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Karina Synytsia 

Severodonetsk

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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 14-15 years old then, I lived in Severodonetsk with my parents, studied at school and was preparing to enter college. Before the war, I wanted to enter the Luhansk College - to study painting, but because of these events, everything changed dramatically, and my family and I began to consider Kharkiv.
In February 2022, I often tried to remember how I experienced all these events then, but my memory did not yield to me at all, did not find any episodes or emotions. This period seems to be erased, probably this is just a feature of my psyche, to erase bad events. I barely remember the evenings that were spent trying to fall asleep to the sounds of explosions, lots of soldiers on the streets and checkpoints.
The teachers constantly tried to talk with us about politics during the Euromaidan, discussing the European Union. It was quite funny. And in a few months, my classmates started listening to the "Hymn of the LPR" on the loudspeakers, and I could often meet someone with flags and symbols of the "Republic" on the streets. In my mind I can remember many protests, various flags, crowds of people standing on the square under the monument.
All in all, it was a very disturbing time, but I was still just a child who probably didn't fully understand what was going on. Severodonetsk was not a hot zone, all military events were happening so far and so close to us at the same time. There were many political changes, discussions among neighbors on the street, changing flags and constant fears.

"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.

After everything settled down in Severodonetsk and got more or less peaceful, it was time for me to finish school. After the 9th grade, I entered a college in Kharkiv, studied there, and afterwards entered to Kyiv in 2019. It was a period rich with events in my life, a growing up stage, a state of peace and faith in an interesting future.
My family continued to live in Severodonetsk. The city began to develop, many things changed due to the relocation of Luhansk structures or people from there. Thoughts about war were very distant.

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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 did not believe at all that the offensive of the troops would begin. I thought that all these were just rumors and reassured others. I met the 24th at home, in the dormitory. I heard very muffled explosions in the morning, immediately started watching the news, reading my chats with friends who confirmed that they also heard something.

I knew that I would not go anywhere, I would stay in Kyiv. Going home is not an option — it is Donbas. My family immediately refused me this idea, realizing that it would all pass to us as well. The main thing then was the thought about the parents: what do they think about it? — as everyone understood that our area is very vulnerable. They evacuated later, since then my state has become calmer. And the realization that Kyiv is the capital, which will be defended to the last, also strengthened the desire to stay here.

In the morning, I heard a lot of yelling from the neighbors, and there were a lot of people with their belongings under the door of the dormitory, who were calling their parents and moving towards the station. I looked at all of it with the realization that I could not and did not want to go anywhere. All this time I spent in Kyiv, I only left for Lviv for two weeks in April, because I really wanted to meet friends. It was a very lonely time: every week I received news that someone had left - one friend, another... It was a time woven from different daily rituals: a trip for food, blackouts in the evening, a book before bed in the corridor, watching the news, helping friends, sending things by mail for those who have left and so on.

Now I am in Kyiv, continuing to paint, to communicate. It is extremely difficult to think about the future, the only thing left to do is to live in the present and not get too melancholic. Hell is raging in my hometown, and it's a crushing burden that haunts me every day, fear for the future, for my parents and their fate. This is a very difficult topic for me, insurmountable and complex. I am very glad that they evacuated in time, and this is the most important realization for me now.
 

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