Yevheniy. ‘I just want to survive, it’s the very same push…’
Yevheniy is an ordinary man from an ordinary family, as they say. His life changed dramatically for one night as he was forced to leave his home city together with his wife and son and then to start life from scratch…
We continue publishing the stories of people, who have lost their homes as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, as well as of those, who have lent a helping hand in difficult times.
I lived in Luhansk and worked as a mechanic at the Electotrans transport enterprise. And now I’m working at a cardboard factory. I can’t find job by my profession in Khmelnytsky at that time and #there was no time to search for anything else – we took on what we could find.
As soon as our border post was blocked #there was shooting in the city at the beginning of May. Then I decided to send my wife and child to grandmother in the village. They lived there for a month while I was working. Then the relatives called and told me that we’d better move to another place.
When you go by public transport or even go along the street, you may hear many things, such as, “People who stayed there are no longer ours, they are separatists.” People there are the same Ukrainians. I wouldn’t say there is a very big difference between cities. #Here people speak more Ukrainian language then there. That’s all.
#Everything happened literally overnight – I went to the railway station, bought tickets, and we arrived in Khmelnytsky the next day
I didn’t take much interest in politics. One day I woke up and heard that the building of the Security Service of Ukraine had been seized. Before that, there were Maidan protests. When they started to actually shoot in the city, then the panic started and many left. The conflict escalated. I #lived in Luhansk quite long and never thought that something like this would happen.
I have friends who have stayed there and my parents have stayed, too. Nothing should keep us apart. They stayed not because they support what is happening, but because #not everyone can abandon everything and leave. My parents told me: “How should we leave everything here? We won’t go away!”
How have we settled? We have enough money as for now, #we just want to survive, it’s the very same push. We are starting from scratch, but we’re thankful for it.
A lot of natives of Donetsk and Luhansk regions defend their land. I communicate with people, and #not all of them receive military subpoenas. Few people want to go as volunteers, of course, who wants to go to die? However, if someone gets subpoena, it may become a push.
There are so many beautiful places in Luhansk. At least, they were, I hope they are still there. There is much beauty, it’s a beautiful city in general. #There was a park next to our house, we loved walking there in autumn. There are a lot of things, but that autumn park is a very special memory for me. We had picnics there. There is a pine area and it was amazing in summer. Well, in general, it was great.
I met a very nice man in the Khmelnytsky social service, he helped us with housing. He even tried to help with employment, but I did not agree as the financial component was very small. I was generally shocked by #financial component in Khmelnytsky. It differs by times from the similar jobs in similar enterprises in Luhansk.
Parents say, “Thank God, they do not shoot!” #They feel good, because there is no shelling. It is the only important thing for them now. They are not much interested in social issues now.
The story of Yevheniy is presented within the framework of the exhibition “My Place”, organized by the Educational Centre “Space of Tolerance” and the Congress of National Communities, supported by the Royal Netherlands Embassy. The authors of the texts are Kyra Kreyderman and Uljana Ustinova. The photos were made by Dana Verstak and taken from the family archive.