IN CONVERSATION WITH ALAN
Our first guest is Alan, who at the age of 29 was a doctoral candidate
at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and is now the Press officer for the
Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
3 October, 2022
Illustration by Midjourney
TOZHSAMIST': What is your background?
ALAN: I was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and lived there for the first year of my life before moving to Karaganda to live with my grandmother until I was four years old.
My mother was born in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, and my father in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Both of my parents are Kazakhs.
T: How did you come to be who you are? Did you have to decide between having self-awareness as a Kazakh or a Ukrainian?
A: When I moved to Ukraine in 1997, Kazakhstan was not on the front pages of Ukrainian newspapers, so I would say that my identity formed gradually. However, as time went on, I grew accustomed to the fact that I am a person from Kazakhstan and did not experience any discomfort or inconvenience as a result. Since I joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the first day of the conflict, everyone around me asserts that I am a Ukrainian. However, I state that I am a Kazakh from Kyiv on Instagram because I think this is the best way to describe myself.
T: What childhood memory makes you smile?
A: I grin when I remember when I was little, encyclopedias were among my favourite books.
T: You told me that you were raised in Kyiv. What is your favourite place in the capital, I must ask?
A: I enjoy exploring Kyiv. Even now, I like the Arsenalna area has replaced Podil as the youth hangout of choice. I enjoy Kyiv because it is vibrant.
Self-portrait by Alan
T: Can we reveal the cards and say which division you are in?
A: Currently, I am a Press officer of the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
T: I saw your photos of the liberated Balaklia and Kupyansk just after the Armed Forces launched their counteroffensive. How risky is the work of a press officer?
A: In fact, we don't have the riskiest tasks: we record occurrences and create media plans for the relevant areas. Both Ukrainian and foreign. Once we have made sure the working environment is secure, journalists will be able to perform their duties.
T: You told me that you studied at a music school, then you played music. How important is music in your life?
A: Like many other things I do, music helped me find who I am. I like to develop and spread this sense of self-discovery with others as I continue to learn more about myself. I admire how contemporary Ukrainian music is becoming more inventive than it once was. It safeguards our identity better than anything else. Every time we hear it, the music serves as a constant reminder of the greatness of Ukrainian culture.
T: We all have aspirations. Your dreams after February 24th: did they change?
A: My dream hasn't changed at all, no. I enjoy doing science, therefore I'll keep doing it after the victory.
T: Which Ukrainian city have you yet to visit but really desire to?
A: I've been to Zakarpatska Oblast before, but it's one of the centres of Ukrainian authenticity, so I'd like to go back soon.
T: What do you imagine Ukraine will look like after the victory?
A: After the victory, I see Ukraine as a powerful, prosperous nation that has demonstrated that no other army in the world can withstand the independent spirit of the Ukrainian people.
Illustration by Midjourney
By Alice Zhuravel