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Alina Panasenko 



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.

When the war started, I was 13. I remember that I did not understand how the government was changing and to whom, because the attitudes were different. I myself was patriotically oriented. I don't think that my experience of the war at that time was an adult one. After all, I was a teenager and did not fully understand the social and political processes that affected us at that time. But I understood well what "grad" is and was able to navigate by its sound at what distance the equipment stands. In 2014-2015, I learned well how to wash my hair in cold water and disobey my mother. I would run during the curfew to spend the night on the roof of a high-rise building with my friends. And I also understood very well then that indifference kills civil society. That's why I'm never silent now and I don't understand halftones. In 2014, I remember, I quarreled a lot with my friends and some relatives about their political position. I think many can relate to that type of story. I also remember how to go down to the basement of my house and not forget to grab the blanket. I know what it's like to save a cat when something lands near your house. In general, the protective mechanisms  of my psyche saved me well then and still save me from those memories, so it is difficult for me to remember it all in detail. But, without a doubt, these events shaped me. I am a person who constantly defends herself.

"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.

I got enrolled as a screenwriter at Karpenko-Kary in Kyiv and finally understood how and with what I can “spit out” my endured experience. Any experience. I also studied with Sergey Melnitchenko, who gave me a very deep understanding of conceptual photography. That is why my coal inner being welcomed this exact type of an audio-visual form. I was affected by calmness. After six months of living in Kyiv, I realized the horror of the war events in my teenage years. I began to notice how I shuddered at random sounds, especially salutes and firecrackers. But instead, my new-found sensitivity, which was now creeping up from all sides, gave me a lot of strength and a desire to sublimate it all, because otherwise I would have just snapped. And I also realized that calmness kills. We get used to it very quickly, become vulnerable or even indifferent. That is why me and my friends, some of whom are volunteers, constantly remind people whenever it’s possible that the war is not over.

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 was definitely influenced by today's environment, but I understand that I am holding on to my grandparents' roots. My grandfather was a miner, and my grandmother was a language and literature teacher. Such a thug Donbas combination that is hard to beat out of me. Since those teenage years and to today, my civic position has taken a completely new, conscious and clear form, which I am definitely glad about, because my position is my own weapon.


I faced it in a peculiar way. In the morning I was woken up by a large knocking on the door (I live in a dormitory), to which I reacted very harshly, because when I saw people who, for an inexplicable reason, packed their things in suitcases and were ready to leave god knows where, I could only laugh. I told them to tape up the windows, go down to the basement and not touch me again at six in the morning. In addition, I was mentally broken enough at the time, so the prospect of dying from a missile did not scare me very much. Went to bed. I already had tickets for the 25th to Poltava. I left a day earlier. I didn't really believe in a full-scale offensive, but I constantly urged my parents to stay packed and prepared. Nobody listened to me at first. Now they are in Vinnytsia, and I am in Kyiv. I am trying to figure out how to get back on my feet as soon as possible, since due to the war, my work got called off (like everyone else’s). We were supposed to go into pre-production of the film with the support of the state film agency in April. Now I don't have any work, except for my photography. But, you can understand that it is not a very stable income. I have the best thoughts about my future. Surprisingly, I got out of terrible states, successfully continued with therapy and want to be useful on the cultural and informational front. I apply the strength I have to that. I will also wait for the film production to resume its work. I miss the set. What is also very important is that I’ve understood who is who. I realized who really is with me - and I hold on to these people. Soon I will move in with my loved one in a shared apartment and start quarreling, my evacuated cat will have a friend) 

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