Above, the actual letter; below, pictures of her father; at right, the last time she saw him alive.
Translated from Russian by Tom Winter
Nastia Koptyeva’s letter to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin
Greetings esteemed Vladimir Vladimirovich!
My name is Nastia and I live in Donetsk. I know that you are a very busy person, but I want to tell you about my life today. Why? Two months ago my Daddy died. He was militia of the Donetsk Republic. He went as a volunteer beginning in July. Momma and I did not see him for seven months, he was always at the front, but end of January he was fatally wounded in the fighting near the airport. Now we are left all alone.
Our house is also not far from the airport. Very often we had to hide in the basement all day long; my school was shelled twice, and now I go to school in another part of town. This year I am finishing the city music school, and I want to go to art school. Many of my friends and classmates left Donetsk already last year, but we are not leaving, not for one day; I was born in Donetsk and I love my home town — momma and I could not leave it, even though it has been frightening under the bombardments. But we have survived, together. Now there is practically no shooting, and it is not so scary when Mama leaves the house on errands. But since papa’s funeral it has been so lonely; he always protected us and looked after us, and now he has even given his life, protecting us. I miss him, I miss him a lot. Maybe it seems odd, but I decided to write to you.
When I see you on television, I get the feeling that you can protect all people like me. Please, protect me, my mom, and my town from war. We aren’t expecting any help from anywhere. Mom is always saying the main thing, is to hold on until victory. My grandmother in her childhood survived the war against the nazis and she always said that Victory Day was a bigger holiday than Easter. It is sad that my father won’t be able to celebrate our victory with us, but we believe in it; we have to win because truth is on our side.
Now my dream is to be in Moscow on the day of the Great Victory, to see with my own eyes how the people are glad at the victory, to see the fireworks. After a year of life under bombardment, I’ve forgotten what a holiday is; I want my mother to stop crying; I want to see her smile. And I hope there will be more smiles, more and more. I ask, can you help? It will be for us a great and long-awaited joy.
Thank you for everything,
[Nastia and her mother have no internet, sometimes no water and electricity, and because of the shelling, they often have to take cover in a potato storage pit six feet on a side. Nastia never cries in public, and says her mother is always in tears, and refuses to believe that her husband Pasha is dead, just not in communication because of the war.