I, too, am a writer, a writer of short stories. Your talent as a writer, as exemplified by your piece published in English on the Saker blog, is already far beyond mine. I have been “following” the war since its inception in 2014, primarily although not exclusively on the Vineyard of the Saker. I can assure you, that despite the fact that the elites who rule over us are the primary agents of the war which now defines your reality, millions of us Americans are on your side. The only real weapon which we have is prayer. In addition, on a personal level, among family, friends and acquaintances, I challenge, using what I have come to know, the misconceptions about the war in the Donbass and the people there.
I look forward, from afar in Louisiana in what was once America, to reading more of your work and “watching,” again from afar, you grow as a person. You will have much to teach us.
It is my prayer for you and for your people that you know His peace which is not the peace of this world.
May your life and your work be blessed!
Robert M. Peters
Thank you for your kind words, they help in such a difficult situation not to despair and to believe in the best. And thank you for trying to tell the truth. It is very important for Donbass residents because it gives hope for the long-awaited peace.
I wish you creative success and inspiration!
How do you respond to those you say that those of you in the eastern provinces are merely rebels or disloyal separatists controlled by Putin? What is your sense of your own ethnic identity, and do you think the eastern provinces should become independent states?
Although such a statement is unpleasant, I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If you can explain something and convince them of what you are saying, fine, but if not, that’s no reason to hate the person. Many people, unfortunately, do not know what is happening in the Donbass.
I consider myself Russian, however, one of my great-grandmothers is Ukrainian, originally from Vinnitsa Region.
I am afraid that after so many years of war, it is simply impossible for the Donbass territory to be part of Ukraine. And it is not even about national identity or ideological beliefs. Too many people have died in that time, and I doubt that the relatives of the dead will be able to live side by side with those who killed their loved ones. So yes, independence is the only option, in my opinion, to end the war and prevent further loss of life. Besides, over the years Ukraine and I have become strangers to each other anyway.
Your voice, through your words, has carried all the way to where I live in Australia. So, as you can see, sincere and heartfelt words such as yours can travel to the end of the earth. And at the end of such a long journey, they can find a home in a corner of another person’s heart.
I have a daughter who, throughout her childhood and teenage years, loved nothing more than performing in plays, musicals and dances. So my question to you is: do the children of Novorussiya today have the opportunity to experience such joys? Is the magic of make-believe there for them still or is that not possible at present?
Of course I read your words in translation (I don’t speak Russian). But even so, I was struck by their simple and honest directness. It is a gift to be able to use words in such a way and you are putting your gift to good use.
I will pray for your safety and well-being, and that of your family, friends and community. And I will hope fervently for better days to come for you all.
Thank you for your words. Please keep writing. I’m sure you will.
Thank you for your words of support! It was unexpected that my words would resonate across the globe.
A lot depends on how far from the demarcation line a locality is and how big it is. Big cities have theaters and theatrical studios for children and there are also children’s dance groups. In small villages, especially if there is shelling, there are no such studios.
It has been mentioned that one of the “win-win” solutions to the war for Russia would be to simply move all the population of NoviRussia and settle them elsewhere in Russia, as Russia needs people and it would mean an end to the war for the population. While theoretically good on paper, it does not take into account the cultural and psychological issues surrounding the loss of connection to your homeland and such things. What are your views on this “solution”?
Yes, you are right, this solution looks good only on paper. I don’t know what the cultural peculiarities of the USA are, but here many people are attached to their “small” homeland (cities, villages). It is not said for nothing that the homeland is where one’s home is and where one’s ancestors are buried. Therefore, such a solution will leave the inhabitants of Donbass feeling that they have been forcibly deprived of their homeland and home. Although the war will be over for them, they may still feel abandoned and unwanted, and they will forever be forced fugitives for themselves.
Thank you for offering to tell the story of Novorussia. There is so little information on what is happening, and also what is life like in the independent republics.
You can search the internet high and low, and not find any information on daily life. The daily tally of rockets and shells becomes a blur that goes in one ear and out the other after a while.
What I would really like to find is a running story (with pictures!) of what life is like in the republics. What are the schools like? How do people earn a living? What sports are played? What are the international relations like? Do the people visit to Ukraine or Russia easily? Or is it difficult? Are there transit buses in the cities? Do people get married and have children? Do the people play music? Are there farms that grow vegetables and chickens?
As you can see, we know nothing and it appears that the republics don’t even exist. There is nothing on Wikipedia. Nothing on Facebook. If there is something out there, we don’t know how to find it. So please tell us more!
Thank you for your questions! They will be a stimulus to show our everyday life and turn the people of Donbass from impersonal news characters into real, live people. I think your questions deserve a separate detailed article, not a cursory account. For now, I can say that life in settlements not subject to shelling is, in general, quite normal: schools, museums, theaters, some businesses and shops are operating. State institutions in the Lugansk People’s Republic are functioning, where you can resolve various issues: obtaining documents or, for example, registering a marriage. However, there are, of course, a number of nuances. Because we are an unrecognized republic, local enterprises do not have a normal sales market, which has a negative impact on production volumes and the number of workplaces. Because of this, the banking system only works within the republic, and I can only buy things with a payment card in local shops. Coronavirus is now making its own adjustments in everyday life. All in all, these issues are really worthy of a big article, where I’ll be able to post pictures and give details soon. Thanks again for the topic and inspiration for the next paper.
Excellent expression of your life under duress, Faina.
What might an individual in the west do to help you and others?
Thank you. I think the most important thing that people in the west can do is to form their own opinion about what is happening in the Donbass, based on information from both sides, and explain their point of view to others. All the horrors happening here because of Ukrainian troops are possible because the world does not fully know about the events in Donbass and therefore does not condemn Ukraine’s actions.
Just wanted to welcome you, as someone from the Saker’s community of readers. I have a number of questions, and would be happy to have your response to any one of these that might interest you (that is, if any do).
As a Canadian, and from the same province as Chrystia Freeland, I find myself extremely displeased with Canada’s role in Ukraine, and our apparent indifference to if not support of neo-Nazi elements there. As you may know there have been significant tensions between English and French regions of Canada, though neither side has fired a shot against the other in over a 100 years. The idea that Canada would want to support the attack of one linguistic / cultural region on another is quite shocking.
But I promised you questions!
1. Prior to Maidan I am imagining there might have been at least a small minority culturally associated with Western Ukraine in the Donbass. What were relations like between the two communities before Maidan?
2. Do many of those people remain in the LPR / DPR today, essentially being fired upon by the Ukrainian forces?
3. Among the Russian speakers in the LPR / DPR, do you have a sense of what proportion might want independence, and what proportion might prefer the Crimean solution of unification with the Russian Federation?
4. Is there a significant proportion of the Donbass population that thinks Russia should be doing more?
5. Is there a significant proportion that would favor Russian military action to take control of Ukraine to the Dneiper, and perhaps Odessa?
Thanks for giving these some thought.
Wishing you health and safety, happiness and fulfillment.
I understand your concerns and believe that a situation like ours will never happen in Canada.
1. Historically, the Donbass has always been a multicultural region. Before Maidan, everyone managed to coexist peacefully with each other because no one imposed their opinion or demanded that others live by the rules of any one community. Before the nationalists came to power, when they actively imposed an alien ideology on us, communities in the Donbass interacted normally. Moreover, my great-grandmother on my grandmother’s side came from Vinnitsa region, which is in Central Ukraine, and my grandfather’s parents came from Russia, and no one ever had the slightest idea of quarreling over background or beliefs. Even now in Lugansk you can hear a mixture of Ukrainian and Russian, because in small towns and villages many people speak only this mixture of languages.
2. This is a rather complicated issue simply because the differences are not more about national identity or language, but about ideology. Most of those who supported Ukrainian nationalism are now in Ukraine and those who stayed have changed their beliefs. At least from those I know.
3. I think many people want unification with the Russian Federation, as it would solve a number of problems. However, this is just my speculation and I don’t have any data on this.
4. Yes, many would like Russia to do more. But we also understand that there are issues that require some time and effort, and not only from Russia.
5. I think if there are such assumptions, they are just idle talk. We are defending our homeland, our homes. And Dnipro, Odessa… Well, I don’t know. They are too far from our homes to make their own rules there. Residents of these regions should decide for themselves what they want and only then move in the direction they want.
Hello Faina, welcome to Saker land.
From outside, the conflict in the Donbass seems like a classic “frozen” conflict – stuck in the third of what seem like the three fundamental choices available here
- Ukraine (and subsequently the other parties) fulfill their obligations under Minsk 2 – best but unlikely
- Ukraine attempts to forcibly recapture Novorossia, very bad things happen
- Frozen conflict like it is today out to in definite future
In your view, is this broadly correct, horribly wrong or what?
Thanks in advance,
Sorry, I’m not sure I understood the question correctly. As you wrote, Ukraine’s implementation of the Minsk agreements is improbable. So for me personally a frozen conflict, despite all the difficulties, is the most acceptable. Of course, there is nothing good in it, but regions with such “frozen” conflicts eventually learn to survive and function relatively normally in the current conditions.
Faina, do you know that I live in Boise Idaho, America which is 5,910 miles or 9,511 kilometers from you, and do you know that I too sometimes see too much, feel too much, and know too much while trying to put it all on the page to connect heart to heart and spirit to spirit to the readers? Also, how well do you know that with matters of the heart, there is no time and distance? Do you know that many people from all over the world will have strong feelings of kinship with you and send their powerful love?
Grandpa Ken, 76 years strong and forever young. Keep writing. Keep the fires of faith burning. We love you
Hello Grandpa Ken
Thank you so much for your kind words. Unfortunately, I’m not old enough to fully experience it all, but thanks to you I now know.
I’m from Germany, an avid reader of the Saker blog and was very moved by your words. It is very disturbing that many people around me cannot or don’t want understand the situation of your life. No wonder, since your situation is not reported here. Everything is distraction and indoctrination. Reality in the modern world is created, framed and sold by the media (as is the panic around the virus).
I will spread your wonderful words with the German translation on my little website. https://www.theblogcat.de/
(and big thanks to translator Scott!)
Thank you for your help in trying to bring out the truth. We will definitely make it work. I believe so!
I admire you for your courage and confidence despite the hard circumstances you have to live in. And I admire you for your talent, using it to cope with the experiences and to let other people not only know but feel, what it means to live your allday life.
You say you have not known peace and how it feels, so my question is, how do you envision a time without war for yourself?
I wish for you that this time may come soon and that you will have the chance to learn about a life without having to listen for the direction of a grenade. I know, that what you have lived through will always be in your bones, but you can add the good things too to balance. And you are doing good things already, not only for you, but also for others in telling your stories, which have to be told and listened to. And do by all means not stop dreaming your dream and having hope.
Your thoughts and wishes do also form the world which is why Buddha said:
It is your mind, that creates the world!
And you are doing it already and not only for yourself but you plant little thoughts of peace in
other peoples mind too :)
Wishing you all the best.
Britta from Switzerland
Thank you for your support! Life without war for me is a life in which the day does not begin with reports of the number of shelling in the past 24 hours or of the dead and wounded as a result of that shelling. Just a sunny day filled with chirping birds. You know, we have several areas where plants listed in the Red Book grow in natural conditions. I didn’t manage to visit them before the war and now I’m not sure they are safe and there are no unexploded shells or mines. So, a life without war is when you can go to such nature reserves and admire rare flowers. Little things without which the world doesn’t seem complete. But, in fact, the good things in my life are: the people close to me who give me hope and joy even in the hardest of times.
Many haircuts ago, I just happened to create a seniors’, cross-Canada, internet forum, now defunct for reasons of mortality. While it lasted, it was a great idea for personal, street-people interchange. But over the following years, I have realized that this sort of pleb-to-pleb communication, vital as it was and is, was being and is being, taken away from us. For reasons that need no discussion here, we have lost “control” of it. In this regard, we are at the point where our knowledge of one another must come from direct interchange – not from the international mass media.
I am unusual, in that I have always “kept a close watch on this world of mine”; and through the simple expedients of personal experience, observation, reason, and logic, I think I have done a pretty good job of figuring it out.
Eileen (now free of this world), and I, have three great-grandchildren whom I am a little concerned about: Shaina, (26), working at a seniors’ care center; Bowen, (24), a budding electrician and Halaena, (21), the egghead, in Asian Studies at the U of Calgary. These “kids” were good scholars and good thinkers. They were very close to “grandma” and I, so something of us must have rubbed off on them. (Love and kindness from Eileen and revolution from me).
However, though they are aware that human “Life on Earth” is currently badly scrambled, it is possible that they might not have the time – as I did – to rearrange the pieces. And this is where Faina in the Donbass comes in: Wouldn’t it be great if she and I and my three greats could set up an internet forum such as the one I spoke of. Language is always a little bit of a problem, but one that solves itself, as history has shown – and as Eileen and I learned in our 39 months in the Middle East.
It is so wonderful when there is a mental connection between grandparents and their grandchildren.
Nowadays such communication is sometimes lacking. Sometimes even neighbors hardly know each other, let alone people in different parts of the world. I think a forum like this would be a great place where people can meet each other and discover the world anew through communication. I would love to be a part of it.
I understand that the Private Group owns half of the largest exporter of Iron Ore from Ukraine. The Westernization of UKRAINE allowed the natural resources to be looted by private parties that still making large profits. The Ukrainians suffer while rich oligarchs get richer. How can there be any justice in Ukraine when oligarchs are still in power that privatized the state assets and then split the assets among oligarchs? There are many oligarchs both in Ukraine and in other former areas of the USSR.
The LDR must be candid and outspoken about the Ukrainian profiteers who control private consolidated media and loot the assets of the Ukrainian people. Is silence about the Ukrainian oligarchs a condition of Russian support?
Is ignoring injustice the price of receiving arms to defend yourself.? Is it worth silence on issues of corruption to gain the support of others? Those who give up the freedom to oppose injustice for the promise of security will lose their security to corruption.
Dmitry Polyanskiy, the Russian First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN just tweeted this:
“A Q&A with US readers from @VineyardSaker
by #Donbass child-writer @FainaSavenkova
. Worth reading for anyone willing to better understand position of Russian-speaking population in the East of #Ukraine http://thesaker.is/saker-readers-”
Thank you Sir!
So are you now officially a Russian agent? ;)
At the very least this shows that your blog is being monitored by quite a few officials, certainly of many powers. Congratulations on a job well done.
Congratulations, Saker! People recognize the quality of your efforts.
I suspect that it has taken a not inconsiderable amount of your time to serve as go-between back and forth translator in this. I hope that the young lady and those close to her have taken some heart from the encouraging words sent to her. I’m sure that is so.
Anyway, you have done a very good and generous thing. So, as we say down here, good on you. And I will continue to hope for better times for the good people of the Donbas.
Nowadays such communication is sometimes lacking. Sometimes even neighbors hardly know each other, let alone people in different parts of the world.
This is the purpose. It is much easier to kill the good neighbors you don’t know than the good neighbors you do know. It is much easier to see the differences that divide us than to see the hopes that we have in common, that unite us.
Isolation from each out makes it much easier to start the fire in the neighbors house that no one responds to because no one knew there was a fire until the house was full6 consumed.
We must make the effort to know our neighbors, despite our differences. We all share the hope for a better future despite our differences.
Keep talking young lady. We await your in site.
This is out off concern. Insight, incite are homonyms, they surely are not synonymous, but could be. With a powerful microscope you might see an antonym. Insight will be twisted to incite by the inciters to use as justification for the extermination of justice. I would encourage a fund for air tickets and visas for speakers of truth.
As a German, I feel ashamed that Berlin supports the fascists politics of Kiev instead of the resistence movement in eastern Ukraine. I mean the spooky Klitschko brothers are still being honoured in German media. Disgusting.
80 year after Germany attacked the Soviet Union, we should send help (medical, foods and supplies, and defence weapons) to Donbass, not to Kiev. We should recognize Crimea as part of Russia. We should support Russian language and culture in Ukraine and condemn fascism and racism in Ukraine. We should prohibit Ukrainian right-wing nationalist organizations in Germany and finally dismantle the grave of Stepan Bandera in Munich. We should expell Ukrainian ‘diplomat’ that post anti-semitic and racist things in the internet. “Mitrodovrez” should be blocked in Germany.
Please be assured, that a lot of German people like myself have an oppsite opionion that our government. We want to be good neighbours of Russia! дружба – Freundschaft
Thank you Faina for responding to my question. (The second posted above.) May God bless you and yours.
Thank you so much, Faina, for sharing your thoughts, and thanks a bunch to our host for making this possible.
All the best.
II wish I could go to Ukraine and rescue you.
My heart goes out to you and everyone in Ukraine and LDNR. You have my prayers for safety and happiness.
Thank you so much. As a Ukrainian I am ashamed of what is happening. Never thought it could happen. How quickly things can turn on a dime! :(
Nothing will change, until people, especially in the west rise up against a corrupt ruling class.
I want to make a comment regarding what Mr. Paul Anderson wrote about Canada supporting fascists in Ukraine.
Dear Mr. Anderson,
Will all due respect the fact that Chrystia Freeland has a high position in the Government of Canada, and also the fact that Canada supports Nazis in Ukraine should not come as a shock or surprise.
Please read the truthful and honest history of Canada. Canada has badly mistreated First nations people. Just recently, as you know there has been a tragic find in Kamploops B.C of the gravesites of 215 children, victims of residential schools, which are terrible and dark mark on Canadian History. In addition during the 1990 Oka Crisis, when things became very intense, people were throwing rocks at the innocent Mohawks, who were trying to flee to safety at whsikey trench. It was a horrible sight. These were no some crazed racists, but ordinary everyday people who shown so much hatred towards the Mohawks. There were reports of the Mohawk effigy being burned, ordinary everyday people were clamoring for the government and the army to come in forcefully and clear out the protesters. The Oka crisis did not come out of nowhere. It was the result of generations of Canadian politicians and people ignoring and openly violating First Nations people’s rights. I was reading the book “Stolen Conquests” by Ronald Wright. He said he never imagined that Canadian government would send fighter jets and 4000 troops against several hundred Mohawk warriors. He wrote with astonishment that Canada, which has a reputation of peacemaker and a good guy, who helps others, and considered a civilized nation could do something like this.
I also want to tell you that in Edmonton there is a square named in honor of Sir. Winston Churchill and a statue of him. The man was a criminal. Under his watch there happened a famine in Bengal, where 3-4 million died, and also Mr. Churchill has called the Indians “beastly people with beastly religion”. India is perhaps the oldest civilization on Earth. It gave birth to Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism. Has a rich literature, for centuries Europeans admired India. Has incredible achievements sciences, and to call Indians like this is just beyond the pale. Churcill also was advocate of gassing Iraqis and other “uncivilized peoples”.
Read the following. And Churchill is honored.
In light of what I wrote above, to any serious person who pays close attention to history, the fact that Chrystia Freeland is “The queen of Canada” and that Canada supports the Nazis and fascists are the inevitable and logical results of cruelties committed unto others. The chickens have come to roost. War machine has come home, blowback, call it what you want. Many years ago I read in a Christian Story book that “the evil we do unto others, will inevitably turn against us ourselves”. Canadian Society has committed cruelties against First Nations peoples, and turn a blind eye to the injustices, and now at least those who pay attention are now shocked to discover that the granddaughter of the Nazi is the de facto ruler of Canada, and that Canada is in bed with fascists. May I also remind you that Canada along with USA brought people like Freeland into their respective countries 70 years ago, and nurtured them. What do you expect is going to happen? With all due respect, Mr. Anderson, Canadians have absolutely nothing to complain about! The same goes for Americans!
This is all cosmic karma coming at Canadian society. I wrote this in order for people to connect the dots and understand why things are the way they are. We will never understand current situation without understanding history. For those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. And also there will be no changes, for those who do not understand the roots and reasons for why Canada and others can support Fascists, will never be able to resolve the crisis, and will not be able to help people, like Faina. Over 2500 years ago, Greek Historian Thysidities, when writing about Peloponnesian war wrote “the tyranny that the Athens imposed on others, it finally imposed on itself” Take Mr. Anderson, and I hope you understand.
Concerned Ukrainian who lives in Canada.
I translated this article to Finnish