WAR DIARY
Maksym Pavlenko
Founder of Papa Power skateboarding
34 y.o., Kyiv
Where and how did the first day of the war befall you?

The war found me at home. On February 23, I went to the VDNG (local skatepark in Kyiv). I rode to the maximum as if I knew that the next time would not be soon. Basically, I was ready for it (for the war). When the pandemic started, I began listening to the podcasts of various analysts, and many of them said that war was imminent and that the Covid just postponed it.

A few weeks before, we went to Kharkiv for the organized competitions, and even then many parents did not let their children go because they were afraid of war. 
After returning from the competition, I sat down to develop new designs of boards and merch, went to a sewing manufacturer, and paid a deposit for the fabric.

The whole week before the war I slept badly. I used to listen to some podcasts about astrophysics. My sleep was not a real one. I woke up at 5 am on February 24th to go to the toilet. I went into the corridor having headphones in my ears, and suddenly my neighbor opened the door too. The first thing I thought was, that she also wanted to go to the bathroom. Well, I thought, she should go first. But then I pulled out my headphones and heard her shouting: “How can you sleep now! It’s the war!". I heard explosions everywhere. I went online - and since then I still have a news marathon. But I was not going to run away.
One month of war has passed. How have your thoughts and mood changed during this period?

During the period of active fighting, nothing has changed in my head. As I mentioned before, I was well informed. If we look a little deeper, I can remember all the periods since I started skating. In 2002 there were skinheads. They were raised by pro-Russian politicians precisely to say that we have "neo-Nazis" here. Then there was the Orange Revolution, the aggravation of the language issue. For a while, after the Orange, the skinheads disappeared, maybe for a year and a half or two. Then, before the next Maidan, the same thing happened in the city (Kyiv). Skinheads, various paid riots, and all that rhetoric in the media. 
In short, the Maidan could be predicted six months before… and so on every time, and every time - a failure for putin.

I also knew about the attitude of Russians towards Ukrainians all my life. My aunt lives in St. Petersburg, and I've been there. Ukrainians have always been "subhuman", Small Russians, as they say. But they do not understand the meaning of this word (small Rus means the Rus from which it all began, and the Big Rus is the conquered lands). My grandmother (1917-2010) also spoke about the times of the USSR, repressions, forced relocations, wars, and famines. I personally more than once in my life had the experience of communicating with the "Great Russians", so nothing new, nothing strange.
Describe your typical day during the war period?

So, my typical day. The first two weeks were a little worse than now. We slept in a corridor, constantly watched the news, and constantly something was happening. Once in three or four days, we went to the store, several times we went to check the neighborhoods and the roof for "labels", but found nothing, and thank God.

On the fifth day, I wanted to go to the military registration office, but I got the information that there was a queue of people, who were even willing to give bribes just to go to war. So I decided to just be ready at home.
After President Zelensky said that it was necessary to work, if possible, I started selling boards. Oddly enough, people asked about boards even in the first days of the war, but I did not deliver because it was savagery for me to endanger post office workers for the skateboard.

In general, we got "used" to the war. I send boards and deliver them around Kyiv on a bicycle in person. Sometimes we go out to distract and to skate. We were on the Lebedynyi (local spot in Kyiv) several times. The atmosphere is so-so, to be honest. Riding in front of the house where the drone crashed is not very distracting. We go more to the local spot "arena". Thanks to skating, I even started to draw something, before that I couldn't, I didn't want to do anything at all.
What will you do first after our victory?

When we win, I will continue to work. Apparently, I will finish the merch, and, most likely, I will not change the graphic design to the military one. I think there will be plenty of it around, but there will still be a drop of boards with my photos on the subject of "post-apocalypse". I have not decided yet whether this drop will be the first or after the series "Robots and Empire".

Overall, I think there will be a lot of work.

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