‘To Shoot and Fight for My Home’

‘To Shoot and Fight for My Home’

By The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX

The war in Ukraine is not new. Ukrainians have been living through “the long war” of a threatened – and brutally real – Russian invasion for decades. We hear from 60-year-old Irina Dovgan, who refused to leave her home, with its blooming garden and many pets, when separatist fighters took over her region in 2014. She became an international symbol of the invasion after Russian-backed forces arrested, abused and publicly humiliated her. Now, Dovgan is living through a second invasion.  

Reporting from Ukraine, Coda Story’s Glenn Kates explains what it’s been like to live in Kyiv as Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to invade. While many Ukrainians speak Russian and have deep ties to the country, Kates talks to Kyiv residents about how Putin’s threats of invasion and violence have shifted their sense of identity. As the invasion approaches, each person has to weigh the nearly impossible question of what they will do to survive.  

To understand what it’s like to be a journalist in Ukraine and Russia right now, host Ike Sriskandarajah speaks with propaganda expert Peter Pomerantsev. Born in Ukraine and now a fellow at Johns Hopkins University and contributing editor at Coda Story, Pomerantsev describes how challenging Putin’s official version of events can land journalists in prison. Under a new law, even calling the invasion an “invasion” could lead to a 15-year prison sentence. 

Finally, Reveal’s Elizabeth Shogren takes listeners back to a time when Russia was charting a different course. In 1989, Shogren was a Moscow-based reporter covering the Soviet Union’s first freely elected legislature. She talks with Russian reporter Sergey Parkhomenko about how, since Putin’s election in 2000, the Russian president has consolidated power by systematically squashing dissent inside the country. This month, Parkhomenko’s radio show and the whole independent Echo of Moscow network was taken off the air. The Kremlin’s harsh new censorship law, punishable by 15 years in prison, makes it illegal to call the war in Ukraine a “war.” 

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