On the second stage of existence of our Mission, I had to become, in practice, the head of the Information Center. The first days of our lives in Donetsk, in Vostok, were behind. The first combat alerts. Back then a real threat of Donetsk being bombed from air existed, the enemy still had military planes. I remember how during our first ever combat alert (they were not that rare back then) we rushed out of the school and huddled around Volga like little sparrows, sitting by the fence… How the sense of peace and confidence was passed to us from the look of our imperturbable commander… How we ran to the shelter when the air raid alarm was sounded, were hiding in the trenches inside the base, standing in the doorways of the headquarters building (we were told that this place is the safest)…
Gradually, in reality very quickly, the Mission split into two directions. I don’t have a feeling that we separated from each other, but each of us became involved in his new duty.
Each of the directions had its own difficulties, every member of the Mission had them too. We needed to grow as quickly as possible, grow older. This sounds funny for me, since I’m far from young, but only having joined the Mission I realized how far I am from the state of a real grown up. Age was not my support in my inner growth, but a serious drawback. Not the physical condition that is required, not the memory that is required, not the sharpness of vision that is required. But I had to work with what I have.
The main difficulty of the Information Center was that work here dulled the sense of war. You get used to some limitations to comfort that our life was accompanied with quickly – other than that our life reminded the one we had before the war too much.
But the air was different, the air of war, it didn’t allow to relax. Shells exploded in the city, each day wounded were brought to the medical unit of the brigade, the militia said goodbye to the dead.
At that time, in fall 2014, every day shells and rockets launched by the servicemen of the Ukrainian army hit the city, houses were burning, people were dying.
It was very difficult work — registering human suffering on camera. A strange feeling appeared each time when we rushed together with camera crews of various TV channels, trying to be the first to reach yet another place where a shell hit and register the consequences. This cannot be done dispassionately and indifferently.
My heart was breaking from their suffering, it was hard to look at the destruction, at people injured and killed. But the people who suffered from the shelling realized that our work is necessary, realized that the camera allows them to address the world, tell their grief to the world. We heard and recorded multiple curses addressed to the Kiev regime, addressed to those who in cold blood purposefully exterminated civil population.
The city in the fall of 2014 was quite empty, there were no traffic jams on the streets, few passers by, many have left the city, some for a short time, some for long. By the time winter came the people started to return a bit.
On October 14 we published a video in which I first appeared as a reporter. It was telling about distribution of humanitarian aid in Mineralnoye village. The video was not that good, but that’s when we started working in a new genre — video story. This experience was very useful for us in the future, when the severity of shelling of the city decreased and we had to move from news stories to something more narrative.
After this report I started to appear on camera almost systematically.
We developed good relations with the priest of Vostok brigade, father Boris. We recorded and published online several of his sermons. We talked to him for hours, finding a lot in common, kinship of our evaluation of the events and understanding that we must fight the great evil that threatens the world.
Meanwhile, November 2014 came. The time when our comrades from the combat group assumed their positions in the Donetsk airport was approaching.
Other stories of “Essence of Time” unit soldiers: “Essence of Time” unit in Donbass
Source (for copy): https://eu.eot.su/?p=9455