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Working on a battlefield: Stories of Donbas farmers

Working on a battlefield: Stories of Donbas farmers

Farmers of Slovyansk are in the focus of a regular issue of «Donetsk Dialogue» on Donbas Public TV. Journalists found out how the war influenced their activities and what it is to gather ammunition and corpses instead of crops.

They had to work under fire and in the spring to gather the crops of the war.


Donbas grain grower faced a lot of challenges when the war started. Yevhen was a manager in Slovyanske for several years, but he will remember the year of 2014 till the end of his life. They had to work under fire and in the spring to gather the crops of the war.

They shelled from both sides, but we sowed and tried to work. We were treating corn with herbicide when militants were seizing Slovyansk. On the left – the Ukrainian Army; on the other side, on the airdrome, – “DPR”. Our fields are near the known airdrome, so, a lot of stuff was falling on our fields” the interlocutor says.

Challenges farmers face


This land is cultivated by Slovyansk company “Eskaal” TD. The workers work selflessly, that is why the boss calls them heroes.

“There was war. My guys, nephews, mechanics worked day and night. The airdrome is located on our fields; Ukraine, on the one side, “DPR” - on the other. We pulled out ammunition and corpses out of the earth. It seems that we survived the war. However, 120 Hectares burned down. Nobody helped us to extinguish the fire; we did it by ourselves. So, there were some losses last year, but we'll overcome”, says Dmytro.

When we asked him about the compensation for the damage and losses due to hostilities, he laughed. «Nobody threw you away and officials listened to  you when you spoke about your problems, and sympathized with you, though no compensation has been given so far».  However, Dmytro submitted the necessary documents, just in case.

Dmytro Kazanskiy is sure that VAT should not be revoked in agriculture, and the issue with traders has not been solved yet though the new harvest should be sold in the autumn and equipment is needed to sow in the spring.

“Farmers do not pay this VAT, but grain traders have always got 20% more money for exporting. We have worked in hard conditions for a year, but then, all of a sudden, the purchase is reduced, without any reason. Why? Because there is a lot of grain?” Dmytro adds.

Land will feed everyone


Dmytro believes in his country and the people; he loves the land; however, he thinks that not only reforms are required in agriculture. People should use it rationally, and should be aware that it not a commodity, but a resource.

“Our country can leave such country as, for example, Germany behind. Just give opportunities to people and to the land. People can do everything: our people are very hard working, and our land is unique. That is why it will be fought for. Those who started the war did it because they want to get this land. They want to aggravate the situation to be able to say that everything is bad and then to sell the land. However, the land will feed us, only you should treat in properly and understand that the land is our mother. Will you trade your Mom?”

Everything is simple for Kazanskiy when he was asked why people do not leave the conflict zone. They do not because their home, their land in here, so it is the place where they should be. Dmytro does not choose words when criticizing the Ukrainian government. He is asking the Question why they surrendered the Donbas, why they did not defend it, why people have to suffer if they occurred on the opposite side of the conflict against their will.

“That is because this is the government of national liquidation, and you are not a patriot. I tell you if there is one more revolution, they will run away, but I will stay here. Thanks to this policy of ours, Russia buys respect with the help of crackers. Russia has come; it has brought some food, it has saved us from hanger. And people are thankful to it, not noticing that it robs, and it takes away Ukrainian coal and metal. It is easy to send a humanitarian convoy using the super-profit earned due to the war; to give one rouble, but ten roubles to TV”, says Dmytro.

Still, life goes on. We should work, we should feed our children, we should give them education as ignorance, according to Dmytro, is the cause of our troubles.

“If we want to change the society, we should start with children, we should educate them. John Maynard Keynes wrote the general theory of employment, interest and money. We do everything in the opposite way”, as Dmytro thinks.

New service "Explain Ukraine". This is a daily mailout of five articles which were written about the situation in the Donbas by Donbas journalists and translated into English. Honest vision of people who work in the field is unbiased and fresh which is crucial in the world which is full of desinformation and propaganda. We try to share this vision in out daily mailout.  You can subscribe here.

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