Kostiantyn Zadorozhny: These bombs freak my cat out


From the editor: Kostiantyn Zadorozhny is an Associate professor with the Department of Environmental Engeneering of the Cities at the Kharkiv National University of Urban Economy, an author of a few school text books in biology. He lives in Kharkiv and is staying there since the first day of the war. Kostiantyn kindly shared his diary with Ukrainian Witness, where day by day, he describes the life of the city under attack.

Kharkiv has a special symbolic value for the Russian invaders since it was the first capital of Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic (from 1919 till 1934). One hundred years ago the Ukrainians also resisted Russian occupation so hard that it was impossible for the Bolsheviks to keep the capital in Kyiv. Kharkiv lying in the Northern East of the country was stereotypically perceived as Russian speaking and full of pro-Russian sentiment. However, the 2-million Kharkiv agglomeration broke all the stereotypes and continues its fearless resistance. The losses are tremendous. Some of the neighbourhoods are totally ruined. City centre was shelled heavily, many historical buildings and Liberty square – one of the biggest in Europe were hit. Only walls were left from Karazin University.

Today we are starting the series of diary entries by Kostiantyn Zadorozhny that show how quickly the war becomes a dreadful routine.

(Translated from Ukrainian. The photos are provided by the author)

March 1

I went out to the drugstore. While I was standing in the queue, a saboteur group was eliminated before my eyes. A car passed by our queue. The police wanted to stop it, but they didn’t obey. They shooting started. Our guys dealt with them in a couple of minutes. On my way home I saw another car like that. Perhaps yesterday another saboteur group was destroyed.

The drugstore queue was hiding under the archway of the Palace of Labour. The next day (March 2) it was hit by a missile (most probably cruise missile). This photo (not mine) shows the aftermath. We stayed exactly under this arch one day earlier.

March 4

Shelling again. They are simply destroying the city, targeting infrastructure in order to deprive city residents of electricity, water, and gas. They are hitting residential areas in order to spread panic. However, people are carrying on. While standing in the queues they are keeping calm, nobody presses forward or pushes the others away. People try to support each other. We will prevail!

March 6

Shelling of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant was not good enough for these idiots. They have shelled the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology with the Grad rockets. It houses a nuclear research facility with nuclear fuel.

March 7

It is the twelfth morning of the war. The previous evening and night were hot. This time our neighbourhood was bombed too. Badly. Fortunately, nothing fell down near my house. It was shaking heavily. The bombs were pretty big. It seems that the other day an undetonated 500 kg high-explosive bomb was shown in the media. Judging by the force of the explosion, they were dropping something similar. According to our local authorities, eleven houses were destroyed or damaged in several areas of the city centre. Already eight civilians killed. The rescuers are searching for survivors under the rubble. This has become a new normal for our city.

The bombs freaked my cat out. He was sitting near me hoping for protection. For some reason, this caudate creature had been already afraid of thunder, but now this… I was looking at him and thinking about humans and animals at this war. How well it managed to highlight our relationships. Yesterday I paid attention that the pet products aisle in the supermarket was empty. Only some food for guinea pigs was left. Everything else had been sold out.

Despite all hell broke loose, people try to take care of their pets. I constantly observe people walking their dogs despite putting themselves under the risk of being shot or shelled. I read in the social media how they are looking for certain cat food and share experience about evacuating together with cats and dogs by train. And it is not only cats and dogs that people care about, it’s other animals – parrots, reptiles. Unfortunately, there are cases when pets are abandoned… Everyone makes their own decision and then must live with it.

I cannot abandon my cat. If I decide to leave the city, I will take him with me. The cat is actively fighting for his rights and if they are violated, he can impose sanctions into the violator’s shoes (but never without a good reason).

One year and a half I came back home after a heart attack. It was a challenge for me to walk to the other room. When I was falling asleep in the evening, I did not know if I was going to wake up the next morning. Every evening this “cat rights activist” came to me and lied down on the chair near my bad. For two months. Every night. In the really uncomfortable chair. He was doing it until I bounced back. This is a kind of the cat he is. 10 kg of antidepressants for the whole family.

Long time ago, during those happy days before my heart attack and before Russian language became the language of occupiers, I wrote a poem about my cat. I did it for me and my children. Read it, look at your pet and recognize it in these lines. Until your pet is with you, there always is happiness in your family!

Сидело счастье у окна,
Глядя с утра во двор.
Отсюда улица видна
И слышен разговор.
Галдели люди во дворе
И теплый светлый луч
В холодно-желтом сентябре
Пробил покровы туч.
Тут счастье спрыгнуло на пол,
Прогнулось во весь рост.
И тихо юркнуло под стол,
Расправив пышный хвост.
Пробралось ловко на диван,
Добралось до колен…
И, замурлыкав, как орган,
Взяло в свой нежный плен!

Senast uppdaterad: 2022-04-11