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Polina Pushkina



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 first saw war in the summer of 2014 in Avdiivka. I was 12. I remember that I didn't panic, but my parents did. We moved to russia because we had relatives there. They helped us and shared an apartment with us first, but they kicked us out in a month because they’ve had enough of it. My family and I moved to a dormitory for factory workers. It was dirty and sad there, my parents drank, I went to school where russian kids insulted me. We lived so poorly that I was happy to get some meat to eat.
We spoke with relatives from Avdiivka over the phone. Once I found 10 rubles, topped up my phone and called my grandmother. In the fall of 2015, we decided to return, but got into a car accident and returned to russia. In the winter of 2015, my goddaughter died. That day was the first and last time I saw my father cry. In the winter of 2015, my parents and I returned to Avdiivka, because life in russia is too depressing! The shelling continued, rats lived in our house. Three or even four times we changed the glass in the windows. I went to school. Like everyone, I secretly dreamed of getting sick in order to skip school, and I dreamed that there would be shelling, because I wasn’t in the mood for homework.

"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.

From 2014 to 2015, I wasn’t living at home. They were always shooting. I don't remember what I was like before the war, because I was 12. It influenced me, of course, but there is a positive influence: I appreciate what I have; I say what I think without postponing it; I enjoy life, people and myself. I was greatly influenced by how the people in my city had changed. This atmosphere of help in any way possible. Once a local resident wrote a whole post of sincere thanks for some boards given for windows, from which the glass flew out. People cooked food on the fire in the yard, people hugged, talked, and visited each other.

One of the situations that had the most impact on me: I was going to school after the night shelling, I didn't know whether I should be there or not. So I get there, and at the door my classmate runs to hug me. We were not even friends, she hugged me because she was happy that I was alive. It is both nice and scary.
My house burned down! Completely, all of it! My whole life: albums with photos of three generations, documents, library, appliances, clothes, furniture, everything! My life has changed, that's for sure.

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 February 24 in Kyiv in a dorm. I lived in a village in the Poltava region for about a month. I believed the war would start because I have been seeing it for 8 years and was not surprised that I would see it somewhere else. Because of animal fear, I went to Germany, Berlin. I live here with a German family, they accepted me like a family member of their own. I go to demonstrations and rallies, do volunteer work, and communicate with Ukrainian artists. I think about my future, but there is no clear picture. It hurts me a lot, I don't believe that there will be an end, but I want to live in Ukraine. I am a Ukrainian philologist - the primary native speaker of the language!

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