Donetsk. Confessions of a phantom
It is a story of a person who stays on pro-Ukrainian positions in Donetsk People's Republic
We are, we are not a myth, not a mirage. This is what we deliriously snatch in the reality around us, blue and yellow combination - there is a couple in love: her heavenly jeans and his yellow T-shirt. We have condemned the writings on the houses, nut now we rejoice when see "Donetsk is Ukraine" and "DPR is evil." We purchase in the souvenir shops unsold magnets with a trident, urging sellers, that it is just "for fun." We hope and expect ...
How many? I think there is a lot of us. We gather in small groups. Not even in flocks. Not more than three or four people at a time. It is no longer possible. But I know that my friends have also met such “groups.” We dream to come together. But no time. Not even the time to get acquainted "live" (although this sometimes practice). So we sit in social networks, under nicknames in closed groups. Of course, there are lots of Russian spies within our social groups. We have learned it during these two years.
We immediately remove the correspondence in PM. Before going outside, we “clean” our phones. That we keep the memory sticks out of our apartments. We disable the doorbell, not to flinch at every peal. If you came to check the counter, in this case a neighbor has a number of my mobile. And it is a real luck when you're on the "same wavelength" with your neighbor.
Now your house is really your castle, in which you cherish your world, where at least you can think freely. But you go outside and feel like a shrimp without a shell. You are hurt by the tricolor entourage, rubles in a purse, the talk of the crowd. Did you read how our Zakharchenko answered to Kharkiv? Soon we will get a passport and we may do not think about Ukraine. Russia to take care of us. Half a year ago we could answer "fools you, women." After a wave of arrests in winter, we have agreed to restrain ourselves. I know that our men sometimes are "naughty": the draw agitation messages on the streets. For some, it may seem silly. In our situation - this is also a manifestation of the position.
In my block, there is a message board. Since August 2014, someone got into the habit to write "Glory to Ukraine!" on them. I replied in block letters "Glory to Heroes!" Residents noticed a "disgrace", housing office hang new ones. You first realize that somewhere there is your "soul mate," you realize that there are two such souls. We do not know each other, but we know about each other, and it is easier. One policeman walked on the floors, asking who did it. My daughter came to me (more than a year she lives in the "Great Land" - in Ukraine). And I asked her: "Do you remember that someone wrote "Glory to Ukraine!" - "So it is, I wrote it." I was ready to kill her, because I even could not imagine that it was my daughter, any time she might be taken "to the basement."
We constantly asked – why do we sit there and do not leave? We have many official replies: old parents, work, home, the farm ... We are not understood. Someone has to meet people coming out of the "basement." Here at least I can help in a small search of those who disappeared. And that is not about military, I am talking about civilians. Did you see those people who came from the basement? Lousy, sick, beaten, without documents, without a penny of money, no phone... You meet them after they come out from the “basement,” they do not know you, but still you want to help them. After being in the “basement,” a person comes back to his or her apartment, everything is upside down after a search. You run to the pharmacy, to the grocery store, while this person is whining. Sometimes even their passports are taken away. After experiencing this fear, people do not even want to come close to the state buildings to write a statement. Someone has renewed the passport, some has not done it.
In the meantime, we continue to stay here. I mean in this occupation. To my colleagues "here" means "in our young republic." Former colleagues... I just could not stand it, I quit. I just could not here all this talks that Ukraine is crumbling, and the "Republic gets to its feet." And my position, I did not hide. One day I was invited by the director and warned: do not wait for the denunciations, go away "on your own," and I can help financially. He kept his promise, but someone has written a denunciation of him. He and his family had to leave.
And we stayed with my mother. At first she was afraid of the shelling. Then she was afraid of the dark musty cellar with rats… Over time, she was no longer nauseated by the smell of mold. She stopped to react to something romping in the dark. Mom, it's a cat. Yes, my daughter, the cat. She was afraid to miss the date of receipt of Akhmetov’s humanitarian aid. The strange thing with this humanitarian aid.
But only mother becomes accustomed to some fear, as the other one appears. Once we went to Kramatorsk to apply for a pension. We have applied for Ukrainian pension, since there was no other income. I cannot work for the "republic," no. Mom barely withstood the trip. The sight of the first "DPR" checkpoints made her sick. In Donetsk maximum she went to the yard. And when we were near to the checkpoint, in front we saw the Ukrainian flag. The propaganda worked on my mom, and she asked: "Where are we?! They will make sing hymn, they will bully us… let us go back..." I barely persuaded her not to go back. At the checkpoint, she kept my hand strongly, she was afraid that I might be taken away by the "terrible Ukrainians." On the road back, she was still afraid of “terrible Ukrainians.” So after six months we needed to go to renew this pension, but I understood that it is impossible for my mother. And, alas, my mother issued a "DPR" pension. Do you condemn me? Well, that is probably correct. But otherwise we could not survive.
It is just a question of assimilation. We, who were left in the occupation, are often reproached with the "Stockholm syndrome". I have to say about those around me. The first year, we continued to live in "our Donetsk": yes, with the shelling, yes, in shelters. We did not think about DPR, the first issue was the human life and help. When the fighting subsided, for people like me Donetsk continued it life without the "People's Republic." We have existed in parallel worlds with the DPR "citizens." They had their own lives, we had our own. We continue to believe that it will soon be over. The heads were busy with survival, health, family, attempt to realize what is happening.
The turning point came a year later. Last spring, it was noticeable that many have made a decision. Someone just were tired of resistance, immunity has exhausted. Even pro-Ukrainian Donetsk residents began to quietly take the ideological environment: celebrate the holidays, normally feel with tricolor flags, support the "right" conversations, focus only on the positive aspects and ignore the negative.
Propaganda says that all who are here are true Donetsk people, honor and praise them, and those who has gone away are traitors. They say that they do not pull us to join the "Donetsk Republic" (dominant political organization), simply, just if you like Donetsk, so let's work together for its prosperity. And the technology works. Because there were no other messages from the free territories. There were only accusations that we are "living with the invaders." Indiscriminately.
A year later, there was another bright reaction - it is the ultimate rejection of all that belong to "DPR", even among the doubters. The final and irrevocable burning all the bridges to retreat. And it is easier for us, since we have made our decision. Now we do not live in a parallel, virtual Donetsk, but in occupied Donetsk. We understand our role, and it gives us the strength to hope.
I have written this letter and now I click on "Send." And after that I will clean my computer and e-mail ... And I go to continue my life. Life under occupation... I just want you to know that we exist, we are not a mirage, and that we are waiting for you ...
The letter ended with the words "If you want to publish the name, do not write my real name. Just write "Phantom from Donetsk." However, this is not a phantom, but a live person ...
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