This is the story of Natasha Kaluzhskaya, a patient in an opioid substitution programme in Mariupol, Ukraine. Mariupol was completely destroyed by the Russian army in 2022. Under the bombs, Natasha rescued people who were using drugs. She managed to survive. And today she stands as a witness to the crimes of war in Ukraine.
We wanted to remember it, to make sure it would never be forgotten. On 29 August, the Ukrainian Armed Forces launched an operation to liberate the right bank of Kherson Oblast. And despite the regime of silence imposed by the General Staff, despite the disgusting communications, good news reached us from time to time.
Summer came to Kherson, with thick morning mists and frog concerts at night. Sweet cherries, juicy apples, and all of the many things that the soil generously provides began to appear. And with them came blackouts and mobile phone disconnection.
Time passed. The occupation continued. As spring came, the situation in the city hardened. The Russians began to behave more brazenly and defiantly, and gradually life turned into a chronicle of violence and crime.
Imagine for a moment that you have been deprived of the ability to do the usual routine things; to leave the house whenever you like, to walk wherever you like, to go to the cinema, museums, or the theatre, to drink coffee with friends at the corner café, to buy something at the shop, to go to a neighbouring town or to another country. When – in one moment – you find yourself under occupation, you lose everything that your life consisted of.
We found out about the war on the morning of 24 February. All the news channels were screaming about it. We were literally crushed by the news: missile attacks on Kiev, Odessa, Dnipro, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk… At the same time gigantic military columns were heading towards Kiev, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odessa…
Pregnancy and the birth of a child is a bright, big, and important event. It’s about the laws of the universe and love. But, in the opinion of many medical professionals, women living with drug addiction in Ukraine have no right to it. If you choose to inject, you deserve to die.
More than 400 professionals and community activists gathered in Prague to take part in the 5th European Harm Reduction Conference.
DUNews, together with Talking Drugs, presents the first episode of Drug Policy and Harm Reduction News from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In it, we bring you up to date on important developments in our countries and give the floor to experts for comment. We will be publishing these video newsletters on a regular basis.
Ivan Anoshkin’s life is a chronicle of the state’s crimes against human beings and his path to strength, truth, and freedom.