The Adelaide Show Podcast putting South Australian passion on centre stage

356 – Lest We Forget Ukraine

356 - Lest We Forget Ukraine

How do we revive interest in the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

Our media outlets have amnesia when it comes to stories that “drag on” for longer than a few days and the Russian invasion of Ukraine is one of them. So in this episode we sit down with Adelaide-based, Ukrainian expat, Natalya Boujenko, to get a deeper understanding of Ukraine’s history and culture, of the war, and of the various things we can do to help Ukrainians.

The SA Drink Of The Week with a Sorby Adams, Jutland GSM, ably supported by our guest taster, Glenn Malycha.

And in the Musical Pilgrimage, we have a new song from Vince Contarina, whom you might know better as the front man from The Zep Boys. He has a whole lotta original songs going on, and we’re going to hear one.

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Running Sheet: Lest We Forget Ukraine

00:00:00 Intro

Introduction to the show.

00:06:15 SA Drink Of The Week

This week’s SA Drink Of The Week is the 2019 Sorby Adams, Jutland GSM, ably supported by our guest taster, Glenn Malycha.

As you’ll hear (and see) in our tasting with Glenn Malycha from Wine Pro Australia, we learn that the winemaker behind this wine is Simon Adams, who spent about 20 years at Yalumba as a senior red winemaker, so there’s plenty of experience that the Sorby Adams label draws upon.

00:17:57 Natalya Boujenko

On 22 February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military forces to enter the breakaway Ukrainian republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, calling the act a “peacekeeping mission”, just 48 hours before launching a large-scale invasion of Ukraine in what he called a “special military operation” to “demilitarise and denazify” the country. For many Australians, we’d been aware of Ukraine but not actively focussed on it until our natural spirit to support the underdog kicked in and many of us instinctively felt great anger towards Vladamir Putin for his vicious and illegal war. Our media outlets jumped onto the Russian Invasion story and “milked it for all it was worth” until the inevitable lure of sport and celebrities drew their attention away. Today, I had to go to page 38 to find a mention of Ukraine in The Advertiser, despite the signing of a deal to allow wheat exports from the country having significant importance for avoiding widespread hunger around the world.

To help deepen our understanding of Ukraine and to sift through some of the details of what life’s been like for her fellow Ukrainians, Adelaide-based expat, Natalya Boujenko, has agreed to join us and share what she knows.

Come Back Alive

Help Ukrainians Australia

Kozak Bar & Kitchen

Wheatsheaf Hotel (Ukrainian fundraising brew on tap)

Authentic Ukrainian Borscht Recipe

Takflix (for Ukrainian films)

I read through the sprawling history of Ukraine in preparation for this interview, and I must say it is one of highs and lows and waves of invasion and shifting alliances. Down here in Australia, our neighbours are states and there is little more than state rivalry; we don’t have Victoria getting all “miliatary” against us. So, just in general terms, can you help plot Ukraine’s history and it’s place in its part of the world for us?

In my reading, I discovered that decorated Easter eggs seem to have been developed in Ukraine, well before it became Christian. Is that widely practiced today; the painting of eggs and using wax in the process?

I also saw that so called “Cossack Songs” are considered a rich part of your musical history. Earlier this year, I heard about Ukrainian punk band, Beton’s cover of London Calling, renamed Kyiv Calling. What are your understandings of Ukraine and music?

And are their any traditional dishes that make you homesick or proud of Ukraine?

When I moved to Hungary (Alexis, take a sip) I realised that few people in Australia appreciated the advanced, modern, historical, layered histories of other countries in the world, especially those in the “eastern bloc”. Could you find some ways to describe Ukraine to help us get a sense of where it is really similar to Australia and where it is really different, perhaps looking back 4-5 years, prior to this war?

Poland and Germany and Russia and Austria all have “history” with Ukraine. Has that been stable in recent history?

When you and I met at an event recently, you made some comments about the gritty reality of life on the ground in Ukraine, with details that did not match was I was reading about in the media. I told my family and my 12yo responded with a set of questions that are just as good as any I would come up with, so I promised Caitlin I’d ask them on her behalf.

  • What’s happening that they don’t show us in the news?
  • Is it still happening or is it just the news not showing us any more?
  • How do you feel about this?

I’ve never experienced what it must be like when a foreign nation invades my country. Have you got any way of describing this for us?

And living in the aftermath: A bomb blast takes seconds but there is no quick fix to the infrastructure. We grumble if the power is out for half an hour, but having no power or water or gas, that’s hard to truly comprehend. Especially the myriad ways it would dominate all our thinking and decision making every moment, just to survive.

And what can we do that really has an impact in Ukraine (I always fear that donations to some places evaporate and never make it through to do good). For example, very early on I discovered that the people behind Crocobloc, a collection of plugins for WordPress websites, were based in Ukraine, so I used the support channel to send this message: Hi team. This is not a support request. I just wanted to say that our little team here in Adelaide, Australia, is right behind Ukraine and we are disgusted by Russia’s evil invasion of your country. We hope you can survive well and prosper and we hope our western allies in the EU are able to support you better. The person I was talking to was completely taken by surprised and very grateful, saying it helped make her day. I’ve also made a donation to a Ukraine magazine but am considering subscribing to Kyiv Independent to show support to fellow journalists. Is that sort of thing useful, in your opinion? I know you have been involved in arranging support.

Is there a good source of news? I’ve turned to Al Jazeera to have a constant supply of solid reporting.

01:22:41 Musical Pilgrimage

In the musical pilgrimage, we have What Things? by Vince Contarino from his new album, Goin’ Home.

It’s tight, loud, blues-infused rock, with plenty of respect given to the riffs, meaning songs have long intros allowing the guitars and sometimes the Hammond organ to “get their groove on”.

Vince has some dates coming up performing songs from the album ‘Goin’ Home’ with special guests (and favourites of The Adelaide Show) Lazy Eye, and Stuart Day. We’ll put a link in the show notes but basically they include Friday August 12 at Pepper Tree in Aldinga, Saturday, August 20 at the Three Brothers Arms in Macclesfield, and Friday, August 26, at the Naval Association in Port Adelaide.

Here’s this week’s preview video

SFX: Throughout the podcast we use free SFX from for the harp, the visa stamp, the silent movie music, the stylus, the radio signal SFX, the wine pouring and cork pulling SFX, and the swooshes around Siri.

2 Responses

  1. Absolutely brilliant podcast. Well done Natalya and Steve!
    I am a proud Ukrainian Australian (my father was a Ukrainian freedom fighter who fought against Russian aggression at the start of and during WW2).
    I currently volunteer 2 days a week teaching English to recently arrived displaced Ukrainians here in Adelaide.
    I also have put together a 30 minute PowerPoint that I have already presented at several venues including, church groups, schools and a Flinders University staff morning tea.
    Please advertise that I am happy to present it to any clubs or organisations that would like to know more about Ukraine.
    Regards Diane Howarth.🇺🇦🌻💙💛

    1. Thank you, Diane. This is so nice of you to say and I just hope that it helps people empowered to do something. And it was totally only possible due to Natalya’s generosity of spirit. Steve

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