Russia, Ukraine conflict causes social, emotional tension


Photo reprinted with permission from Emily Murmylo

Heroes do not die…Standing in front of an Independence Square statue on Khreshchatyk Street, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Emily Murmylo (middle right in pink) and her family celebrate their Ukrainian heritage. Murmylo lived in Ukraine between 2012 and 2014, when this photo was taken.

Resulting from decades of rising tensions between the countries, Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, causing Ukrainians and Russians around the world to feel the social and emotional effects.
Dublin resident Emily Murmylo lived in Ukraine from 2012 to 2014.
“We were doing missions work and we worked with people that were told to leave the orphanage because they had grown out of it,” Murmylo said.
Murmylo, who is partially Ukrainian through her paternal grandfather, has numerous distant family members living in the Lviv city within the nation.
“They are being as strong as they can,” Murmylo said.
“It’s definitely not something they ever expected but it’s happening.”
Sophomore Ariel Levin is the child of Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union
“As Jews they were persecuted and they left for America for political and religious freedom,” Levin said.
According to Levin, his parents have drawn parallels between the current Russian invasion and the acts of the Soviet Union.
“They left a country where rules were enforced on other people and constantly people were unhappy with the government,” Levin said. “Now Russia coming back for Ukraine can be very similar to Russia’s control over the countries in Europe.”
Murmylo has multiple close family friends whom her family refer to as “brothers’’ that are active members of the Ukrainian military.
The situation has taken an emotional toll on Murmylo’s family.
“It’s hard to be far from a situation that you’re close to because it’s close to your heart but not close to you in person,” Murmylo said.
Former Souderton resident Athena Peterson believed that this situation was likely to occur.
Like Levin, Peterson’s mother is an immigrant from the Soviet Union.
“I wasn’t surprised [by the breakout of war] due to their history together,” Peterson said.
Levin expects that this “tragedy” will result in Russians around the world who will face discrimination.
“I feel that there might be a specific hate towards Russian people [despite the fact that] a lot of Russian people have nothing to do with it,” Levin said.
Peterson agrees.
“I think it will negatively affect the world opinion of Russian people as a whole,” Peterson said. “In reality, it’s not the Russian people’s fault that tragic events are taking place; it’s the [Russian] government’s fault.”
According to Murmylo, there have been efforts by Russian people to separate themselves from the actions of the Russian government.
“I am seeing a lot of Russian people putting it out there that this is not their decision,” Murmylo said.