soon and may it please the Almighty to comfort you and your family through these times.

  3. Horacio Labadie says:

    This is an article only for confussion. This guy is an comunist operator: why he can’t say the true, comunists are now in Donestk!!!! He only mentioned “nazis”, ¡there are not nazis in donetsk, there are neo comunists!!!! F you

    • chervonaruta says:

      Horacio, I think you may have missed some of the subtlety in his language. In that region, they receive constant Russian media reports about ‘Nazi fascists’ and he is referring to this when he says “seemingly” they are under attack by them as he struggles himself to come to terms with his reality. It is often good to try to understand a situation on the ground, not how we’d like it to be, but how it really is for those experiencing it, and to listen even if we don’t like what we hear, so we can better understand and have more compassion rather than isolate in anger. As for fascists, there are many right wing extremists flooding Donetsk from Russia and other countries fighting on the side of the enemy and many of our previous posts have covered these facts. There are also communists, and many locals in that region who would be happy to return to a soviet communism which has become glorified in the minds of some. So, it’s complex and much education is needed all round. Not everything is black and white and there are many voices and much to think about, to heal and to transform.

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