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Anatoliy Miedviediev


How did you experience war in 2014? What do you remember from that? How old were you? How did 2014-2015 go for you?
Please tell this story in detail.

I was a fourth-year student at the Donetsk Technical University of the LNAU in Krasnohorivka, where I studied and lived. I was 20 years old,  preparing to take tests and exams at the technical school and getting ready to take the entrance exam to Luhansk NAU. For me, some determined date for the start of the war didn't really exist  - I lived in Krasnohorivka, went home to Dobropillya and rested in Donetsk every week. Still, personally, one of the signs that our Euromaidan is turning from a revolution into a war with a neighboring country was the murder of Dmytro Chernyavskyi in Donetsk in early March 2014. After that, I felt more aggression and hostility towards me from some classmates who held pro-russian views, and who began to call me, who was an anarchist, a "Banderite" for some reason. If an open armed confrontation began in Kramatorsk and Slovyansk, in Krasnohorivka and Donetsk everything went according to its own scenario. First, one day, when I was driving to Donetsk and waiting for a trolleybus to Abakumovo, I saw a group of armed lumpen proletarians and "zeks" walking near the market, who until recently spent most of their time near the scrap-metal reception, or alcohol distributing place nearby, and today already with sticks, pipes and sewed-off guns were looking for the mythical "Banderites". They approached the bus stop and peered intently into the faces of people waiting for the trolleybus. One irredentist approached a man and said: "Show me your passport." He answered: "Who are you that I should show you things? I'm going to work." The other "republicans", noticing that something was lingering there, approached the first and together led the man away somewhere. He shouted: "Men, what are you doing? I am a miner! What "Banderite" could I be?" At that time, I boarded a trolleybus and went to the Golden Ring. Inside the city, I noticed people in military uniform without identification marks. I went in the direction of Artem and saw that people in uniforms were entering all the shops leading from the Yama station. I thought they were collecting "people's taxes". The city itself made a strange impression - everything seemed the same, but the mood was already different. In the city there was a feeling that you were left alone - without a state; the policemen who said "we are with the people" and calmly walked alongside the armed irredentists were a confirmation of that - there is no state power in Donetsk. In May, during a lecture, a teacher came to our classroom, collecting money to help a student from a parallel class: after the "basement" of the militants, the boy ended up in intensive care. He briefly told us what happened: "The student was walking near the Donetsk RSA with a friend and said out loud: "Monkeys with weapons", then an armed irredentist heard this, approached him and asked: "What did you say there? Are you from the right sector?", student replied that he was not. The militant said: "Now we'll figure it out," and they took him to the basement." After this short story, the teacher urged us to be careful and not to provoke armed people.
Gradually, the lumpen proletarians from Abakumovo disappeared, and in their place came young fit militants who set up a checkpoint between Staromykhailivka and Donetsk. In Donetsk itself, I began to notice more and more people in military uniform. They often asked where and what was located, how to drive or walk somewhere. Once, during a visit to the Krupska library, where I often went to the local history department, a parody typical Donbas miner with tan skin and a black beard approached the cloak room where I handed in my things. In broken russian, he asked to look after his bulletproof vest while he ran out somewhere. I asked the lady: "What is this?" She replied: "These are the times."
Before the very beginning of the active hostilities in Donetsk, I came from Dobropillya to Krasnohorivka. I immediately went to Donetsk to eat. I was standing near Yama and eating shawarma. At this time, a classmate called me and asked: "Where are you?" I said: "At Yama, what is it?", he says: "Ours have arrived." I ask: "Who are ´ours`?" He went: "russians. They are now at Artem." I answered him: "How are they ´ours´? Are you sick?" — and hung up. The next day I had to take an exam - whether it was in surgery or in pathology - I don't remember. In the morning, we all gathered on the street near the clinic at the technical school in Krasnohorivka. And at that time, explosions and shooting were heard in the direction of the Donetsk airport, and later, black smoke rose above the airport in the distance. I went up to the teacher and said: "War... Just let us all pass automatically" He answered me: "War might be war, but exams and studies stay as scheduled."
At the end of May, in order to somehow express my position and disagreement with what was happening, I shaved my head and left the oseledets (t.n. traditional Ukrainian style of haircut that features a long lock of hair left on the otherwise completely shaved head). Looking this way, in the summer, I went to Horliv museum to Pavel Besposhchadnyy, on a familiarization trip to Luhansk NAU, and a bunch of times - to Donetsk and Dobropillya.
At the end of July 2014, I collected my things and took them to Dobropillya through Donetsk in a few trips. During the last trip, I carried a small bag with some things: several canvases, paints, brushes and my first large-format painting - "One", which I was able to finish only a year later. When I arrived in Dobropillya, the main question stood: what to do next? Go to Luhansk? Transfer to Kharkiv? I chose neither and in October 2014 I went to Poland, to the city of Srem.

"Where were you these 8 years?".
How has this time passed for you, what changed in your life since the events of 2014?
What has influenced you the most during this time?
Please write in detail.

During these eight years, I lived in two countries in a period of six months to a year: first in Poland, then in the Czech Republic, in Germany, and the rest of the time at home, in Dobropillya. I worked as a butcher, a kitchen worker, a fitter, a handyman, a formworker, while continuing to paint with oils and acrylics from time to time, writing short stories, sketching scripts for future cartoon plots that never came to life. I started writing historical articles related to the history of Donbas - they were printed in local history collections. What influenced me the most was that while living abroad for a long time, I continued to be interested in the history and culture of Donbas, and this partly shaped me and my worldview. I can proudly say in the words of my countryman - Sosiura - that "... Donbas gave birth to me. I am all a child of Donechchyna, and miner's blood flows in me..."

What was February 24, 2022 for you like?
Did you believe that a full-scale offensive would begin?Where are you now? What do you do?

What do you think about your future now?

On February 24, I got up at nine o'clock. I found out that the war had started, got ready and stood in line to withdraw money and buy groceries. I understood that there would be a war on February 21, when there was a meeting of the russian Security Council, at which putin recognized the russian occupation administrations of Donetsk, but until February 24, I did not want to believe in it. Now I am at home in Dobropilyal, thinking about what to do next. I am trying to finish a few articles and my first book related to the history of Donbas. I have already said goodbye to Donbas and accepted the fact that I may be left with nothing, but at the same time I realized that Donbas is - first of all - its people, not territory, and wherever I am, I will try to do what I can for my small homeland.

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