Kateryna Kruk was born in Rivne, Western Ukraine in 1991. After studying for a Master’s Degree in Poland, she returned to Kiev last autumn, as the Euromaidan protests began. Determined to shift Ukraine towards Western Europe, Kruk became heavily involved in the protest movement. Tweeting extensively in English, she emerged as the “unofficial voice” of Euromaidan, providing a running commentary both on the protesters’ strategic positioning and dramatic events on the streets, as she tells LIAM HALLIGAN
LH: Is Ukraine part of Europe?
Ukraine isn’t only part of Europe but is also its Eastern border. This border isn’t really defined in geographical or physical terms. Cultural differences define the true border of Europe. As such, this border is rather wide and vague but obviously lies somewhere in Eastern Ukraine. Being part of Europe, belonging to it, is also a process. By observing cultural changes in Ukraine, you can see how the country is becoming more and more European.
Vera Graziadei (nee Filatova) is a familiar face to British audiences, given her role in the cult Channel 4 series Peep Show, numerous TV dramas and widely-praised theatre and film work. Born in Donetsk, to a Ukrainian mother and Russian father, she came to the UK as a teenager and was educated at the London School of Economics. But Graziadei’s passions go beyond acting. Recent events in Ukraine have left her shocked and disturbed, as she tells LIAM HALLIGAN in London.
LH: ARE YOU UKRAINIAN OR RUSSIAN?
Actually, first and foremost I’m a Brit. I swore my allegiance, took citizenship and spent my formative years here, having arrived at the age of 13. Back then, I’d tell people I was Russian but born in Ukraine. That was a kid talking. As an adult, I say I’m Ukrainian. But if I meet two people from Vladivostok and Western Ukraine, I feel culturally closer to the person from Vladivostok, even though its thousands of miles away. I’m not saying I don’t like people from Western Ukraine. I’m talking about how close I feel culturally, not personally nor in terms of friendship. So – a rather complicated answer to a simple question.