From PR manager to volunteer, info war soldier, refugee
Anastasiya Volokita
On February 18 I had just finished the drawing up of the PR strategy of the upcoming festival season of the company Vulichna Izha (Street Food). We were planning to hold a total of six festivals between April and October. It had to be big, expensive, with lots of lights, and technology on the stages.

My second project Comic Con Ukraine, the festival for geek and pop culture in Ukraine, was in the stage of final strategic meetings before the launch of a PR company.

My third client – the holiday residence Osocor Residence were preparing to invite guests to the opening of the spring season in the flower garden – the location was ornamented with living flowers, the actors were working on their performance. The spring season was planned with six concerts of top Ukrainian and European artists.

Nobody believed that war could start in the year 2022.

On the TV channels they were talking about how many different weapons America had sent to Ukraine. But I thought to myself – do they really talk about the exact amount and capacity of the ammunition. It’s all a manipulation. There will be no war. All in all, they will reach an agreement.

Already three months earlier, I decided that I want to celebrate my 34th birthday in Berlin and bought tickets.

On February 22 I flew to Berlin.

On February 24 I woke up in the Hollywood hotel and read a message which made my stomach writhe: “Are you sleeping?) don’t know anything yet? lucky. A war began here!”

And then, all of the psychological states inherent only to the times of war took over.

I tried to act according to the slogan of crisis management: “This is not a problem, this is a task and you have to find a way to solve it.”

As a volunteer already from the days of the Revolution of Dignity (2014), I got together with everyone I knew in Berlin and went to look for information from the German volunteers. In Berlin, the union Vitche was organized the fastest. During the first week of the war we collected contacts of people who wanted to help and were ready to host people in their homes, we raised humanitarian aid, met Ukrainians, and closely studied all of the rules in Germany and how they were changing.

I solved the most important issue for Ukrainians which were left behind the borders: I sent a message to all telecommunication operators with the request to allow a sufficient amount of gigabytes of free roaming. Lifecell reacted the quickest, and increased that from 1 Gb to 5 Gb. To consult, help with the resettlement and hold my hand on the pulse of the rules for registration I continue now as well.

As a soldier on the informational front, I worked as a spy: I found out all about the current events from the only adequate PR manager from Russia who I knew. I sent important information to the honest Russian media: social media groups with bodies of soldiers, videos of POWs sending messages to their parents, etc. They were sending me back information on the work of social media and in general, until they knocked on their doors… she did not answer any more questions of my questions…

As a PR manager who until the war worked with two agencies at the same time, I united the team into one. We worked on news about medicines and pharmacies. Among the important cases: the chain of pharmacies Good Day were ready to open if they could find pharmacists willing to come out and work. Thanks to our news distribution, we managed to find around 100 people.

At the same time, the music industry and the organization of collective management which takes care of royalties, and also my clients, ended all of their contracts with Russian companies and got an incredible support from out international partners in the form of more torn contracts with Russia, soon there will be an upcoming news from us on this in the media.

In three weeks, I changed 4 countries and collected information on how the system works in the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. In Poland, where my family had stopped, taking the opportunity, I helped the volunteers to systematize the work of the boarding house for refugees.

At the same time, as a person who has to formalize her temporary refugee status, I am dealing with the question of my registration and the related medical and social support. Being an absolutely independent person prior to the war, right now I am feeling very uncomfortable. But thank God, in the world there are a lot of good people. And even though, the system for the registration of refugees in Germany is not fully operations, because after all they were not prepared for this, the help of European people and volunteers is felt at every step.

There is a lot of gratitude in my heart.

I believe strongly that victory is already near, and after that we will re-build an even better Ukraine and the whole world will come to see it

I invite you as well!
Anastasiya Volokita
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