Utahns navigating deep divide over war in Ukraine by family overseas


Alina Nagdimunov and her household attend a rally in assist of Ukraine in Salt Lake Metropolis. Nagdimunov says most conversations with relations concerning the battle in Ukraine have gone effectively, however some relations have differing opinions. (Household picture)

Estimated learn time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Whereas the battle in Ukraine is bringing the folks of Ukraine collectively to struggle, for a lot of households, it is making a deep divide.

Some Utahns are sharing the complexities of various viewpoints they’re experiencing, and what’s it meant for conversations of their households.

Outdoors of Alina Nagdimunov’s house in Sandy, hangs two posters on either side of her storage. One says, “NO WAR” in English. The opposite says the identical in Russian, together with a tongue-in-cheek line towards Putin.

Utah leaders and residents have been vocal about standing with Ukraine, with clear-cut opinions.

“I believe the dimensions and the massiveness of the assault is absolutely surprising to most,” Nagdimunov mentioned. Initially from Ukraine, Nagdimunov mentioned most of her household is heartbroken.

However not all of them.

Conversations with some relations in japanese Ukraine, have gone south.

“It’s extremely disheartening,” she mentioned. “I’ve had some very shut relations who, you understand, we form of began speaking about it and so they simply hung up (the cellphone).”

Whereas Nagdimunov was born in japanese Ukraine, she mentioned her father was born in Tajikistan and her grandfather was born in Siberia. Her household is intertwined all through the area, and Nagdimunov defined the whole lot is combined between Ukrainian and Russian language and tradition.

That blend extends to their ideas on the battle.

“We’ve got members in our households who’re mates, who nonetheless assume or making an attempt to justify the actions of Putin as one thing that’s good for Russia. Some assume that, there should be a cause why it is happening,” she described. “Some that assume that, ‘Effectively, Ukraine and Russia are brotherly nations they need to be collectively, and in the event that they’re collectively — there’s a lot extra potential.'”

Dina Goncharenko has had the identical interactions with just a few of her relations as effectively.

Goncharenko was born in Latvia, however her ethnicity is Russian. Her rapid household nonetheless lives in Latvia, with others residing in Russia.

She mentioned folks do not even use the time period “battle,” quite calling it a “particular operation.” She mentioned from her understanding, folks can find yourself harshly punished for utilizing the unsuitable time period to explain the state of affairs.

The older technology in her household is pro-Putin, Goncharenko defined, and the youthful technology is towards the Russian president.

Some relations develop into upset and will not speak concerning the battle together with her.

“They do assume that my standpoint has been influenced by the American authorities, and American authorities is the one who began this battle,” Goncharenko mentioned.

She created a questionnaire to raised perceive the viewpoints amongst mates residing abroad. She indicated that most individuals felt there was nothing they might do, in order that they most popular to keep away from the topic.

She expressed that Russian authorities media is controlling the narrative and has pressured impartial media retailers to close down. With TV as a fundamental entry for data, she described that is how a few of her kin are studying of the state of affairs — and that they imagine what they see.

Goncharenko outlined the narrative she believes her relations are uncovered to by Russian media, which she described as the sensation like the entire world is unfairly concentrating on Russia and being towards the nation.

“When your personal household, the closest folks that you’ve got in the entire world, your loved ones is half a world aside – the one folks you could depend on on this life. After they flip their again as a result of they assume that you’ve got been brainwashed, it hurts,” she shared.

Watching the horrors of battle unfold, Goncharenko and Nagdimunov each indicated, have been made even worse by a widening rift throughout a time when household and unity is meant to imply essentially the most.

“It drives the households aside,” Goncharenko mentioned.

Nagdimunov mentioned she has a tough time wanting these sure relations within the eyes and asking how they’ll have that place.

“I’ve a tough time reconciling with these views,” she mentioned.

For her, it is extra necessary to face towards the battle, and for what she believes is true.

Each additionally expressed that there’s a clear distinction between the Russian authorities and the folks of Russia, with ideas and opinions simply as different as inside their very own households.

This additionally goes for anybody residing within the U.S. who’s from Russia or speaks Russian. Nagdimunov talked about how she hopes her personal kids, who’re bilingual and converse Russian, do not get unfairly judged or discriminated towards at college.

“Do not bounce to these conclusions,” Nagdimunov mentioned. “However on the similar time, when you assume that this battle is unsuitable, do not draw back from saying it. Do not draw back from saying, ‘This must be stopped,’ or, ‘Perhaps there’s one thing I can do.’ There’s nothing unsuitable with being Russian and towards this battle.”

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