Ruslan and Zhenia is a couple of hairdressers, who came from Sevastopol to Lviv, and they support a strong Ukrainian position. They left occupied Crimea Lviv, to do what they really like, and may freely express their beliefs. The Insider looks inside migrants life.
In contrast to the established stereotypes about the "desperate migrants", the couple acted pragmatically: they collected some money in order to open their own beauty salon.
The couple was forced to leave friends, favorite work, and the seaside after the so-called referendum had taken place and the "green men" had appeared at their native lands.
“Yes, we strongly expressed our Ukrainian position, - said Ruslan – and we understood that all those terrible things, which had been happening in Crimea, were wrong. But the majority of friends and colleagues had an opposite opinion.”
“Suddenly, we became "outsiders, - continues Zhenia. – Everyday communication and social interaction became more and more difficult day by day. People uttered nonsense, it seemed that they live under occupation forever…”
The couple didn’t attend the Ukrainian solidarity demonstrations, but openly expressed the views though. Ruslan quarreled with the “Russkiy mir” believers (pro-Russian adherents of so called “Russian world”).
“Everyone started talking about the fascists, - says Ruslan. Among the clients there were several awkwards, but they were sane people too. They tried to provoke me often, so I argued with people ...”
“Everything that was happening there is not funny at all, it is really serious. Sevastopol is a military town. FSB (Russian state security organization) is not a joke, it really exists! When living in Lviv we can laugh about it, but there you realize the seriousness of the situation.”
In November 2014 the couple moved to Dnipropetrovsk, where lives the relatives of Ruslan, but did not stay therem because the city is close to the Russian border.
“I did not want to live in an industrial town. Why did we choose Lviv? Probably, there were no available tickets to the other cities,” jokes Ruslan.
Besides, there are some similarities between Lviv and Sevastopol, convince the guys:
“The mentality, easygoing people... People do not rush. They live by the principle: coffee must be first, then comes your everyday business, - says Eugene. - Our biorhythm is quite similar.”
The couple came to Lviv with 4 suitcases of tools and took a few things. They rented an apartment and started to look for long-term accommodation. The spouses applied for "Crimea-SOS”, a volunteer organization, and got in touch with other IDPs. Then they found a room for their future beauty salon.
“We were the newcomers here, and had no clients. NGO "Krymska Hvilya" was very helpful in this context, many IDPs came to do haircuts, plus we have worked with photographers, and some of the local citizens came to our barberry. On the third day after the move, we were already preparing three models for a photo shoot.”
They took employed two IDPs, whom they met at the "Crimea-SOS". The guys are also planning to expand their business and take new employees.
The couple went to Lviv without anyone knowing, but they found support, understanding and firm company in the "Crimea-SOS": “The guys from "Crimea-SOS" often come to us because we have little time to go for the meetings.”
“Everything seems to be very loyal and friendly here”.
The only thing that spouses do not like in Lviv is the cold weather. But they do not want to come back to Sevastopol.
“I am Crimean, born in Sevastopol. I’m sure that this populace will be drooling all over them yet for a long time. To be frank, only the sea beckons me.”