Reportage / 11 April 2022

Letters to Mathilde

Focus: Ukraine

Support independent scene performing artists staying in Ukraine during the time of war:

Le 25 févr. 2022 à 21:50, Viktor Ruban (Ruban Production ITP) <> a écrit :

Dear Mathilde

Thank you enormously. It’s very important to feel your support. I am in Kyiv. Hard to express insanity of what is happening. 

Both days I am writing updates about the situation with different requests for support with manifestations. 

The way and tempo EU and NATO is processing the situation, political games behind the scenes costed us so many lives and damage that it’s hard to mesure so far.

Today is critical day. We managed to fight back and hold the most of the positions today in 15 or 16 regions of Ukraine (yesterday it was in 9). But Russia at this exact moment approached Kyiv from three directions waiting for the Russian air forces and rockets to help them. For Russia tonight is the critical chance to hit. We hold. 

Of course we are not delusional to think it’s the last day of this crazy war - but finally we have more of a help not only sanctions. I don’t know if that’s demonstrations helped or petitions that we were calling for I don’t know what exactly but it worked and it gives hope. We were heard.

It’s crazy experience, emotions are more intense than on the roller-coaster. Reality feels surreal. 

We are aware that this war from Putin is a just one more genocide mission against Ukrainians. He expressed that in his statement before the first bombing yesterday morning - calling it special operation for denazification (that has nothing to do with our reality).

Also our intelligence got the document with the list of intellectuals, public figures and politics to be killed first. Sounds like a science fiction but it’s a document. All people that don’t have pro-Russian position are in danger of mass extinction.

Please don’t let this genocide happen if it will be happening. Stay with us - we need all Europe to be with us in this crazy historical moment.

If you want to track situation almost in real-time - live news in English with most of updates is here:

Tonight I don’t know how things will go, we expect more massive bombing to make people panic. We don’t and we won’t but we need to survive it.

I will write you more updates in the morning 

Thank you again for your support - it’s very precious!! 

I hope to see you soon after it all ends in Montpellier, Paris or peaceful Kyiv to hug, to drink some delicious herbal tea and tell you about this crazy but incredible experience, to ask about your inspirations, make interview with you for my ph.d. (I didn’t have a chance to write you yet about it but it’s on my list) and many other but only nice things.

Big warm hug and lots of love from Kyiv



Le 27 févr. 2022 à 13:45, Viktor Ruban (Ruban Production ITP) <> a écrit :

Dear Mathilde

I am 24/7 in communication, situation is still critical. So if I didn’t respond is only because I didn’t managed to see the message yet. The fastest way to communicate is telegram it has safest security protocols so we communicate in there (you may find me there via my phone number +380xxxxxxxxx or profile tag @ViktorR83)

Definitely if I can voice out - please share my words or make me in touch!!!

We had a massive bombing tonight some of them are causing now techno-ecological catastrophe - oil depot was bombed and now will be burning for at least two days.

Yesterday one rocket almost got into “Kyiv-sea water dam” - this could flush away massive part of the left bank of Kyiv with over a million of peaceful inhabitants, go further flushing other cities on Dnipro to the South. The hit wave of water could reach and even cause explosion of Zaporizka Nuclear Station. 

We managed to shoot down this rocket but they keep on bombing us in idiotic way.

We hold the ground but the air space NATO - still doesn’t dare to close the sky over Ukraine.

We started the petition about that -

Don’t hesitate to use hashtags  #tribunaltoputin #tribunaltokremlin #SendNatoToUkraine #preventtheworldwar #CloseTheSky #Russiaisoccupant

We hold on, we will keep on and we need you all to be with us but any lost minute is crucial.

Me, my family and friends are alive. I am in Kyiv, my family to. We hold on and we will.

Lots of love from Kyiv 



Le 27 févr. 2022 à 17:18, Viktor Ruban (Ruban Production ITP) <> a écrit :

Thank you, Mathilde

Family at this moment is in bomb-sheter. I bunkered myself in apartment with all necessary. Shelter is too far to get there. To stay bunkered in apartment and defend from there is a bit safer. 

Please don’t take personally, but it’s very important Kiev is a Russian spelling, in Ukrainian it is Kyiv. It’s a nuance but very sensitive, one - especially in our situation. 

Update: Putin today made a note for activating a special regime for the intercontinental weapons - we expect a Nuclear weapon threats. Insanity 

Thank you for your help and staying in touch - it means a world.

Big warm hug and much love from Kyiv 



Le 1 mars 2022 à 18:15, Viktor Ruban (Ruban Production ITP) <> a écrit:

Dear Mathilde

Sorry for silence yesterday. The day was incredibly tough emotionally cause Russia feeling reckless started massive bombing of houses directly with rockets and artillery even during the peace-negotiations with Russia that took place yesterday on territory of Belarus. My friends in different cities were in reachable distance but were lucky enough to survive. Several hospitals were bombed directly even if it is forbidden by the martial law. They survived because were in bombshells. In those hospitals were pregnant women and kids. Russian military forces were using fake evacuation to use civilians as a live-shields to enter Kyiv and strategic points in other cities. 

One of my colleagues from Lviv incredible actress got locked in basement with her family in Gostomel (30 km from Kyiv). This city has airfield and since the first day is one of the epicenters of fights as a strategic point. Yesterday Russian troops destroyed power grid and Anastasia with parents don’t have electricity anymore - yesterday she had battery so we know they are alive but today yet no news. It’s nerve racking. 

Russian troops are blocking the ways in different parts of Ukraine not letting even humanitarian aid to get to occupied spots providing food and first aid to civilians. 

I won’t tell all the crazy mess that took place yesterday and today because situation is getting even more critical. 

Belarus military forces joined Russia in this bloody campaign now officially. But more horrifying is the fact that Putin before yesterday made official command to “activate the deterrent forces to an intensified regime of alternation” preparing to the move of Nuclear weapon hit threat.

So that’s not a joke or delusion but potentiality because Russia together with Belarus are failing this campaign completely and Red Button is the maximum stake they could use in blackmailing EU, USA and other countries that manifest solidarity with Ukraine, it’s sovereignty and will for freedom. 

So I sincerely don’t know how will it go and I don’t know until when I will be able to write. I want to address two most important things.

First would be explaining historical context of this bloody campaign. I did it in comments to the article of Mitia Fedotenko, but find very important to know for understanding what is really happening in Ukraine regarding the main construct of Russian propaganda that is a root of that war. 

Ukraine was colonized by Moscovie Tsarat (that further became Russian Empire etc.) partly or on full territory since 17th century till 1917, and then since 1921 till 1991 in form of USSR where Ukrainians and Ukrainian culture had few waves of genocide and repressions in different forms. Since 1991 Ukraine was still quite moderated economically and culturally, indeed militarily in different ways. Ukraine is enormously different with Russia in traditions, habits, folklore, beliefs etc. We have huge gap historically, mentally, culturally etc. Waves of genocide, Soviet propaganda and mixing nations was a plan for Moscow to blend this gap by “homo soveticus”. 

As I wrote in first letter Putin named in his statement before bombing in the morning day before yesterday “special (terroristic) operation for denazification and getting down current oppressive regime threatening Russian safety” (which is evident absurd). 

Translating Putin’s statement they started a war against not only Sovereignty of Ukraine as a country (it started earlier with Crimea annexed in 2014) but now anyone with a pro Ukrainian position and Ukrainian mentality in Putin’s world is a threat and should be under repression or extinction which is a genocide again. A military crime and crime against humanity finally evident to the whole world - for Ukrainian people became evident already in 2014. 

The root of this call for extinction is because the whole Russia identity is a case of enormous act of culture appropriation. Even the name Russia is referring to Kyiv Rus (there was never Moscow Rus, and Kyiv was never capital of Russian Empire or Russia (and never will be - we don’t need it). Historically Russian Empire became Empire starting with occupation of Ukraine. Ukraine was a second name of the main part of Kyiv Rus appears already in chronicles of 11-12th century but not in the beginning of the 20th century as Russian propaganda says. What I try to say is that since it’s origin Russian Empire is vitally relying on dependence relationship succumbing from Ukraine. And as much we move towards independence and sovereignty that much this movement endangers the succumbing Russia. Russia without Ukraine will be just a big territory country with natural resources. But NEVER Empire.

That’s why the waves of genocide took place right after the attempt of the independent state of Ukraine 1917-1921, massive extinction of Ukrainian intellectuals in late 1930th together with Holodomor. We already had that enough from Russia. That’s why people go under tanks today without any weapons. We do remember what will be right after if we give up. How much more of us will be simply destroyed caused by the Imperialistic mindset of Russian people. Exactly that mindset is a base for propaganda and brain washing that justifies doing terror and actions in what is happening right now in Ukraine.

The second point is crucial and is mostly addressed to Russian people and I hope you can address that at least second point - as wide as possible to cultural institutions and networks in Russia because otherwise situation can cost millions of lives in Russia. 

Countries that hold Nuclear weapon since Caribbean crisis exist under the rule of common destruction which means a convention that if any country uses nuclear weapon that country receives equivalent nuclear hit. People in Russia don’t believe that Putin can use red button, but neither they do believe that we have in Ukraine massive bombing of civilians which is evident to the whole world. As I am writing to you we got the ballistic rocket hit into the TV tower in historical part of Kyiv. 4 people killed. We are warned that it is possible that telephone communication and internet can get attacked and put down. So if I won’t appear online tomorrow it doesn’t necessarily mean I didn’t survive. I can just be offline while we deal with the situation. I hope. 

For the people in/from Russia: 

Today you experience feel of shame, compassion, horror or pride. You also may feel disturbed already about the sanctions, realizing the fact that Russian money and economy is almost destroyed. We understand that it is scary to live in Russia, to protest, to stand up, to demand. It’s scary to be beaten, to be taken to jail etc. But I am sure you don’t want to know and experience the sound of the rocket in flying knowing that those are the last minutes of your life or the life of your beloved. If you stay silent today - tomorrow may never come. 

You have your audiences. You are linked with people in power. You have a huge range of means to push the situation - each!!! 

Today your silence is not just a crime complice but a death sentence to your own people (or a nuclear Russian roulette). 

Do something but do it sharp - each minute is crucial!

It all may sound exaggerated and I hope it is so. I don’t want to try the chances.

I am in Kyiv with my family.

We are alive .

We hold on.

Stay with us, we need you.

Thank you for holding together.

Lots of love and big warm hug,



5/03/2022, 22:41

Dear Mathilde

It’s been insane four days of terror. Instant bombings and artillery all over Ukraine on residential areas, communication centers and hospitals. They are using avia bombs that are breaking down whole segments of buildings.

This damage is hard to survive even in bombshellter so basically survival is a matter of chance now. That’s why we all call so much to NATO to close the sky over Ukraine to save more lives.

More terror brings more challenges and things to do. A lot of communication coordination and other things. Everyone of us here is doing anything he or she can to help in the situation and people in need.

From volunteering to work with social media spreading most important, dealing with disinformation and sending messages to the people doing military work from Belarus. Hackers managed to get their personal data so many volunteers around are writing messages to inform them about the real loss of Russian army and to help them understand that we want them to stay alive and to stay home resigning from military crimes of Putin. “To do” list is endless and everything is urgent but we manage when we do it together. Self organization and solidarity is enormously inspiring as from the outside world the same here in Ukraine everywhere.

Regarding danger and decision to stay - it was evident the first day. My parents were crystal clear about staying. For me it was evident to stay as well. How can I leave my friends, my colleagues, my space, my work, the places I love, when I still can do something to protect it. I can’t imagine how to be living these days somewhere just observing from the outside. If you knew that any moment France as a state could disappear from the world-map together with your family and friends, I am sure you would do everything possible to do not let it happen. It’s quite frightening to stay but it would of been horrible to leave.

I am grateful for your help but I hope there will be a time to come to visit you, to come to work on new dance-piece or bringing some recent works or just having a chance to meet again. Sincerely I would be happy (it’s been 9 years already since the last time we met), but definitely after we stop this madness.

So strange to say but with the people you love and feel connected, those who are not right next to you, same with everyone who wrote asking “how are you”, at this moment even a real hug with each - feels like a real luxury.

Sending you huge virtual hug

We hold on.

Please keep on holding with us.

Lots of love from Kyiv,



7/03/2022, 13:46

Dear, Mathilde

We are alive. To balance the messages from before just wanted to share with you the humor of people here. I don’t know if true or false but absolutely possible as news from the twitter (we have plenty of super funny real real stories already) :

“In Kyiv a woman knocked down a Russian drone from a balcony with a jar of cucumbers. How did they expect to occupy this country?”

A lot of humor help us as always. We cry, we laugh, we hold, we are alive.

Big warm hug from Kyiv,



9/03/2022, 22:21

Dear Mathilde

We are alive. Was silent cause with family we couldn’t get in touch with my brother and his family. Thanks god they are ok.

It’s already 14th day and each day brings more and more of horrible news from different places of Ukraine.  Russia blocks several cities not letting humanitarian corridors to evacuate people or to bring food. Today in Mariupol city, that has 400 thousand inhabitants, because of Russian blockade from hunger and dehydration today died 1300+ people in one single day. It’s a third negotiations with Russia agreed to give corridors each time Russia starts bombing in the moment of corridor. People in city are collecting rain water to survive. European officials are still trying to appeal to Russian diplomacy. Whatever.

I feel anger I feel almost hate towards the naivety of current political establishment especially UN and NATO. One of the news that hopefully won’t happen but is direct threat to the rest of the Europe. Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant today became out of operational electricity which means that all equipment for cooling the restarts of nuclear fuel doesn’t work and it cannot be properly cooled which is heating the whole system and could cause if not explosion than least a nuclear cloud burst from Chernobyl to the atmosphere. It’s intentionally produced ecocide but talks and procedures are never-ending. Sincerely we pray we fight we do whatever possible but our resources are limited and Russia does everything forbidden just to blackmail and terrorize.

Until Europe and each European citizen will understand that Russia is a threat to the whole world, not only to Ukraine, until EU governments will realise that diplomacy won’t work with the bandits and this Russian dictatorship regime - new threats will come and come and come. Faster we stop this monster less will be the loss.

I would love to say something hopeful but I don’t have words for that. Sorry if it sounds bitter. Images, videos, words, evidences of crimes, stories of real people make politics cry or show their sympathy but don’t make them be more brave in actions and decisions. Providing help is very important, we feel that and appreciate that but slapping back Russia harder could make situation go with less damage. Don’t get me wrong I don’t call any country for getting into the war but rather act in more radical manner.

Culture is definitely could be weapon but rather the mean, medium to reach people, their hearts and minds. Politics today hear only their electorate, only their votes. That’s why we need more and more people on the streets joining our calls from Ukraine to make your politics move faster.

Regarding artists in Ukraine - yes we are pretty well connected and coordinate, performing artists, visual artists, digital artists, musicians, actors, dancers etc.. Mostly we connect through telegram and facebook.

What we do already - we spread information for residencies and support in EU to those who need to leave. We coordinate activities for all possible activities from volunteering to use each one artistic media to help making things and spread real information through their artistic networks. As well, we have massive initiative with demanding to ban Russian artists and culture institutions from artistic and cultural activities worldwide for their responsibility of staying silent supporting their authoritarian regime and for promoting Russian propagandistic perverted information even today.

Recently we realised that situation is getting more and more critical. People that went abroad receive some support but those who stay in Ukraine are relying only on their own savings that are vaporising super fast. In most part of the territory we have food, we can buy it, we also donate to different initiatives were it is crucial around us to fix urgent situations but we’ll lack our private resources very soon. For that our NGO «Impulse Transformation Platform» and Ruban Production ITP - decided to open separate account for gathering funds to «Support Ukrainian dance artists in time of war» which could provide 300 Eur help to each Ukrainian artist staying in Ukraine upon their request. We are preparing landing page specifically to publish by country support that we received and to publish on it names of artists that got support together with simple application to get support. Our colleagues from visual art are doing one more project of that kind. We do it separately - so we’ll be able to verify each applicant and redirect funds wisely.

There are some initiatives in different countries that make evenings with screenings or concerts or special event for gathering funds for humanitarian aid and our volunteers or needs of different communities. If you have any ideas of screening and giving us possibility to make a bridge and speak in real time from here to say about situation - please tell me I can prepare list of works from theatre field or dance or movies that could be screened and contact list with people from here who can connect online to answer questions, tell some words and to thank you for your support.

To end on a positive note I want to tell you that even if we feel reckless sometimes about politics at the same time we do feel that enormous amount of solidarity, support, help, encouragement, love and I am lacking words to tell. It’s so incredible. It’s so important. It’s giving so much strength you can not imagine!!! I receive everyday at least hundred of messages from all over the world with the words of care and love. Everybody is asking how to help and express their support. Even people that I don’t know. They write "please hold on and take care we are with you». It’s very strong experience and sincerely it means a world.

Thank you for reaching out and supporting

Much love and big hug from Kyiv



15.3.2022 р. о 12:51

Dear Mathilde

Thank you for reaching out. Days were very intense with war activities that doesn’t help to move fast.

Even though with team we prepared all necessary for this idea to be functional for donations but as well obtaining support (including administrative level). We did simple web-site platforme ( ). It will be altering each day according to the received and redistributed funds to the artists in need.

Most of necessary information is published there already and we are finalising translations for the documents and agreements for the maximum transparence. It’s very basic just for the informing. We did it in urgency so if you see anything is missing or could be enhanced, please tell me about it - I would be only grateful.

Also we managed to collect a list of more than 100 dance and theatre pieces made by the local creators of actual scene. They shared their works voluntary for the screening events abroad. We understand that there is a huge gap of not-understanding actual culture and agenda in France. Indeed the maturity of those works is very diverse (from really great and avant-garde to quite amateur), so it’s not ready festival program or any programmed list ready (rather collection of works). But this idea comes from our intention to start a dialogue with people and audiences in other countries and to thank you for your support with what we can share with you in such time.  If you know anyone who organises different culture events for solidarity with Ukraine and support - I can share those lists too.

P.S. One more thing off topic but still - do you think its possible to organise screening of "Green table" by Kurt Joss in France. Just for spreading awareness and not letting the history to repeat. As much as people and institutions in France are doing as much Government and part of big business in France not directly but still playing towards Putin interests. I think «Green table» can remind of a mistakes previously done and price for the diplomatic games and ignorance. What do you think?

Thank you for your support and staying connected

Will write you more actualities today

Much love and strong embraces from Kyiv



16/03/2022, 21:23

Dear Mathilde

Thank you and to everyone from the field for your efforts. I understand how many things are on your plate usually so I really admire and do appreciate the way you find a possibility to gather coordinate and discuss the options. Please send to everyone my gratitude and respect for what you do.

Regarding Olga - yes we know each other and we chatted recently with her but I didn’t know about this initiative of her. It’s for the artists who are fleeing the war but anyway more and more students and young dancers are still trying to find a place in Europe where to stay so great that she are doing it. I will add that platform on our page and spread to other places, as well definitely will send her our platform too. Thank you for sharing.

Regarding the list - for now we didn’t gather any funds and we don’t know how will be the feedback from those who can support (I mean we don’t know if there will be donations or not) that’s why we didn’t publish open call to the artists yet. So regarding the list at this point - I can make only approximate one. But anyway all payments to the artists will be going through the legal procedure so we will have document approvals for each support that we provide. We will need that for our NGO accountability anyway. And of course we will prepare report for the donor to show who exactly get support from each donation.

To explain the logic of procedure - for making this possibility as inclusive as possible for obtaining support we prepared google form ( that is on the platform webpage. Next step after filling the google form by each artist will be - verification of data provided and current location of artists who applied. Then we contact with each for receiving copy of their passport, tax code and bank details for making the direct money transfer to them from our NGO account. Like this it will be tax free and for both our NGO and for the beneficiaries.

How would be the best to do in this situation?

Now I am preparing the letter for our partners and colleagues in other countries with call for support and with proposal to organise screening events for solidarity with Ukraine in their cities. And tomorrow will do the same publication on our social medias.

Today was a day with many great and tough news. One of great news was that we finally received guarantee that we'll get air defence systems. Hopefully they will arrive the soonest. 

Today one of the bombes was drop onto the people trying to get bread in Chernigiv, two blocks away from the place were is mother of my closest friend. Ten people were killed in a blink of an eye in the middle of the city. Friend's mother was out of the damage reach so she is ok.

In Mariupol city that is in blockade since the first day of the war (21 day already) hundreds of people were hiding in the Municipal drama theater. Today during the day massive bomb was dropped on this theatre and that’s what left from it. Until now we don’t know if anyone survived.

That’s the price for taking time with procedures, diplomatic games and hesitation. But we feel happy to get those systems even late - cause it will help us to save more lives further. 

Each time I am writing you letter, I read it and feel like it is probably surreal to read these lines. And each next time I write it gets more and more surreal. I hope we will end this mad situations and will win soon.

Thank you for your help and involvement!!! I do see and acknowledge how much you do!

Lots of love and big hug from Kyiv,



Le 24 mars 2022 à 22:59, Viktor <> a écrit :

Dear Mathilde

I am in Kyiv. Hard to say safe but in another place that is closer to the centre of Kyiv, in my apartment that is next to my studio. This area is more safe than previous place of stay but escalation continues each day.

These days we were releasing. My friend theater maker Andriy May was escaping Kherson with his mother that needs special medication treatment and with his little son. He safely arrived to Cologne yesterday. It was nerve-racking because there is no green corridor from Kherson that is currently occupied and he escaped really miraculously. Yesterday when he arrived to Cologne director of his theater Oleksandr Knyga was taken as a hostage by Russian military occupants convoyed right from the theater. Only public wave from Ukraine and from other countries helped to release him already today. It’s insane. We are happy that we managed to evacuate Andriy.

Mom of my closest friend as well safely escaped from Chernigiv (arrived the day before yesterday - just day before the last bridge to Chernigiv was destroyed). Yesterday and today heavy bombings in Chernigiv almost destroyed the whole Bobrovitsa miciro-region 15 minutes away by walk from their house. We feel happy that we managed to bring her to Kyiv.

Emotionally and mentally it’s quite hard to hold but when I think of people of Mariupol, Chernigiv, Kharkiv and Sumy I evidently have really nothing to complain for. Chernigiv and Mariupol doesn’t have neither electricity, nor heating and even drinkable water for the last 2-3 weeks (and last week we had still -7-10˚C). 

I have enough food and water, I am staying in warm place. Bombings, explosions, artillery and city fights are distant (only yesterday it was a shooting one block away from my apartment but that’s not often) so I am happy that I have possibility to do whatever I can do from quite safe conditions.

Thank you for putting in connection with Montpellier dance, they did really great sharp and pointed e-mail. We are in touch with Maïwen and I will definitely make a video for the event. Thank you for making it happen.

With help of Charleroi dance we already sent support to 7 people - that was great a great support to them. In general we already sent support to 8 people. And we have almost enough money for one more person. But we have to fundraise probably more actively cause we have already 112 requests. 

I feel really happy with each support sent cause I do know how hard everyone fights in every place in Ukraine in quite dangerous areas. 

We are in touch with Valerie and I am very grateful for her support. By actions, by words, by checking out asking how am I - it is very encouraging.

During these days with artists from visual art, with culture policy makers and many other people (we are around 2087 people in this working group in total) we work already for two weeks on combating quite strange trends happening in all over the places especially in Germany and France. 

One of the trends is about "setting up the spaces for the dialogue" between Ukrainans and Russians which from our perspective is quite equal to setting up the platform for dialogue between Germans and Jews during the WW2. No difference. We really track what’s happening in social medias, discussions reactions on the basic level including level of culture actors - most people in Russia massively support the actions of their military forces or at least stay neutral to it. Percent share of the people that understand their responsibility for the situation is so tiny that it is almost non-representative. This separation of "Putin is responsible for the situation but Russians not" has nothing to do with reality, it’s not true. This misconception is very dangerous (I will unfold it more in explaining the third trend).

Second trend is mixing refugee opportunities for Ukrainians together with Russians and Belorussians - which is quite strange choice. Don’t get me wrong. For this and following trends I am generalizing and what I write regarding refugees from Russia should be taken properly. There are exceptions and each individual should be perceived in individual way. What I write is not to feed hate and xenophobia but to be aware of socio-cultural processes as a consequence of a general trends that on bigger scale will definitely bring bigger issues. In Russia situation safety-wise is not any different since 2014, nobody bombes there, no country attacks Russia - so why even refugee status for all. In Belarus situation was critical even before since last elections, not much have changed lately. And all this trend putting together Ukrainians, Russians and Belorussians is very dangerous because it’s a core message for "trinity of nations» or «common roots» Russian propaganda construct. Even more that’s the core value for Russians bombing Ukraine to «deliberate» us (from life) bringing us back to common roots. That construct is completely fake and blurs intentionally the edges of our differences. So this mixing is not only an insult to each of our nations but helps Russia to hide their cultural appropriation from our history and culture and promotes the narratives that produces confusion in your understanding of actual situation.

Third trend is using victimisation of Russians especially labelling representatives of actual culture, arts and intellectuals as dissidents or artistic-refugees. Linked with this trend is misconception of separation Russian culture from Russia (terroristic) state actions today. I will say briefly what is problematic with this trend. There is a common misconception that war in Ukraine started 24/02/2022 when the reality is that it stared in February 2014 with Annexation of Crimea and beginning of terror in Donetsk and Luhansk region. Most of Russian artists, culture workers and intellectuals were not only silent about the reality but signing up support letters for annexation as well doing artistic project on territory of Crimea. Now many artists are getting aware that Russia is becoming very soon one huge North Korea so for them the safest would be to escape saying whatever would work for having a chance to get any opportunities. But the core problem of Russian contemporary art and contemporary culture is imitation - which comes organically from the soviet way of constructing the culture process as nadstroika (structure on the top) to the actual ideology of Communist party. In this we went into completely different directions with Russia since 90th because our information space and culture field was not directly shaped by Russia but partly that helped us (Ukrainians) in developing protecting mechanisms from simulated fake constructed reality. Not everyone but at least significant part of Ukrainians.That’s why propaganda and brainwashing in Russia works really well. In Russia the greatest things in arts were happening in early 90th but since the beginning of 2000 the situation was greatly moderated and financial resources were distributed through the key players that were often in cooperation with FSB. I won’t be saying names but the example could be one of Russian biggest festivals of contemporary dance. Topics were chosen, activities and stakeholders were very much put from above. I know that personally cause before 2014 I was working mostly in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus and had lot’s of friends and colleagues there so I know situation pretty much from the inside. Imitation and living in double reality is a modus operandi that is an only way to survive for people living in such conditions.  If you live in constantly changing constructed reality - you learn how to adapt and to imitate environment first because it’s the only way to survive. It’s not even living double or triple lives but always have a necessity to readjust and alter and personage and scenario.

Those people wherever they go bring this modus with them (f.e. Brighton beach in USA, replica of life in Russia in 90th). If you learn only way to survive would be faking you feel safe only within fake situations and with people that are living the same way. Double reality modus is quite toxic for the environments that rely on organic development of social and cultural processes (like France for example). If you as a French society try to integrate people to develop real things, to build real connections or work for real mesurable results with people that are taking not fake reality as a threat to their existence you will be indulging and integrating people that will be building double/triple layered reality (where everything what you see on surface is never the truth)that will be well hidden from you but more real for the person that feels more alive and free in those hidden layers.

More unfolded information in relation to that topic was written by my friend-colleague Volodymyr Shejko, who is the head of Ukrainian Institute in his article explaining more levels to it -

We started campaign on cancel Russian culture as a way not only to call for justice but indeed to protect other countries from potential further problems in their countries. As much sanctions will hit Russia, as more people will try to escape to Europe "for better life" (so you all better be prepared cause now they coming is only the beginning).

We don’t know how to address this situations to more cultural institutions. At the moment we are mostly tracking different initiatives and send our petition signed by numerous institutions in Ukraine and abroad. 

But if you can tell me whom would be better to address this issue not as a demand but rather as explanation - I would be very very grateful for that.

Sorry for such a long read but I hope it brought some new information about our situation.

Thank you for inviting I missed Montpellier so much you can't imagine. I am already looking forward to come to visit right after this war. 

Thank you for finding time, for staying connected and helping despite your schedule.

Lot’s of love from Kyiv,



1/ 04/ 2022, 00:12

Dear Mathilde 

True stress is hard to put in words but what I experience in major part of Kyiv is quite manageable if to compare with even suburbs of Kyiv. With Mariupol, Cherngiv and Kharkiv is impossible to compare even Syrian Aleppo. We get around 50 rockets in one day (+ bombings) just to compare in Syria only 90 rockets were used overall in 5 years. But anyway I don’t complain. Sincerely. We are alive and we can keep on. That’s already something.

Thank you for sharing articles. We more and more experience that amount of gaps and gray zones for the rest of the Europe about Ukraine is much of a gaps than clear parts. It’s quite predictable and natural (why it is so it’s a good topic to think about all together but a bit later in more peaceful times) but this materials can help to be more understood by the rest to be on the same page with the rest of the world. So thank you for spreading further.

Regarding the fundraising things slowly start to move we fundraised already 4000+€ (so far from France we received 300€). But some transfers are on their way including donation from Montpellier dance. 

Each day we alter statistics here:

And as well we are mentioning overall by each country.

We provided already help to 14 people already but amount of requests is still much much bigger. Those who received are writing that it’s really crucial help for them and express how grateful they are to support they received. It makes me happy.

I’m in touch with Maïwenn and admire the way Montpellier dance is promoting call for support (super grateful for it). Regarding the video it’s Thomas from Chaillot I am in contact with. He is checking « time and format frames » better for the event. As soon as he will give them to me I will prepare for the video. Might need some help with checking text for it (my French should be very accurate I suppose) and will do recording in my Studio.

Thank you for helping to organize it and for your words of support 

I hope your touring schedule gives you time to recover too.

Even here under artillery and in between air alerts we always remind ourselves about drinking water and rest cause we need to be sustainable even in this situation.

My body feels really missing somatic work so yesterday I gave a free somatic class to some of my colleagues from National Dovzhenko center (where my Studio is located). I proposed to do it to reactivate recovery mechanisms of our bodies.

We cried a bit, we laughed a bit and we enjoyed it a lot. So we will do next session on Sunday.

And I feel like next week try to go to the subway / bombshelter and give some free somatic work to people staying there. So far it’s only idea but I feel like up to try it. Curious how people will respond to it, and sure it will be very helpful for them.

Those are the news.

We hold on.

Big warm hug and lots of love from Kyiv,



Viktor Ruban

Viktor Ruban is a performer, dancer, choreographer-researcher, educator and coach. Working on a project basis in Ukraine and abroad. Director general of Ruban Production ITP Ltd., program director and co-founder of “Impulse of Transformation” independent international dance platform, program and artistic director of venue #KyivDanceResidency – platform for international studies in somatic, dance and performative practices, movement-based art and research.