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Danylo Kuzmin


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.

All I remember is when we wrote DPA: the last exam was English apparently, I finished the 9th grade then. My grandmother and younger brother and I packed things. We were taken to Luhansk by train, and that was the last time I saw the city. At that time, Lysychansk was already under occupation, and the only safe route was the Luhansk-Kyiv train. Mom says the train number is 20, but I don't remember. The tracks were destroyed the next day. We got to Vinnytsia as best we could on our own in several days and stayed there until the end of August. No one knew the condition of our apartment. I was afraid that I would have nowhere to return to. But we got away with one window: the small fragment that broke the window is still lying in a room in Lysychansk. I hope it will protect it like a talisman.

"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.

In 2016, I passed the ZNO exam in Severodonetsk, where I studied before the evacuation. In my class alone, almost 10 immigrants were added. In general, there were a lot of displaced people - the houses of some of them were completely destroyed - and none who wanted to live in the "russian world". I have entered the Kharkiv University of Construction and Architecture, the stained-glass windows and some corridors of which are now destroyed due to an airstrike in the center of Kharkiv. The windows got blown out in my favorite bar (those bastards🤬). I got accepted to a ICC or now CCE program - "industrial civil construction", in order to restore the destroyed buildings and infrastructure of Donbas, when it is finally returned to Ukraine, I wanted to be an architect. During my studies, I actively engaged in creativity, developed my skills, played in a band in the subway and underpasses, in bars and on stages, created various performances, traveled to festivals in Ukraine, expanded my circle of creativity until the defense of my diploma. Then the quarantine started and due to the shortage of jobs, I went to Lysychansk. It was no longer the Lysychansk and Severodonetsk that I had known before: the cities were in a state of possible escalation and under constant pressure. At that time, I was engaged in film photography and met Vitalik Matukhno and the Gareleya project. What I want to say... All this time - for 8 years - I have been actively engaged in the development of visual and audio modern Ukrainian culture. More than six months before the war, my family and I moved to Kyiv - my parents worked, and I entered the KPI. A big city, many creative and interesting people. Parents wanted to settle in Irpin. The house they chose was destroyed, I must be still alive by miracle.

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?

Kyiv, 4-5 in the morning. My mom woke me up, with tears in her eyes, she said: "War", - I didn't believe it, I looked out the window... Even during rush hour, I didn't see such traffic jams. All day we called friends and relatives and asked: "What’s with you? Where are you? How are you?" We spent the whole day watching the news, crying, gathering things, I removed the computer from the windows, we were afraid to go near them, to turn on the light, besides, the broken refrigerator added to the panic, we had to save the food to not die of hunger...  I spent the first day just sleeping on the bathroom floor with nothing, just exhausted, like a Sims character when you're a bad God. We constantly followed the news, so we slept in turns for about a week and a half. By that time they had already brought some pillows, sleeping bags, supplies of water and food. Thoughts went something like: if it lands it lands, if we survive we survive, no then no. We were in such conditions until de-escalation in the Kyiv direction. Our house is intact, there were many landings near us and such that the windows and walls were shaking. The closest was 500-700 m — at 5 in the morning, a heavy air strike. At the time of writing, I restore the former comfort of my room and life, work on my portfolio and new projects, reject the russian language and, as they say, kill the “little russian” in myself, because how to develop Ukrainian culture and creativity without developing the Ukrainian language, and it develops all the faster , the more it becomes a part of one’s everyday life, from the individual to the collective unconscious. Because language is consciousness, and the Ukrainian language is the language of free people, it is amazing, as its speakers are amazing, we will endure everything, we will overcome everyone and win. Glory to Ukraine.

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