Ukrainian Voices From Abroad: Aleksey Mohov’s Independence Day story

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Kyiv Post: Where are you from in Ukraine?

Aleksey Mohov: I was born in Kharkiv.

KP: When did you leave; why did you leave?

AM: I left in 2001; I was adopted by Americans as a young child.

KP: How did you end up where you live?

AM: I have lived in America in the southeast for my childhood, but recently moved to Texas for university.

KP: Do you ever regret that you are not in Ukraine – why or why not?

AM: I want to visit very badly, but I don’t think I’d trade my life here for Ukraine again, at least not until I’m out of school. It seems a bit ungrateful to move back after all I’ve been given in America.

KP: What do you miss most about Ukraine?

AM: I wish I had some people to speak Ukrainian with. I spoke Russian when I was very young, but forgot it when I moved to America. Recently I have tried to learn Ukrainian but always forget it because I have no way to use it. Kyiv Post gives me something to read, at least.

KP: What do you miss least about Ukraine?

AM: I lived in an orphanage when I was in Ukraine. While I don’t remember it, I can’t imagine the living conditions were very good.

KP: Does where you live have more opportunities for you than in Ukraine?

AM: Definitely. I have the opportunity to travel a lot and attend a good university. I think a large part of my opportunity difference is being adopted from a ‘baby home’ into a loving and supportive family.

KP: What relatives/friends are left back in Ukraine?

AM: I don’t know. I know my biological mother’s name — Yulia Vitalyevna — but nothing else. I dream of finding them, if they exist.

KP: Do they visit you or do you visit them? Often?

AM: I don’t know if I have any biological relatives in Ukraine, or anywhere for that matter so I can’t. If I could, I think I would.

KP: With Ukraine coming up to its 26th anniversary of national independence, how do you feel about your homeland? Is it making progress as a nation? Or not so much?

AM: I feel as though Ukraine is at a crossroads. I watched the tense events of the EuroMaidan through live streams and news reports and cheered silently when the new government was formed — on my birthday that year. I feel like it is very much a better place than under the prior regime, even with the conflicts in the east and in Crimea. I think time is on the side of Ukraine. I have faith in the young people — the ones growing up in an independent Ukraine. As the generation that protested in the square grows to fill the chairs in the government, we will start to see real and lasting change. The biggest threat is international apathy,

KP: What would it take for you to return?

AM: I was very close to Ukraine this summer in Romania, about an hour’s drive from Chernyvtsi. The people I was with were worried about border control though, since my passport says I was born in Ukraine and they had heard about people being detained at the border as possible terrorists or spies. I would like the war in the east to end, but perhaps if I can find somewhere to study over a summer, I can return sooner.

KP: What do you wish for your country?

AM: For Ukraine I wish for peace, for stability and for an international community that wants to see Ukraine thrive. For America I wish for an open-minded government that does not turn its back on the world.

KP: Do you think that wish will come true?

AM: Eventually, yes, in both cases. For Ukraine, I think the doubts will be proven wrong, and every country will realise an independent, healthy Ukraine is beneficial to it’s international community. For America as well, I think the backlash of the people against the current government will propel new, different voices to power.

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