Olesia Mamchych, especially for Ukrainska Pravda Life
January 28th is my birthday. I’m 33 years old. I am a writer, I write poems for children and adults. I have two daughters, Ivanka, who is 7 years old, and Varvara, who is 3 years old. Galya Tkachuk, also a writer, is sitting here with me now. She recently published a book about Kyiv for kids called Tempori.
And guess what we’re doing now? Are we reading Galyna’s book? Are we baking a cake and decorating the room with flowers for a birthday party? Are we citing modern poetry?
Actually, Galya is consoling me after I was intimidated by an investigator, after I finally saw my lost car that had been totally destroyed by the Berkut. She is distracting me from the thoughts that my husband, my dear husband, Oleksandr Kravtsov, has been beaten and unfairly convicted and is now in Lukyanivskiy jail.The world around us has turned upside down. The life in which we were just artists has irreversibly passed away. Now we live in a hell of fear and a paradise of freedom at the same time.
Students from the theatrical university, the young poet Yukhum Dyshkant, Volodymyr Karagyaur, activists of the Automaidan and hundreds of others are now under arrest. Some of my friends are going underground. Others have had their driver’s licenses taken away. The evidence against them being a picture of a dark street at night with the remark that it is a clear day at 1 p.m. The apocalyptical broadcasts from Hrushevskoho Street are less frightening than receiving a notification from EuroMaidan-SOS about a missing person.
When a whole bus of Berkut officers attacked our car at 5 a.m., destroyed it and took my husband out, I wasn’t asleep. Probably because of the foreboding of evil, or maybe because of the general dramatic situation in the country, I was constantly following the Internet, all those streams, groups, and broadcasts. They were always on. On one of those streams I saw the broken car with the familiar license plate, I saw Sasha’s hat on the front seat. His rucksack was also there among the broken glass.
Then my marathon began.
I don’t know how unconscionable one should be to lie to a wife in tears who has already been searching for her husband for half-a-day, and to tell her that he is not in Obolonskiy district jail! After waiting for two more hours on a cold street nearby I was informed that he was actually there, after some deputies arrived. I even saw my husband from afar.
When I saw him, my reaction was paradoxical. When I saw Sashko in the militia station I was glad because he was alive. He had not been left in the forest. He was beaten but not severely beaten, I knew this because he could walk. This is the way we think now.
What’s next? Next was the deceitful court.
The prosecutor was very young and was hiding his eyes all the time. The judge was muttering, he was probably ashamed of himself. The investigator was nervously looking out the window. Near the court people were screaming “Glory to Ukraine!” singing the national anthem, and beating drums even though it was -20C outside.
Such support is extremely important, especially in such hard times. It moves to you tears, it gives you power to be strong and to believe in victory.
And now some words about the “hooligan”. He was accused of having beaten some Berkut officers. Those who know Sashko as an open-mined, peaceful, happy and clever man only had a sad smile on their faces when they heard this.
Sashko was never indifferent.
He was upset by holes on roads and wrote complaints to the traffic police. Several times the holes were filled-in. He created the web-site “Language control” to control the consumer’s right to be served in Ukrainian.
His next step was the AutoMaidan.
Children like Sashko very much. I don’t mean just our two daughters, but children in general. Sashko is creative, always attentive to others, always ready to help and has a good sense of humor. I have always felt protected when I am with him.
It was very hard to realize that an entire bus of Berkut officers was attacking our blue Lanos. Sashko was taken out of the car, put on the ground and beaten. Afterwards, together with others, he was taken to Mariinskiy Park. Lots of blood was on the ground.
The Berkut let the two girls go (do they still have some conscience?). They removed all of the men’s outerwear. Sashko had been wearing his grandfather’s army sheepskin coat, it was a family heirloom. We haven’t seen that coat again, but it’s not that important.
While it was -20C outside, the guys were lying on the ground or kneeling for two hours. After an hour somebody threw someone else’s coat onto Sashko. The remnants of a soul probably awoke.
While Sashko was kneeling, the Berkut were telling their opinion of the Maidan. The information they wanted to know most of all was the price the activists were paid to stay on the Maidan. “At least 200 UAH, that’s for sure”, was the opinion that the Berkut officers agreed upon among themselves.
And the last point. They were trying to make Sashko say “Glory to Berkut”. However, my husband responded: “Glory to everyone that hasn’t lost their conscience!” As they say, no comment.
My husband is currently in the Lukyanivskiy jail. The car had been missing. When I went to find the broken car beyond where the Berkut officers are in Mariinskiy Park, I only ran up against some intimidation from an investigator. It is senseless to say that they hold my car illegally. They will not give it back to me. It is said that it will be taken away tonight.
Together with our two children I am trying to be strong and in good spirits, and sometimes I really do feel this way.
Having seen this huge solidarity, I start to believe in our victory. How much love, attention and time were sacrificed not only by our friends, but also by complete strangers! After weeks of worries and fear, I now have an unbelievable feeling of inner freedom.
The fear has disappeared.
p.s. The court hearing in the Court of Appeals will take place on February 2 at 12:20 at Solomyanska Street 2-A.
Translated by Oleksandra Kondratenko
Edited by Matt Mozingo
Source: Ukrainska Pravda