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Yehor Kucheruk



How did you experience war in 2014? What do you remember from that? How old were you? How did 2014-2015 go for you?
Please tell this story in detail.

I vaguely remember the beginning of all this unrest. I was 12 years old, and my daily life consisted of school, English and swimming. The pool was located in the center, right next to the city council. The unrest started in the spring, a crowd gathered in front of the council consisting of people with flags, which I saw for the first time. I remember that it was still chilly out and that's why I was glad that my father didn't let me go to class. 
I didn't understand anything. I think I went to school. All my peers were bragging about the sounds of missiles they heard at night. They said their names and with an intelligent look predicted how everything would happen next. I didn't know anything. I bragged that I sleep soundly at night and you won't wake me up even with a gun. It was true much more literally than intended . There were fewer children in the class. Those who did not come were considered weaklings and truants. My parents wanted to take me to my grandparents in Debaltseve, because it wasn't so “hot” there. We thought the city wouldn't be reached.
Finally, we left for relatives in the Vinnytsia region, the village of Stryzhavka. I didn't know this side of my family very well, so I had to get to know them on the spot. I put up with my younger third cousin (along with my older one), played on my tablet, and watched the World Cup. I was surprised by Van Persie's goal against Spain, couldn’t believe the defeat of Brazil in the semi-finals, quietly (so as not to wake up the whole house) rejoiced at Götze's golden goal in the final.
In the morning, I called my dad and we discussed the matches. He returned to Kramatorsk to work at the factory. Before that, he taught me how to chop wood and told me to help around the house.
Parents were already thinking about moving to Vinnytsia, but Kramatorsk was liberated sooner - in the summer of the same year. We returned almost immediately. I was happy. Probably like Götze in the final.

"Where were you these 8 years?".
How has this time passed for you, what changed in your life since the events of 2014?
What has influenced you the most during this time?
Please write in detail.

At first we were rebuilding. The village where my other grandmother lived was badly destroyed. There was not a single unharmed roof in all of Seleznivka. Everyone had to change one, and that's why whole wars were fought for the humanitarian slate. Sheets of broken and unusable slate were removed and thrown on the road. After cars drove over it a couple of times, it crumbled and turned into something like crushed stone. As a result there were fewer potholes on my grandmother's street, and the dirt road turned into slate. An unexpected “level up”.
Then I was learning to love my city. It began to change. New people appeared in it. I learned to accept them as my friends. The city was changing me along with itself.
I got used to the fact that everyone has difficulties, that everyone has points where this war hurts them. I was surprised when someone outside Donbas did not have such points. It grew responsibility.
Part of my family stayed in Debaltseve. They were afraid to leave what they had been building there all their lives. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, my grandparents came to us periodically to receive a Ukrainian pension, but I haven't seen my cousin and two cousins for 8 years. Now we are on different sides of the barricade: they are in the dpr and russia, I am here with my parents. I feel like some huge part of me and my childhood is breaking away and moving away from me every day. I don't know if it will ever be able to join back.

What was February 24, 2022 for you like?
Did you believe that a full-scale offensive would begin?Where are you now? What do you do?

What do you think about your future now?

I met the beginning of the war in Kyiv. Until the last, me and my friends laughed and did not believe that the attack would happen. It seemed that the world was too civilized now to launch a head-on invasion. I saw the russian invasion of 2014, I'm used to russia lying a lot. I thought they would come up with some kind of fairytale nonsense again. Somehow medvedchuk will be used or something, and, accordingly, now you just have to not create panic and be careful.
I was just finishing up my last month at work. It's funny that I was fired precisely because the company under the "we are international" pretense worked for the russian market. A couple of hours before the invasion, I was sitting in the kitchen sending out resumes for graphic designer jobs.
Well, and then it happened. Job openings didn’t matter much anymore.
I started volunteering. I could not believe in art for a long time.
Now I do. I'm trying to find myself in wartime Ukraine. I don't know where and under what conditions I will end up. I can't plan anything further than two weeks in advance. I remember how it was impossible to plan a day ahead. We live. We adapt. The only stable thing is faith in victory.

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