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Selchonok Olena



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 don't remember much from 2014, but from that date on, russia became an enemy country for me. Our city was occupied for several days back then. I still remember the fear of the occupation, although our city was somewhat lucky - there were no murders or tortures, but there was tension, we waited impatiently to get freed. And we did. Our city was on the verge of two fires - both the occupiers and the Armed Forces were shooting through it. In the days when our region was liberated, we sat in the basement and heard how Lysychansk was getting bombed. It was scary, but still, we were rescued. And for the first time in a month we went to nearby Lysychansk for groceries, since almost all the shops in our town got looted by the occupiers. When we were walking through Lysychansk, there were still Ukrainian soldiers there. I still remember the moment when I an armored personnel carrier was passing, there were Ukrainian flags on it, and a military man in uniform was sitting on top, and my mother and I started waving to him as a sign of greeting, and he answered us with the same gestures, we were happy to see each other, although neither we knew him, nor he us. The feeling is indescribable, the feeling that we have been liberated and this horror is finally over for us. I was 18 years old then, and I didn't know back then that I would become an artist.

"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 that moment on, I realized that I had to get rid of everything that connects me to russia: I deleted all of russian social media, stopped watching movies with russian translation, and still look at the manufacturer when buying things in stores - I don't buy russian made products. But if it weren't for the war in 2014, I wouldn't have entered the Luhansk College of Culture and Arts, which back then moved to Kreminna. So I studied to be an art pedagogue, and after completing my studies I found a job as an art teacher at a local school. I worked, painted, sold my works. If someone had bought them, I would spend part of that money on the needs of the Armed Forces, because the war was still going on, even far from our city, its presence could still be felt. About a year ago, I was invited to a new platform to sell called NFT, and I gladly accepted (although I had no idea what it was at the time, I figured it out later). And I started selling my works digitally. I still donate part of the funds from my sales to the needs of the Armed Forces.

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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?

About a day before the start of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, the curator of the NFT platform, where I sell my works, wrote to me. Their mass media reported that we were attacked by russia. She asked if I was safe. I replied that there was no war and that I was fine, but a day later the war was declared on us. We woke up early in the morning to the explosions - we were used to them, but we used to hear them far away - and on February 24 they sounded way too close. Relatives from Odesa started calling us. They said that the war had started, we didn't believe them (it's hard to believe something like that), but when we turned on the news, everyone was shocked: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, bombing everywhere, air raids all over Ukraine.The first emotions I felt were shock, anxiety, despair and hatred, hatred towards russians. I immediately wrote to the curator of the NFT site that we are at war, that the whole of Ukraine is getting bombed. Fortunately, they support Ukraine, for which I am very grateful.


We lived in the horror of the war for about a month, shells flew through, hit our houses, but the worst thing was the fear of occupation: Rubizhne, Kreminna, Krasnyanka - they captured one city after another, and the closer they were advancing towards us, the more frequently and nearer shells flew. Our house is located near the forest, we could hear very well (especially at night) automatic gun bursts, grenade explosions and close combat near Siverskyi Donets.We spent half a day in the basement, in blankets, listening to how the shells land near. But the scariest moment was when a shell from a tank flew into our garden. If it had flown into the house, we would not have had a house, and we would unlikely have survived. Our windows were shattered by the explosion and shell fragments, holes appeared in the fence, fragments from the projectile got stuck in the ceiling and the chandelier's plafond inside the house. But, luckily, everyone is alive.


And this event forced us to pack the least of our things and leave the city. Mom didn't want to leave much, but after the news about Bucha and other cities, she still agreed to do it. We have been living in Ternivka for three months now, I took a few drawing materials, but almost everything from my creative life remained in Pryvilla — paintings, drawings, materials, easels, tablets, and other things. I took everything I could fit in my backpack: watercolors, brushes, a pencil case with utensils and several sheets of A3 watercolor paper. When we arrived in Ternivka and somehow settled down, I immediately started looking for a volunteer center or something like that. I wanted (and still want) to help our soldiers in any way, and I found a volunteer center and a workshop for weaving camouflage nets. Right now I continue to paint, sell my works, and send part of the funds to the Armed Forces. I also go to weave camouflage nets and give individual lessons to a local girl. I'm just waiting for Ukraine to win and for us to go home. Every day I ask the world if putin is dead and all russians along with him. Once I even dreamed that I killed putin. If only it wasn't a dream...

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