Donbass stories - Spartaco and Liza

Spartaco during his patrol among abandoned houses in Spartak, a small village in the outskirts of Donetsk.
View of peatlands on the Brescia side of Iseo lake.
Elena, Spartaco’s mother, inside the house where they lived together in the province of Brescia.
Spartaco on his way to a new position near Donetsk airport.
An elderly resident is preparing to leave his home near Donetsk airport.
Spartaco during his daily patrol together with the inseparable Shchit
Spartaco during a moment of relaxation stand close to a wall still bearing the logo of the European Football Championships.
Liza, who works as a seamstress in the Donbass Opera, sewed the flag that stands in Spartaco’s position.
Liza at her work station at Donbass Opera Theatre; Liza’s job at  the theatre is to sew stage costumes for the ballerinas.
Ballerinas of the Donbass Opera Theatre warm up before the exhibition.
Sonja, Liza’s youngest daughter, studies classical dance and dreams of performing in the Donbass Opera Theatre.
Daniil, Liza’s eldest son, on his way back home at the end of the school afternoon activities.
Sonja helps her mother to set the table for dinner.
Empty ammunition boxes lie idle close to an uninhabited building near Donetsk airport.
Religious icons displayed on a wall.
Liza is disheartened after knowing that Spartaco’s license was revoked.
Inside the bomb shelter; Spartaco’s position is daily targeted by the enemy artillery.
Terrified soldier wait hopeful for the end of a night-time artillery barrage.
One of the hundreds Spartak houses (villas) hit by artillery.
Lamb livestock in the house used as a military barrack by Spartaco’s battalion.
Spartaco during the night shift at the radio station.
Liza, after about a month without seeing her partner, anxiously awaits for the call confirming his arrival.
Spartaco on his way back home after a month spent at the front.
Buildings in the outskirts of Donetsk.
Sonja in her grandparents’ house eagerly awaits for the return of her brother Daniil from school.
Spartaco e Liza finally hug again after a long time spent without being able to meet.
After nearly a month spent at the front Spartacus can finally cut his hair and shave.
Spartaco finally enjoys the warmth of a restorative bath.
Liza’s parents kitchen.
Spartaco prepares a meal in the kitchen of the new house he rented, in order to stay all together with Liza and her children.
Spartaco in the living room of the new house surrounded by the symbols of his life.
Among the few things that Spartaco brought with him from Italy, there is a Moka coffee pot.
Thanks to the internet connection, Spartaco can talk to his mum in Italy and chat with his friends.
Spartaco, Liza, Sonja and Daniil spend some free time in the living of the new house.
Spartaco and Liza have a walk in Donetsk downtown.
Spartaco and Liza order a meal at one of the nationalized Mc Donalds’ now called Don Mac (Donbass Mac).
Spartaco and Liza on their way back home.
Liza e Spartaco during one of their rare intimate moments.
Spartaco's wardrobe, filled only with military suits.

Donbass stories – Spartaco and Liza

Right after the outbreak of the conflict in Donbass, Spartaco left his job and the house where he was living with his mother to enlist as a volunteer in the ranks of the pro-Russian militias. Ideologically very motivated and relying on his previous military training (Folgore paratroopers and Italian Army) Spartaco decided to join the separatist cause.
Arriving in Donetsk in the autumn of 2014, his military skills allowed him to be immediately enlisted in the Vostok battalion, and then to rapidly move to the front, right after a hasty training and without knowing a single world of Russian.
Those were the days of the Donetsk airport battle: fighting  few hundred meters from the enemy, under the constant artillery and tank fire and with temperatures close to -20 degrees Celsius.
During that battles Spartaco was wounded three times; nevertheless, once cured, he always asked to be reassigned to the forefront.
After the time at the airport, Spartaco was moved to Spartak, a small village in the outskirts of Donetsk, constantly bombed by the opposing artillery; after that in the “promzona”, near Avdiivka and then again at the airport.
In 2017 for the first time in three years, Spartaco went back to Italy for some days to visit his mother.
Through Facebook Spartaco met Liza.
Liza is a girl from Donetsk who learned Italian chatting on socials.
Abandoned along with her two children by her husband, who fled to Russia after the beginning of the conflict, Liza and her children live with her parents in the family home.
Liza works as a seamstress in the Donbass Opera Theatre where she sews the stage costumes of the ballerinas.
Sonja, her youngest daughter, studies classical ballet and dreams of dancing in the theatre where her mother works. Daniil, the eldest son, hopes one day to become a militiaman like Spartaco.
Spartaco’s routine is two weeks in the trench and two days at rest.
Being his new post a few miles from Donetsk, during his permits Spartaco returns to his house in the city: a hot bath to wash away all the dirt gathered during the 15 days spent in the mud, a haircut, a glass of cognac and then the usual greetings on socials; at the front there is no internet connection so the only way to stay in touch with his mother, his friends and fans is to wait for the permit to go home.
During these two rest days, Liza at the end of her shift in the theatre, gets together with Spartaco to spend a few intimate hours with him, lingering until he has to return to his post.