UPDATE: It’s two years as of today. I’ve sent $8500 and Robyn has gotten it closer to $12k. Rebuilding continues, life feels tenuous still, and assholes in Congress are not helping.
A year ago today, Putin decided that Russia should escalate and continue its invasion of Ukraine that began in 2014. This was a bad idea and has made many people unhappy.
On February 24th, 2022 he decided to have another go at Ukraine with assumption he could conquer it all in 72 hours. This was hilariously incorrect though not without inflicting a lot of suffering on the people of both Ukraine and Russia in the process. On March 9th, I made this post where I promised to send a quarter of every sale of a Coffee Wave or Goat of Science bottle of BBotE to our fixer former fixer in Ukraine that took care of my Hollywood photographer and I in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. I’m still doing it and thanks to the kindness of everyone that grabbed a bottle, everyone that grabbed gift certificates they will never redeem for the babushkas, everyone that just handed me cash just because, as of today I’ve been able to send $6600 their way. Through the power of Hollywood, Robyn’s gotten the grand total just shy of $9k.
Yeah, I know this is chump change compared to the greater forces of NAFO, St. Javelin and the Georgian Legion but it’s still something and I’m proud of that. People that were afraid they wouldn’t get food or medication during the invasion, people who were trapped by new minefields laid in slightly radioactive forests, people who worried about their children and grandchildren nearby getting hit by poorly aimed missiles got help they might not have otherwise got. Once the assault on Kyiv failed and rolled back, some rebuilding and mine clearing could begin; this is what our fixer has been focused on not just for the babushkas and their families but all of their neighbors. A lot of people were made homeless or reduced to camping in the yards of the shit smeared looted rubble (yes, that happened a lot in the villages between Chernobyl & Kyiv) that used to be their homes. The first level of recovery last year was cleaning, patching holes, and putting plastic over broken windows to keep disease down and mosquitos out. And, of course, keeping people fed when it’s hard to get food in.
I do have a fresh message from our fixer that’s been looking after the babushkas in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and their families in the villages between there and Kyiv.
“Dear Robyn & Phil,
I am doing analysis of the last year and preparing for next warm season. The remaining money that you’ve sent is still on my bank card. The biggest problem is recovering ruined or damaged buildings, installing heating systems in the houses provided by the government instead of ruined (new houses are completely empty and don’t have any stove for heating). So I am waiting for a warm period of the year to do that and now I am accumulating money the same way like I did it last year. Thank you and everyone for the help!Best regards, [REDACTED].”
They also attached an itemized list of every cent they’ve spent where I wiped a tear away because, dude, we never asked you to do that. Not gonna ask either. I trust a fixer to know where to find what they need and to spend what needs to be spent, that’s the whole point of a fixer. But I simultaneously understand their desire to make sure the we know, that everyone knows, that at all levels of Ukraine wants a break with their past and a better future. Part of that very recent post-Soviet past was kleptocracy by oligarchs and getting away from that was the whole point of Maidan; part of the Russian invasion in 2014 was to try to put that bullshit right back in place like Putin likes it. Fuck that.
In conclusion, Слава Україні, Героям слава! Not all heroes wear uniforms, some just make it possible for others to live, like our fixer. My offer on the Coffee Wave & Goat of Science will continue until the fighting is done. If we can get past the $10k mark by the end of March I’ll be thrilled.
And most importantly, thank you. Thank you for making this possible.