Documentary film about Beslan survivors leads to a flood of support for one disabled woman
On September 2, journalist Yuri Dud released a three-hour video on YouTube dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the Beslan school siege, featuring interviews with eyewitnesses who survived the hostage crisis and “continue to live a normal life, no matter how hard they were hit by the terrorist attack.”
One of the people who appears in the film is a woman named Marina Duchko, who together with her mother brought her son and sister to the school, on the day of the attack. Duchko was injured when an explosion sent debris into her back. She underwent surgery in Moscow, where doctors promised that she would walk again, but she is to this day still confined to a wheelchair, unable to afford the necessary rehabilitation program.
Duchko says she receives a 13,000-ruble ($200) monthly pension from the government, and for the past year she’s earned some extra money selling flowers online. “When I look [at the flowers] and water them, I calm down. I like talking to them,” she told Dud. The film shows a screenshot of Duchko’s Instagram page, where she had about 400 followers before the documentary was released.
In the film, Dud also mentions Duchko’s financial troubles, which she was reluctant to discuss on camera. In text that appears on screen, the documentary says friends of the film crew later paid off Duchko’s debts and transferred 550,000 rubles (about $8,320) to her bank account. The film also invites viewers to follow her Instagram page and donate money to help her with her living expenses.
After the film was released on YouTube, Duchko’s Instagram audience exploded. At the time of this writing, she had more than 63,700 followers. Her new subscribers have not only flooded her with compliments on her flowers, moreover, but they’ve also bought out her entire inventory, and new orders are still pouring in, Duchko told the website TJournal. “I’m having to push them to next year,” she says.
On September 4, Duchko published a special post thanking her new followers for their “enormous, kind hearts, for their help and support and their words of encouragement.” “Let what we remember on this date, September 3, never happen ever again,” she wrote.
Translation by Kevin Rothrock