This cheerful woman can sing, comfort, and hug each of us sincerely every day. Teresa is in charge of the Ukrainian Women Veteran Movement’s Rapid Response Headquarters’ “Crispy Muscovites” Bar. It is here that the famous “Bandera smoothies” are made – the famous “Molotov cocktails” in Ukraine. She willingly shares how to mix a cocktail, what ingredients should be used and in what proportions, as well as what security measures should be followed in order to successfully resist the occupier.
This is not the first time Teresa has taught someone. In peacetime and to this day, she works as a teacher and tutor in chemistry, physics and mathematics. At times when there was a buzz in the conference room about volunteering needs, one could hear the kind and calm mentoring voice of this woman, who nevertheless continued teaching. In our conversation, “mamulita”, as volunteer girls call her, spoke about how the young generation of Ukrainians has changed because of the war in Donbas and the subsequent full-scale invasion.
And Teresa is the mother of Kateryna Priymak – one of the founders and de facto leader of the Ukrainian Women Veteran Movement, as well as a participant in the Revolution of Dignity, a war paramedic, and a veteran of the war in Donbass. Teresa admits that their family’s involvement in national liberation struggles began on the Maidan and is enthusiastic about why the UWVM was so successful in organizing a volunteer rapid reaction headquarters on the second day of the racist raid on Ukraine. And, of course, the fact that women along with men help the Ukrainian military defend the land is not overlooked by her in her interview.
Below there is the story by Teresa herself.
“A woman is better adapted to a stressful situation. This thesis is confirmed by life experience.”
In our family, it all started with the Revolution of Dignity. My daughter Katya was one of the first to come to the Maidan at the invitation of Mustafa Nayem. She was very active: she helped in hospitals, medical centers, in the library, poured cocktails, and spent the nights there. When the “Right Sector” appeared, Katya went there. I remember everyone washing up at our place (she smiles). Then Katya went to war, and we hid it from my grandmother. There my daughter took paramedics courses and joined the Hospitallers. Upon her return in 2015, she had very serious PTSD. She could not hear anything about the war for a whole year. At her new job on the STB TV channel, they didn’t even know she was a veteran until she was given an award.
Later, she and her sisters-in-arms founded the Ukrainian Women Veteran Movement. Prior to active hostilities throughout Ukraine, they defended women’s rights, gender equality of women officers, and servicewomen. At that time, her visit to the UN took place. As part of the official delegation, she was sent to the UN as a representative of a public organization with a speech on the rights of military women. The Americans immediately opened the visa, and ours obstructed it – she was not even told about it. Maybe someone wanted to take a dog or a relative to America. Katya was scheduled to depart on March 8, and on March 7 she was not yet given the international passport. The American embassy sent the document to ours, and ours remained silent. She called the American Embassy on March 7, which explained that they had already opened a visa and sent a passport. On the eve of the holiday, she managed to snatch this passport. Andriana Arechta bought tickets very quickly, everything happened in a few hours and, as always, caused a lot of stress.
“Why was the UWVM headquarters organized so quickly? Because they did this before the active phase of a full-scale war. Already on February 24, Cuba found a place, and the next day the headquarters actively started working. Girls are able to mobilize quickly. This is a purely female thing, I think. Because a woman is adapted to stressful situations: broken knees, childbirth, pregnancy. It has always seemed to me that a woman is wiser, more resilient to stress, and can mobilize. A woman will stand up and say, “Yes, I’ll think about my personal issues and some other bullshit tomorrow, and today I need to fucking work in order to win.” The woman is reliable. Yes, she may then get offended and say that she was not given flowers or looked at her the wrong way. But a woman is better adapted to a stressful situation, this thesis is confirmed by life experience.”
As our volunteer, Hena says: “Every Ukrainian woman should have two slaves, I agree to be one of them.” We have male volunteers too. It seems to me that we have such a great atmosphere, in other headquarters, it may not be so. What is special about our headquarters is a lot of love, because we not only love all Ukrainians but also each other here. But I do not rule out that the situation is the same in other headquarters because people united by some idea are trying to support each other.
I have always supported Katya and I am proud that she took part in the Maidan and the war, I support and share her views. Of course, it was both difficult and scary. Even if I forbade it, I would just ruin the relationship with the child. I understand that she is like a tank.
If I were younger, I would probably go to war too. But now it makes less sense to me. If I was drafted into the “chemical troops”, I could develop antidotes or conduct experiments, because my education allows it. I used to really want to work in the explosives service, but I didn’t pass the special test. Katya was then 3 years old. Her father worked there and developed fire-fighting powders. Scraps were brought to him from the explosions, he made an analysis and expert opinion on what exploded and in what equivalent. It was an interesting job.
How the current generation differs from the previous one in terms of attitude to Ukraine
Now I teach. We write notes with students in Ukrainian, and in everyday life we communicate in the language in which students communicate. Even shortly before the war, many high school students switched to Ukrainian. One day a girl who spoke Russian came to me and said, “From today, I will not say a word in Russian.” This happens very often.
Or there was another story: one student was very obsessed with Russian TV series. He was a fan of “Policeman from Rublevka”. I didn’t hold back and said: “Seryozha, what kind of bullshit is this?” And he replied: “I have such a position.”
“And at the beginning of a full-scale war, this student comes and says: “That’s it, I no longer speak Russian.” Now he is helping us. Many people have been “cured” since the beginning of the fighting.”
On the quality of Ukrainian cultural products as opposed to Russian
The surge in the development of Ukrainian culture is huge! What movies we have! I watched “My thoughts are silent” 8 times. The series “Catch Kaidash” is unbelievably great! How many outrageous musicians have appeared in the Ukrainian-speaking environment: Dahabraha, Dakh Daughters, Vivienne Mort, Odyn v Kanoe, Go_A. No matter how many concerts I attend, I always want more. It is such a charge of energy and strength. The surge in the development of Ukrainian culture is huge! When I go to the bookstore “Ye”, I ask to be taken out of there, because I want to buy everything: classics such as Bagryany, Shklyar, Matios, Zabuzhko, and new authors: Tamara Orikha Zernya, Sofia Andrukhovych. I presented “Felix Austria” to all my acquaintances. In short, the cultural space is in turmoil.
I communicate with my chemist friends both in Ukraine and abroad, because many friends live in America, France and Germany. And everyone says that Ukraine is also rich in scientific conferences and discoveries. For example, in 2015 I went to refresh my knowledge and work in a chemical laboratory that manufactures small batches of substances, namely non-catalog syntheses. There are chemists who synthesize substances. I was delighted, because you order reagents, drop the request to the base, and in half an hour you go to your box, and there they are already in the quantity in which you ordered. It’s unbelievable for a chemist to find reagents in a box just like that. We also have the best equipment. Our culture, science, and production have developed at a very rapid pace.
I hope that after our victory they will invest in our development.
About Russian fakes about “chemical laboratories” in Ukraine
My answer is laughter. Because it is impossible to invent something more absurd. It’s like a joke, you can make a meme out of it, a cartoon. I think our crazy neighbor is enough, someone has to be normal thinking and balanced. The development of treatment involves the study of viruses and their types because without it you can not make an anti-vaccine. But look, anthrax has been existing for 50 years, and we are not our own enemies. In Odessa, the plague hill has not yet been “unpacked” because they do not know how to do it safely. Therefore, we will not poison our land.
And “katsaps” are more likely to die from dysentery because they are so careless. Anyone who has been to russia in some yaroslavl, tver or not in the cities of millions, but 10 kilometers from it, saw only abandoned and shabby buildings, which can be even with earthen floors. People wear sweatshirts all year round and at 12 o’clock the drunk people are lying around their garden after a long time drinking. I don’t even know how they survive. Maybe because vodka keeps them. At the age of 10, they become alcoholics who have no skills and are unable to even lay asphalt.
About the embitterment of the occupiers
“Their anger is because of stupidity. One hundred percent lack of compassion is their psychiatric characteristic. It is on the verge of oligophrenia. This is not even a disease, but a deviation, and perhaps pedagogical neglect. Compassion must be nurtured. And how it will be brought up in them while their dad beats their mom until he blacks out from all the alcohol, and the rest of his life mom beats dad, who is already lying affected by a stroke. They have no sympathy because the occupying cultural space is not aimed at this.”
For us, all this rudeness breaks down. I have never watched Russian TV series because I am not interested in them. Once I saw “Comedy Club” and realized that they have stupid humor and no upbringing. For example, Arkady Babchenko’s mother adopted 10 children. She took small children to music and drawing. And she could not change a 13-year-old child, because it’s like Mowgli’s children: at the first opportunity, they return to the animal state.
“This is all due to the lack of education because they have no examples of compassion. This is facilitated by their literature: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and others. What Dostoevsky writes is dirt, stench, and bestiality. I like harsh prose, but one that has some hope and message. And Russian literature is shit for the purpose of being shit, sorry. I have a fairly large library, but I will definitely clean it of Russian literature.”
When the flow of foreign literature flooded into Ukraine, there were very poor translations. As a child, the first book I read in Ukrainian was Pippi Longstocking, translated by Olga Sinyuk. After that, Russian translations seemed to be bad. All foreign literature was spoiled by poor Russian translations. Olga Sinyuk is an incredibly cool lady. Once I took Karlson, put two translations in front of me, then I saw that the Russian translation is not only worse but also less accurate. For example, in Olga Sinyuk’s translation Junior returns from his grandmother and says: “I was with my grandmother in the summer. And Karlson says, “I was with my grandmother, too, and she’s a lot more ‘grandmothier’ than yours.” And the Russian translation is: “I was with my grandmother, and she is much more like a grandmother than yours.” When my daughter Katya started reading, I bought her a lot of children’s literature in Ukrainian. You know, I didn’t have time to raise Katya. I plowed all the time at two or three jobs because we had hard times in her childhood. She also had a passion for Russian. We all went through it. I myself was fascinated by Russian rock.There was no Ukrainian rap in Katya’s childhood, so she listened to what she had. According to our Olya, we all went through a passion for something Russian.
About the attitude to the enemy
I quarreled with my cousin forever when my mother donated two hundred hryvnias from her pension on a drone and wrote on social media to all pensioners to do the same. He wrote in the comments: “You will not wash this off herself” (meaning wash off the dirt from helping the Ukrainian army). That was when the cousin followed the russian warship.
I want there to be no “katsaps”.
You see, they did not develop as a nation for a long time. There are nations that are developing in breadth. For example, America takes the best from the world and develops it under its umbrella. And there are very closed nations. For example, the Japanese are developing deeper. And there are nations that just spread like shit. They take the best and make the worst of it.
“Imagine a bucket of shit. No matter how many raspberries, cherries or olives you throw in there, it will still be a bucket of shit. In my opinion, “katsapy” is a bunch of shit. Even the best of the best in them are full of indomitable imperialism. Therefore, it is better that there are no Russians at all.”
At the same time, Ukrainians are not as powerful a nation as the Americans or the Japanese. But we really want to take the best of the world and keep it to ourselves.
“Bandera Smoothie” by Teresa and the algorithm of successful resistance
The recipe for Bandera smoothies differs only in “cherries on top”. At first glance, our recipe is standard: small foam balls are poured into a bottle, and everything dissolves with acetone. When acetone became deficient, we used weissrite. And then my friends gave me 2 canisters of xylene – this interesting thing dissolves even better than acetone. Dissolve the foam, add about a third of engine oil, 2/3 of gasoline, then make a wick. We immerse it in a bottle with a knot, we close a bottle and then we moisten the rest of a branch in gasoline so that it is possible to set fire and throw.
Safety rules are very important. Why do we need polyfoam? It gives the effect of napalm – which does not allow the fire to go out quickly, and gasoline – to burn quickly. If there is no polyfoam, you can do it without it. Of course, it burns faster, so you need to aim either at the gas tank, or at the tracking, or at the window.
Such cocktails should be thrown by specially trained people, but if necessary, we can all do it, because cocktails with foam burn for a long time. The “smoothie” should be held like a bowling ball. We set fire to it, keep the narrow neck in front, not behind. The inflorescence should not be in front, but behind. There should be a quarter of the empty space in the bottle for the cocktail to work. We set fire to the wick and immediately throw it away, without waiting a second for it to ignite. In addition, we should not have synthetics, better cotton clothes. There should be gloves, but not rubber ones. You have to learn to throw. At our headquarters, 80% of people are trained to do this. Safety is necessary because it is the thing that has helped us survive, reached this level of civilization, and successfully resist.
We will win!
It is possible to financially support the “Ukrainian Women Veteran Movement” using the details below:
Official bank account
«Жіночий Ветеранський Рух»
м. Київ, вул. Грушевського 30/1 офіс 319
Purpose of payment:
Charitable donation to Ukrainian military
Bank SWIFT Code: PBANUA2X
IBAN Code (€) UA093052990000026005025013456
IBAN Code ($) UA213052990000026003025019128
IBAN Code (Swiss Franc) UA083052990000026007035012360
IBAN Code (£) UA493052990000026001025018789