Nowhere to Run in Eastern Ukraine
The depopulation is most sadly obvious in schools. Rebel-held areas have retained about half their prewar population of children. At School No. 14 in Donetsk, for example, of 515 children on the rolls, only 170 to 200 show up for classes, the principal, Mikhail M. Lubanov, said in an interview.
In an 11th-grade Russian class, framed portraits of Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and the poet Mikhail Lermontov stared down at rows of empty desks. The few students who braved the day’s shelling to attend took dictation, ignoring the booms outside the window.
“Our children are Olympic champions of stoicism,” said Natalia S. Skrichenko, a history teacher.