The lives of people in many parts of the destroyed Donbas now rests exclusively on the humanitarian volunteers from Russia and Ukraine, whose total number can reach several thousand people. In the press write about them much less than war volunteers on both sides of the conflict. VZGLYAD talked to volunteers to learn what motivates them and what lives now Donbass.
Given the events in the East of Ukraine first Association with the word “volunteer” – anyone who took up arms and went to war. The attitude towards such people on the part of society an enthusiastic, part – definitely negative. There is one more category of volunteers, the volunteers – those who do not participate in the fighting, and helps the victims – the civilian population. But the attitude to them is ambiguous: some are simply not able to put in your head that someone can spend their resources, time, energy, money to help others without apparent benefit. Like, if someone collects money to someone for treatment, half will leave “normal people” would do, not free to move.
“Social security in many areas of Donbass held only on the volunteers, those who come in DND and LNR with humanitarian aid delivers the products, heals, repairs, builds”
That is why in the Network of frequent statements that the Russian volunteers (I mean volunteers) in the Donbass is not and can not be – or money paid or made, the third is not given. Among those for whom someone else’s misfortune – like a red light bulb in my head, a lot. And whenever possible, they try to help, not thinking about the benefits for yourself. About his experience of volunteering in the Donbass, the newspaper VIEW tell two Muscovite who visited the Donetsk and Luhansk regions during the counterterrorist operation”.
Cyril 31 years, he worked as a medical volunteer in the Luhansk region from April to July 2014. According to him, in the Donbass, he led the desperate understanding that “our beat”. “First of all this Ukrainian story seemed ridiculous, but after a certain number of corpses – not really. Somehow very clear and scary that time was seen as the prospect that this whole circus freaks (I mean the Ukrainian “ATO”) perelistnut the border and will result in Russia. In the Belgorod, the Voronezh region (I, by the way, there are a lot of relatives). Fortunate that this did not happen. The decision was not taken immediately. No, for me it was not a question of whether to go there at all: the question was, whom to go. I served in the army, then engaged in shooting, martial arts – combat training is good. Could go to help to kill. Honestly, such thoughts were. But in the end chose to help to treat. I think I chose correctly,” he says.
OPINION: it Is believed that to commit such an act is possible only if you do not have enough adrenaline. This is not the case?
Cyril: I’ve seen a lot of people, mostly from Kiev, which went to “become cool characters” or “feel the adrenaline”. People young and silly. When I started these conversations, I always had them give a short answer: “Moron, you’re adrenaline is not enough? Come here, I’m a full syringe intramuscularly racked! Will go home satisfied.” I myself served in the army, back when there was, so to speak, the conflict in Chechnya. I well understand what “war” and what “can kill”. No need to go to war, guided by such childish, stupid, petty reasons. Really kill, then my mother all my life will cry. Unfortunately, a lot of people in Ukraine still do not understand.
LOOK: You helped with travel, material support?
K.: That is, pay me for my services Russian Voentorg”? (laughs) No, she wasn’t. Well at least the Russian guards were very understanding, didn’t ask questions. Once the military gave its frequency to the radio we could hear where and when the expected attack. For this they thank you. His “kit” (it’s a medical discharge with a fully Packed pockets and a healthy bag all together weigh more than 30 kg), I always replenish itself. Equipment is also bought. Helmet and boots (excellent, by the way) gave the guys from the militia, and they, in turn, sent from somewhere in Krasnodar. In General, funny and touching: the people (militia, just residents) are constantly peddling some small things: from food and surgical gloves to socks. He could, as they say.
OPINION: What was the hardest thing for you in your work?
K.: I said that he had seen what war is. In that little part of the Donbass, where I worked as a medic, was not a war, and God knows what else. Who comes, who retreats, where your, where your, where to now will shoot, why… Most of the time there was a feeling that shooting anywhere all and in all. A lot of misunderstanding and confusion. This is really scary because it increases the number of bad, unnecessary casualties. I had mobile Internet, which I sometimes used, been in touch with friends. They wrote to me: here Ukrainians say that in your neighborhood so-and-so. Russian media and in information another. And you are the third, and it is unclear how it actually is.
According to Cyril, he still hates city dumps, destroyed houses and vacant lots. Even when just walking around Moscow and sees something, starts to scroll in the head like out to pull the wounded and where to crawl, if a fire will be covered. “But the most terrible is, of course, women and children. Wounded, killed women and children. It was the case, Shutova (imposed medical tourniquet to stop the bleeding – approx. OPINION) and tied four-year-old girl who was hit with shrapnel mines and glass. Fortunately, nothing fatal, but when you see this, just drop bracket. I want to go and kill the one who did it,” he admits.
Another volunteer-the volunteer Dmitry, the motives were somewhat different. He’s 34, since March 2014 he has been in Donbass as a war correspondent and the accompanying humanitarian goods. So initially his reason for the war was due to business need. Attended and personal motive – to figure out who is right and who is wrong, who black, who white, who is a monster, who are the terrorists? It was somewhat naive desire to “finally give people an honest description of what is happening there”. “I have quite quickly understood, that if anyone in this war and the beast, it is definitely not the militia. And I as tried to remain objective, have chosen their side. And once that happened, I realized that just writing about the Donbass – is not enough. As soon as I saw with my own eyes how terribly broken the lives of thousands of people, I became involved in their lives. Either they need help, or I quietly can not sleep,” he says.
Now Dmitry raises funds through social networks on targeted assistance – drugs, Christmas gifts, clothing and the like. Before donors always report exactly where the money went, provides pictures. Humanitarian goods across the border carries himself – like the fact that we managed to collect myself and trusting other volunteers and community organizations. “Crust of the journalist and the fact that my face has become familiar, help: I can bring relief even in the hottest point. In Izvarino I seem like a native,” – says the volunteer.
LOOK: you’ve never worked as a war correspondent. Be honest: scared?
Dmitry: of Course, terrible. Even the professional military is scary. Another issue is that to the shelling, for example, get used to it. Residents of Donetsk are accustomed to thinking of them already as some kind of weather phenomenon. It is possible for the hearing to even attempt to distinguish that shoots. This is Mina, she howls. This howitzer, that way it is hard hoots. And here is the volley of “Grad” or even “Hurricane”. I was in such settlements, in such areas, where long ago there is no concept of “silence”. There is no “shoot at us” and “not shoot at us.” Every sound is someone’s possible death. My colleague, friend the journalist from Vladivostok, whom we accidentally met in Donetsk, said that someone local had told him before the New year: when the fire starts, the whole family gather in one room. If we kill, then to all at once.
OPINION: Many in the Donbas volunteers like you?
D.: Full. During my visits, I wound up friends from all over Russia and not only. Once in Alchevsk saw that Italian. He approached me not in English, but in Italian, I don’t know why. Of course, I did not understand it: solid “tweet” and waving his hands. And then some broken English conversation. He explained to me that I decided to go here after six years ago, I went to Odessa to learn to share. Repeated several times something like: “sitting In Kiev, crazy! Can’t do that.” And I totally agree with him: wrong. If we are through half of Europe to the Ukraine people who understand it, the authorities in Kiev, who do not understand, really crazy.
The interlocutor of the newspaper VIEW emphasizes social security in many areas of Donbass held only on the volunteers, those who come in DND and LNR with humanitarian aid delivers the products, heals, repairs, builds. Massive amounts of aid coming from the South of Russia, many from Moscow, from the Urals. A lot of volunteers from Ukraine. “Not everyone in this country under the roof of the militaristic angle went, very happy”, – says Dmitry. In his opinion, the extent of volunteering from ordinary people is now comparable to what it was after the earthquake in Armenia. “Young people do certainly not remember, but who does not remember that googling. Only there were the consequences of the natural disaster, and here we have the whole world forced to face the consequences of human greed, cruelty and stupidity”, he concluded.
The total number of Russian volunteers, who is now in the Donbass unpaid social work and charity, is impossible to determine. According to some, their number can reach several thousand. This, of course, not counting those engaged in the collection and coordination assistance to cities destroyed by the war exclusively on the Internet. People do it not in spite of “svidomo Ukraine”, but simply because they are human beings.
There would be more. In Russia and Ukraine. Perhaps, then, the war would have been avoided.