My name is Sergey, I am from Donetsk. I have lived in Kyiv for already two years now. With the help of some good people I was able to get out of that “hole” – this is how we, “Ukrops”, call the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNP). Only the closest friend in Donetsk knew that I support Ukraine. My Facebook account at that time was totally anonymous, my name then was “A Reckless Ukr.”
At some point my brother joined the DNP army, received his uniform, some money… He and his wife became totally invested in this business, but my niece and nephew were following my every step…
I hesitated until the very last moment, I couldn’t leave my mum alone. She was about to turn 80, and it is difficult to move to another city at that age. Moreover, someone had to keep an eye on my brother’s children who love me so much. Brother and his wife didn’t really “mention” them, even when we were in a cellar waiting for the bombing to stop. Similarly, they didn’t really worry who will feed the kids and help them with their homework.
It was also hard to leave our family house that we had just finished building with our own hands. We sold two apartments to build it. I had just started constructing a little summer house that would also be a summer kitchen…
But once my niece picked up the phone when her dad was calling and accidentally said something “unnecessary.” Something like, uncle Sergey thinks you shouldn’t have gone to war. My own brother asked to pass the phone to me and said “Are you spoiling my children? We will come for you soon, remember.”
I understood that they would come and take me to some basement or even worse… Moreover, my brother knew that I was gay.
Briefly, it was time to leave. I wasn’t afraid of any “Ukrops” or “Banderovtsy” (Ukrop, or Ukr, literally means “dill” in Ukrainian and Russian. Initially a derogatory term, it was invented by pro-Russian separatists to denote people who support Ukrainian independence and territorial integrity. Later, however, it became popular with the Ukrainians who reappropriated it – Translator’s note). I served in Western Ukraine. Thus I always laughed when people were talking about it. At first, I thought I’d go there to look for a job.
My mum blessed me, she is religious. She told me that she wouldn’t go anywhere herself but it would be nice for me to live some “normal” life. I paid some trustworthy people who organized my going away in a bus through all roadblocks. When I arrived to Kyiv, I decided to stay here for a few months to look for a job and decide where to go next. I thought that my ex-boyfriend would help me but it didn’t work out. Some activists helped me though.
I don’t have any special education but I can do everything with my hands. I was lucky to find a job like that. I help with some chores in an orphanage. People gave me a room there, that’s where I live now.
I am not gay rights activist and I don’t go to demonstrations. What will happen to me when people in the orphanage learn about it? They will throw me away from the room and from work. To find a place to live in Kyiv for a person with Donetsk registration is a nightmare. And running after landlords, convincing them that I am their kind of person, that I am a patriot – it’s humiliating.
But to be honest, I liked the ambience in Kyiv. In Donetsk you always try to be careful, you walk and look around, trying not to stand out in any way; it was like that even before this project of occupation of the new territories by a border-state has begun – it’s how I call DNP. And here you see cheerful young people, hear laughter, see people dressing differently. And they smile more.
Together with other internally displaced people we are now trying to prepare a small piece of land to build a house there. Maybe, if we are able to build something, I would take my mum here – she also deserves to live some “normal life.”
And then, if there is God’s will, I will figure out my love life. I am reckless, so I hope for the best.