Story and Photos by Reggie Johnson Jr. | Contributing Writer and Photographer
Why does Ukraine matter?
Ukraine is the largest country in Europe. It has a population of 44.13 million individuals. It’s also home to over 130 nationalities and various ethnic groups like Bulgarians, Hungarians, Jews and Armenians. As of recently, Ukraine has been under attack by Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine stems back to 1991. This is the year Ukraine acknowledged its separation from the crumbling Soviet Union, after 70 years under the Communist regime. Three years later in 1994, Ukraine would soon develop a partnership with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Fast forward to the present day, and Putin’s reign has caused mass destruction in the country. His military has control over seven regions, within the northern, southern and eastern parts of Ukraine.
What is Ukraine’s connection with Middle Tennessee State University?
Philip Moshenskiy is a Ukrainian freshman at Middle Tennessee State University in the professional pilot program. He’s a second-generation college student, who was born and raised in Cleveland, Tennessee. Unlike Moshenskiy, his family is native to Ukraine.
“My dad and mom were both born and raised in Ukraine. During the ’80s and ’90s, my parents lived an average Soviet life. A life lower than the American standard. They lived in a poor, economically frustrated environment. My father’s dad worked in the mines to provide for their family. My mother comes from a family of 11 siblings, 12 if she includes herself. It was hard for her mother to provide food for the family and clothing. As far as my other relatives, I have three aunts and three uncles, that are currently stationed in Ukraine,” Moshenskiy shared.
“I love how Ukrainians are their own people. They have their freedom, liberty, and rights. There’s pride within my country and they support each other. There’s also pride and courage within my people. I love the willingness we have shown to fight back and stand up against a giant like Russia. I am very proud to be Ukrainian. The war has created strong people,” said Moshenskiy about the significance of his country and the world.
Moshenskiy also added that he loves the compassion and generosity the world and his peers at MTSU have shown to him. “Multiple people reached out to me after the day of the invasion in Ukraine. They asked about my thoughts, and feelings, and wanted to see if I needed support. “How am I feeling” or “how’s your family?” I honestly felt as if they do care”, said Moshenskiy.
Moshenskiy wants people to continue to support and spread awareness for Ukraine.
“Number one is for my family. I want to show them that I can get a degree despite the conflict. I also want to show other Ukrainians, who might not have the opportunity as I do in the United States. I can use this opportunity and become a professional pilot, while they protect the homeland against a dictator,” said Moshenskiy.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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