Mariupol, one year later: preservation of instability

Author : Ivanna Radivilova

Source : 112 Ukraine

The city is not fully restored after shelling, and the people do not believe that the attack was performed by Russian-backed militants
17:16, 28 January 2016

The granite headstone and brief words "In memory of civilians who were killed January 24, 2015 during the terrorists shelling of Vostochnyi district," - today it reminds of one of the worst tragedies in the history of Mariupol, Donetsk region.

112 Agency

Now it looks different: glazed windows, restored houses (those which could be restored), and remains of cars and kiosks. District continues to live, occasionally wincing from accidentally "shot" of the exhaust pipe of a vehicle. Wounds are soothing, time heals, but the fear seems to embrace every house.

Related: Three civilians killed, another six hurt in terror attack near Mariupol

100 million for restoration

More than 200 buildings have been damaged by fire on January 24. They have been under reconstruction during the whole year. Unforgivable long year! The state machine has demonstrated all its clumsiness and inability. Indefinite money allocation procedures, long decision-making processes, long approval of reconstruction projects... Building materials were disappearing, the money were stolen, the aid often went to the wrong accounts. Someone did not wait for all those cash compensation and tried to repair his house by himself. Someone wrote complaints, someone went to the dump to collect there the old bricks and boards to repair the house.

Now there are houses affected by a direct hit, and they are still not restored. The stairs are reestablished (at the very end of 2015), but there is no railing. In general, there are many problems. Nevertheless, the main body of work is still dealt, spending a huge sum for Mariupol - about 4 mln USD. It is interesting that since the first evaluation of the damage caused by the terrorist attack the amount has increased of exactly 10 times.

At the anniversary of the tragedy, the authorities decided to reward those who have dispensed the money. The list of the recipients consisted mostly of the city hall - housing department managers and metallurgists, doctors, rescue workers of emergency services. The rector of St. Vladimir Church, who May 11 was calling everyone for the illegal separatist referendum, was also awarded. The one who asked the tent camp for survivors to be moved from the temple to another place. He has not forgotten by the mayor's office.

We also would like to remember those who was no included into the list.

None of the volunteer got awards from the mayor. Although volunteers were first who arrived at the scene of the tragedy. The volunteers with no orders and instructions have bought the needed things for their money and started to glass windows, take out the garbage, put up tents, warm people. While state emergency service sought first field kitchens, and then the cook, who could cook and feed the homeless people, Armenian society has brought their kitchens and their cooks and at least three days at their own expense had fed the people three times a day.

Related: Militants send prohibited armaments to Mariupol

Social workers, which gave clothing, blankets, resettled victims and did not actually leave the territory of the disaster are not included in the list. As well as psychologists. They lacked. It was especially hard on the third day after the tragedy. The director of social services for children, families and young people Ulyana Tokareva said then that many only on the third day after the tragedy began to emerge from a state of shock. Before that, they were as in suspended animation. Psychologists worked in the neighborhood, in hospitals, with the victims and relatives of the wounded and the dead.

Probably, it is really difficult to remember all those who ran to help in those days. Especially because some people did it not for gratitude, but because it simply could not be different. But then, perhaps, it would be logical not to award anyone.

Who was shooting?

Paradoxically, but this question is still possible to hear in Mariupol. In spite of the clear conclusion of the OSCE mission, despite the fact that today is known about who gave the order to open fire and who was a gunner, an examination of unexploded showed the marking of Russian Armed Forces. Despite the fact that every resident of the neighborhood with his own eyes saw the sleeve of the projectile, like a compass needle pointing to the east - in spite of all this, there are people who do not want to believe that their houses were shelled by Russian-backed militants. Because for these people to believe means completely destroy the central axis of his world and recognize that all of what they believed is false.

Therefore, they continue to believe in the fantastic versions of shells, which miraculously turned in the opposite direction during the fall, into thermal energy highways, which lies under the ground, which affected the flight of BM-21, in the soldiers who dug shells and shifted them to the opposite side, that no one could think of anything bad about the Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

These myths are partly supported by those who represents the city authorities.

The new mayor of Mariupol is now making every effort to move away from a direct answer to a simple question: who is fighting Ukraine, whether Russia is an aggressor. Vadym Boychenko beats around the bush, using euphemisms and comparisons, analogies and metaphors, he says he supports the official position adopted by the Verkhovna Rada and the government on the issue.

Related: 14 attacks on the positions of Ukrainian forces in Donetsk, Artemivsk and Mariupol areas - ATO press center

He also cleverly bypassed the acute question at the rally-requiem of memory of the tragedy: of course, the shelling of Mariupol was a terrorist attack. But let the law enforcement identify those who committed it.

"As a resident of the city I am confident that it is an act of terrorism directed against the citizens of Mariupol. I saw with my own eyes the horror that took place. I've been here from the very first hour. And no other way you can not call," said Boychenko, Weighed a deep reverence for those who want to continue to be in a world of his illusions.

Neither peace nor war

Today Mariupol is frozen "in between". Between the firing line and the defense lines between the checkpoints and crossing points. Between the peaceful, quiet and not a military life in Ukraine and a large line of contact with the occupied territories, embraced the fear and uncertainty.

Every day, the city receives the news from the front. The shelling of suburban settlements did not stop, as well as provocations at the demarcation line. Short truce could not deceive anybody: the peace in the "Mariupol" sector means peace in Donbas.

Related: Mariupol and Donetsk areas extensively destructed after armed clashes

In this uncertain situation, the position of the new authorities of Mariupol seems dangerous. Some members of the volunteer movement in the occupied Donetsk began to speak out on social networks the idea about granting special status to some areas with the center of Donetsk.

According to the announced plans, Mariupol is in these areas too. According to the activist, working closely with Rinat Akhmetov's Foundation, the position of the special status coincides with the position of the main "wallet" of Donbas, and it does not promise anything good for Mariupol.

The situation is exacerbated by the mist from Kyiv in this matter. To date, the sector "Mariupol" do not understand what was agreed in Minsk, what a special status means, and whether there is a secret agreement between Putin and Poroshenko concerning Donbas.

It creates rumors, instability, and worrying. And the city lives in this state of anxiety for the past year.

Related: EU condemns the escalation of the conflict near Mariupol, Donetsk region

Related: Local election in Mariupol, Donetsk region, could be canceled

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