“Pervomaisk is the city we grew up in. We know every street. My grandmother, grandfather, father, uncle, aunt, — all my kin are from there.”

Residential downtown Pervomaisk

“I am a person who has seen war, and I’m really terribly afraid that once again I may hear the explosions of bursting shells!”

Translated from Russian by Tom Winter. 
I got this from Ksenia August 1. It was emotionally draining to render it into English — I kept putting myself in her shoes. Her first letter is here.  

Hello my friend. I’m just, as always, a little late with the letter. A lot of work, and I am tired, but I promised to write about life in Pervomaisk.

We left Lugansk last summer when the heavy fire and shelling from the Ukrainian army began hitting the city. Pervomaisk is the city we grew up in. We know every street …. My grandmother, grandfather, father, uncle and aunt, in sum, all my kin are from there. My oldest son was born in Pervomaisk. It hurts to look at the ruined city of my childhood. The stuff that’s still happening there now, I get from Skyping with my relatives, and via the internet.

My mother is a teacher, she worked all her life  as a primary school teacher in the village Molodezhni, not far from Pervomaisk. The school isn’t there any more. I am sending you the link. After watching this video I cried a few days … It’s mom’s school !! This is the school where mom worked and where my sister, brother, and I went to school. They’ve destroyed it. It’s terrible, incomprehensible in this brutal war! Ukraine destroys schools, kindergartens, the Donbass plants, the Donbass factories …… they make life in our region utterly unbearable. In Pervomaisk there is no running water. People say it’s been that way for several months. Water has to be trucked – people in the 21st century in the midst of EUROPE !! stand in line with their containers to get water! 

And now there is the summer heat! It’s always been hot there; we’d shower several times a day to cool down — and just how to do that now? … How people can do basic things like go to the bathroom, shower? wash things? How? There isn’t enough water to even drink! Mom’s cottage is okay; it’s been spared so far … But in the high rise buildings of the ruined city there is no water, not ever. The shelling is constant. 

In the city of Popasna, taken by Ukrainian invaders, stand weapons that fire on Pervomaisk. My first teacher lives in Popasna. She tells me, “The people here HATE UKRAINIAN MILITARY,” and refer to the military as the fascists invaders. 

Here’s one of the stories: humanitarian aid got through, clothing, food. People gathered to get something to live on, and along come Ukrainian soldiers with their automatic weapons and take everything. People were outraged, but the soldiers started shooting in the air. That’s life in a town controlled by Ukraine! 

My mother, who was born in 1948, in order to Skype with us, went to a friend who has internet, but in the field on the way there were signs, “MINES” — presents from the Ukrainian army bastards! You know for me there is no worse betrayal than betraying relatives and close friends … Ukraine is divided into two parts … Some people have remained faithful to the history of their ancestors …. True to their native land … And the other … other so many Judases … 

For that American dream of the chance to go to Europe without a visa they kill, choke, hate, shoot! This is Judas! For a penny … Just think !!! Ukraine before the Maidan was a normal rich country !! You could get a good school education …. What should have happened? Work !!! Build !!! But residents of Western Ukraine supposed that the Maidan would solve all their problems; quickly and easily they would get into Europe! They all spat on Ukraine !!! They had to have the ability to work and live in Europe !! And I so want to say Europe, pretty Europe — as you see it now, people with Ukrainian banners, shouting “Glory to Ukraine:” Europe?they’ve booted it out! Let it go home !! They build democracy by killing their own country ! Fratricide in order to ride to work without a visa !! They have betrayed Russia !! Russia has always helped! They betrayed their brothers! No faith in such people! This nation — ffft! 

I have a Ukrainian passport, and I am ashamed that I have a passport of the country that has deprived me of the motherland and family … I will send you a photo of my nephews,  Rodia, Danja, and Denya … these kids now for the second summer can’t get out of their basement bomb shelter ….. What for? For what?

This video is of the people still living in Pervomaisk.

This video, done in April 2015, shows what the Ukrainian Army turned our peaceful town of  Pervomaisk into. [Rhe Russian title: “How Pervomaisk Looks Today”]

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For me, it’s less the terrible killers in power in Kiev, but a bunch of sell-out lunatics whom they’ve bought for a lot of money… Another scary thing: there are bunches of Ukrainians who go to Donbass to murder, and do it with pleasure. 

And I should write one more thing .. 

Do Europe and the United States, who support the regime of impostors in Kiev, not understand what they have been nurturing? 

Does it not even occur to them what is happening in Ukraine, and the fact that there are flourishing colonies of killers that can burn a woman or stone a child to death — and not care? 

Isn’t there even horror for Europe of this demon that she has supported and armed? 

Don’t they even understand they’ve put weapons in the hands of crazy bloodthirsty maniacs, and they’re still doing it? 

They all are yelling “Russian aggression”! But I just want to say go to hell !!!! Read your history! Russia does not begin war; Russia ENDS war! But one thing is beyond my understanding: why aren’t people afraid of war ??? Sitting at some expensive desk they decide who will live and who must die !! And not for a moment do Europe and America ponder that what they support in Kiev is a demon of war and death — which could also devour its teacher and mentor! And why wouldn’t they betray their brothers; they betrayed RUSSIA! 

And why would the West supply weapons so generously to a crowd of loonies to enable murder — unpunished and cowardly murder? 

Why aren’t the empty suits afraid the weapons might turn on them? And then the goal will not be Donbass but all those who prolong and feed the demon of war in Ukraine. 

Don’t they even see that the ones at the helm in Kiev are the loonies? 

But one problem …. War is for someone to whom grief is a business and nothing personal ….. just money …. 

I am a person who has seen war, and I’m really terribly afraid that once again I may hear the explosions of exploding shells! I wish you peace my friend! Thank you for everything !! Forgive my being so emotional … It is a pity that this is just empty talk, and I cannot do anything that would stop the death of my people …. Our life has been turned into a — well. 

But we are now in Russia, we sleep under a peaceful sky, we have the opportunity to work and teach children in Russia. We thank her!

                                  — Ksenia Novikova

Residential Pervomaisk

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