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Montana Stands with Ukraine

Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov

Montana Stands With Ukraine

During the weekend before Ukrainian Independence Day, I decided to take a few days to explore three National Parks: Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier. During the trip, I also continued learning about how different communities in the United States stand with Ukraine. I mainly travelled through Montana state, so this report is on how Montana stands with Ukraine.

On the picture is the Montana State Capitol we visited with Mama. The Ukrainian flag was raised there in March to show the People of Montana’s solidarity with the people of Ukraine. During the trip, I proudly wore Vyshyvanka and connected with local people who stand with Ukraine. It was a positive experience. Similarly to the people of Colorado, the people of Montana offered overwhelming support and shared their stories on how they #StandWithUkraine.

I spend a few days researching how Ukrainians in Montana #StandWIthUkraine. Here is a summary of stories I reviewed from local media. They inspire and show the kindness, solidarity and humanity Montanans shared with the People of Ukraine. I will keep adding more stories to document ways how to #StandWithUkraine.

General Information

In 2020, 1068 people claimed Ukrainian ancestry in Montana. Lindsay City has the Highest Percentage of Ukrainians in Montana (3.82%). The Hawk radio station shared similarities between Montana and Ukraine Cyprusandaxi posted on their website Montana vs Ukraine Statistical Comparison. Country Size comparison is also available on mylifeelsewhere website. KTVQ offers a discussion on whether Montana can expect any Ukrainian refugees. The short answer is yes.

Fundraising efforts

Multiple fundraising efforts are documented in media on how Montanans help Ukraine. Montana State University sells #StandwithUkraine t-shirt. Profits from this tee are donated to the fund set up at First Security Bank in Bozeman to support People of Ukraine. KXLF reported how Butte doctors with family ties to Ukraine organized a fundraiser to help Ukrainian children with dire medical needs to escape Ukraine. They raised 27000 USD. Montana Connections documented more fundraising efforts in Butte area.

Bozeman community on March 29th came together to support World Central Kitchen’s relief efforts in Ukraine through local fundraiser Montana Cooks for Ukraine. The Northwest Montana History Museum added special open hours on Saturday, May 14th, from 10 am to 3 pm. For the entire day, all museum admission revenue went towards humanitarian aid to the refugees fleeing the crisis in the country of Ukraine. Wonderland Cafe & Lodge in Gardiner, MT near North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, currently flooded, raised 80 000 USD in the trivia night. Read the full story on the café facebook page. Special thanks to every single person who donated and  business partners: Enavate, Super 8 and Cowboy’s Lodge And Grille

NBC Montana shares the story of a Ukrainian national and entrepreneur  Victoria Livschitz, in northwest Montana who send help back to her homeland. Livschitz funded two families to seek asylum in the U.S. and currently has another refugee living at her home. She has a new company that manufactures and produces meals for camping. All the way from Montana, 8,000 servings of pre-packaged meals are heading to Ukraine.

Stories about Ukrainians in Montana

Multiple Montanans shared their ties to Ukraine. Two Ukrainian women with Butte ties were featured in the local newspaper to share the impacts of war on their families. Montana Talks posted the story of the family who safely arrived in Billings, Montana and offered 15 ways how to support the people of Ukraine. Montana right now shared story of the 19-year-old Ukrainian who currently lives in Kalispell and his thoughts about the future of Ukraine. Andrii Mykhailiuk was born and raised in Ukraine. He moved to the Treasure State to attend Montana State University Billings and now lives in Kalispell. Mykhailiuk said he’d like to return to Ukraine when it’s safe, but his dad wants him to stay put. KULR8 offers a follow-up Ukrainian man living in Montana worries for family back home and another video story titled: ‘Please stop’: 19-year-old Ukrainian in Montana shares thoughts about the future of his country

 NBC Montana also shared the story of Kalispell local Ashlee Armstrong who is doing what she can to help trapped citizens of Ukraine, and she’s doing it all from her home in Montana. Armstrong is coordinating transportation for refugees with Romanian missionaries who shuttle people out of the war-torn country.

8KPAX shared the news story that a Billings man heard on Sunday that his relatives made it safely from Romania to Germany after escaping Ukraine a few weeks ago. 8KPAX also reported on Members of the Patramanskyy family who keep their phones close, as they remain in contact with their relatives in Ukraine.

Montana Public Radio reported on Flathead Valley nonprofit (Valley Neighbours) that is helping newcomers from Ukraine resettle in Montana The group has formed sponsorship groups to bring in two other families to the area, the first of which will arrive mid-August 8KPAX shares the story how Ukraine invasion impacting families in small Montana town of Kila

Political and Economic Support

Great Falls Tribute reported that ‘While both of Montana’s Senators and its Republican Governor have each issued recent news releases calling for continued American moral and material support for the Ukrainian people, Montana House Representative Matt Rosendale has consistently spoken and voted in opposition to any U.S. action to oppose the Russian invasion’. Montana Free Press and Whitefish Pilot and The MSU Exponet offered more details on how Montana’s political leaders responded to the Russian aggression.  

The Western News reported that Montana identified $15M in assets with exposure to Russia Montana’s governor asked state agencies on Wednesday to review assets and operations for any that may benefit the Russian government or its war against Ukraine and to suggest ways to divest them. Daily Montana reported that on August 12 that Montana pulled $14M of investments tied to Russian interests

The Fairfield Sun Times shared the story how Whitney Williams, the daughter of former Congressman Pat Williams and state Senator Carol Williams along with her niece Fiona Easton visited Poland where they were on a humanitarian trip to help Ukrainian refugees. Voiced of Montana and 7KBZK shared stories about a group of Montanans, led by an Montana State University student from Poland, who have organized a relief effort and are supporting the volunteer efforts of Bozeman EMT Cathy Trainor, who recently arrived in Poland. You can listen to the chat with organization’s founder Karolina Konieczna and medical donation supply leader Steve Houtz and learn what’s currently being done to support Cathy and the refugees overseas.

U.S. Senator from Montana Steve Daines visited Ukraine to meet with Ukrainian officials and see firsthand the aftermath of Putin’s atrocious war crimes against the people of Ukraine. Catholic News AgencyKGVO and Daily Mail provided a detailed report on the Senator’s trip to Ukraine.

KTVQ shares the story of Dr. Olga Lutsyk, a Billings doctor with St. Vincent Healthcare, who is back in Montana from a humanitarian mission at the Ukrainian-Polish border.

Education and Awareness Raising Rallies

 On Friday, March 4th, the governor ordered the Montana flag be moved to below the U.S. flag, and the Ukrainian flag to take the center right position. KTVH reported on crowd gathered at Montana State Capitol for “Unity with Ukraine” rally in April. Montana Right now shared a story how Great Falls community holds a ‘Stand with Ukraine’ rally. Peace in Ukraine Coalition reported on Peace in Ukraine Rally – Missoula, Montana, USA on March 6. Peace in Ukraine coalition rally focus on how to stop the war but it was misinformed on the history of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Montana Kaimin shares about the UM Mansfield Center course on Ukrainian conflicts. The program was a four-week short course focused on community engagement and education on the conflict in Ukraine. “I want to spread the word about my country, showing that the messages of Russia are total bullshit,” Nezhyvenko the course instructor said. “We are a very peaceful nation, all we want is to stay in our homes, to live there and to speak our language. We don’t want to immigrate. We don’t want to be refugees.”

Montana Folk Festival features Kathy Martin of Kalispell, Montana who introduces pysanky, Ukrainian Easter Eggs.

Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Kalispell was established by Vladyka Benedict on May 28th of this year as a new mission of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the Flathead Valley of Northwestern Montana. The Divine Liturgy was held at St. Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church in downtown Kalispell.

Thank you to all the journalists in Montana for their coverage and for all Montanans who stand with Ukraine for sharing their stories. If you know other stories on how Montana stands with Ukraine or willing to document stories from other communities please let me know. It is important to learn how global communities stand with Ukraine and share their stories of support, care, share and love to inspire global communities to #StandWithUkraine.

31 Ukrainian Songs: Kamloops August 24, 2022 Edition

Welcome to the August 24, 2022 Kamloops edition of Ukrainian songs. Kamloops, BC is located on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory, situated within the unceded ancestral lands of the Secwépemc Nation. In the 2016 Census, 8.6% of Kamloopsians claimed their Ukrainian heritage (7760 residents).

Since February 24, thousands of Kamloopsians #StandWithUkraine and helped in multiple ways to stop the russian aggression.

Every Saturday staring February 26th, 2022 People of Kamloops gathered at the City Hall (The first gathering was at the Riverside Park near Hope sign) and stood in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. On Saturday August 27th we will gather again for the 27th time and listen to 31 songs as part of the celebration of the 31st Ukraine Independence Day. 

The songs were selected based on the #ILOVEUKRENG course that allows the People of Ukraine to learn English and People of the World to learn Ukrainian. The course uses a unique student-centred, independent study on/off the ground cohort learning approach developed by Dr. Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov to promote life-long learning.

•This collection of songs may be adapted to any learner as each learner will decide how much practice is needed to achieve their desired goal. The primary purpose of this collection of songs is to improve conversational Ukrainian and English translation skills.

I have collected songs to celebrate Ukrainian Independence Day for several years. This year once we started gathering weekly in Kamloops and after launching #ILOVEUKRENG course, I added many new songs. I want to thank https://lyricstranslate.com/ for providing an initial translation of each song and https://youtube.com/ for allowing everyone to listen to the music.

Most songs will have original lyrics, a romanized version and English translation. As we keep learning through #ILOVEUKRENG we will keep updating translation, learn new words, and have conversations on the topics highlighted in each song.

The selection is helpful to everyone who wants to learn Ukrainian. Each page features a (1) Ukrainian version of the song. (2) There is a romanized version for those who can read Ukrainian using roman letters. (3) The https://lyricstranslate.com/ translated version of the songs to see how it matches the original lyrics. Three columns layout helps you sing along every time you hear the melody. I also incorporated the link to Ukrainian and sometimes English versions of the song. The hope is to keep making language learning fun and create new resources to support those interested in singing and language learning. If you have songs that are not yet on the list, please feel free to send me the Youtube link. I will keep expanding this edition. Best Wishes from Kamloops

Dr. Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov

PDF Version: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1usbURgGUQNkKWq2dWL4JQu0UepYbnAo0/view?usp=sharing

Youtube Playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBkb7GcuZ8m8hp3kB17Qmku1DzTc1BKZB

Ukraine Independence Day Reflection

Even before the full-scale war, for me, as well as for millions of people in Ukraine and the global Ukrainian diaspora, Independence Day is the most important holiday of the year. August 24st, 1991 marks the death of tyranny and the Soviet regime and the rebirth of the state and its ability to exercise many unique democratic freedoms. Unfortunately, putin’s regime and the people of russia who stand with putin keep destroying those freedoms and democracy in Ukraine. In the last six months, here are some numbers from npr.org to show the staggering impact of russia’s war in Ukraine

• Over 13 million Ukrainians have been displaced
• Tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians may have lost their lives in the war
• Russia occupies 20% of Ukrainian land
• Dozens of countries have pledged billions of dollars in military aid since the war began
• Ukraine’s economy could shrink by as much as 45% because of the invasion
• Bake sales, spare change and “St. Javelin” have raised over $500 million in private money to help Ukraine

13 million displaced represent close to one-third of the Canadian population looking for safe spaces that do not currently exist in Ukraine, thanks to russian missiles and everyday attacks on the people of Ukraine. The data from the Canada Border Services Agency corresponds to Ukrainian citizens and returning Canadian permanent residents of Ukrainian origin who arrived in Canada by land or air between January 1 and August 14, 2022: Arrived in Canada by land (11,817) Arrived in Canada by air (62,772) Applications received (495,929) Applications approved (204,793). Of course, the data are just numbers, but we know that each number is a human being and their story of displacement, and this is only to Canada (4% of total displaced population). We know that when 40% of the applicants already received visas, only 30% arrived in Canada, meaning many are still in transit. We also can see from the data that more than 60% of applicants are still awaiting for decision.

Every day, everyone who #StandWithUkraine live in fear that more people of Ukraine will die as russian missile can hit anywhere in Ukraine. Living under russian occupation is not an option, as many Ukrainians experience what it means to live in russian concentration camps. Currently, Ukrainians are no longer looking for peace, but need a victory and restore their territorial integrity as “russian peace” means no Ukraine.

Today I think of everyone who lost their loved ones as part of the war. Eternal memory to heroes. The generation of Ukrainians 31 and younger only lived in Independent Ukraine, and now they are fighting with others to keep Ukraine’s independence. Those Ukrainians who lived in USSR will never want to be back as they supported Ukraine’s independence in 1991 and support it now. I think of the 8,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war. putin’s regime can kill them as they did in the Olenivka detention center.

However, despite those terrifying data it is important to celebrate Ukraine, its culture, language, and independence. Putin regime will not stop Ukrainians from sharing their cuisine, their talents and skills with the world. Thanks to the global community and everyone who stands with Ukraine, People of Ukraine will win the war. Therefore, we will continue celebrating Ukrainian Independence Day, enjoy singing Ukrainian songs, sharing Ukrainian traditions, and visiting Ukraine and standing in the Ukrainian sunflowers fields. Happy Independence day Ukraine.