An Inside Look at the People's Republic of Donetsk

| Thu May 22, 2014 12:50 PM EDT

In today's adventure, Julia Ioffe visits the People's Republic of Donetsk, aka an 11-story concrete building that used to house the Donetsk city administration:

In the press center, we found four gray, doughy men in post-Soviet polyester and a mint-green leather sectional, but no Claudia. In a minute, she blew in, lanyard with propusk around her neck, juggling cell phones and a note book, and looking every bit the busy, important press secretary of a busy and important country.  

“Sergei will do it,” she said and whirled out the door.

Sergei, a 28-year-old itinerant IT worker with bare feet, looked at Max’s Russian press card and my business card. The latter he found puzzling.

“Where’s the stamp?” he asked, turning it over.

I explained there’s no stamp.

Read the rest if you feel in the need for a bit of comic relief in an otherwise bleak situation.