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Dina Oliynyk

Kramatorsk

Czech Republic

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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 was nine. I went to therapeutic massage in the winter. I had my first Samsung touch phone. I would record the TV screen before leaving the house - there was a broadcast from the Maidan. For some reason, I forced the girl in line to watch it - although I still don't know why I recorded it. It's like recording someone's birthday cake, maybe — seems important. Although I did not know.
I was a pro-russian and strange child. For me, the war did not come out of nowhere - in my head it was a logical continuation of the events of the Maidan. I remember us running in the park parallel to the fighter jets. I approached my classmates and asked: whose side are you on? I was very mad when they said: "I’m for peace," because even then I understood that there is no such thing as a neutral peace.
My favorite story is how, after the so-called "referendum", I approached my peers and asked what their parents voted for. If the answer was "DPR", then I praised them. I called a single boy with adequate parents an "animal" for voting for Ukraine. As you can understand, I didn't have many friends :)
In May, my mother took me to my grandparents in a village near Kursk. While we were riding in a taxi to the station, she said that she listened to my music on my flash-drive headphones, and there was a song with swear words on there. The song was very separatist-like. I thought that since she is pro-russia, I can listen to this. Then I listened to some other one.
In two weeks, the shelling got more frequent. My mother came to pick me up, and we went somewhere to the Lipetsk region. Everything went pretty much according to the checklist of a pro-russian child from Donbas who ended up in russia in 2014. Hatred for everything Ukrainian, Europe, America, gays and, in principle, everything that was not russia. Just like the brain of an ordinary russian person. Only I really liked "Love Is" chewing gum (t.n. Turkish gum popular in post-Soviet states, especially in the 90s) .

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"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.

Well, I grew up. Somehow I did not pay attention to changes in me - only at the age of 15 came the realization that I was a russophobe. If you think about it, all my previous life, before I came across the Ukrainian Internet, I lived in the russian infospace: Vkontakte, Ovsyanka ser, memes, trashers — I apologize for reminding you of 2017. At the same time, I came across some russians who criticized russia and its government. Little by little, I understood all this craziness from the inside - the pink hurrah-russia glasses became transparent. Then I turned to the country in which I live and saw that we do not have this type of insanity. This obsession with winning, hatred for everything. Life here is different. More human-like. At the same time, I was listening to YarmaK (t.n. Ukrainian rap artist). I just liked the music, but his lyrics about Ukraine changed something in me drastically.
And when different "opposition" bloggers led me away from Russia, his music gave me the opportunity to love Ukraine. And somewhere closer to 2020, I discovered Ukrainian Twitter and its history. I was bitten by “gay-Banderites” and I became a russophobe. I don't regret it at all.

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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 feel very drastic changes within me: meanings were lost, new ones were not found, some others were, old ones showed in a new light. In the last week before the war, everything seemed unreal and extraordinary. As if I and the people around me tried to live as much as possible before the world is no longer the same. Of course, I didn't want to believe it, but the signs were too obvious. 10 days before the full-scale invasion, my grandmother died - the same one I went to see in 2014. To be honest, I'm even glad she didn't see all of this. She is the type of grandmother who believes everything shown on russia-24. We went to her funeral. At the station, conscripts gathered together and war machinery stood on the rails. An acquaintance of my grandmother used to say: "I made pies for the soldiers, I’ll bring them, they will probably go to the border, to Belgorod." Most of them, by the way, were Buryats. It was so strange to look at them: like, you could speak the same language, you’re almost the same age. They could be sitting somewhere, chatting, but here they are - leaving somewhere, going to kill me, although they don’t know it’s me. And, to be honest, they are going to die. I think that guy with whom I made eye contact is no longer alive. I hope. 
I don't think much about the future now: reality works in such odd ways with me that I feel only an hour before and the hour after NOW. Well, I guess I’ve entered the art university of my dreams. I have wanted to study in the Czech Republic since I was 15. Now the feelings are strange. Not even trying to change and influence anything. I make a choice and go with the flow. It's interesting to find yourself.

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