Anna Krysiuk, the founder of the Business Woman magazine, Director General of the Book of Records of Ukraine, a public figure in an exclusive interview for the FD tells how complicated popularization of Ukraine in the world is and how the lives of the Ukrainians have changed after 2014…
Lives of many Ukrainians were divided into two periods – until 2014 and after. What did the events of 2014 mean to you – the Revolution of Dignity and the war in the east?
– You know, I look at life not through the prism of the past, but through what to do with the past in the future. I remember well all what happened in 2014, who did what and where these people are now, but we need to live further and remember that we are a model and example for our children. Our children will not be better than we are if we do not show them an example of tolerance, parenting and civilized behaviour.
We all want Ukraine to become a civilized state, governed and maintained by civilized, consistent people, who will never tolerate repetition of the tragic events of the past. And it is precisely for this and peace in Ukraine a compromise should be found.
Your magazine was accredited at the European Parliament; you often visit different countries not only for the purpose for popularizing of Ukraine, but also for the purpose of defending of the poltical position of our country. Does the state help you in this? What kind of help do you get from the Ukrainian Diaspora?
– As for the accreditation of the Business Woman magazine, I have to say at once that this is not my merit. We have a lot of partners around the world, many socially active women, who run their own business or one of the business areas, who give interviews to our magazine. One of our friends or partners is Marta Barandii. Her organization was accredited at the European Parliament. Actually, that was her proposal, given that we are writing a lot about women from Europe who live and work there. This is important to us. There is a rubric “Ukraine and the World” in our magazine, in which we write a lot about the Ukrainian Diaspora. Despite the fact that the magazine is published exclusively in Ukrainian, it provides an opportunity for all those who want to get to know Ukraine better.
As for the state aid, we have never addressed, in fact, to the state. Unfortunately, I do not know what strategy of our state’s development is in the prism of the Foreign Ministry’s vision, but while speaking to the representatives of this department, I can say that sometimes it would be nice to have something better. After all, our diplomatic representatives abroad are the face of Ukraine and 50 percent of this face, in my opinion, must be changed because they are not able to adequately represent the positive image of Ukraine. Of course, there are wonderful diplomats. I can mention, in particular, our Ambassador in Hungary Liubov Nepop, our Ambassador in Austria, Olexandr Shcherba. Also, I can positively distinguish the work of our ambassadors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Canada, Moldova, Finland. We are not ashamed of such representatives of our country, but can be proud of them. These people react very quickly to any events – even when on the geographic maps the Crimea is marked as a part of Russia, the reaction of our diplomatic representatives is adequate and flash-like. Also, the Ukrainian Diaspora is doing a lot of work to promote Ukrainian national interests abroad. In particular, the World Congress of Ukrainian Youth Organizations, headed by Myroslav Hochak. This organization has its own Internet resources. Its representatives are the citizens of foreign countries, they have grown there up, they know these countries from inside, and at the same time they are the Ukrainian patriots who lobby for Ukrainian interests. It is very important.
Please, tell us about your activities as Director General of the Book of Records of Ukraine. Why did you decide to head the structure?
– The Book of Records of Ukraine is a rather old project. I entered the leadership of this project as a public figure, that enabled me to initiate and implement a large number of public, social and television projects in my native Ciscarpathian Region.
Ihor Pidchibiy, the Head of the Book of Records of Ukraine, offered me to join this project, develop it more broadly, and I agreed. At first I documented the records as an expert, and now I have become a Director General. It is the book of records that makes it possible to get acquainted with special people, with truly unique Ukrainians, who set incredible records and positively represent Ukraine in the world.
One of your last projects is “Children’s Football World”. You are running a flash mob in social networks. How many famous people have already joined this flash mob?
– We have a large public union, which is called “The Ray. Ukraine”. Its chairman and founder is Dmytro Banakh, a well-known public figure from the Ciscarpathian Region. He does unique things for the unification of Ukraine, in order to return peace to our country and to develop talented children in a multivectored way. It is this organization that realizes many charitable projects, events and measures in the East of Ukraine, which are held jointly with one of the best people’s deputies of Ukraine Dmytro Lubinets and public organizations “I am Volnovaha”, “Ray. Volnovaha”, “Women’s Council of Donbass” and others. It is there where we try to conduct an active national patriotic education of children and youth, and implement many international social projects, among them: “Children Ask for Peace”, “Children’s Football of Peace”, “Life in Donbass With the Eyes of Children”, “Cuisines of Peoples of the World”, “Best Ukrainian Sertulum” and others. There is another interesting initiative of our organization – the children’s newspaper “Little Ray”, which is dealt with by Ivanna Yanchuk, also alphabet-colouring for children, the information of which is written by children from different parts of Ukraine and the world.
And we distribute it to different countries and regions of Ukraine. Sure, such educational work will change Ukraine for the better in regard to correct education of our children.
You choose difficult countries for the international dialogue. Why is it so?
– We choose the countries where we have partners and friends that are ready to meet us, but we pay a lot of attention to those countries, which now have a biased attitude to Ukraine and through our positive social projects and wonderful children, people change their mind about Ukraine for the better one. I remember well several of our trips of the past years to Greece, Serbia, now to Hungary, Poland, where children themselves show that they have no misunderstandings with their peers, but on the contrary – they are friends, they communicate and want to meet in the future, then why the politicians do not see this and argue instead of the compromise… Currently, one of our projects “Children’s Football of Peace” is being done, in which more than 300 children from Ukraine will visit 10 countries of the world and play 10 friendly football tournaments. Hungary was the first country to welcome us. It was headed by Ambassador of Ukraine to Hungary, Liubov Nepop, philanthropist Zoltan Khorvat, the representatives of the Ukrainian Diaspora, Yaroslava Hortiani and Yurii Kravchenko. We showed very easily that children who played football without knowing the languages understood each other, made friends and waited for the next meeting at the football festival and the outcomes of the project. This is a small example of great diplomacy and peace, therefore I sincerely thank all our organizers: Dmytro Banakh, Dmytro Lubinets, our co-organizers and partners: Alina Skomorokhova, Volodymyr Vasylenko, Oleksandr Yarema, Myroslava Hochak, Zoryana Stoliarchuk, Serhii Zinchenko, Zoltan Khorvat, Legea Company for support and help given to children in order to see the world and present Ukraine worthy and ask for peace for all of us.
How long have you been helping children in the front-line zone?
– For the third year running. Mostly, we provide assistance through the “Promin. Ukraine” public association, thanks to the support of the Ukrainian Diaspora, in particular, through the already mentioned World Congress of Ukrainian Youth Organizations. The Ukrainian community of the Czech Republic, in particular Ukrainian trade unions, and our friends from Poland – the Higher School of Economics University, give great help. Each country has public initiative organizations that really see what is happening in our East, and also give much help. I cannot, however, say that humanitarian aid radically changed the minds of people in the East. It is more effective that children visiting Western Ukraine, the countries of Europe, already see all the diversity of the world and become different, return home and educate their relatives. In fact, they are re-educating their parents and for the sake of the children we are implementing a lot of social projects.
Were there any negative moments during your activity in the East?
– Of course. We had to get under fi re; we had to face certain misunderstandings on the part of the local population. The situation in our East is extremely difficult, at first we were not trusted, and now we are asked to come again and again. And I know for sure that those people, who speak Ukrainian in the East, show their loyalty to Ukraine, have not left their homes and are trying to survive there, and can be called heroes without exaggeration. And we will do our best to ensure that Ukraine remains an integrated, democratic and civilized state for the sake of our children and their development.
What would you like to wish the readers of our edition at this difficult time?
– First of all I wish to perceive the information only in the positive way. I also want your magazine to be read all over the world.