Fort Russ, February 18th
Original by Yevdokia “Dunya” Sheremetyeva, published on littlehirosima blog; translated from Russian by J.Hawk and originally published at South Front.
New articles now come out on littlehirosima website (yes, Dunya now has her own website! – ed.)
–Did you know he went off to join the militia?
– How would I? He simply left home on January 13th, and two weeks later they called and said he was wounded in action.
Aleksandr Vladimirovich Koshurkin ended up in Debaltsevo right away.
Back in the day, I heard a similar story from a friend: His buddy went to Chechnya, during
the first war. Him and other greenhorns arrived at Grozny, and were directed to their unit. On the way there, their truck struck a mine or something. That guy was sitting right above a wheel, and that saved his life. He was the only survivor. His body was full of fragments, which
took a long time to come out. They haven’t even arrived to the frontlines, those kids.
We enter the apartment and are met by a wizened older woman. As she
was walking away from the open door, I noticed she limps badly.
It took me off guard – the folks at Pervomaysk administration told me this address needs a walker, but it was supposed to be a guy.
–What happened to you?
I almost stumbled.
–A monument fell on me. Marx. Just like that.
The woman shows me how the monument fell on her. She thrusts her arms forward and leans.
–It was at work, at the factory. It fell flat. Since then I have a limp in both legs.
We are standing around, not sure of what to do.
–We brought you a walker.
–Thank you! Sasha could really use it.
Now I see an elbow poking above a couch armrest in the living room.
–What’s with Sasha?
–He was wounded in Debaltsevo on January 27th. He went off to fight.
–Did you know he joined the militia?
– How would I? He simply left home on January 13th, and two weeks later they called and said he was wounded in action. I would have never let him go if I knew. My older son
died when he was only 30. And now him…
Aleksandr Vladimirovich, born 1983, was wounded in action less than two
weeks after enlisting. In the head. He underwent several surgeries. Was
taken to Moscow. They told him there is a chance he will fully recover,
but only if he exercises intensely, and it will take a lot of time.
Aleksandr lies on the couch and moans. He has trouble focusing his eyes.
–Is he conscious, does he understand?
–Yes. But doesn’t speak well.
He lies like a small child. Hand on the head, and he covers his face the whole time. Or rather, its right half. As if trying to hide it.
–Do you need a wheelchair?
–Very much! He walks, but still has difficulty moving around.
We had a wheelchair in the car, which one woman donated for Donbass. We took it along, just in case, as we left Lugansk for Pervomaysk.
While the guys went to get it, Galina Ivanovna went to the back of the room.
She came back a few minutes later, and started to show me the medals and documents.
Aleksandr moans something again. I’m trying to understand the words, but I can’t.
His wrists are twisted, as if he has Parkinson’s, his eye is
half-closed. He seems unconscious. Next to him
are adult diapers. But all the while he’s trying to tell me something.
–Does he have a wife, children?
– His wife left him a long time ago. There is a daughter.
–Five years old. At first, she didn’t understand what was happening. I asked
her “do you remember daddy?” and she replied “mom told me not to.”
And then, she started to visit. She’d bring a stool and sit next to him.
If she eats, she always takes some to her father. Apples, tea.
She loves him very much.
[Cossack National Guard. Medal “For Debaltsevo”, #400. Ataman Kozisnyn’s signature. -ed.]
We mainly help the civilians. Children, retirement homes,
orphanages, elderly…This is the first time I ran into a wounded soldier.
Aleksandr joined the militia a year ago. Just in time for the Debaltsevo cauldron, where he fought.
Back in January 2014, the acting mayor of Pervomaysk Yevgeniy Ishchenko was
killed, [along with three humanitarian aid workers from Moscow]. At that time we couldn’t even reach Pervomaysk, it was shelled heavily. We waited and waited, hoping it would die down, but it didn’t.
Shells kept falling and falling, continuously and monotonously. That’s
when Aleksandr went off to war. Into the center of that hell, where it was worse
than anywhere else.
Galina Ivanovna looks extremely tired. She limps and fully takes care of
her son. Changes diapers, does exercises, feeds, washes. It’s hard to
do such things, alone in an apartment.
I can imagine it right now, that apartment, with a big mirror opposite
the door, with windows criss-crossed with adhesive tape (to prevent glass shards after blastwave – ed.),
an icon next to Sasha’s bed, and Galina Ivanovna herself walking tiredly. I also see a girl who sits on a tiny stool next to her father and gives him pieces of an apple. And him covering his face with a hand
that’s clenched in a spasm, and trying to say something very important.