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.
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.
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 Agency, KGVO 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.