Posted 9 февраля 2023,, 07:57

Published 9 февраля 2023,, 07:57

Modified 9 февраля 2023,, 10:38

Updated 9 февраля 2023,, 10:38

"People deserve a normal life!" What is happening today in Severodonetsk and Mariupol

"People deserve a normal life!" What is happening today in Severodonetsk and Mariupol

9 февраля 2023, 07:57
Both cities were almost destroyed during the fighting, but if Mariupol has already begun to rebuild, the fate of Severodonetsk remains unclear.

Russian politician Roman Yuneman and his colleagues went to the Donbass - to Severodonetsk and Mariupol on a humanitarian mission – to supply the residents of these almost completely destroyed cities with heaters and warm blankets. Yuneman shares his impressions of what he saw on his blog:

"We don't leave our own" for me is personal.

I grew up in Kazakhstan, but I used to think of Russia as my homeland. I understand that if something similar had happened there as in the Donbas, the Russian Federation could have left all the Russians of Kazakhstan to die of cold in the same way.

It is not difficult for me to imagine myself in the place of the residents of Mariupol and Severodonetsk. I have enough grounds for empathy. So I don't need to look for any additional reasons for organizing humanitarian missions.

SMO has been going on for almost a year, and we continue to go to Donbass with heaters. Soon we will be engaged in other humanitarian work. I have never once in all this time doubted whether we really need it.

And I wrote about the slogan "We don't abandon our own", which the propaganda of the Russian Federation likes to use, three years ago. By the way, now not even everyone will remember in what context: then the authorities could not pull out Russian citizens who were stuck in hotels and airports around the world because of the pandemic. It was especially hard to look at it in contrast with other states, which were able to find all their own very quickly and did not abandon any of them.

And the Russian Federation had everything, as always: "To you in another window". 

No one understood then that the pandemic would be nostalgic at this time, but the patterns of behavior of Russian officials have not changed over the years. Viruses, fights, and even a nuclear winter. 

I want that for me personally and for my colleagues in the "Society.The future" slogan "We don't abandon our own" would be about specific cases. And I believe that it is we who have not abandoned anyone — and we continue to do what we promised ourselves first of all.

Someday we will make it so that instead of "You in another window" in our country, they really will not throw their own.

It is still unclear how Severodonetsk will live

In Severodonetsk, something has already begun to be done: batteries and windows are being changed.


At the same time, local residents on the video say that the new windows that are brought to them are already bursting, and many of them are bent.

There are several window contractors: and if everything is fine with Moscow, Perm, Ulyanovsk, then the Ingush bought the worst windows.

In the basement of the house where we distributed heaters, there was a box of Polish mines.

The nozzles on the shanks for these mines, which increase the firing range, hung near the entrance.  At first we didn't understand what it was, and then, when we realized, we immediately asked the sappers to come to the basement and clean it all up, because if someone accidentally sets fire to the nozzles with gunpowder, it obviously won't end well.

And yes, it turns out that someone from here fired Polish mines from a Polish mortar.

The echo of New Year's holidays: a Ukrainian tank in Severodonetsk was decorated with tinsel. It's hard to see it in the pictures, but there's still tangerine peel around. When I was on the spot on December 25, all this had not happened yet.

It's good, of course, that people approached this so originally, but why hasn't the tank been removed yet? In Mariupol, you won't find such a thing anymore.

The peculiarity of Severodonetsk is that there is no communication there at all, and the city is still close to the front line. Therefore, a picture from it, unlike the showcase of Mariupol, is given extremely rarely and federal money is also sent there much less. The local authorities are trying to somehow solve all the problems themselves. So it is especially important to see everything with your own eyes, and not through the state TV.

Compared to the previous visit, there was a feeling that the city was slowly coming to life. Now minibuses travel not only along the central streets. Cafes are opening, catering has become noticeably better.

We managed to close many needs, but still Severodonetsk is now like Mariupol in October 2022. The consequences of fighting here still have a very strong impact on life. That is, normalization is very far away.

Locals complain about the Ingush company that changes windows in Severodonetsk, and in general they say that the city was given to the Ingush for feeding.

We have already brought 7 thousand heaters, and there are only about 15 thousand people left in the city. So, almost every family there now has our heaters. All thanks to donors, volunteers, coordinators and caring local businessman Oleg Lukashov, who placed us in Severodonetsk: thank you all very much again.

Previously, the city lived at the Azot plant. It was, in fact, a city-forming enterprise. It cannot be said that only her is to blame for his destruction, although it was she who finished him off. "Nitrogen" has been rusting for the last decades. It is unlikely that the plant can now be restored, and the question immediately arises: what should people do in Severodonetsk now? Maybe the history of the city just ended last year?

In the same Mariupol, at least there is a port and a sea, this is an important point on the logistics route, and the destruction of the Ilyich and Azovstal plants — which are also unrealistic to restore — does not deprive the city of all prospects for development. But it's getting worse with Severodonetsk, and by its example, perhaps, we see how a typical Soviet city is dying in the new conditions.

The final impression is clear: it's all sad.

They want to turn Mariupol into a showcase city for TV pictures

From Mariupol to Donetsk is now only 50 minutes away.

On a good road. Those responsible for this work can definitely be praised.

But the region's industry has been destroyed. It is unrealistic to restore both Azot and Azovstal.

The factories were heavily underinvested. The same "Nitrogen" is rusty for a long time — and this is a chemical enterprise, where there may be leaks or explosions due to rust. Even the operating Donetsk and Makeyevsky metallurgical plants look very sad.

Desolation went on without its own, but it became the last nail in the coffin lid.

The Mariupol Drama Theater is being demolished and they want to build a new theater here.

And once, instead of a theater, there was a church that was blown up by the Bolsheviks. The drama theater was also destroyed. An unhappy story. Perhaps it would be more correct to leave something like a place of memory, although, of course, it is up to the locals to decide.

The Russian Federation has fully entered Mariupol: many Uzbeks and Tajiks have already been brought in.

There is also a halal shawarma. The story is familiar: Khusnullin is in charge of all construction, who built the processes so that it is impossible to build anything without migrants. Allegedly. Recruit all the locals and give them a job? Well, maybe it's better to culturally enrich Mariupol residents with halal? The choice is obvious.

Compared to November, the city looks completely different. It's really being restored. It is not very clear why it was impossible to start at such a pace four months ago.

Many houses and even entire neighborhoods (Cheryomushki, Meotida) that were completely destroyed have already been demolished. According to the locals, new housing will be built there. And it looks like the truth. The whole city now resembles a large construction site.

The windows in Mariupol have also been replaced: here, unlike in Severodonetsk, no one complains about Ingush companies.

It feels like there are more people. And the crowds at the market have grown, and in general there are more people on the streets.

Many new establishments and shops have opened. The price of commercial rent bites — 60 thousand rubles a month for 80 squares in the center. And in general, prices are like in the Far East: although there are no special coefficients here, and people don't have much money.

Through the city there is a continuous flow of trucks to the Crimea. Mariupol will enjoy its advantageous location. The roads have been repaired here, although they wear out quickly.

Bureaucracy still torments people. Moreover, this is compounded by problems with public transport, which is sorely lacking. In order to issue Russian benefits instead of the old DNR ones, people, according to them, sometimes have to get as far as Rostov. And in court cases — to Donetsk, because there is no court in Mariupol at all. So it's very hard without your car.

Of course, they want to turn Mariupol into a showcase city for TV pictures. And they score on other points of Donbass, which is very clearly visible in Severodonetsk. But at least let everything get better here at a normal pace.

In general, I was happy for Mariupol. People deserve a normal life.

But there are still problems with heating. The city needs blankets — and we have already started searching for them. We realized that it is not worth taking even more heaters to the city yet: otherwise the local power grid simply will not stand. At the same time, a lot of people still can't get warm, and they need help. Therefore, now we are looking for manufacturers of warm blankets who are willing to sell them to us at a reasonable price. The number is from several thousand.

In November, some people were still living in basements here. And now all the damaged houses have been demolished and are going to build new ones.

At the first stage, housing for about 10 thousand people was built in the city. Now housing for another 10 thousand is being introduced additionally.

Houses for another 20 thousand people are being built now. In total, housing will be built for 40 thousand Mariupol residents.

I expected to see such rates in October, but it's good that they have reached them at least now. Almost half of the yards have construction equipment — and this pleases.

The main thing is that when all this is completed, people will get apartments without infernal bureaucracy and without the requirements to find documents burned during the war.