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Elena Nemykina

«I learned to appreciate life»

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The war began with reports on TV talking about it. But we realized this probably in 2015. In 2014, it was in Slovyansk, Kramatorsk, but it did not reach Luhansk yet. We understood that something was going wrong, that there were military vehicles. But we did not understand what was happening and why. No one believed that a war was possible.

In 2015, Shchastia town was occupied by the “LPR”. When the fighting started there, my little child and I had to go to my grandmother, because it was dangerous and scary. Shelling was raging and buildings were destroyed. Our supermarket was destroyed and there are a lot of buildings where apartments were hit by shellfire.

The most significant change and the most terrible thing is probably the fact that a lot of people left. At that moment, the town died out. If it were not for Luhanska power plant and our factory, there would be no people left there. It was really bad when civilians and soldiers died. This is sad. I understood that my son is growing up and he would have to do military service once, and this is very scary. Houses were destroyed. It was very, very scary.

Of course, I plan to return home when this is over. This is my favourite town. I grew up there. I would like my child to grow up there. There are more opportunities there than in Velyka Chernigivka village.

It has become very difficult to move around. My husband died during the war. He was a civilian. He was hit by a shrapnel. He did not take part in any hostilities. He was my common-law husband, father of my child... I got a trauma because of his death. It so happened that he went to his parents living on the territory of the “LPR”.

For six years I have not been able to go to his grave, because it is difficult to get a pass and I cannot take my child with me. And the financial situation is also a very strong reason. I used to have a job before. I had the opportunity to go. Now there is no choice of jobs. People scrape by some irregular earnings, one-off jobs. In 2016, I received help from the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation. In Shchastia town, some kind of international financial aid was also provided – two thousand hryvnias for a child.

I still don’t feel safe. It seems to me that we are frightened every day. We live like near a powder keg.

When you live alone, you are not afraid of anything. But when you have a kid, you worry about what will happen if you are suddenly gone. This is the main fear.

I learned to appreciate life. I am grateful to my fate for every day I have lived. I am very sorry for those people who died. For children who have not seen normal childhood because of the war, who cannot see the sun. I have rethought my life. I began to appreciate and respect those closest to me more than before, and began to love my country more. I realized that we live for the sake of a peaceful sky, and for our children to be able to go to school in a peaceful environment, for us to be able to go to a shop or for a walk.

When quoting a story, a reference to the source – the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation – is mandatory, as follows:

The Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation

Rinat Akhmetov Foundation Civilian Voices Museum
Shchastia 2014 2015 2016 2021 Text Civilian's stories women 2014 2015 2016 moving psychological injury shelling safety and life support children internally displaced persons
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