Along with the "independence" of the LNR and Ukraine's withdrawal, another problem appeared in the "republic", which may seem ridiculous against the backdrop of war, but it is quite significant in and of itself. All projects, funded by the money of donors, non-governmental organizations and charity funds, came out from the occupied part of the Luhansk oblast (and the ATO zone according to the official documents). Everything that makes the life of any city brighter, more stable and more interesting.
This can be a completely inconspicuous project, important only for those for whom it was written, such as feeding street children with hot meals, advocating illegally dismissed representatives of national minorities, funding and patronage of street football or paid wages of psychologists in departments with a persistent form of tuberculosis in tuberculosis dispensaries.
That is, those for whom this project was written found themselves without this bridge, which gives them a chance to live a little better, gain new opportunities and improve their quality of life.
The motives for getting out of the ATO zone were simple and understandable – it is impossible to go through the procedure of obtaining permits for work in the "republic", there are huge difficulties with the importation of necessary equipment, medicines and/or foodstuffs through all borders and checkpoints and, finally, it is impossible to bring wages here for the project workers, since there are no banks, working with external financial structures in the "republic". And to transfer money illegally under 1-3-5% for cashing in rubles without reporting documentation is unacceptable for foreign country.
It has to be said that many tried to enter Luhansk – eminent funds and organizations that had many years of experience in flashpoints, the staff of lawyers and, above all, the desire to work here. Attempts were multiple, but they failed with checks and drawing up of documents. Insuperable obstacles, more like a tightly locked door to the house with an inscription "We are glad to see you".
Without naming names, the checks have shown that organizations of global renown do not know how to put things in order at their warehouses and they have been slapped insanitary conditions of warehousing facilities. Drugs of ban import were found in another organization. The third – just about the CIA branch…
Listening to these stories from a distance, there is a desire to exclaim: are they all fools there, were not able to put things right? But I repeat – these organizations had many years of experience in flashpoints all over the world and everywhere, they stood similar checks. But not here.
There was such an old story: the husband beat his wife. She was forbidden to complain to someone. She found an anonymous telephone hotline and started calling them. It was easier for her. Her husband figured out where his wife was calling, figured out where the service was, went there and beat consultants – it is no good, he said, to listen to complaints. Perhaps, there is no connection with what is happening here, but this story was remembered precisely in the sense of all events with attempts to find a loophole in order those who could quite officially enter by the door were able to make their way here.
After request for help, a private Russian philanthropist answered that his warehouses are in Donetsk, and that it is hard to transfer boxes with aid to Luhansk and, above all, humiliating for himself.
The system of inspections and passing customs control has been complicated. It is almost impossible to bring a car with humanitarian aid to the "republic". The whole range of documents is needed – list of all humanitarian aid products, contacts of people who will deal with this issue. It turns out that to collect the aid and send it here is the visible and the most insignificant part in comparison with the rest: the passage of the border and the receipt of all permits.
And meanwhile, the number of those who need help gets bigger for understandable reasons - poverty, lack of opportunities, necessary medications. Now our prewar problems seem insignificant. A lot of funds helped HIV infected people. The work of volunteers who distributed syringes was paid for. Assistance was provided to victims of human trafficking, philanthropists at their own expense equipped a lodging house for homeless people in Luhansk. Where has this all gone?
The philanthropists themselves left and lost their former opportunities. One of the women, who had been helping homeless people, advocated for new authorities and change. The new government did not allow her to do what she had previously been doing - helping others. At her own expense. And she was eliminated in all senses.
The fight against the system is similar to Don Quixote's attempts to defeat the windmill.
And in addition to those who needed help, those who could assist were also unsettled - project workers with experience, knowledge and a desire to work. Everyone was suggested to leave and work outside the ATO zone. They offered decent wages and help with housing. But on condition of leaving this place. Not everyone could agree to that. The notorious expression emerged that to get a decent salary and pay for a rented apartment would be the same as to receive a salary in Luhansk, living at home. Nobody is dreaming of grants or some projects – people just want to survive.
An old woman with the mongrel begs in the eastern market of Luhansk every day. She walks with a stool because she cannot walk otherwise and dreams of a walker. She was seen by thousands - she is standing in the central alley, and you cannot simply forget her way of moving. Every day people sympathize with her, give her bread or small money. But for three years nobody could solve her biggest problem and buy her walkers.
Olha Kucher, Luhansk, specially for OstroV