Before the 24th of February, not so many people around the world have been well-informed about Ukraine, its history, culture and struggles for freedom. The full-scale invasion of Russia turned all eyes on Ukraine and, finally, people abroad started learning more about the country. While the brave resistance of the Ukrainians to the Russian occupation has already changed the foreign perception of Ukraine, a lot of information about it is still not well-known to the outside world.
Together with Ukraїner, Svidomi asked some prominent Ukrainians of different occupations to tell us what they think the world still has to learn about Ukraine.
Volodymyr Yermolenko, a philosopher and professor
“Ukraine is a country where people are showing their capacity to do the impossible. It is a country of despite: it maintained its identity despite centuries-long imperial efforts to kill it and silence it. It is a country reviving the Ancient warrior virtues, which gave birth to the European civilization. It is a country where people continue to create despite a high risk to die. It is a country of res publica, the common cause of free and responsible people, which has fought and continues to fight tyranny. It is an alternative, non-tyrannical, Eastern Europe.”
Ostap Yarysh, a journalist at the Voice of America
“Ukrainians have been fighting for their freedom for more than 300 years. They withstood Russian imperialistic oppression, cultural persecution, occupation, and genocide. So yes, Ukrainians and Russians do have a shared history.”
Jamala, a singer and songwriter
“The world is using so many products and services, but very few knows that Grammarly, Petcube, Reface…are being made with the hands and brains of our people. Ukraine is incredibly developed when it comes to innovations. I want to remind you that we became one of the first countries in the world where a digital ID is equated to a physical one.”
Olha Tokariuk, a journalist
“Many foreign journalists have only discovered Ukraine only after the full-scale invasion on the 24th of February. And that’s why, we see so many reports in the international media full of admiration and surprise that Ukraine is still holding, that Ukraine is able to resist… What I would like the international press to cover is that it has always been there in Ukrainian society – the spirit of resistance and resilience, strong unity… I would like to see more stories about people who make a difference on the grassroots level in their communities… I think it is the main difference between Ukrainian and Russian society. In Ukraine, people are not waiting on the order from above, they are very proactive, and they are very creative and determined. They are willing to risk their lives.”
Marko Halanevych from the Dakha Brakha band
“From Ukrainians, freedom has always had the highest value. Hundreds of years of Russian rule haven’t changed us. Today, Ukrainians are fighting for their freedom again, and we will definitely win!”