According to the stereotype, Ukraine is divided into pro-Russian East and Pro-European West. I went to Lugansk (it is not possible to go further to the East) to see how much truth there is in this view.
I am not able to completely sum up the visit but one thing is certain – none from my interlocutors, from the regional authorities to professors and students from Taras Shevchenko University, has doubts that they want to be in the European Union. However, some images are touching and terrifying. For example, in the gallery of portraits of former rectors of the university, the first eight of them from 1921 to 1932 exercised their function for maximum two years. To my question – “Why?” – there was a simple answer – “they were all executed in Stalin’s time”.
Tomorrow Ukraine celebrates the Victory Day. On this occasion we laid flowers at the three monuments: the heroes of the war 1941-1945, mothers who lost their sons at that time and the people of Lugansk who were killed by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.
It would be difficult to put what I saw in Lugansk into a simple scheme. They are not pro-Russian, they are not against, they learn Ukrainian language and they treat the location of the city at the crossroads of two European routes (4 and 7) as a quirk of fate and a chance for economic development.
I will probably get back to this visit many times because I expected grim mining settlements, destroyed wildlife and “one-dimensional” elites. It was different.