Essen: How a Russian student is going through the war in Ukraine


Essen.
Alina left Russia to study at the University of Essen. Two years later, Putin attacked Ukraine. This is how war affects her life.

Does she get enough to eat? After all, there is a great shortage in German supermarkets flour, sugar and oil. At least that’s how Alina’s grandparents saw it on Russian state television. “Then I keep sending them pictures of the shelves on the supermarkets,” Alina says. There’s really no reason to worry here.

In general, however, the situation is difficult for her: Alina has been tormented for weeks by the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. The 19-year-old is accompanied by internal unrest every day, and it is difficult for him to concentrate. – After all, our president has started a war.

Alina, who does not want to read her name in public during these uncertain times, is a native Russian who grew up in a small town near the Volga. 2020 she arrived in Germany in October Water Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen to learn. The 19-year-old also works there as a research assistant.

“I have a lot of Ukrainian friends who came here under the same exchange program as me,” says Alina. When Putin on February 24. invaded the homeland of her friends, she was very upset.


A Russian student demonstrates against the Ukrainian war

In order to send a signal against Putin’s war of aggression, Alina demonstrated at a large demonstration in Düsseldorf, collected donations for Ukraine, and sang at a charity concert he helped organize. At Essen’s main railway station, it helps Ukrainian refugees communicate.

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Because of the commitment, she feels better, Alina says, and the guilt gradually fades away. She would also have been helped by YouTube videos with tips on how to deal with the war. “I didn’t choose our president, he was there before I was born,” the student emphasizes. And since she was not an adult before moving to Germany, she could not vote in Russia. – So I had no influence.

Afraid of prejudice because she is Russian

On social media, Alina has noticed that many people are hostile to the Russian population as if they are to blame for this war. “I understand that people value this topic emotionally, but I’m annoyed by such statements.”

Not only online, but also in real life, the student is initially afraid preconceived notions of origin to become. Therefore, she does not initially tell the family doctor that she is Russian. “I’ve always only talked about ‘my homeland,'” Alina recalls. – When she finally found out, she reacted normally.

Russian UDE student ‘I’ve never been discriminated against’

In Germany, Alina says, she herself has never been discriminated against. On the contrary, her German friends, fellow students and university staff offered her support during that time. However, according to the student, this is presented differently on Russian state television. “My Russian friends and relatives often ask me if I am being attacked and I need help,” I saw on TV.

Alina misses family and friends in Russia even though she is here Essen life is now formed. “I love the Russian language, the country and my school.” Her parents keep taking to the streets to demonstrate before the war. A friend had already been picked up by the police at the demonstration and had to pay a fine. Therefore, she would like to see her family in Germany again at this time.

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