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Kyiv theatre founder talks about the year since Russia invaded Ukraine

  • Scott LaMar
A Ukrainian serviceman walks amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, April 6, 2022.

 Felipe Dana / AP Photo

A Ukrainian serviceman walks amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, April 6, 2022.

Airdate: February 24, 2023

Russia invaded Ukraine one year ago today. The largest conflict in Europe since World War II has resulted in estimates of 10-30,000 civilian deaths and maybe up to 200,000 Ukrainian and Russian fighters killed.

Russia has been accused of many war crimes over the past year – even though it denies they have occurred.

Right after the war began, we spoke with Alex Borovenskiy, the founder of ProEnglish Theatre and ProEnglish Drama School, of Ukraine Fringe and WEST in Kyiv. He joined us on The Spark Friday and reflected on the past year,”war is inhumane and shouldn’t be in this modern civilization at any means. And the war of this scale is unthinkable. And I know I cannot imagine how it still goes on for a year. Like, so my thoughts about the war that somehow, somehow I have to admit that it might take place in civilization. So only now I’m trying to understand how do I live with that? I used to live with that for a year. Now I’m trying to understand how the logistics work? What is the financing of the war? What is the poetry of the war? What is that? And I’m not doing this to take another year. I do hope that the 2023 Ukraine will win and defeat those enemy and darkness. But right now, I’m trying to understand what it is.”

Alex Borovenskiy

Borovenskiy was asked what life is like in Kyiv today,”It’s different than before the invasion because transportation is different. You have to take it really carefully if you want to travel. So I used to travel quite a lot. Now I really think, do I have to? Because any siren and it stops Metro works, but not everywhere and so on. So you really start to consider carefully, should you go, should you stay? Lots of house gatherings or theater in theater gatherings. Not so many cafes stops and going out. That I would say. Other than that, I guess it’s very close to normal. Look, posts were taken away. The hedgehogs from the highways that we used to have last year, they were taken away. They are stored at the airport, not very far, but it’s not on the roads anymore. Curfew. It’s not that bad. We still have curfew. It’s from 11 p.m. and the transportation stops from 9:30 p.m.. But everybody kind of gets used to this and this like this new world order. So there are no not my twenties anymore, but we got used. We have the matinee parties these days.”

Although Kyiv hasn’t been attacked directly by Russian forces in recent months, Borovenskiy said he hears explosions from time-to-time (and maintains a sense of humor),”I started hearing of the explosions much stronger than before. Couple of times I heard the windows of my apartment trembling. I never heard that when Russians attacked directly. Now I do hear that because they’re using much stronger missiles. And while it’s not a direct attack, but you never know when this missile flies there or it just means that something is in the air. You never know where it goes. Doesn’t go to your region, does it? Go to your city? Does it go anywhere? It’s always a game of chance, and sometimes you just ignore it and play with your cats. Sometimes you continue rehearsals. Sometimes you run to the bomb shelter like crazy. So it’s like it all depends on the mood. Like, you know, in a mood for a coffee that’s in the mood for a bomb shelter.”

Borovenskiy left this message for Americans and the rest of the world,”you think you’re tired of the war of Ukraine? Look at us. We are super tired. I sleep like 5 hours per night and I’m not tired. I could be, but I still fight because this is the fight for humanity. This is a fight for civilization. So please, for God’s sake, do not get tired. Get interested, get more interested.”

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