Here is the sixth of my series of interviews with people involved in the Gothic and Alternative music scene and to get an understanding in their own words how russia’s war of war crimes against humanity is impacting people just like you and me in Ukraine. For the sixth interview I am very happy to have an interview with Pororoka who are dark-folk band formed in Kyiv in 2017. The name comes from a wave, which appears twice in a year on the Amazon River.
Could you tell me a bit about yourself and your involvement in the Goth/alternative music scene,
so for how long, what you do?, Your 5 top favourite bands?, films, books? etc?
Pororoka band was formed at the end of 2017 in Kyiv.
Most of us came to the capital from other cities.
And the acquaintance with every member for me was fateful.
Our bandurist and vocalist Olenka Hetmanska was born in occupied in 2022 Melitopol city, in the southeastern part of Ukraine.
She never planned to play bandura, and I never imagined this instrument in Pororoka music.
But it sounds fantastic. You may listen, for example, to the song “Don’t sleep”, where bandura is a lead.
Keyboard and vocalist Liza Zharikova is from the Lugansk region, which was occupied in 2022.
I faced Liza three times under different
circumstances. And we became closer after the music festival in Mariupol,
ruined by russians these days.
Guitarist Eugene Kolyada came from the Kyiv region, and our vocalist and stage manager Andrij Boichenko
is from the Poltava region, central region.
As for me, frontwoman Svitlanka Sugak,
I am from Lugansk city, which has been occupied since 2014 by russians.
I moved to Kyiv in 2002.
Pororoka band was started as a creative project, concentrated on its atmosphere.
I couldn’t define its style for some time.
And when we got acquainted with the underground Ukrainian music scene at Taras Bulba Festival(Dubno city),
I realized that we are among like-minded people.
What do you miss most of all since russia started a full-scale war?
I’m lucky – I have food and a roof over my head.
What I personally miss… quiet mornings without news, for example, or calm walking in the forest…
Man’s psychology is very flexible. You can get used to many things, but it
continues to influence you secretly. I live like millions of other Ukrainians in continuous anxiety,
it has become the norm of life, unstoppable background.
It pressures all time, wherever we have air alert or not.
I miss the feeling of life without this pressure. It names “peace”.
It will come after our Victory. The Victory became the most spread wish to each other
among our people.
Could you tell me in your own words how the full-scale war being carried out by russia in Ukraine has affected your life?
I am much less emotional today. The main goal became
to stay effective every day, don’t waste time.
My material life is gathered in two bags.
I learned some early strange for me things and continue.
I began to divide people into those, who see russian lie and don’t accept it and those,
who say that it is ok or who are keeping silent.
This war affected my life in 2014, I lost my parent’s home,
an opportunity to visit my native town, and the graves of my father and grandparents.
My mom died at the end of 2021 in russian occupation… 5 months before the full-scale war started.
But I’m lucky one – I could bury her and say farewell.
Thousands of Ukrainians lost their relatives after the 24th of February 2022 and
couldn’t do this because russians make war crimes.
How do you feel towards russians after they invaded Ukraine?
I don’t feel. I know very well that this is a disease, parasites.
This idea is very clear – we should beat them or lose ourselves forever.
And it concerns not only Ukrainians. People who are still thinking that this is a “local conflict”,
demonstrates dangerous naivety.
“ruzkij mir”(which means “russian world”) is the way of thinking, characterized by a mix of anger and envy
toward other nations/countries and feeling of their(“ruzzkii”) total superiority.
“ruzkij mir” says that it is a revolutionary alternative against “all the evil of the West”.
But the real evil is “ruzkij mir” itself.
I had many friends and connections with russians before the war started in 2014. At the beginning of
2000 I was fond of poetry and dived into a moscow-based small literature hangout.
We kept connection through the internet.
Some of these people came to Kyiv for the rest and meeting, we walked together and have fun… but.
Once I was shocked when they showed sharp spikes of anger looking at
signboards on the streets in the Ukrainian language.
We were 20-25 years old. It was so wild…
This anger towards Ukrainian culture and language seats very deeply in russians.
Because russian regime tried to kill our cultural memory for a long time.
My grandma Valentina(born in 1921) came to Lugansk in 50s-60s of the last century from a small village in that region.
Our village was Ukrainian speaking, but the city policy made my grandma russian speaking.
My mother learned in russian and me too. Nobody asks us. There was only one Ukrainian study school in Lugansk in 1990 – 2000.
So my first language is russian, I remember who I am because my mother kept the connection with our native village
and the language policy in the village was not as cruel as in the city.
In primary school, there was such entertainment among children – to laugh at some Ukrainian words.
I laughed too for some time but then I stopped and understood that this was cruel and unfair.
My parents didn’t teach me this question. I just looked around and made my child’s conclusions.
These days I refused to use russian in public at all.
The hardest was to keep speaking Ukrainian when the strange people asked something in russian.
There was always such a trap – come on, speak russian on russian, be polite.
Sorry – no, because we know the consequences.
russian regime considers people who use russian as their citizens,
the homes of these people – their own, russian, territory and this is
a formal reason for all these deaths.
What worries you have most about russia’s war in Ukraine?
I’m afraid that we may forgive too quickly.
Ukrainians are very kind people,
our forefathers went through terrible tragedies and suffered from russians not so long ago. My family too.
This experience didn’t help us to prevent a full-scale war. We must be prepared for it much better.
Many Ukrainians had illusions that peace could be possible in 2019-2021.
Nowadays all these illusions are broken. I wish we’ll remember all this suffering for centuries.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that we, Ukrainians, don’t allow to happen this violence nevermore
and every russian will pay his price for all this grief.
There is a rather funny moment – one of the key russian classic literature concepts is an idea of repentance, but there
are no examples of it in their history.
What more help would you like to see countries give to Ukraine?
I’m very glad and grateful for all this help.
I can’t find the right words to express … this is a very deep feeling.
I believe that the russian lobby in other countries will finally lose.
And the rest business will realize that it is the wrong way to deal with a totalitarian regime, based on violence and death.
Because this is the way to common humanity catastrophe.
I see that such institutions as the UN don’t wanna
understand this. These are very dangerous signals.
It shows that the influence of “ruzkij mir” in the world is still very huge.
Is there any more action that you would like countries to take in regards to russia?
Ukraine needs weapons, it is said everywhere. But not only this.
I think we, I mean all people who realized this war nature, should do everything possible to overcome the “ruzkij mir” concept.
It must be punished and become as taboo and unacceptable as other crimes against humanity.
Even small steps of every person against “ruzkij mir” are very important – don’t buy russian goods, don’t use their content,
say “no” to their posts/events, write a word in support of our common struggle in social media. russians must realize
at last their war crimes, accept the reality, struggle, and repent.
What do you think about russia bands playing gigs in Europe whilst their country is carrying war crimes in Ukraine?
Nothing good. Why do people visit these gigs?
The only acceptable reason for this can be the gathering of money for the Ukrainian Army under the
slogan – “Slava Ukraine”. You can do an experiment – ask them “Slava Ukraine” and look at their reaction.
Today it is the Ukrainian Army who makes their(all russians) hard job – struggling with their
regime and collective aggression. I don’t understand what russians are doing in other countries.
They usually are so proud of their country – let’s go back and struggle for it. I saw many interviews – they say that they love
their home but can do nothing. This is a lie.
They did nothing essential for 20+ years including the last one.
If you love you must struggle.
There is a Legion of Russians in the Ukrainian Army, who fight. This is the only adequate way for true people.
If you can’t join it, struggle inside russia for peace and freedom, sabotage the war machine,
and help us to restore justice – to return from russia thousands of stolen Ukrainian children.
Stop lying to yourself by comparing your situation with Ukrainians. Be brave to face your fate.