Note: this is the first article sent to my by the Saker Community representative in Novorussia, Dagmar Henn, from the German Saker Blog. Dagmar has had a tough trip, with very little opportunity to write and only sporadic and slow Internet connections (this is, after all, a war zone). I hope that this will be a first of a series of eyewitness reports by Dagmar about the reality of life in Novorussia today.
by Dagmar Henn
We stop in front of a burnt-out church. This is Petrovsky, one of the areas most affected by Ukrainian shelling. The destruction seems completely accidental, a shelling lottery that left ruins between untouched, immaculate buildings. This is a suburb with small single-floor houses built with red bricks, surrounded by green metal fences, squeezed between mines, factories and railroads. The whole landscape is dominated by the artificial hills, left by a century of mining, that still show their raw stoney faces.
This building was built in the 19th century as an administrative building, tells Alexandr Kolesnik, a member of the Novorosian parliament, later turned into a school and eventually transformed into a church, during perestroika. All the women in our group cover their heads. Stanislawska, one of our guards, rushes to the Turkish photographer to ask for the neckerchief around his neck, when she notices [deleted ‘that’] I don’t have anything on me that could be used as concealment, so I end up entering the place with his grey, cotton scarf over my hair. What once was the central room, is now an open ruin. Black marks slide down from the gawping holes that used to be windows, and the smell of burnt wood lingers in the air, even though the fire died down weeks ago. The roof of the entrance still exists, only now as a ceiling of charcoal. This is Donetsk’s tiny version, of Coventry cathedral.
A small room, behind the former sanctuary, still remains somewhat intact, and a tightly packed community is attending a service there. The area was shelled, without interruption, for a whole day, I am told, and when the church got hit, there were people inside, but luckily they managed to escape and nobody got killed.
There’s a yard behind the church, guarded by two chained dogs that loudly bark their protest against our intrusion; there’s a well in the yard and a few beds for vegetables too. In between a table, with a collection of metal tubes, the leftover of the shells that destroyed the church; is this Grad? No, this is not Grad, this is Uragan. Uragan shells are larger than Grad ones…
We continue our trip.
Between shrubs, small houses and a hill of mine spoils, a tiny hut reveals itself as the entrance to an old Soviet bomb shelter. I have never before entered one. As we walk down the concrete stairs, I think of my mother. When I was small, she tried to make me fold my clothes orderly after undressing, by telling me how useful it is, if you need to dress fast in the darkness of night, in case of a bomb alarm. I never wanted to fold my clothes, because I didn’t want to cause a war…
Behind two heavy white steel doors, starts a subterranean world full of beds, blankets, heaps of personal belongings and – people. Two girls with blond curls show up; the elder sister carries the younger in her arms; the little girl wears a pink dress and a silver crown and is presented as princess…
People cook there on tiny electrical cookers on the concrete floor, just a few meters from the next bed, directly below a picture depicting the structure of long gone Soviet defence. The top of the walls in the first hall are decorated with a fading frieze of the glorious Soviet army, which gives the whole place the atmosphere of a desecrated shrine of the past, invaded by inhabitants of the present. It’s a special form of cynicism that one of these once proudly coloured images shows a Grad rocket launcher, exactly the type of armoury they had to seek shelter from.
In the next room, the frieze is dedicated to the enemy forces, black-and-white sketches of Pershing rockets and Tornado jets; in the corner below, a small baldachin forms a tiny personal space filled with teddy bears and relics of humanitarian Christmas presents.
Some of those people have lived there since last year summer. Some of them don’t dare to leave the shelter; they smuggle other life in there, in the form of a parrot, a pigeon and a dog, that share their hidden habitation. It’s too far off from the town center for them, to reach the spots where humanitarian assistance is delivered, so their whole existence depends on volunteer deliveries, some of which are transformed into freshly made dumplings on a wooden table, with a direct view upon the sleeping man and the organigram of Soviet defences.
This was constructed as a nuclear shelter, so there is water, electricity and fresh air, though it smells moldy; a relative luxury compared to other shelters, which are actually just ordinary cellars, lacking all infrastructure for a longer inhabitation.
When she heard last summer that the Donetsk People’s Republic was preparing bomb shelters, Olga, my interpreter, thought it was ridiculous. Most of the shelters proved unusable; they had been connected with factories and mines, so the new owners stuffed them with something else or neglected maintenance, and some of them became the victims of shut-downs and bankruptcies. Still, who could seriously expect a fratricidal war turning the Soviet armoury against the people it was once built to protect?
Here nobody wants to talk to us. The member of the Novorussian parliament who accompanies us, gets targeted by the rant of an old miner, fragmentally translated by Olga, who probably censored out the curses. They just tell lies anyway. We don’t want to speak with them. While he delivers his anger, a middle-aged woman with a beautiful hairdo and make-up, pets the pigeon bound to one of the tubes, running through the second hall. It’s the skin of his hands, which betrays his former profession.
When we walk out of the shelter, the two girls sit silently beside each other, on one of the wooden benches.
It’s late afternoon when we arrive at the stadium of Donetsk. The recently landed UFO, with its glass facade, got scratched, but not heavily damaged through the hostilities. The sports heroes shown on the enormous banners decorating it, are long gone; the club moved to Western Ukraine, probably because it’s owner didn’t want to lose the chance to participate in the Champions league, even though it means that the fans from its home town, have to cross into now enemy territory to assist. The shiny stadium remains an empty shell, surrounded by the elaborate system of cages and fences the UEFA nobles use to control a wild proletarian mob.
It’s illuminated at night, says Olga, it’s beautiful, it looks like a diamond. I can’t confirm that; there’s still a curfew at night in Donetsk, so the only strangers able to see that, are the ones residing in the flashy new hotel towers, nearby.
Besides the stadium, is a monument for the Great Patriotic War, a late version from the 1980s, a black triangular construction with two big statues of a soldier and a miner; on the platform in front of it, tanks, anti-aircraft-guns and other WWII armoury. Stanislawka, the former florist, climbs an ancient APC and asks for a photo. The space next to it is empty; nobody knows whether the missing object was removed for a repaint in preparation for the approaching anniversary of Victory day or whether it was put back into service, as it happened to others of these monuments. Couples come here after their wedding, tells Olga, it’s tradition, to honour their ancestors, who fought to defeat fascism; how could we ever accept our history to be rewritten? How could we ever accept a Bandera rule?
Thanks Dagmar for this evocative commentary. I look forward to reading the next instalment.
Dear Dagmar, you would be kind by transmitting warm greetings to some people there from another West… Thanks !
Are there any specific reasons why (some?) people where you were are angry with their “representatives”, or is it just “ordinary” tensions between “the people” and “the power”?
No, it´s got nothing to do with “the people” and “the power”. Perhaps I should write it more clearly… that guy was angry at us, at the position the western media take, not at “the power”.
I understood your point. I appreciate all the detail and your prose style. Thank you for sharing your experience.
Thanks very much for the pains taken to write this essay. What’s being done there for amusement nowadays? Do the people still have a sense of community or is there more of an “I only care about myself” attitude?
From the channel “Донбасс News” (Donbass News) ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkLXMdCNcrQ_FQAc0aCsBog ):
People of Odessa meet Poroshenko with cries “Murderer” and “Fascism will not pass”!!!
fifty of them were later imprisoned and 10 of them charged for some imaginary crimes that could land them up to 10 years in prison.
Do you have links for them being arrested? there were no arrests filmed, and 3 days would be fast work for SBU to lay charges. Much appreciated, if you have something, even from VK or other social media sources.
Just a note, in the title of the article, it’s spelled “Desecrated”, only one “a” in the word, not two.
Thank you so much. I was unable to visit the two republics. I am so glad you did and I see you as my representative. Alles gute, Dagmar, alles gute, all the best.
Very thought-provoking and apt for this day.
Thank you Dagmar. Please convey our deepest admiration and sympathy for the people you are writing about.
We will all disseminate your reports as widely as we can.
A little off topic but tangentially very relevant and an example of how humour is often the most powerful communicator of truth. ‘Many a true word is spoken in jest’, as the saying goes:
Britain’s Quest for a “Manly Man” Like Putin
“Vladimir Putin’s armies did not roll across the steppe, crushing Lithuania, Poland, and the east of Germany beneath tank treads. A region that has always been Russian turned homeward, and an installed government in Kiev began bombing and shelling its own citizens to death in Donass, just a few kilometers from Mother Russia. All the facts will never be in on this calamity, to be sure, but for Russians (and anyone of reason) the west has been on the offensive all along”
” I’d suggest voting a fuzzy and dark tanned Welch (archaic for Welsh) man in, or a Scot, anyone simply able to extend a sturdy hand to agree on a dissolution of hostilities – a reboot of dastardly dealing. Make me King for a day, and the whole affair will disappear overnight; it’s simply not so hard. Oh, and guess what, you rich pompous asses out there convinced war is the only way? You can still rake in billions doing good stuff. ”
Thank you for sending this insight into life in the Donbass. Please take care and I look forward to the next installment.
Thank you very much for the story Dagmar, very evocative.
I look forward to the next installment.
This woman who accompanies you, Stanislavka, is the same florist who had become militia and whose video we saw here a few months ago? If she is, I’m so glad she is well!
Dagmar, if possible, could you please ask the representative of the government of Novorossiya how is the health situation there and if they need staff?
Thank you very much.
Take care of you. A hug.
More useful than arguing with Poles.
However warzones are warzones.
Stanislava is well and married now with a Chechen volunteer. You can see her in this video report from Donetsk and Lugansk. Also some other things Dagmar described, a ruined church, people living in an old underground Soviet shelter.
This report was recorded about a month ago. It shows the conditions for civilians in Novorussia but also explains the political situation surprisingly good for a MSM.
If you speak Russian you might want to watch it because all statements are in their respective languages (refuges in Russia, civilians in Lugansk, Donetsk, MP of Lugansk, foreign minister of Lugansk, militia, volunteers). A few are in English and Serbian.
Thanks a lot, Helene. A big hug for you all and also for Stanislava and her new husband. Wish them the best.
Thank you Dagmar. This could not be easy for you.
Please be careful and take good care of yourself.
I come from another west too!
My family during WWII fought against the Nazi, even if I was not born during the war, I was told about the cruelty, the medieval kind of brutality of the SS. While for you it is difficult to accept a Banderas regime on your land, for me it is very traumatic to discover that nations, I thought were the bastions of “democracy and freedom”, instead have been nurturing the same Nazi scum.
I too feel trapped, but contrary to you I have not yet found a proper way to fight, not a group within or with whom to take a stand; here all is based on “political correctness, nobody talks about real things, difficult to trust anybody, even in the family people have different political ideas. And whom to vote for? I get information from the Saker.is, Fort Russ, RT, but not from local newspapers, we are living behind the iron curtain!
Dagmar, you are a very brave woman. Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to go to a very dangerous zone and share your impressions with us. I join the previous commenters in asking you to please convey a very warm greeting on our behalf, we are aware of the dire situation they are living in and we keep them in our thoughts and prayers. Please take extra care of yourself. All the best from Mexico.
thank you dagmar. we send you love.
Thank you for your excellent work.
I’m sorry that the rest of this post is off – topic but I didn’t know where else to post it.
In the words of Niall Bradley at Sott.net :
“I’ve just watched an excellent 1943 documentary by Oscar Award-winning director Frank Capra, and produced by the US government. It’s a rare thing to behold: an accurate – in fact, a rather glowing – portrayal of Russia and its historical role as shock absorber to invading hordes. The film was recently uploaded to the YouTube channel of the US National Archives but, as far as I can make out, has been publicly available since 2011.
While the bulk of the film uses contemporary footage collected by US Army Intelligence during the war to capture the horror, scale and intensity of the Nazi invasion of Russia, and how the Russians ultimately defeated the Nazis through brilliant strategy and sheer force of will, the first part also goes into some historical context about previous invasions of Russia, as well as important geographical detail about the nature of ‘Russia’.”
This fascinating 90 minute film can be found here:
I am a 64 year old Canadian who was fairly well educated about WW II but this is, after all, a US propaganda movie so if anyone could verify the historical facts shown I would be interested to hear from you.
Easter bombardment over 1000 explosions in Donetsk, advances toward the God-forsaken airport, killing journalists, hitting the hospital.
The godless scum of Kiev deliver the money’s worth for the satanic hegemon paying for the war and ethnic cleansing.
When this ends, years from now, I predict, the Kiev regime will be considered one of the worst killer regimes in modern history.
Dagmar Henn, thanks for the write-up. Stay safe.
Guess what, the Saxon self-propelled coffins the orcs bought are up for sale :D
Mysterious Ukrainian Company Sells NATO Equipment
VT Group is a Ukrainian company with a unique offer — the possibility of acquiring and operating special engineering machinery as well as various types of NATO equipment.
The company’s catalog demonstrates that they are capable of supplying almost every type of construction machinery, as well as airplanes, helicopters, airport equipment, ships, rescue and fire fighting vehicles. In addition to sales, the company provides rental services and rents out its vehicles and machines.
A screenshot of VT Group’s website – note bottom left vehicle
The Nuland-Kagan plan to sink Minsk-2 – Here‘s what Robert Parry, the American investigative journalist who broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek, has to tell us about the Robert Kagan-Victoria-Nuland couple and their hold on Obama, whose foreign policy seems to be outsourced to these two Washington ideologue-opportunists.
According to Parry, the couple’s latest project is to sink Minsk-2 and lay the ground for further U.S. military-industrial-complex profiteering at the expense of the EU, of the U.S. national security itself, and of peace in Europe –
Read more here:http://offguardian.org/2015/04/12/the-nuland-kagan-plan-to-sink-minsk-2/
Putin is going ahead with S300 missile defense for Iran. This helps break the sanctions regime on Iran, and screws the Israeli wet dream of bombing Iran.
Sale of S400’s to China is moving ahead. China needs this to hold off US and Japan air power and missile threats.
Russian technology crucial for defense of sovereign nations.
I’m curious about how the militia live, After their rotation, do they have warm homes to go to? Do they have barracks? Do they live in bombed out apartment blocks and houses like squatters? Do they have cafeterias to go to?
All of our prayers go out to these heros. We would feel better if we knew that they were well taken care of and had enough to eat and a warm place to sleep. God bless all Yukranians.