By HROMADSKE media
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
HROMADSKE launches a pan-Ukraine flashmob #writealetter [#напишилиста].
Famous Ukrainians wrote letters to illegally held Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko as part of the filming of a new documentary project by Hromadske.
Among the people who joined the film project are film director Akhtym Seitablaev, actor Rimma Zyubina, writer Andrey Kurkov, singer Sasha Koltsova and theatrical director Galina Dzikaeva.
In their letters, the authors expressed their support for, and admiration of, the Ukrainian political prisoners’ willpower.
“Good day, Oleg. Maybe you don’t remember me, but I remember you. We met at the Odesa Film Festival in 2013. You were bringing your film “Gamer” and I was with my film “Backstreet Champions.” And we met there, like two men, like two directors from Crimea. And I just want to thank you for being. For the fact that you are a true example of a man who is not afraid. I cannot even imagine how difficult it is for you. How hard it is there for you. I just want you to know – I personally remember you. And I believe that you will return to us as soon as possible. And you will again start filming, the awesome movies that you do. Take care of yourself, friend, and return home to us,” wrote Akhtym Seitablaev in his letter to Oleg.
“Labytnangi (in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug of the Tyumen oblast, Russia, location of the penal colony No. 8 “Belyi Vedmіd” [“White Bear”], in which Sentsov is being held–ed.). I’ve known this word since childhood. When I was a little girl, my parents’ best friend moved there for work, with his family. When my parents’ friends came on vacation to Uzhhorod, my mother laid the table, Dad took up the bayan [accordion], music and laughter sounded. I also believe that in my lifetime, there will be a day when you too, Oleg, will return from the mystical station of “Labytnangi” – actor Rimma Zyubina writes in her letter to Sentsov.
In his letter to Oleksandr Kolchenko, Seitablaev caught onto the hope that we will all meet in Ukrainian Crimea:
“Good day, Oleksandr. You don’t know me but I know you, because you are from Crimea and I am also from Crimea. My name is Akhtym Seitablaev, I’m a movie director. I have not been in Crimea for four years, ever since it was occupied. But I believe, and have a great hope, that we will meet there together soon.
I am proud of such men as you. Thank you for your courage, your dignity and your endurance. This may sound rather melodramatic, but it’s men like you, Oleg, that parents will hold up as an example to their sons when telling them what kind of men they should grow up to be.
I know that there are no words that would make your situation there easier. But you just know that all of us, myself included, remember you. And each of us, in our own role, are doing everything that depends on us [to do] to ensure that you return as quickly as possible. At first to Ukraine, for now unfortunately without Crimea. And later, in the near future, we will all meet in Crimea together. In Ukrainian Crimea. Sit on the beach, drink a glass of wine, eat shashlyk [skewered barbecued meat] – or just sit in silence and watch the sea. Take care, friend.”
“Nearby, a journalist and a camera operator are filming as I write a letter to you, for the video in your support. You are remembered and often talked of in the media. Everyone hopes that before the elections they will exchange you and Sentsov. Regardless of whom they choose, I hope that it happens.” –Oleksandra Koltsova
“People follow parallel paths in life, not always meeting with each other, but staying aware and up to date on each other, in a good, curious sense. That’s how I’ve been following you and your work for a long time, and I’m looking forward to the possibility of meeting you in person,” – writes Andrey Kurkov in his letter to Sentsov. “Kyiv remembers you and awaits you. Your books come out and are discussed, time passes – stolen from you and from us. But I believe that you will soon return and we will have your new books and films. I await. From Kyiv, yours, Andrey Kurkov.”
Director Galina Dzhikaeva to Oleksandr Kolchenko: “I got myself a black cat like yours. Only yours has a page in Facebook, and mine has only toys. I follow your cat on Facebook. I read his posts. Together we wait for you.”
“Dear Oleksandr. We don’t know each other personally, but for several years now, along with other citizens of Ukraine, I have been following your fate and awaiting your return home. In Kyiv, everyone is waiting for spring, sometimes it’s raining, in the morning there is mist. But the mood itself is changing for the better, although the sense of anxiety is still there. Including anxiety for your destiny also. Take care of yourself and remember that Kyiv and all of Ukraine are waiting for you to come home,”- Kurkov in his letter to Kolchenko.
“Hi, Oleg. We haven’t closely communicated before. In Crimea, it probably would’ve been unfeasible; we were very different people. Now much has changed. And when you return, I’d very much like to see you and to have a deep, meaningful conversation. We are all waiting for you: in the theater, on the set, in the Kyiv cafés, and on the embankments of our big river and our small sea. Write. We are waiting. –Galya Dzhikaeva.
All these letters have already been delivered to the addressees. You can send your support letters to Oleg and Oleksandr at the following addresses [to make sure the letters will reach them, please write in Russian only, with nothing overtly political in the content]:
Letter to Oleksandr Kolchenko:
Chelyabinsk region Kopeisk, st. Kemerovskaya 20, IK-6
Kolchenko Alexandra Aleksandrovich, 1989 b.
Челябинская обл. Копейск, ул. Кемеровская 20, ИК-6
Кольченко Александру Александровичу, 1989 г. р.
Letter to Oleg Sentsov:
Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area Okrug, Labytnangi, ul. North 33
FKU IK-8 UFSIN of Russia for YNAO
Sentsov Oleg Gennadievich, 1976 b.
Ямало-Ненецкий авт. округ, г. Лабытнанги, ул. Северная 33
ФКУ ИК-8 УФСИН России по ЯНАО
Сенцову Олегу Геннадьевичу, 1976 г. р.
This translation work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The rights pertaining to the original work remain unaffected.