русский
Українська

Dad's profession and the business he dreamed of. How Kuzma Scriabin's only daughter lives and what she does

Barbara was only 17 years old when her father died

The only daughter of the legendary musician Kuzma Scriabin is 26 years old. For nine of those years, she has been living without her father, whose life was cut short by a terrible accident in February 2015: the accident occurred near Kryvyi Rih, where an SUV driven by the artist collided with a truck. The 46-year-old musician died on the spot from his injuries.

In an interview with OBOZ.UA, Maria-Barbara admitted whether she believes that her father's death was a fatal accident, and also recalled personal stories related to her closest person. She also told us how her family had experienced another painful tragedy: last September, Andrii Kuzmenko's mother, Olha, suddenly passed away.

Dad's profession and the business he dreamed of. How Kuzma Scriabin's only daughter lives and what she does

"She got sick very suddenly, just at one point," Barbara says, "and everything developed so quickly that when the ambulance took her away, they found sepsis and kidney failure. She was bedridden for some time... This is a very painful topic for us. My grandmother was a very active person all her life, and we lost her almost at the same time."

Barbara's grandfather, Viktor Kuzmych, is left alone, but he refuses to move to the capital from Lviv: "He says it's easier where his home is. Plus, he has now resumed his ceramics work, which he used to do with his grandmother. He distracts himself from heavy thoughts by modeling." It is interesting that Kuzma's wife Svitlana Babiychuk was once fond of this art form. "She doesn't do it now, but she comes to Lviv very often to spend time with her grandfather," Barbara says.

Dad's profession and the business he dreamed of. How Kuzma Scriabin's only daughter lives and what she does

Barbara's mother is an artist by profession, the daughter of Ivan Babiichuk, Honored Master of Folk Art of Ukraine. They met Andrii Kuzmenko at school, studying in parallel classes. But they didn't recognize each other right away - they started dating when they were students. They got married in 1994. They refused to have a lavish celebration and did not even prepare wedding rings for the ceremony. Instead, after the wedding, they got into the Pobeda and drove to Berlin. Since then, traveling has become a huge passion for Andrii and Svitlana. Returning from one trip, they were already making plans for another. Little Barbara was happy to share her parents' passion.

Dad's profession and the business he dreamed of. How Kuzma Scriabin's only daughter lives and what she does

"A trip to the Maldives was very emotionally intense," he recalls his childhood. "We flew to a tiny island that could be walked around in 10 minutes. And when I got a little bored after two days, my dad started to come up with activities for us: we went diving, caught crabs (there are a lot of them there), and assembled my Lego sets. I also remember a winter trip to Italy. Even though I was still a little girl, I went skiing with my dad on the so-called black slopes (mountain parts that are considered the most difficult, slopes for very experienced skiers - Ed.) There are several hundred kilometers of them, which are marked with a black dotted line on the maps, and I think we have all traveled them. My mom was also with us, but she didn't dare to go on the black ones every time, but my dad and I always did."

"After my dad passed away, we traveled a lot less," Barbara continues, "In recent years, there was a pandemic, then the war. There was no time for traveling at all. After the invasion, my mother and I were abroad only once - we went to Prague on business. We were there for only ten days, but the longer the trip lasted, the more we wanted to go home. There were constant rocket attacks in Kyiv, and we had to go there. When we crossed the border, I could breathe easier. Many people now tell me to leave Kyiv for abroad or western Ukraine. But I feel calm only here."

During the full-scale invasion, Kuzma Scriabin's family was in Kyiv. "The news that a great war had begun came as a shock to me, and until the last moment I thought it couldn't be," Barbara says. "My family and friends were also sure that it was impossible. But like everyone else, I was worried. On February 24, we woke up to explosions. We spent the night at my mother's place in Windy Hills (a residential area in Kyiv - Ed.) - it was very loud. On the same day, my mother and my husband decided that we should go to my grandparents' house. I resisted for a while, thinking it was safer at home. However, later I agreed and began to prepare for the trip. We picked up my classmate Katia and her mother and left. It took us almost five hours to leave Kyiv. It so happened that the navigator took us through Gostomel, with helicopters flying overhead, everything was rumbling and exploding - it was scary. It took us almost a day to get to Lviv. All this time, my grandmother could not find a place to sit, she was constantly calling."

"We stayed together for a month and a half," Barbara continues, "On the one hand, we had a very rare opportunity to be together, and on the other hand, our souls were so full of anxiety that it was difficult to talk about any other topics. Everyone was so worried that it was impossible to spend any time together. In early May, we arrived in Kyiv. I returned to work almost immediately."

Barbara Kuzmenko works as a dermatologist in one of the capital's medical institutions. She has a private office where she practices dermatology and cosmetology.

"As a child, I dreamed of being a veterinarian," she explains why she chose the medical profession, "and then I started having teenage skin problems very early on, when I was only nine years old. My parents tried everything, but I was not cured. Unfortunately, we were not able to find doctors who could help me at that time. Every week I had to go through facial cleansing, after which I had to treat the scars for a very long time. Peeling, which is not in any international protocol. Blood transfusions, all sorts of "bolsters", immunomodulators - nothing helped. It was getting worse and worse."

Dad's profession and the business he dreamed of. How Kuzma Scriabin's only daughter lives and what she does

"And then my dad found a doctor in Prague who worked at the Department of Dermatology at a research institute," Barbara continues, "and we started going to see her. She treated me exclusively according to international protocols, guided by the principles of evidence-based medicine. And at the age of 17, I managed to forget about my problem. The same year I entered medical school to become a dermatologist. When nothing helped me, I wanted to figure it out. And I decided to devote my life to this vocation from the age of 13, I was so interested in this topic."

Andrii Kuzmenko also graduated from medical school: "My dad's specialty is dentistry, but he really wanted to be a surgeon. When I told him that I also wanted to become a doctor, he replied (and I'm going to quote him verbatim): "That's very respectable."

Dad's profession and the business he dreamed of. How Kuzma Scriabin's only daughter lives and what she does

Nothing in Dr. Kuzmenko's office gives away the connection to her famous father. Barbara says that not all of her patients know whose daughter she is: "And even those who do know are very discreet about it, no one asks me to tell them anything about my dad, for example."

But where Barbara's husband works, there is much that reminds us of Kuzma Scriabin. A few years ago, the family opened a coffee shop and bakery under the Lviv croissants franchise in Kyiv, located near the Polytechnic Institute metro station. Barbara says that it was once her father's dream. He used to tell his family about the idea of creating a place where his fans could come and share their emotions.

"People who live nearby come here, and those who pass by and look in because they are curious. But my dad's supporters also come here often, which makes us very happy," Barbara admits.

Dad's profession and the business he dreamed of. How Kuzma Scriabin's only daughter lives and what she does

There are photos of Kuzma Scriabin and quotes from the song "Places of Happy People" on the walls of the coffee shop, and songs by the legendary performer are played.

Barbara admits that at home she also likes to watch chronicles from the family archive: "I recently watched a video of my dad talking about the war. And although it was recorded in early 2014, those words are exactly what I think now. It turns out that he knew what was going to happen then. He warned me that it was "not the ATO, but a real war."... But I honestly admit that there are times when it is very difficult for me to open family albums. The loss of my father is a pain that does not go away, despite the years that have passed."

"Every year, February 2 is a very difficult day for all of us," continues our interviewee, "You start thinking about that terrible day when the tragedy happened. I try to go to church in the morning to be alone with my thoughts, with myself. Whenever possible, we gather as a family. Before the pandemic, we used to go to the church next to my grandparents' house. A funeral service was held there. And from there we would go to the cemetery... You know, I can't say that on my dad's birthday we all feel any better - it's still hard."

Dad's profession and the business he dreamed of. How Kuzma Scriabin's only daughter lives and what she does

Barbara says she still keeps the gifts her father gave her: "Collections of Lego sets (I was very fond of them at one time). I also have a perfume he gave me once. I opened the bottle, but I don't use it - I keep it as a memory. He bought me a lot of things without me, himself, and he always guessed right, both in terms of preferences and size."

In an interview, Barbara admitted that no matter how much time her father spent with her as a child, she always felt that it was not enough. "I always wanted more," she says now. "On the one hand, I realized that he was very busy, but on the other hand, I dreamed that this busyness would become less and I would have more time for him. Although he tried very hard not to deprive my mother and me of his attention. When he had a weekend off, we would go to sports together – tennis or squash – he loved it. And in the evenings, if we could stay together, the three of us would watch TV shows. And far from being for my age, for example, Prison Break or Staying Alive. These are not movies for children. My parents and I have always been very close, we trusted each other to the limit. Now I still have this connection with my mother."

Dad's profession and the business he dreamed of. How Kuzma Scriabin's only daughter lives and what she does

– Barbara, in one of her interviews, your mother told you that after her father's death, she encountered stories that could only be described as mystical. In particular, she talked about her father's collectible toy cars, which she found one morning with the doors open - every single one of them. And another time, she said, the photos hanging on the wall in his office were turned in an oblique line. Has anything like that happened to you?

– You know, I try not to go too deeply into mysticism, because then I feel very bad. And I start seeing something similar everywhere.

– Your grandmother has repeatedly stated publicly that she does not believe that the tragedy that happened to her son was an accident. What is your opinion on this?

– I believe that what happened to my father was a fatal accident. My grandmother and I never talked about it, and I never told her my version. It's just that each of us has our own opinion about what happened on February 2, 2015.

Dad's profession and the business he dreamed of. How Kuzma Scriabin's only daughter lives and what she does

According to Barbara, among her father's many friends and colleagues, there are two performers she can safely call if necessary. They are Mykhailo Khoma and Taras Topolia. "Dzidzio and my dad are from the same town. My dad once helped him create his stage image and wrote several songs for his band." By the way, when Kuzma's daughter was getting married, Mykhailo Khoma helped the newlyweds with the wedding organization.

Barbara met her future husband on social media, although they were studying at the same university at the time. When it came to marriage, the girl's mother supported the couple: "She was all for it. She said it was my choice, and she sincerely supported me in my decision. My mom has a very good relationship with my husband Viktor."

Dad's profession and the business he dreamed of. How Kuzma Scriabin's only daughter lives and what she does

The couple has been married for five years. They have a dog named Misha of the Shiba Inu breed, whom they love very much. Barbara and Viktor are surrounded by many friends. "I already have four godchildren, and soon I will be baptizing my fifth child," Barbara says, "We see our godparents quite often, especially those who live in Kyiv. She admits that she and her husband have decided to postpone their motherhood because of the war.

Other News

'Covered with tattoos with Soviet symbols'. Lesia Samaieva named the Putinist actor from Russia who was made a star by Ukraine

"Covered with tattoos with Soviet symbols". Lesia Samaieva named the Putinist actor from Russia who was made a star by Ukraine

The actress says that many of the Russian actors who filmed in Kyiv glorify the cult of alcoholism, and are "always swearing"