From the Russian occupation of Eastern Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula suffered not only many individuals. Businesses, organizations, authorities and, last but not least, universities also have to move in connection with the fighting. Newspaper Curie talked with some of them.
The fighting in the Ukraine are for the fourth year. While the Crimean Peninsula pretty quickly occupied the Pro-Russian troops, and he was not involved in any major war, the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine continues to be subject to fighting. To date, approximately 10 thousand people became victims of the conflict and thousands more were injured or missing.
The war greatly affected the lives of people and on the economy, health care, schools, infrastructure and most other areas. Universities and institutions also suffered.
“18 universities and 11 colleges have been forced to move within Ukraine. These include the universities of Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as well as one Crimean University,” said Anton Kolah, PR-Manager of the coordinating center moved universities — Ukrainian public organization, founded in 2015.
Assistance to displaced universities
The center coordinates communication among the various Ukrainian universities and helps them. Higher educational institutions of the country is quite highly rated at the international level, six universities included in the prestigious QS World University Rankings and eight in the ranking of the best universities emerging in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
“The center helps rectors and administrative departments moved universities to find financial resources”, — says Anton Colah.
To cope with their work, Kaluah and his colleagues communicate with universities and financial institutions of the world, including in the Czech Republic and Poland. Unfortunately, the equipment and scientific materials of the older buildings of universities in the occupied territories get almost impossible.
“Now there’s a war, so we have no choice but to cooperate with foreign investors and financial institutions. We welcome from overseas candidates of science in different fields and teachers to establish a dialogue, exchange experiences and carry out various research projects,” says Anton Colah.
Forced to flee away from the fighting
Universities from regions affected by conflict, use different strategies. Those universities that chose to remain, are forced to sit quietly or behave in a very diplomatic way, not to quarrel with any of the parties. The war of money and other resources became much less, and often have problems in such vital areas as water and electricity.
Many universities have nevertheless decided to move to a new place, fleeing in localities closer to the centre of Ukraine, at a safe distance from the combat zone. One of them is the Donetsk national University named after Vasyl Stus. Initially it was located in the civil war-torn Donetsk, but three years ago moved to a building jewelry factory in the city of Vinnitsa in Central Ukraine.
“During these three years, we resumed teaching, and to some extent replaced the lost materials”, — informs Roman grynyuk, rector of Donetsk national University.
The University is markedly affected by the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Student dormitories were captured by the rebels and turned into military barracks, and the protesters students and teachers some time locked up. Nearly 10 thousand students and 500 academic employees — two-thirds students and one-third of the academic staff then left University.
“Common problems for us, moved universities, was the lack of material resources and that there is so little students, — says Roman Grinyuk, But now we have about five thousand students and a thousand staff. In Donetsk remained mostly elderly people — or succumbed to “the”Pro-Russian” ideas”.
Because of the war in the Donbass, many people in Ukraine had to take sides and swear allegiance to either the original Ukraine, or the troops of occupation and their often ethnically Russian culture, traditions and ideology. But whether the same students and teachers of the universities? That is, does this mean that those who moved to a new branch of Donetsk national University named after Vasyl Stus in the winery — mostly ethnic Ukrainians, and the remaining in Donetsk are ethnic Russians?
“No, I wouldn’t say that. Ukraine has always been multi-ethnic as new York. The country presents more than 150 nationalities. I, for example, 40% Greek,” — answers the question Ilya Chudinov, Vice rector for scientific work.
Many universities split
An important consequence of the war was that many universities of Ukraine “forked”. This is the case, in particular, Donetsk national University, which now exists in the official Ukrainian version and in an informal, supported by Russia. Similarly forked and the other universities of Donbass and Crimea, which was as a result of propaganda and a simple way to adapt to the harsh reality.
“However, the universities of Donetsk and Lugansk was only in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as well as in the Russian Federation. They are not included in any of the world ratings”, — says Anton Kolah from the focal point of the displaced schools.
The rector of Donetsk national University Roman Grinyuk confirms this picture:
“We believe that the University is remaining in the Donetsk, illegal. They can’t be there to test students, while we still called Donetsk national University”.
“University-refugee” Roman Grinyuk is also involved in various international projects, and it is recognized by European and global University associations, in contrast to the Russian version.
Universities under Russian control in the occupied territories of Ukraine now operate under the rule of the Lugansk and Donetsk republics. They no longer belong to the Ukrainian educational system.
SiGe: How is the situation with financing scientific research at your University?
Ilya Chudinov: When the University captured, the funds were frozen by the Ministry, but then we moved to Vinnitsa, and Finance re-emerged on our renewed projects.
He said, however, that the University lost part of their funds, although the Ukrainian Ministry of education and science is trying to give scientists the opportunity to continue the work. In November last year a law was passed (section 4718) for the settlement of certain issues regarding financial support and the like for displaced universities.
SiGe: I Hope that someday you will be able to return to your original place in Donetsk.
Ilya Chudinov: I hope to return, but some of my colleagues don’t want that. They’re all lost, including homes and property, and trying to start a new life in the winery.