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Ukraine, War, Love

Ukraine, War, Love

A Donetsk Diary

Olena Stiazhkina

Translated by Anne O. Fisher

ISBN 9780674291690

Publication date: 07/09/2024

In Ukraine, War, Love, Olena Stiazhkina depicts day-to-day developments in and around her beloved hometown Donetsk during Russia’s 2014 invasion and occupation of the Ukrainian city. An award-winning fiction writer, Stiazhkina chronicles an increasingly harrowing series of events with sarcasm, anger, humor, and love.

The diary opens on March 2, 2014, as the first wave of pro-Russian protest washes over eastern Ukraine in the wake of Euromaidan, the Revolution of Dignity, and it closes on August 18, 2014, the day a convoy of civilian Ukrainian refugees is deliberately slaughtered by Russian forces. Early on, Stiazhkina is captured by pro-Russian forces while she browses for books but is freed when one of her captors turns out to be a former student. Vignettes from her personal life intermingle with current events, and she examines ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. We walk with local dogs and their owners; we meet a formidable apartment building manager who shames occupiers and dismantles their artillery from the roof of her building; we follow a family evacuated to Kyiv whose young son builds checkpoints out of Legos. Olena Stiazhkina’s Ukraine, War, Love: A Donetsk Diary is a fierce love letter to her country, her city, and her people.


  • One cannot overlook the eerie immediacy of [this book]. Despite its now historical setting, its carefully curated reflections resonate with today’s Ukraine, where eastern village after eastern village is pummeled by Russian missiles and drones…the book serves as a time capsule, documenting the human experience of individuals fighting for survival at a time when the eyes of the world are shifting elsewhere.

    —Nicole Yurcaba, New Eastern Europe


  • Olena Stiazhkina is a historian and award-winning Ukrainian writer and journalist. Her fiction, under the pen name Olena Iurska, includes short stories, novels, and detective stories. She was a professor of Slavic history at Donetsk National University until the occupation of the city, as well as at Mariupol State University. Having written almost exclusively in Russian before, Stiazhkina transitioned to writing in Ukrainian following the Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014.
  • Anne O. Fisher is Senior Lecturer in Translation and Interpreting Studies at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee and a past president of the American Literary Translators Association.

Book Details

  • 200 pages
  • 5 x 8 inches
  • Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute

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