Polish journalist Pawel Pieniazek was among the first journalists to enter the war-torn region of eastern Ukraine and Greetings from Novorossiya is his vivid firsthand account of the conflict. He was the first reporter to reach the scene when Russian troops in Ukraine accidentally shot down a civilian airliner, killing all 298 people aboard. Unlike Western journalists, his fluency in both Ukrainian and Russian granted him access and the ability to move among all sides in the conflict. With powerful color photos, telling interviews from the local population, and brilliant reportage, Pieniazek’s account documents these dramatic events as they transpired. This unique firsthand view of history in the making brings to life the tragedy of Ukraine for a Western audience. Historian Timothy Snyder provides wider context in his superb introduction and explores the significance of this ongoing conflict at the border of East and West.
. . . Raw and insightful. . . Combining war reporting, photojournalism, and a travelogue, Pieniazek brings to life the stories of soldiers fighting for their cause, politicians seeking advantage in the chaos of the situation, but most of all, civilians caught in the middle of a conflict trying to find food and shelter while attempting to avoid being killed or maimed by random shelling. . . . a unique look into one of the world's forgotten conflicts, offering a glimpse into the shadowy world of Russian power politics along its border as Putin seeks to reassert Russian power not only in Europe proper, but back onto the world stage.
Pieniazek has a wonderful eye and ear for details that are mundane in themselves, yet portray a great deal. . . . While his sympathies are clear--he succeeds at letting other people, along with his observations, do most of the talking.
Pieniazek's style is impressionistic. He describes the scenes and people around him, and cites his interlocutors-both powerful and powerless-to lend colour and authenticity to his accounts. Although his sympathies clearly do not lie with the separatists or (even less) their Russian backers, he gives them their voice, conveying their hopes and fears. . . . Overall, Pieniazek paints a vivid picture of the chaos and confusion of a society descending relentlessly into war, in which people, often despite themselves, are obliged to take-and sometimes to change-sides. . . . He is a witness to 'history in the making.' It is not a pretty sight.
This is some of the best reportage from a little-understood war. Pieniazek’s stories reveal the tragedy of hybrid war in the age of post-truth: people are being killed in fact for reasons that are fiction.
Pawel Pieniazek is a Polish journalist. He is a contributor to major Polish media, including Tygodnik Powszechny, Gazeta Wyborcza, Dziennik Opinni, and New Eastern Europe and is a freelance contributor to Polish radio. In 2015, he was named as a Poynter Fellow in Journalism at Yale University.