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Reflections and fate of Ukrainian students in Belarus

The protagonists of our next report arrived in Belarus for seemingly trivial things, like peace of mind, the opportunity to learn and work. The true value of these things in all colors opens only when they disappear.

Alisa is going to the university for the first time. The college student at the University of Luhansk had not planned to change the university but in the spring of 2014 mines began to explode in the streets of her hometown.

Alisa Gavrilova:
We collected basic things (documents, money) and just went away, just went somewhere.   

Last year, the family spent "on suitcases": Russia, Ukraine, Kharkiv region, and, finally, Belarus. Alisa first went to Minsk alone. She decided to go here because some of her friends had already come here before. Within a few months, she resolved the housing problem, found a job and brought here parents.

In Luhansk, Alisa studied at the faculty of foreign languages, so in Minsk she also decided to go to a linguistic university.

Pavel Leontiev, dean of the English department of the Minsk State Linguistic University:
Alisa, we really practice the admission of students who have previously studied and lived in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, and according to the presidential decree, they can count on training as full-time students or get part-time education. If there are places available, you will receive education free of charge. Or for fee.

Alisa will have to undergo some tests to determine her level of foreign language knowledge and she will surely continue education in Belarus.

Daniil has moved to the second year of another capital's university. He is going to find a job in the summer. Now work at the bar is the most attractive option, even for modest money.

Danil Shvarev:
2-2.5 million plus tips. This is not bad. Good money for man without higher education.

Daniil's parents also owned a food establishment before the Ukraine conflict. They had to send their son, a cadet of the Faculty of Civil Security, from his native Luhansk.

Daniil was in Moscow. Having earned over the summer quite decent money he hoped to return home.

Danil Shvarev:
I planned, I bought tickets and then I found out that a bomb hit our garage.

The desire to return disappeared and he determined to get higher education. The instruments of secondary education and passing test results remained at home. However, the rector of a Minsk university understood the situation and Daniil entered the university with benefits as a resident of Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Danil Shvarev:
Yes, I pay but I pay as much as Belarusians, not more expensive as foreign students.  For the dorm, I also pay 50% less.

Daniil is a future architect.

Danil Shvarev:
In Minsk people are more versatile, bohemian, compared to the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. They are interested in music, you have venues for concerts, festivals. We didn't have that at home.

This is Roman, another student from Ukraine.

Roman Delikatnyi:
The first time I came in Minsk, I came to the station and had a feeling that I would stay here forever. In Kiev, at the train station, there's always noise and fuss... And here in Minsk, it is quiet, calm, like another world.

He arrived in Belarus after the death of his parents, to the elder sister, in search of a better life.

He found work in a construction company, he is now engaged in the erection of the Belarusian quarter in a Russian provinces. Career growth is hampered by the lack of higher education. Therefore, he enrolled the Belarusian National Technical University.

Denis is fighting for high scores not only on the mat, but also in the classroom. Almost deputy head of the executive committee of Debaltseve, he is now a student at a Belarusian university.

Denis Gorodnitsky:
BNTU pleased me with the level of teaching. The teachers try to persuade you to learn something because when you start working you will have to use your knowledge.

He graduated from the Metallurgical College at home and received a post, but instead of a comfortable office he found himself on the barricades.

Denis Gorodnitsky:
All men of the city came out to defend the city, they began to build roadblocks. We didn't have weapons and went to the streets with sticks. We, the boys, were also eager to defend the city, but all our fathers were against it. 

The family barely had time to jump out of Debaltseve wedge. 

Denis and his father Valery left in Debaltseve not only the house, but also a business. More than 100 hectares of grain. Today Valery is working in Minsk for a construction company. Denis does not see life without fighting. 

Denis, Roman, Alisa and Daniel associate their future with the second home.  

Reflections and fate of Ukrainian students in Belarus