In the horror of war. How children live “in a gray area”

В ужасе войны. Как живут дети «в серой зоне»

The greatest joy for children Zhovanki in the Donetsk region – communicate with your animals

Reporter visited the residents the front line and learned how the war changed the youngest inhabitants of Donbass.

“First we went to school on the road, strewn with landmines, is to tell the teenagers from the village Zhovanka. — They just lie on the pavement, it is necessary to step through them. Then my parents decided that to walk through the field will not be so dangerous. And there should be the next step and if suddenly Bach, nowhere to hide. Fall into the groove and lie, wait until they subside. Can and ten minutes to lie, but you can forty…”

In the village Zhovanka near Gorlovka is home to about 200 families. Including 11 children, says Vladislav Lazarev in No. 18 of the magazine Reporter on may 13, 2016.

Overall, according to official figures, in the front line in Donetsk region constantly there are about 10 thousand children. Another 3-4 thousand in Luhansk

Overall, according to official figures, in the front line in Donetsk region constantly there are about 10 thousand children. Another 3-4 thousand in Luhansk. But experts believe that this figure can be easily doubled. After all, many families who left the Donbass in the beginning of the war, did not take root in a peaceful area and returned home.

“I was told that even Experienced brought in two teenagers. Although from this village to the terminal of the Donetsk airport on the doorstep — only about one kilometer,” — says the coordinator of the humanitarian mission of Propiska Evgeny Kaplin.

“It doesn’t matter where it came from”

War Jovanka cut into two parts. The school remained on the uncontrolled territory. Therefore, until recently, boys went to school right across the front line. Now sitting at home because of another escalation of hostilities.

“My sister’s house is located on Ukrainian territory and the garden in the DNI, — says a local resident Luba. And inherited, respectively, from both sides. The beginning we watched that and came. And now don’t care who shoots. No strength left. There is only fatigue and anger.

In most houses of the village the Windows tightly boarded up and covered with boards and the roof covered with film. The locals for the second year live as on a powder keg and don’t believe in the saying about getting two shells in a funnel.

“Last night we were again fired at,” says Svetlana, a nurse from Zhovanki. — But nothing alive. When quiet, the kids playing in the street. Even the swings have come up with themselves, tied to one of the branches of “the bungee jumping and rode in it. But with a Bang, guys like cow tongue licks”.

В ужасе войны. Как живут дети «в серой зоне»

Photo Of Vladislav Lazarev

Max and Sasha (right) live in the village Zhovanka separated by front line

For a long time the village has lived without electricity and water. The explosions tore the plumbing.

“Rain water was collected in canisters, and the wiring of our men as were able repaired, — Svetlana sighs. — No gas still. Yes, and where did he come from? On you tube… view Thread pipeline split the pieces like a sieve!”

In the winter, to cook food and keep warm, the locals cut gardens. But the campaign “for the firewood” in the landing ended in failure. A resident of the village accidentally hit the trip wire and died.

Countless days and nights of parents with children held in damp and dark basements, hiding from the bombing. There still are piles of blankets, the stubs of candles and buckets, replacing the toilet.

“Because of the dim light of the candles hurt my eyes, and pneumonia had a — say local. “Many of the kids even in the winter with a runny nose, no cold will not win.”

“Afraid to die”

In the neighboring village Bahmutka (it is located near the infamous KPVV Zaitsev) children too much. As soon as I appeared in the village, they surrounded me and began vying to tell about their experiences.

— And our dog from the explosions under the cow is hiding!

— And we have paws closes the face!

— We also have a dog Baby. He attacks for five minutes feels and runs away!

And let me show you my kitten? His dad called Separable!

In a minute 11-year-old Edik, 12-year-old Diana, a 9-year-old Victoria and 6-year-old Bogdan bring me gray and black kittens.

— Here, this little black, his name is Separable! — a smiling Diana.

“We have school also on that side, — changes the subject serious Edward. — So some time we studied at home. The teacher called us and told what to do. And notebooks with homework checked before a teacher from our village. But then she moved away, and this year we didn’t go. Did you know that on the other side of Russian textbooks and a five-point grading system? I think here in Ukraine it’s easier to learn… by the Way, I everywhere over the past year have been in Kiev, Krasnoarmeysk, Konstantinovka, Novoluganskoe. It’s quiet… Not scary… you Can walk to 11 PM. If and thumps, somewhere very far away.”

В ужасе войны. Как живут дети «в серой зоне»

Photo Of Vladislav Lazarev

Children with Mahmudi – 11-year-old Edik, 12-year-old Diana, a 9-year-old Victoria and 6-year-old Bogdan

They will watch as I deal with children. Say it now — when not shooting — they are talkative. And when the bombing starts, in front of me.

“Start shooting, and in children jitters immediately — sigh grandmother. — Of course, they do not complain. All inside trying to survive. But then off on a tantrum and tears. Edward faints, if badly beaten”.

However, when I kept the boy a hero.

“When he was shot, I drank Valerian, is a very grown-up he says. — Worst — arrivals. When you do not know where to fall”.

The boy interrupts the Vic:

“Do you remember there was a day when mom was sitting on the steps, and suddenly the shooting started? — rounded eyes, the girl remembers.— The bullet whizzed close: whew! And last year, when planting potatoes how it began… my parents jumped into the pit. Dad covered for me, and my mother was there. And the pieces on the trees were falling. And we probably five minutes or so were…”

— And what do we then say? — asks Vika to her mother.

— I don’t want to stay here!

— You whispered: “I’m afraid to die. I don’t want to die…” softly said the girl’s mother and looks like a tear.

“Still scared when the soldiers get drunk, again joins the conversation, Edward. — They can bring down the machine or accidentally start shooting for no reason, no reason at all. A sober military we are not afraid — they are good”.

“My friend, what are you afraid of?” — I ask the youngest. The kid embarrassed, nuzzling like a kitten, the mom’s hand and she is responsible for him.

“Here he began to stutter. When left to relatives on the mainland — speech problems started to slowly disappear. Came back and started again…”

“I thought Grad missiles”

“Why don’t we leave? Yes, because we never expected, ” says Marina Vartanova, Director of the school in the village Troitsk Popasnyansky region of the Luhansk region.— Yes, and be left with nothing scary. Here the house, the vegetable garden, which feeds, friends… my daughter (she’s in 8 grade student) it is better to be here. Even despite the attacks. You know, I think if the village has a school, so the village alive.”

The shelling of the school Trinity is not passed. It was a direct hit to the hallway, to the gym, to the boiler room. 18 funnels around! Varzanova shows me a broken shell on the roof, the charred floors of the gym. We go through excised fragments of the corridors, go into classrooms, where as the memory of the fighting — holes in the boards cool. As hope for a new life, cement bags, paint cans.

В ужасе войны. Как живут дети «в серой зоне»

Photo Of Vladislav Lazarev

School in the village of Trinity was badly damaged by shelling

“40 days we were bombed. All was then. And was crawling out of the basement, and for several days did not go there, ” recalls the Director.— Thought the shots of “grad”, where it explodes, how many. And when, finally, the 40 shells fell, they were breathing a break! You can go home, warm up and eat. And then started all over again. Animal fear is what I remember. It is not something to compare. We have in the village mansions scattered like a house of cards”.

We come to the school window, Marina Igorevna shows one of the houses:

“Over there, in the courtyard of his home, the man died. He has two children, a boy in 5th grade, a girl in the 10th. And all happened in front of children, right at the gate. Small rushes to Papa, and everyone understands that there is no need to flee, he was slain, and that under such a bombardment wouldn’t take it back. His then long to bury could not. He was in the kitchen, then buried under the floor, then reburied in the garden. And only a couple of weeks brought to a cemetery. I have at this school student daughter. I remember her during attacks held my hand and whispered: “We will not break?” And then two weeks of not talking…”

The teacher says that during the war all the children matured. When danger get in as mice. Not trying to run away or hide. Standing, waiting for a command. For them now (as well as for adults) the main thing — to survive. Emotions, desires, ambitions — all faded into the background.

“Because of the war, nothing to plan, shared with me a 15-year-old Daniel.— Don’t know how long I will still be in school. Will shoot and then will leave after grade 9… No, will continue his studies…”

“Losing faith in myself”

And volunteers, and psychologists, and teachers say that the war caused the children terrible trauma. The closer to the front line they live, so it is more serious.

“In schools a psychologist is all,” says psychologist Victoria Fedotova. — From children’s stories from the experts hair stand on end”.

The effects of psychological shock can be felt months or even years. In a “grey zone”, adults and children hiding emotions, they are driving the problem deeper, but sooner or later, the trauma finds a way.

“We helped a child who spent six months in Gorlovka under fire. At first glance, he was all right, but after a few months of living in a peaceful area developed strabismus. I know a case when a child at the age of 12 began bedwetting. And this is not an isolated story,” says Caplin.

В ужасе войны. Как живут дети «в серой зоне»

Photo Of Vladislav Lazarev

Karina never came out during the fighting from the village of Troitskoe, to escape the bombing in the basement

“One of the key issues in the formation of any child, how much the world is safe? “explains psychotherapist Alyona Lukyanchuk. — And these children of war have learned that danger is everywhere. Growing up, children from the “grey zone” become mistrustful, defensive, depressed, lost motivation and faith in themselves people.”

Well, if the war children of affluent and loving parents. Love and affection many wounds can be healed. But, unfortunately, the test of war is kept far from all adults start drinking. As a result, children are left alone with their troubles.

“We have in the Donbass already homeless appeared — complain psychologists.— Some parents were killed, others took to drink”.

“I saw how the boy tried to hide from the explosion, and the father reassured him: “Yes, it is far 500 meters,” says Caplin. It’s terrible for children, when adults cease to perceive reality”.

In this situation, the children could help social workers. First, to support. Secondly, to solve the issue of transferring the baby to the orphanage. But social workers are very few. And those who are in the ranks, lack authority. Because the procedure for deprivation of parental rights of drunken parents, very time consuming.

“The war has been going on for over a year, and that the state had during that time to change the law so that we could to help the remaining one on one with the war children, say social workers. — But it never happened. As a result, children are killed or maimed. And some are exposed to violence…”

According to unconfirmed reports volunteers in the area ATO has already killed about 200 children. Another 500 were injured. But accurate statistics do not exist.

“A new home”

Could the state to assist in the relocation and prosperous families with children who live in the front line.

“We are from Debaltsevo could not take his family with 12 children,” says Caplin.— They lived in a dangerous area, next to the military garrison, but didn’t want to go into the unknown. In the end we collected through social networks $ 4 thousand, and gave them housing in the Kharkiv region. According to the same scheme volunteers from Slavyansk took the family out Zhovanki”.

Abandoned and low-income housing is all over Ukraine. Such constructions with a minimum of repair could become the new home for immigrants

Abandoned and low-income housing is all over Ukraine. Such constructions with a minimum of repair could become the new home for immigrants.

“We even collected a database of housing,” continues Caplin.— But it all boils down to the passivity of local authorities. The volunteers had to solve a lot of issues to go through the courts and offices. And we have no time for this — we need to take people out! However, in the Kharkiv region is one of the chairmen gave the settlers 30 houses and gradually extended to them all the documents. Alas, it is rather an exception…”

But recently, some officials began to say: “Let’s get the children from the front line without their parents. There are also boarding schools where it’s safer!”

But psychologists are strongly against such a solution. According to them, life without parents in a foreign environment will not help children. On the contrary, aggravate their situation.

“There were cases when children were taken, and the parents stayed home and died, — they said.— Imagine now how these kids live? They feel guilty for a crime he didn’t commit! It is necessary to solve the problem so as not to hurt. These children are already crippled by war”.

Propaganda “under 16 and older”

And how will it affect children propaganda “DNR” and “LNR”? On the territory controlled by Ukraine there are villages where the domestic media is not. But running the so-called Cossack radio.

“The position of the generated children we adults,” says school Director at the Trinity Marina Igorevna. — From what they say in the family, they are not going anywhere. And the attitude to the current situation, we are different. I will tell you that the Wedding Malinauskiene life in the film. There are those who live with thoughts: “And suddenly will come? And what will they do with those who were for Ukraine?” And so, children should not be put out, do not have to show patriotism.

We have Ukrainian village, but the Pro-Russian sentiment enough. Very many relatives left in Russia. Ask me how many times I was on the don? A lot! And how much on the river? How many times I’ve been in Carpathian mountains? No. Here, we have to start

We have Ukrainian village, but the Pro-Russian sentiment enough. Very many relatives left in Russia. No matter how we twisted, and since time immemorial it was. Ask me how many times I was on the don? A lot! And how much on the river? How many times I’ve been in Carpathian mountains? No. Here, we have to start. Children need to interact with their peers from other regions, to travel, to see what our beautiful country — Ukraine. The state has now to think twice, because the children are our future”.

Meanwhile, in the “DNR” and “LNR” ideological work is in full swing. Each class should have a red area.

“There’s a portrait Zakharchenko, emblem and anthem. Children don’t like it, they don’t understand why this pathos, but I tell them: “that’s right”. There was a Directive — to carry out political information. But since nobody checks, we do not do it, — admitted to us the inhabitant of Donetsk, the class teacher of one of schools. — And recently, we have all the poppies in classes was removed. It turns out, is “a symbol of Ukrainian Victory Day”. And did those who two years ago was removed portraits of Yanukovych. Do not be surprised, incidentally, if in some schools the photo of Viktor Yanukovych are stored deep in the closet just in case. But believe us, neither we nor the children about politics, not argue. Everyone is tired”.


This article was published in No. 18 of the magazine Reporter on may 13, 2016. Reprinting of publications of magazine Correspondent in full is prohibited. The rules of use of materials of the journal Correspondent, published on the website Корреспондент.net can be found here.