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To be closer to their loved ones: wives of recruits move to Donbass to follow their husbands

Date: April 20, 2024 Time: 06:41:59

Elena also came last summer to see her husband for a few days. And she now lives with her daughter in one of the cities of the DPR, counting the days until the brief dismissal of her husband.

Photo: Personal archive

– Will you be in Donetsk on Sunday? – wrote an officer I know who has not left the front line. – I’ll introduce you to my wife.

– What is she doing here?

– I came to visit, this is the second time, they let me go for the weekend.

This is something new, I realized during a visit to the war. Donetsk, of course, is not a burning front, but people die here literally every day. And you have to have strong nerves (and love her husband very much) to be able to get to a frontline city after having seen enough stories about bombings.


In fact, with such brief visits a new life begins for entire families. My new friend, Elena, also came last summer to see her husband for a few days. And she now lives with her daughter in one of the cities of the DPR, counting the days until the brief dismissal of her husband.

We meet downtown on a sunny day, which is, however, chilled to the bone by a frigid wind. Little Vera Evgenievna, dressed in a winter “suit,” walks confidently along the sidewalk, hand in hand with her mother. And he’s busy arguing that it would be nice to take a walk to the playground. I don’t mind.

Actually, his father had the opportunity to “bow”: he worked in Novokuznetsk at a defense plant, but Evgeniy immediately decided that if a summons came, he would not hide behind armor. On September 26, 2022, I received a call to the military registration and enlistment office and left on the 27th.

“My husband and I were going to the theater that day,” Elena remembers today. – Let’s go to the station. First they were sent to Omsk, my daughter and I also went there. And it’s been here since May of last year.

In the summer, Elena visited her husband alone. So I decided it was time to move.

“It’s not clear when it will end,” he explains. -Her daughter is changing, he is bored. It’s easier for him while we’re here. I feel better.

– What happens to life? You are alone in an unknown place…

– I grew up in the village, I can do everything, I can do everything. This sentence always made him angry: I will do everything myself. And then he left, and it turns out that for some reason I can’t do everything. Our house is private. Therefore, without a husband, in principle, it is very difficult.


Elena and Evgeniy are from Altai. We studied together at a pedagogical school in Biysk: he was in the physical education department, she was in primary school. We met a year before graduating. He had already enlisted in the army: “Great,” Lena thought, “you won’t have to wait.” Then they worked together, graduated from higher education and, when they realized that the family would grow with only one person, they moved to Novokuznetsk, where they bought a house just a year and a half ago.

Elena and Evgeny are from Altai. We studied together at a pedagogy school in Biysk.

Photo: Personal archive

– Did you have to sacrifice anything when you decided to come here?

– I have become very accustomed to deliveries over the last year, because with a child you don’t really go shopping, it starts: buy, buy, buy. Here you have to go to the store and take bags. And then… They bought more, they approached dad. The boy began to change again. For the best.

– As?

– She is our father’s daughter. The word “mother” appeared only after my father left. Then he started this endless “mom”, “mom”, “mom”. She became capricious and complaining. Here everything returns to normal. She becomes calm and assiduous. And here’s the goal: Dad will come over the weekend and we’ll show him the letters we’ve learned.

– Vera, do you like it here in Donbass? – I asked the girl with huge eyes.

He quickly grew tired of the swing that had not been painted for a long time and the frozen sand in the sandbox.

– As.

– Aren’t you bullied in kindergarten?

– No.

– Where else are you going?

– To the gym and the pool.

Elena admits that she did not closely follow what was happening in Ukraine. Although we read the news and many of our acquaintances went to fight, some were initially soldiers, others were volunteers. This is how the general situation presented itself. But imagining is one thing, but living in this reality is completely different. Especially when it arrives. This doesn’t happen often here, but the air defense works regularly.

“What’s scary is not even the fact that something can fly here, you can pick up your things and leave at any time.” Here transporters travel throughout Russia,” Elena admits. “It’s scary that something could happen to him there.” Therefore, this fear, in principle, whether at home or here, does not disappear. But it’s quieter here, even though it seems like a first-class city…


Elena is not the first who came to this town for her husband. The pioneer was Lyubov from the Kemerovo region. It was her and her two children who walked the path from Siberia to Donbass. By the way, in her homeland, both Lyuba and her husband Anatoly worked in a coal mine. He’s a forklift driver, she’s a security officer. We met at school, but we didn’t notice each other there. Many years later, we saw each other at an alumni reunion and things started to happen.

– Of course, you didn’t marry a military man…

– No wait. Only for a military man. We have already signed here,” Lyuba laughs.

He arrived in Donbass for reconnaissance in May last year. At first, she was alone, without children. And I realized that it’s not so bad here. I returned home and started studying the local public pages online: about schools, clinics, daycares, about the situation… In the end, I made up my mind.

“To be honest, at first it was scary to go out. Because there was a lot of noise, the air defense went up.

Anatoly and Lyuba worked in a coal mine in Siberia.

Photo: Personal archive

– Were the children scared?

– No, in our Kemerovo region coal was constantly exploited in mines. Similar sounds. The windows of the house also vibrated. Sometimes they say: oh, thunder. I don’t tell you what it really is, of course.

– Aren’t they complaining about the new conditions?

– At first they did not understand what kind of winter it was: in Siberia there is deep snow and frost. And here is the New Year without snow. They still don’t understand how such a winter can happen. But in general they like it here.

– Do you see dad often?

– Now – yes, they put them in rotation. When every day, when every two, every three days it comes.

– How did your relatives in Kemerovo react to your decision?

– Without enthusiasm, of course. Even mom. They had a lot of problems with her. “How will you go to war with the children? Go alone, if you want, leave the children, you will return in a while.” But in the end, mom is here. She came to visit and I found a house a week later.

Anatoly, Lyubov and their daughter.

Photo: Personal archive


“In fact, he said all kinds of things,” Lyuba’s mother Irina admits today.

We met in a local park, sat on benches under the leafy fir trees. The background speakers uttered something patriotic and modern:

“Mom, how are things going in the land of the steppes and the terikons?

I heard that the enemies have come to our land and want to destroy everyone as quickly as possible….

Mom, all the cities here are familiar to me since childhood.

Druzhkovka, Slavyansk, Kramatorsk

now in the news sources,

Donbass save your children.”

Irina arrived after her daughter. And in the end, she herself is now the wife of a struggling husband. Even before the mobilization announcement, he was still eager to go to the military registration and enlistment office.

– I say: “Oh, stay still.” And when the mobilization was announced, immediately: “I’m going.” At first I tried to dissuade him. Useless. We went together to the military registration and enlistment office. He fought in the LPR, but was later discharged for health reasons.

Irina arrived after her daughter. And in the end, she herself is now the wife of a struggling husband.

Photo: Personal archive

Then Irina and her husband came to Donbass to visit their daughter and stayed. She got a job in a factory. And then…

– And then everyone: “I want to go to the front.” How many times did I dissuade her? We probably went to the military registration and enlistment office almost every day for about a month. They didn’t want to take it with her fitness category. But in the end I signed a contract on November 1st. He is now fighting somewhere in the direction of Ugledar. There has been no contact with him for 18 days.

– What were your first impressions after moving?

– It seems to me that people are much friendlier here. Simpler. And this softens a lot. Now we are used to it, we are going to buy a house. We decided to stay. My son went to school here.

-Has your life changed a lot?

– Certainly! There she had cows and lived according to a schedule. And then all winter I went crazy with boredom. I’m used to living by the clock: morning, lunch, night. But I wouldn’t say life was better or worse. They’re just different lives, that’s all. Friends from the Kemerovo region write to me: have you already bought a cow? I say, “Leave me alone. The sea is close here. Why do I need a cow? Be tied again, like those seven years I lived? That’s it, now a new life.


Kristina, who came from Novokuznetsk following her husband Vyacheslav (the couple is expecting a child), Ksenia from Krasnoyarsk, a mother of four children, and Alena Anatolyevna from Omsk, who wanted to be closer to her son, started a new life in Donbass .

Some consider this measure temporary, others plan to take root. But they definitely don’t consider their choice as a sacrifice. Leave everything and go from Siberia to the Donbass at war? Easily! For them it is absolutely natural and they do not consider it heroism. Without any government program, without any financial support. But renting a house today in Donbass is not a cheap pleasure: a one-room apartment renovated by a “grandmother” costs 5 thousand rubles per day. If you’re lucky, you can rent for 30 thousand a month.

Yes, I had to get used to many things. And the dilapidated housing and communal services, and the nondescript industrial cities. In a republic at war, there is not always enough money for playgrounds, repairs in schools and kindergartens, and electronic queues in clinics. Instead of supermarkets there is an urban market, instead of entertainment centers there are free sports sections. But all this is compensated by closeness to a loved one, for whom the Russian woman is willing to go to the ends of the earth.

At the same time, there is a danger that the husband will be transferred to another address and it is not clear how long he will have to live his new life.

“You know, I don’t even care how long,” one of the mobilized wives admitted to me when I turned off the camera. “We all understand that they are already experienced military personnel and capable of carrying out the most complex tasks.” And from the command point of view, they will be more useful at the front than “green” recruits. I have come to terms with this thought. And now my task is to support my husband. It doesn’t matter how long it takes.

*The author thanks the journalist Dmitry Kulikov for his help in preparing the material.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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