Waiting for the Peace. A journey to Zolotoe (reportage)

People in Zolotoe (town on the front line) are waiting for Ukraine to come back in neighbor Pervomaisk. Earlier it was a town in Luhansk region with common infrastructure, administration, joys and problems. Nowadays, the demarcation line has divided it on two parts.

This severe line also has walked through the fates of people, divided families, friends, relatives, left all “pro and con” on the different sides. IDPs from Pervomaisk in Zolotoe could be met everywhere. They come, saving their lives, looking for a job, simply maintaining their own beliefs and defending views on what is happening. We had an opportunity to talk with IDPs and locals in the points of issuing the humanitarian aid and on the streets of a town.


“Anyway we are the one and we share humanitarian aid with them”, tell old woman migrant from Pervomaisk, “I think nobody needs our Pervomaisk, if only Ukraine would take it back, it most affected comparing with others. Sometime ago I crossed the block-post and they told me that such town doesn’t exist on a map. How it could be? I said. You have your own Motherland and I don’t? I have my own Pervomaisk that I love. A lot of people has understood only now how they love their town, I couldn’t even think about it. To be born there, live there, all life live there and become a foreigner. If only they can back everything”.

One more ex-dweller of Pervomaisk, who lives now near mine “Rodina” is more radical: “We haven’t been going there since July 22, 2014. And, frankly saying, we won’t go there when everything ends. We even don’t want to go there. We live now near “Rodina” and watch how they fire on us. Especially ‘fireworks’ were great at X-mas holidays, even touched the village from the other side. Why they come closer and make shellings, old grannies stayed live there. We hear shots every evening: dark, 5-6 pm and it starts. I don’t want to come back, I’m afraid. I will live here, near “Rodina” and I explain why. Because, I will never sale Ukraine for anybody…”.


Svetlana Pechenaya, civil volunteer, dweller of Zolotoe, answering on a question about the moods of people: “We’re trying not to affect this topic, when we issue humanitarian aid. People don’t speak out about “LPR” and “DPR” in our presence. In my understanding – it’s the temporary occupied territory, but not LPR and DPR, which must be a part of Ukraine. It will have to be come back, but to say about giving autonomy to them, there will be chaos and everyone will say: I want to separate and my region must be autonomy, it’s not right. It’s allow to do everything that I want and then according to Minsk Agreements to legitimize all that things. You know, this is a parable about the prodigal son, when he walk up, all goes away, and then come and say sorry, I return back home. It’s the only way to solve the conflict. Military conflict is definitely not. It’s not right to conquer these territories back. The only way left is to wait. They must recognize themselves, to say themselves we were not right, give us an opportunity to come back in our country”.

“I’m supporting unity Ukraine, says IDPs from Pervomaisk Tatiana, But, biggest part of people, stayed there, are against. I communicated with them. Those, who passed through the bombings, lost everything. They live there, allegedly fixated, that they have a flat, house there. Let there will be all that will be, if only we live in our houses. Sat in the basement, they even afraid to come here. And those, who removed, they are all for Ukraine. We live not at our houses, even we don’t speak about Ukrainian Army, living in the house of our granny. It was fully occupied, but I don’t have anything against it, because we have such hard times. It’s exactly the demarcation line – village Stakhanovets. We live in alien houses, my daughter is here, granddaughter, son-in-law and we’re silently waiting that everything will be alright”.


The inhabitant of the village Orekhovo Sergei Ivanovich Mironenko: “the conflict must be solved only by peaceful way. It’s enough of this fratricidal war, enough of deaths, enough of shellings, enough of demolitions and so on. There must be only peaceful way and everything must left as it was earlier, everyone return to Ukraine. A lot of people here share my position. I think, that most of them share, those who pass through the situation, lived this and that way. They see how people live there and here. Although, it’s hard to live in Zolotoe, the demarcation line, everything is near. A lot of people from another side, friends and comrades, relatives share such a point of view too. I communicate with Luhansk, Stakhanov, Pervomaisk, Alchevsk dwellers. All of them are waiting for Ukraine. Those, with whom I speak, haven’t changed their opinion yet and they always were for Ukraine. There are also against Ukraine, but every person has its own opinion”.

Maria Gulyaeva

translated by Denis Bizkitov