“Putin is my personal enemy” – Interview with Khrystyna Tryhub

Khrystyna Tryhub is an undergraduate student who studies Tourism and Recreation. The 20-year-old young woman travels a lot, especially in Europe, and does her Bachelor Degree in different countries. She has a lot of energy, is open-minded and clever. But besides of this – what makes her interesting for an interview about Europe?

Khrystyna lives in Ternopil which is located in the West Ukraine. The conflict there is the most recent problem in Europe as nobody has an adequate idea how to solve it: Neither Ukraine or Russia, nor the European Union or the United States of America.

As Khrystyna is not only interested in politics but also loves her home country, I asked her for an interview about her point of view and feelings about that and got some interesting statements from her.

Khrystyna on Plaza Mayor in Madrid – proud of her roots. Picture: K. Tryhub

Khrystyna, when the conflict started you were not in the Ukraine because of your study program. But what did you feel when you first heard about it and how was the development of the conflict?

Tryhub: I could not be there when the conflict in Ukraine started on 21th November after ex-president Yanukovich said that he is not going to sign the agreement with the European Union on 29th of November. Then a comparatively small group of people appeared on the Maidan and were asking him to support the choice of the people that the Ukraine should join the EU. After 3 months of fighting at the Maidan for the possibility to make own choices as a nation and to decide how we want to live, Ukrainian people showed more spirit of freedom and unity as ever before. That makes me feel so happy and proud. The other thing is that I have been in Poland and later in Spain, so I did not have the possibility to be in the “heart of Ukraine” with my friends and for me it was so scary to wake up and to check whether everything is alright with them every day.

What do you think about Putin’s behaviour? Is it okay that he owns parts of the Ukraine?

Tryhub: It is not okay for anyone to own something from somebody else. The same applies with Putin as he owns parts not only of Ukraine. But his behaviour right now is horrible in my opinion. Putin as a representative of Russia, official successor of the USSR, is my personal enemy as he keeps killing people like his predecessors did. To realize imperialistic ambitions by using the army and starting war in 21th century is something that I cannot understand.

In the news you can read that over 300 rebels already died in the Eastern part of the Ukraine. How do you feel about that? Do you tolerate the way Putin tries to reach his goals?

Tryhub: In Eastern Ukraine in the two problematic regions, Lugansk and Donetsk, I am very sure that we have more than 300 deaths on both sides – the Ukrainian army from one side and the separatists on the other. Putin always denies presence of his people on our lands, including Crimea, but after you see Chechen people with Russian passports it becomes obvious.

Which role does the Ukraine play in this conflict in your opinion?

Tryhub: The new Ukrainian government is trying to solve the conflict and to stop all that mess in the East, but honestly they aren´t doing well. It is very difficult to fight with Russia without a functional army as it was totally destroyed during the Yanukovich term.

There was the referendum in Donetsk and around 89 % of the people who voted were in favour of the separation. But in fact some experts said that the voting was not acceptable at all. What is your opinion?

Tryhub: The referendum in Donetsk was bullshit because it was not well organized and easily falsified. Normal people know that all these referendums – like in Crimea and Donetsk – are fake and illegal, so they don´t go there and vote. That why we had such a high result for the separation. We were joking a lot on this topic and said things like “The referendum in Crimea will get 146% for Russia”. Imagine how it feels like going to any election with Russian soldiers standing next to you.

Is your family directly affected by the military dispute in the Ukraine? How do they feel about the politicians?

Tryhub: No, my mom and her husband were in Kiev for only a few days in December. My classmates and friends spent more time there but were not directly affected. But I just asked my granny how she feels about it and she said that Putin is sick and compared him with Hitler and Stalin. But generally no one knows what to expect neither from Putin nor from our politicians. I personally don’t trust the new president’s elections. I am afraid that he will try to talk with Putin as he has a company in Russia. It is not possible to talk and make business with Putin as long as he has his army in the Ukraine.

Khrystyna wearing a traditional Shirt in Ukraine. Picture: K. Tryhub

Khrystyna wearing a traditional Shirt in Ukraine. Picture: K. Tryhub

It seems like the EU is not really interacting in this conflict. What is your opinion about the behaviour and acting of the European Union?

Tryhub: The EU is not helpful. I feel disappointed about it because I think that right now it isn´t a war between Ukraine and Russia, but between the EU and Russia using the Ukraine as a tool.

What should be done by politicians, governments and other countries – like the EU members and the US to improve the current situation?

Tryhub: From the EU I expect to value democracy and human rights more than Russian gas. Because in the moment I hear often “we are so sorry for you guys” from the European politicians but in fact they are very careful with their words and actions. I understand that sentences like ‘Russia is a strategic market’ and money is important for the EU. But it is so noticeable that they care more about Putins reactions than about Ukraine.     

So in conclusion, what do you personally wish yourself when thinking about living in your home country?

Tryhub: After all those events in Ukraine I am completely sure where I want to live, work and have family – in Ukraine. I want to see the Ukraine as an independent country but for now it would be very difficult to fight alone against Putin. It would be better to get closer to the EU. I truly love the European community and want to be part of it…moreover I am so sick asking for Visa (laughing).

Jennifer Wirth




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