Third year without Ukraine or stories about occupied Luhansk. Part 1

Almost three years ago the irreversible changes in the fate of Eastern Ukraine inhabitants had begun. These events made a lot of Donetsk and Luhansk residents to leave owns houses, jobs and business, comfortable life, to say goodbye to parents and friends. begin to publish the diary of Luhansk resident, stayed in native city and tasted all the charms of ‘Russian world’…

The city as city in the afternoon…

How occupied Luhansk lives, breathes and dreams?.. You can find a lot of records, observes, photos. People, who permanently come to visit a house and parents, post them in social media. But, the skill to filter information is needed… According to words of ‘LPR’ sympathetics everything is alright, ‘young republic’ lives and blooms. Ukrainian patriots think in another way, people don’t have enough freedom of choice, freedom of speech…  

The only, in what all agree, is that there is more quiet in Luhansk than in Donetsk… But people often hear there, how Bakhmutovka thunders, how Stnista Luhanska is shelled and how automatic bursts, strong single explosions or shots sound. Any of such events don’t pass by local net community. Luhansk residents discuss in their groups and chats ‘where, what, how, when’. And then they’re waiting for the information, which is provided either by ATO HQ, either by Luhansk RSA, either by ‘LPR people’s militia’. Sometimes these messages contradict to each other, but those, who want to know the truth, will find it.

I don’t know from where Luhansk got the name ‘ghost-town’. As for me, that’s an exaggeration. It’s the city as the city in the afternoon: people go to work, market, shops, educational and medical facilities. And Luhansk life freezes in the evenings. It’s not so noticeable in summer, especially in densely populated eastern residential area: it’s empty at the streets, but parents walk in the yards with little children, teenagers, youth and pensioners sit on benches and discuss something. And in winter Luhansk becomes a real ghost…


The curfew begins from 11 pm by Moscow time and ends at 5 am. If somebody who has no special night pass, come outside and meet patrol, he or she can be detained and delivered to police department, where they must sit till the morning.

Big supermarkets ‘Spar’, ‘Absolut’, ‘Narodny’ (ex-ATB) work from 8 am till 10 pm. Cafes are closing not later than 7 pm, restaurants at 9-10 pm. If there are night clubs? There no such yet. All known before the war night clubs ‘Alkuba’, ‘Sahar’, ‘Opera’ become afterdark, they remove on shortcut schedule and work till 10 pm.

A village capital

There a lot of people in the city, but less than before the warfare. This’s seen good on the central streets, such as Kotsyubynsky, Heroi voiny square, Shevchenko str., Lermontov, there are no people. Accumulations of citizens are noticeable only near shops, educational facilities and administrative buildings.

Only trolleybuses left from municipal transport and only three routes. They have seldom schedule. Tramway contact networks were taken away in some places, especially where they hung to the ground, cut by shells’ splinters. It’s interesting, if tram rails could disappear from city’s streets? Because all the metal, which was in occupied region, was collected way back, sawed and sold in unknown direction…


Anyone can bravely say that ex-regional center, where airport, railway station, beautiful autostation were, has turned into a village capital, where rout microbuses has become the main transport and to go to ‘big world’ is possible only by bus, because there are no trains anymore. But diesel runs from Manuilovka to Rodakovo. There was also ‘international’ train to Yasinovataya (neighbor ‘DPR’), but it’s unknown, if it goes now, because fightings permanently take place at these areas.

A few words about Utility…

If you start a walk on the city, you can find somewhere trails of a warfare: here is a hole in the wall, closed by chipboard or lattice, there is a membrane except glass… Somewhere buildings left, which had been damaged in summer 2014… Also, crossed ribbons of scotch on some windows remind about a war, pits on the roads where shells fell, broken and shrapneled trees …


During last year local ‘authority’ has made capital and cosmetic repairs in some damaged from warfare houses. Buildings, that were not subject to repair, were demolished. Road workers have patched up roads. The improvement of public services was held: flowers were planted, trees cut, fences painted. Also, mayor dept. Could managed to finish the building of a bridge, which connects center with southern parts of Luhansk.

Utility can’t be named comfortable, because water is still supplied into dwellers housing by schedule. And besides in different city districts it’s not the same: ‘on the East’ water is supplied twice a day – in the morning and evening and from morning till the evening at the weekend; southern district has a water from morning till night; separate places have water 24/7. There are a light and gas in the city, but there are also admonitions about its quality. All houses get heating. Garbage is removed in time from residential blocks.

Utility workers are demanding from population to pay in a timely manner for consumed services. Otherwise, they threaten to turn off gas, water, light and heating.

To be continued…

Sergei N. for

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