NOVEMBER 2012 BACK ISSUE Stepan Repin, my great-grandfather on my Father's side, had 10 children.  The third of them was my grandfather Nikolay.  Nikolay has already passed away. Because of the breakdown of the USSR, Stepan's four remaining children live in different villages in Russia and Ukraine and communication between them is nearly non-existent. Out of curiosity I contacted them to get acquainted and to learn about the origins of my family. Victor: the youngest of the brothers, lives in Ukraine in a village that is about 60 km away from Chernobyl. Nina: the eighth child, lives in Russia in a village 450 km from Moscow. She has neither a husband, nor children nor a house. She moves from one relative to another. Zina: the ninth, is the only one of the alive brothers who has grandchildren. Lena: The sister of Nikolay´s wife, lives in a little town near Nina. Years ago, one evening her husband hit her so hard around the head that  she woke up the following morning and found out that she was blind. by Katia Repina Victor: the youngest of the brothers. Victor lives with his wife in Ukraine, in the village Otrojy, 60 km from Chernobyl. Pripyat, the city where the disaster happened is 70km from his home. Ana: Victor's wife, is the breadwinner of the family and is in charge of feeding and caring for the animals. Victor drinks vodka at 12 in the morning. He always used to prioritize his work above everything else. As he has got older he has started to regret that he hasn’t done more with his life, like travel around the world. Lately Victor prefers to kill the fatted pig with a gun because, otherwise, he would have to share vodka and meat with his assistants. Traditionally, the killing involves two or three people: two to hold the live pig while someone else opens the stomach. The slaughtered pig. The whole family helps Victor to butcher the pig. Victor's wife preparing the supper. She has spent nearly all the day taking care of the animals, vegetable plants, searching for mushrooms in the forest and cooking. Victor’s car. Russia. Province Orlovskaya, 450 km from Moscow. In this flat for the few last months has lived the "Russian" part of the family: Nina, the eighth daughter of Stepan. Stepan’s great-grand-daughter. Nina: eighth daughter of Stepan. She is 59 years old and has neither husband, nor children, nor house, so she lives temporarily in the different houses of her relatives. Zina: the ninth. Behind her there is a photo of Nikolay, my grandfather. Zina searching for food. Luba on her wedding day. Luba is the only daughter of Zina. My grandfather, Nikolay is no longer alive, nor his wife Ludmila, my grandmother. But in the city of Livni lives Ludmila's sister, Lena. She lives with her second husband. Lena told me that after her second child was born, her husband who is alcoholic began beating her. One night he hit her so hard around the head, that Lena, in the morning realized she had gone blind. Nina visiting Lena. At this time Lena's husband was in a third week of dipsomania. The great-grand-daughter of Stepan points to her photo. Back to current issue