Mikhail Kalarashan – documentary photographer

RADA


Inna and her three children left Luhansk in 2014 when war broke out in eastern Ukraine. They found a new home in the western part of the country, in the Carpathian mountains.

I met Inna in 2017 during one of my travels in Ukraine. It was a chance meeting. I was hitchhiking from Uzhgorod to Chisinau, and I needed to stay in Rakhiv. My friend gave me her phone number, saying that she could let me spend the night. In the morning at breakfast, Inna said that she and her children were refugees from the Donbass. I was touched by this, and that since then I began to visit them often.

I got to know them, got closer and closer, and took a lot of pictures. I didn’t want to shoot another stereotyped story about refugees – there are many such projects. It was important for me to convey the atmosphere of their family. Through photography, I wanted to convey what I felt myself while visiting them. This is how almost 5 years of our friendship flew by. I still keep in touch with them, and at any opportunity I go to Rakhiv.

At first sight, this story reveals us the fate of Ukranian refugees. The mountains were able to hide this family from bullets and destruction and they have been safe for a long time. This could’ve been the end of the story. After all, the main thing happened and children are far away from the horrors of war. But the war is not the main thing of their life.

Eight years later, the war is back in their lives - and even in Rakhiv the air-raid alarms are sounding. Despite this, Inna  Inna didn’t look back with fear and didn’t let the war become the main event in the life of her family. Her daughters and her son were able to have a normal childhood. The war changed their destinies, but a human being with inner peace is stronger than war.

Welcome to the “Rakhiv” station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inna Morozova An excerpt from the October 2017 monologue

Sometimes a person goes through a big crisis in his life, in order to understand something important. Whatever people think is very reliable: your own piece of land; your house — all of this can burst like a soap bubble, very quickly. Relationships also can end at some point, not always because you wanted to end it. We rely on very shaky and unreliable things.

After the reality of war, I stopped making plans for the future. It is so strange — to live only from day to day, but I don’t have any choice. We live with few resources, but we find everything we need each and every day. What happened 4 years ago and what made us move here, has changed my life drastically. It also changed the life of my family. I took my kids and drove off — the further, the better. It turned out to be a march across the country, from east to west. 

It doesn’t matter what happens to us, that me and my children are refugees, but how we react to it is what matters. At some point I realized there are no victims, and there are no aggressors. There is only life, and we have to look at it without illusions or judgements. There’s a good saying: “to solve problems as they come” and this makes everything much simpler. If it happened to me, it happened to me, and it already happened, so there is no point in worrying about it. 

I started painting here again. I began to teach yoga. I gather everything I’ve learned throughout my life and I’m trying to use these assets. Of course, I could’ve worked as a dishwasher, working in 2 or 3 shifts, but I realized that I have to do the best I can with what I have, with what I’m capable of. This is my way of communicating with people – I want to be as useful to them as possible. I want to be useful as a psychologist, as a painter, as a yoga instructor, as a close friend, as a girlfriend, as a mother. We don’t plan to leave yet. Welcome to the “Rakhiv” station. 

Every place, wherever you go, contains everything you need, and only when you start stockpiling goods or making bank deposits: the banks starts crashing, the houses are exploding, the land is taken by another country — it can be anything really — your support must come from within. Your support should be something that everybody has within: it may be God, if you wish. He, too, is within every person. This is something eternal and will never chase to exist. 

Whatever happened: the death of my husband, the illness of my mom — these are all very traumatic experiences. This cannot but hurt, but I understand that even these things had to happen. Life is too short. We may die at any moment and all that was valuable in our life was love.

 

Using Format