A student from Ukraine’s Donbas who lived through war

New Ukraine, War in the Donbas

This is a story of Valeriya Rakytyanska, a girl who was born and raised in a town Mykolayivka of Donetsk Oblast and now lives and study in Lviv, western Ukraine. At the beginning of the conflict Valeriya used to support the separatists’ ideas of the so-called “DNR”. However, observing the situation from the inside of the frontline town made her to change her mind. Now she seeks knowledge and wants one day bring them to her hometown.

Three years after the beginning of the de facto war in Donbas, Ukrainians are starting to fix the fundamental problems in society which made the war possible. Some of these problems were the stereotypes of Ukrainians living in different regions towards each other and their narrow worldview. This worldview was mostly formed by television with no personal experience of life in other countries. An opinion poll conducted in 2012 showed that 77% of Ukrainians had never been abroad. Moreover, 36% had never been outside of their region. Nowadays, civil society initiatives work on organizing exchange projects within the country. The government also has started to organize their own exchanges. The effect of these projects is sometimes magical.

Read the full version of the interview with Valeriya Rakytyanska: From “Russian world” supporter to Ukrainian patriot: a story of a Donbas girl’s worldview transformation

Edited by: Alya Shandra

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