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Supporting the newspaper Vechernyaya Odesa

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Hi All, We have raised more than $16,000 ! We are all so grateful for your support for this vital news source. We are stopping this campaign now with the hope that the war will end as soon as possible and such fundraising efforts will no longer be necessary. Ilya, Carolyn, RobToday is officially Carolyn's birthday, please think of donating to honor her birthday.

Ilya Kaminsky and Carolyn Forche' for their birthday fundraiser, want to support the first free newspaper in Odesa, Vechernyaya Odesa. This is Ilya's statement, as well as reporters at the paper who are trying to continue doing their jobs in the face of an invasion.

I am 45 years old today. I have never done a birthday fundraiser, and never thought I would. But with my birth country at war, I hope you will support Odesa’s first free newspaper, Vechernyaya Odesa, whose original editor, Boris Derevyanko, was a friend of my father’s. It is a paper that supported writers and artists for many years, and that fought corruption in the time when no one else did. Today, when 20,000 refugees leave Odesa every day, the paper is in danger and needs our help.
Here is its story, and the testimonies of its staff about the war that’s happening around them:
Evening Odesa (“Vechernyaya Odesa) began nearly fifty years ago—and survived through Brezhnev’s era, Perestroika, USSR’s collapse, two Revolutions in Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, war in Donbass, and the current horrifying invasion by Russia.
The paper’s first editor, Borys Derevyanko, was a legendary journalist of his day. He fought corruption, promoted ecological literacy and passionately supported culture (he even wrote a book about opera on the side). He was also the very first journalist in independent Ukraine to be shot in the open street because he criticized political and economic crimes.
That gives you an idea of the kind of paper Evening Odesa is. One of the city’s symbols, the paper is called tenderly “Vecherka”. In Soviet times its circulation and subscriber base grew so uncommonly large—and became much more popular than the official Party papers-- that the Party bosses had to pass a decree in order to officially limit the number of subscribers, (I remember how back in 1980s the people in my neighbors in our apartment building would share the paper with each other, to spread the news.)
Since Ukraine’s independence, the paper continued fighting corruption & supporting culture.
Fast-forward to 24 February 2022: when Russia’s full-scale invasion began, I wrote to Oleg Suslov, the editor at the paper to ask his staff about their reactions. Here are their responses, collected by Oleg:
OLEG SUSLOV, the paper’s Editor-in-Chief:
Bombings and missile strikes, multiple rocket launchers and the use of banned weapons, destruction of peaceful cities, roads, bridges, factories, millions of people’s forceful displacement, and death, death, death… All this this begins on February 24th.
At first, we counted the hours — how many hours has the war gone on.
Now the unit of measurement is days.
It’s hard to recall what day of the week it is.
But you instantly recall the number of days Ukraine has been burning.
Odessa still remains — knock on wood — relatively free of active combat. We’ve long become used to air raid sirens although on one early Sunday morning: a missile destroys an oil refinery. - the whole of Odesa shudders from the blast wave, and the black cloud of bitter smoke shuts out the sky for a long while.
The other day, I took a walk around the city. My heart hurts from the sight of the city center. Deribasovskaya street is full of anti-tank constructions and wrapped in barbed wire; the Opera Theater is surrounded by barricades. The monuments are up to their necks in sandbags. And it’s terrifyingly silent.
Galyna TUL’CHINSKAYA, columnist:
– Look at the cities Putin is bombing! These are cities with majority Russian-speaking populations: Kherson, Mykolaiv, Zaporyzhzhie, my own, endlessly loved Odessa. Look at us: one who loves the homeland, who, in tough times, does everything to stop war, is first and foremost, a Person, regardless of his nationality or the language
Maria STERNENKO, columnist:
It is our belief that life won’t end today.
I want to think of what will happen after the war: the Black Sea, with its squadrons of gulls atop the waves. How peaceful the plane trees on Deribasovskaya street and the acacias trees on seafront hills will seem. How dear will the faces of vendors at Privoz bazaar, of tram drivers will become. Wishes of “good night” and “good morning” will acquire anew, sacred meanings.
Now, every minute of a day without war will hold real value. What will it be? We still have to find out.
Anatoly MAZURENKO, columnist:
– Let’s turn to facts.
A fact: Russia attacked Ukraine. A fact: Ukrainian territories are occupied. A fact: innocent citizens, among them the elderly and children, are dying. A fact: infrastructure, even entire Ukrainian cities, are destroyed.
Oleg VLADIMIRSKY, photo journalist:
– The war completely erased my entire previous life. All my accomplishments and successes became meaningless, along with all the plans I’d been building. Life has to be built anew, within the insane conditions of war.
Just think of this: the small, once charming, green town of Bucha near Kyiv is now probably known in many different corners of the world. People know of it, because they saw the photos of today’s Bucha — the terrifying, inhumane, incomprehensible photos.
Dora DUKOVA, Assistant Editor-in-Chief:
– I’m crying as I write this. And I can’t stop these tears. Because every bullet fired into my people is a hole in my chest. There’s pretty much no chest-bone left.
Today, all of us are volunteers. Today, each of us voluntarily defends our homeland. Any way we know or can.
(these responses from Evening Odesa staff are quotes from a much larger interview which was translated into English by Paul S. Ukrainets)

Fundraising team (2)

Rob Lipton
Raised $25 from 1 donation
Richmond, CA
Carolyn Forche
Team member
Raised $745 from 19 donations

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