Yuriy Zirchenko Юрій Зірченко

* 1950

  • "What kind of child I was... Well, my abilities are a little above average. I studied well, the school promised me a diploma with honors, but of course, I didn't receive it, because children of "unreliable" parents don't receive a diploma with honors, the university also did not issue me a diploma with honors, I studied well, I loved my specialty, I really liked geology because this is a very interesting science. The science about the earth - includes mineralogy, and petrography, and metallogeny. I (studied) with pleasure... That's how it was for me… Our faculty is on Hrushevskoho Street, and there is Drahomanova street nearby, where the university library is, so I... We had classes, (then went to) diet canteen - I had lunch, and until late in the evening, because the library worked until 10 pm, I was in the library every day, I worked on all the papers there, studied, prepared. I loved it very much. Well, and then it happened, that the KGB intervened at the university, and then everything was gone. All my love. I was always proactive in any team where I worked. I didn't sit there, I didn't wait, as if "my house is on the edge of a village" (quotes Ukrainian proverb) I always took the initiative and always got something positive out of it even when it caused some troubles. When necessary, I criticized, and when I liked something - I praised. I was active, I could do science and teaching, I could present topics I was interested in, different subjects, everything was prepared, but... they ruined everything for me... and became a cripple in old age."

  • "There was an episode. In the fifth grade, I still studied, as far as I remember, I studied in Boryslav, Tustynovychi, school number 5. My father knew there was an art boarding school in Kyiv, and my father drew, he had an unschooled talent. In his youth, someone taught him a little, he had skills, I do not know where. But my father wanted to send me to that boarding school. There were requirements, we had to send my drawings, samples, certain conditions: in nature, from nature, something else. And there was another boy, he showed talent in drawing, he was from another class, I was in class B, and he was in class A. His name was Roman Zarytskyi. Dad started to prepare us - we went to nature, to the lake, we painted with paints, pencils, mostly watercolors, there was no gouache, there were oil paints. Dad painted with oil, and I painted with oil. And we sent it (the works), and... the dad was preparing both of us. Romchyk was accepted, and I wasn't, although my father said that some of my works were more interesting. I was not accepted, because Romchyk's father was a veteran of the "Great Patriotic War" (in Russian), and my father was "unreliable" (in Russian). Romchyk was accepted, and I wasn't. I didn't get to this school, that's how my parents talked about it, although they tried not to mention this topic in front of children because children would talk and cause even more troubles."

  • "By the way, there was another interesting episode. My cousin Natalka, she is five years older, told me this story. I don't know, not all children speak when they are two years old, and I was already blabbering, talking, and I didn't know a single word of Ukrainian. I was "moscal" when I arrived. I came from Siberia, and children are brought up there as janissaries. Actually, there was a reason why I was sent with another woman, I could've waited a year. But after two years of visiting children's camps, orphanages... the children there were sick, dying there. There was a chance I wouldn't survive. Two reasons - I could die, or I would be sent to a children's camp. Of course, everything was taught in Russian there, and everyone had to speak Russian. I didn't know a single word of Ukrainian, then I started to learn it. I remember another episode, apparently, the earliest. Somewhere after arrival, I think it was spring, in March I was two years old, somewhere in the spring my grandmother brought me. And first, the child needs to be fed, and she cooked me semolina. She put the plate in front of me. And this semolina was hot. Maybe my grandmother didn't check it. And I, of course, immediately put the spoon in my mouth, and it burned me badly, and I threw that plate at the grandmother. And that was the end of my very first treat. That's the episode, I was not even three years old then. And I remember it... no one remembers it, not even my grandmother remembered. "Do you remember how I threw a plate at you?" Nobody remembered because it was an atypical episode. Apparently, it was a stress for the child so I remembered."

  • "Ah, an episode. In Truskavets we lived on the edge of the city and there was a certain enterprise nearby, a state enterprise, there was a smithy. There were several houses and a smithy, I found it interesting because there were some cars, old Studebakers, like metal, but they were broken... And there was a smithy, I went there from time to time, I was about three years old, they sent me off. Sparks were flying around, and hot metal. It scared me. Well, and my relatives - my grandmother, my aunt Milia - she also paid attention to me - my mother's sister. She was not married, I am there in the photo with her. She was a little ashamed, because when she walked around the city with me, and she was not married, the guys thought it was her child, so she shunned me a little (laughs). At home, of course, she loved me and cared for me, and when we were in the city she... And they told me not to go to that smithy: "The police will come, go hide somewhere" I hid under the bed. So, there were episodes like these in the childhood. They frightened me so that I wouldn't go to the smithy: "(The police) may come, but we won't betray you, go hide." That was the game."

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    Lvov, 20.05.2021

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Returning from Siberia as a two-year-old

Yuriy Zirchenko after arrival, in his grandmother's garden
Yuriy Zirchenko after arrival, in his grandmother's garden
zdroj: pamětník

Yuriy Zirchenko was born in a forced labor camp, where his parents stayed, on March 15, 1950, in Stalinsk city (now Novokuznetsk city) Kemerovo region of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. He lived in the camp for the first two years of his life and in 1952, a year before the release of his mother, Sofiya Zirchenko, left the camp. He was brought to Ukraine by Anna Chaban - she worked with Sofiya on a timber raft. After arriving in Ukraine, he lived with his grandmother and aunt in Truskavets. After school he entered the Faculty of Geology of Ivan Franko Lviv State National University. After that, he served in the tank regiment in Ovruch, Zhytomyr region. After the army and a trip with a friend to the Taiga, he participated in geological expeditions in Yakutia. He worked as a junior researcher at the Faculty of Geology, studied in graduate school, and wrote a dissertation. In 1984 he was forced to resign from the faculty. In 1990 he joined the Ukrainian Republican Party of Levko Lukyanenko. He engaged in public activities - was a member of the Lviv Regional Union of Political Prisoners of Ukraine and a deputy of the regional council.