Sometimes life presents us with surprises. For me, a guy from Luhansk, the last three years have been a series of many shocking and sudden events. I have always been open-minded and never frightened of changes or challenges. School, civil engineering college, music school – I realised these things weren’t for me. And then just before I was supposed to start serving in the military, I decided to enter an institute for foreign languages. Yes, it sounds weird that after engineering you turn to something like human studies. But I loved it. A real students’ life, literature, languages – it was just an awesome time. Moreover, it gave me an opportunity to travel and observe other places, other cultures, other lives. It also brought me to my current position.
Honestly, we didn’t care too much about Maidan when it started. People had jobs and everyone went about their family lives and business. Then you come home and turn on the TV, but instead of routine news, we watched what was happening in Kyiv, as if it was a movie. Unfortunately, the feature flick was a horror.
I remember watching the students protest first, then they began constructing the Christmas Tree, which would soon be decorated with flags along with a big poster of Yulia Tymoshenko bearing the words “No Political Repressions”. And there were people, so many people. Some in the east of Ukraine wondered how they could stay on Maidan for so long without working: “they must be paid by the US”, some thought. The winter was cold, yet the people stayed.
By January, people got tired of watching the news. Nothing’s going to change they thought, the system remains intact. And then boom… Literally, boom – 100 people slaughtered. People from all regions of Ukraine cried for them. A massive murder, a massacre. Grief and sorrow were the only possible reactions; people with all kinds of political opinions were shocked. Donbas was always a working class area, the home of mines and factories. When the people of this region watched that slaughter on TV, they too were horrified.
Then Yanukovych escaped, Crimea was annexed by Russia in days, a war started in Donbas in months. No one expected that this horror movie would have so many episodes.
In Notes from the East, I want to open up for you real human stories – how people live near the front line, the life of refugees from the war, and talk about cultural aspects of the region. Ukraine is heading slowly towards real independence, there are many factors contributing to this development. People believe in good and in the future. They fight for it in ways they never thought they would have to, and they are making sacrifices for it.