Stanislav AseyevFeb 22, 2022
Dispatches from Occupied Donbas
Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute 2022
Stanislav Aseyev is a Ukrainian journalist and writer born in Donetsk, which at present remains occupied by Russia-backed militants. Sometime after the beginning of the occupation, he was captured for his political views by the militants of the occupied parts of the Donbas and sentenced to 15 years. On the eve of 2020, Aseyev was released in a prisoner exchange. Currently Stanislav Aseyev lives in Kyiv. Aseyev received a number of awards recognizing his active social and political position (including the Free Media Award (2020), the National Freedom of Expression Award (2020). He is also a recipient of the Shevchenko National Prize, the highest state prize of Ukraine for works of culture and arts.
Stanislav Aseyev’s In Isolation: Dispatches from Occupied Donbas (Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, 2022; translated into English by Lidia Wolanskyj) helps understand a highly entangled and complicated background of the current Russo-Ukrainian war. This book—a chronological account of the events that started in November of 2013, on the one hand, and a collection of journalistic reflections that attempt to explain almost surreal and absurd developments, on the other—documents how the Donbas turned into another flashpoint, following Crimea, whose emergence is directly connected to the Russian Federation and provides commentaries on Russia’s role in sustaining the current war. In Isolation is written from within the zone of conflict; it emerges from the very epicenter of the war that signals not only interstate rifts but also splits that tear apart families and cause uneasiness in long-term friendships.
Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed is a PhD candidate in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, Indiana University.