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 members of the family concerning the battle in Ukraine have gone properly, however some members of the family have differing opinions. (Household photograph)

Estimated learn time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Whereas the battle in Ukraine is bringing the individuals 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.

Exterior of Alina Nagdimunov’s dwelling in Sandy, hangs two posters on both sides 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 de facto stunning to most,” Nagdimunov mentioned. Initially from Ukraine, Nagdimunov mentioned most of her household is heartbroken.

However not all of them.

Conversations with some members of the family in japanese Ukraine, have gone south.

“It is very disheartening,” she mentioned. “I’ve had some very shut members of the family who, you realize, we type of began speaking about it they usually 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 blended between Ukrainian and Russian language and tradition.

That blend extends to their ideas on the battle.

“We’ve members in our households who’re associates, who nonetheless assume or attempting to justify the actions of Putin as one thing that’s good for Russia. Some assume that, there should be a purpose why it is occurring,” she described. “Some that assume that, ‘Nicely, Ukraine and Russia are brotherly nations they need to be collectively, and in the event that they’re collectively — there may be a lot extra potential.'”

Dina Goncharenko has had the identical interactions with a couple of of her members of the family as properly.

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

She mentioned individuals do not even use the time period “battle,” relatively calling it a “particular operation.” She mentioned from her understanding, individuals can find yourself harshly punished for utilizing the flawed time period to explain the scenario.

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

Some members of the family turn into upset and will not speak concerning the battle along 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 higher perceive the viewpoints amongst associates residing abroad. She indicated that most individuals felt there was nothing they may do, so that they most well-liked to avoid the topic.

She expressed that Russian authorities media is controlling the narrative and has pressured unbiased media shops to close down. With TV as a most important entry for data, she described that is how a few of her family are studying of the scenario — and that they consider what they see.

Goncharenko outlined the narrative she believes her members of the family 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 individuals that you’ve in the entire world, your loved ones is half a world aside – the one individuals you can 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 probably the most.

“It drives the households aside,” Goncharenko mentioned.

Nagdimunov mentioned she has a tough time wanting these sure members of the family within the eyes and asking how they will 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 correct.

Each additionally expressed that there’s a clear distinction between the Russian authorities and the individuals of Russia, with ideas and opinions simply as diverse 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 youngsters, who’re bilingual and communicate Russian, do not get unfairly judged or discriminated towards at college.

“Do not bounce to these conclusions,” Nagdimunov mentioned. “However on the identical time, for those who assume that this battle is flawed, 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 flawed with being Russian and towards this battle.”

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