The Quiet Donetsk: Conversations in Petrivka
4 December, 2014

The once populous and busy Donetsk has almost fallen silent. There are few passer-byers, a single car drives by. The Petrivka district of Donetsk is especially de-populated. The salvos and explosions have not subsided for several months and every home has traces of this: broken windows and burnt apartments. There are craters in the asphalt. According to the locals, the militia has settled into one of the houses here. There are window blinds and loud music. People are not happy in this “neighbourhood” and believe that they are forced to stay under gunpoint. Four shells fell into one yard on Saturday – a five-story building was hit, killing people. Some say that living here is like living on a “peninsula” – you get fired upon from three sides. There aren’t that many people on the streets, they leave their houses only when it is necessary. Many have already left but were forced to return – they have no more money. Most of these local people work in the mines but there are only a few here. However, due to the destruction caused by the firing, they too have stopped working. Neither does the school or kindergarten and there are no more medicines in the local hospital. There is a dire lack of insulin – it cannot be delivered here. The Akhmentov Foundation promised a delivery but when they learned that the local hospital had some left, they changed their minds. There are many seniors who have diabetes but not enough drugs for all of them. Pensions and other social welfare payments also can’t get through. The promised financial assistance from the so-called "DNR" leadership has also not been received. People say that is due to a complicated bureaucratic procedure. Not all have the patience and health for the wait. Locals are reluctant to speak on camera, but all are united in oneю " thought: there is shooting from both sides of the conflict – from the "DNR" and from the Ukrainian military.