Gennady Bondarenko

Mountain and descent

But I came here exactly for that: the solitude of the sea, as a classicist once said. Journalism (and metropolitan journalism above all) is good only to the extent that one understands when to quit it for good. Still, this invitation from Klaus, who had moved back home, from Kiev to Crimea, long ago, was like a bolt from the blue.

Based on his account, I learned that he had run the parliamentary election campaign for a local big timer, the owner of his newspaper, in the spring. The guy wanted to get elected to the Verkhovna Rada in his electoral district. “There were plenty of people willing to get involved, all sorts of spin doctors,” Klaus explained. “But our guy decided to do it with the local forces. Get-rich-quick he may be, but he still knows how to count money. All the more because our newspaper belongs to him. So I had to urgently train myself in electoral intricacies and turn our editorial staff into the electoral headquarters. And, of course, learn from scratch. However, there was nothing very special about that. We know the local situation and the people we deal with daily.”

The campaign was a success, the big timer ended up in parliament, and Klaus got this house, as an unexpected bonus.

“Understandably, not to live in it. I have a building lot within the city limits. So, in fact, that’s what his offer was: to disassemble this house, made of real solid Crimean limestone, and then build my own with the stones. That is, save on the building materials. The house is spacious – eight rooms. As many as four young officer families lived here.”

“But, as you said, it’s a sort of military base?”

“Yes, maybe on paper it still is. Even after it was no longer active, people in the military still used it for a while – for representational purposes, as they say now. There used to be some cruise missiles here, or whatever, aimed at the NATO military in Turkey. Clearly, it was a long time ago, back in Soviet times. Then came perestroika, and then – disarmament…. You know: Why would Ukraine aim rockets at someone and attack them?”

“So the local army brass used it for exactly what it has: natural beauty. Just imagine: Some important inspector from the military district comes… and his local subordinates bring him to this place. Back then when the whole thing was built, the missile silos were covered with a huge steel plate. There were pine trees planted on it, so that the place would be invisible from above. The pines are now huge, so you can’t tell this place from the rest of the forest around it. The big guys approach… There’s forest and rocks everywhere, and – all of a sudden, right in front of their eyes – a rock with trees moves away. And there they are – at Aladdin’s cave! And the banquet tables are already set.”

“Can I count on something like that too?” I ask.

Klaus nods, appreciating my joke:

“Well, get promoted to general first. No, actually, this is a relic of the past. Although technically it’s still a military unit, the locals have already made plans for it. In fact, they own it. Probably, something will be built here one day. Maybe some kind of resort. The view from here is spectacular, as you will see soon. Understandably, they don’t need any of the army buildings here. But I’m in no hurry to disassemble it. Let it be a sort of summer dacha for a while.”

“Yeah, wild and authentic.”

“Well, not so wild,” Klaus says encouragingly. “Chin up, anchorite! All the more reason for me to visit you.”

We say goodbye. I go out to see him off, shutting the door of his old blue Opel. The barberry bushes with red berries form a thin red line separating the civilization Klaus is going back to from the world of mine, all unknown now. I’ll live here … for a while, I don’t even know how long – until I have had enough. One week? Ten days? I have it all to myself now: this freedom from city life, the solitude of sea and mountains – and this house, too, where no one lives now.

(…to be continued…)

Transadaptation Volume 4 – Material Dissent

January: A Blinding Light and Then, All Darkness – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)

February: The Opportunist – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)

March: A Stranger in my City – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)

April: A South African Soundtrack – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)

May: Full Circle – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)

June: La Lluvia en Bogotá – Adriana Uribe (Columbia)

July: Freedom – Krisztina Janosi (Hungary)

August: A Bus Ride – Svetlana Molchanova (Russia)

September: Transcendence – Armine Asryan (Nane Sevunts) (Armenia)

October: Motherhood – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)

November: Nine Days – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)

December: Open – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)

Background – Context

Transadaptation Volume 3: Evanescent – Young Adulthood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2022)

Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)

Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

Emblems and stories on the international community

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world


1. Crimea – Buildings and caves in Crimean Mountains – Victoria Balobanova (Shutterstock) (top left), 2. Crimea – Fortress Moutain – Victoria Balobanova (Shutterstock) (top right), 3. Crimea – Crimean Mountains – Anastasia Clark (Unsplash) (top and middle), 4. Crimea – Crimean Mountains – Feniks (Shutterstock), 5. Crimea – Crimean Mountains – NeekZin (Shutterstock), 6. Crimea – Crimean Mountains Plateau – Victoria Balobanova (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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