русский
Українська

"I came with a St. George's ribbon". Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

Kostyantyn Kostyshyn starred in the TV series The Return of Mukhtar for 10 years

The popular Ukrainian actor Kostyantyn Kostyshyn (Return of Mukhtar, Nine Lives of Nestor Makhno, Favorite Children, Secrets, A Tale of Money, Ambulance, The Trap, Thank You for Everything) has been in the Ukrainian Armed Forces since last year. For the first time, the artist got a vacation and came to visit his family - his wife and daughters.

In a conversation with us, the actor shared how his service is going and what he has been doing since the beginning of the full-scale war. He also told why he left the project "The Return of Mukhtar", where he had been filming for 10 years, and stopped all communication with his Russian colleagues, whom he considered friends.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

- Konstantin, you have been in the Ukrainian Armed Forces since last fall. Have you been home since then?

- I was home on New Year's Eve, they let me go for one day. I celebrated the holiday and had to go back. How did I see Kyiv now? You know, you arrive and it feels like you've never been anywhere else. You dissolve immediately into the warmth of the first meetings, hugs. And as if nothing else had happened. Only air raid warnings constantly remind us of the danger, and today we heard explosions - we live near Kyiv. But otherwise, everything seems to be as it was before.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

I even managed to go on stage. I deliberately timed my vacation to coincide with our play Playing the Fool. The producer called the day before, asking what date it would be better to schedule the performance. We agreed. We hadn't performed this play for a long time, and now I was immersed in this space again. It was nice. It so happened that I recently left the Theater on the Left Bank of the Dnipro, where I had worked for 32 years. And almost immediately I was enrolled in the Young Theater company. However, I did not have time to play anything there, because exactly two weeks later I was drafted into the Armed Forces. When the war is over, I will plunge into repertory theater with pleasure.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

- On the terrible date of February 24, 2022, were you in Kyiv?

- We live in the suburbs, in Bilohorodka. After the invasion, we spent almost all our time with our family in the basement, actually living there. Well, at least we spent the night there. On the third day, I decided to go and sign up for the terrorist defense. It was just like in the movies: I said goodbye to my wife, and she burst into tears. It was four kilometers from our house to the village council. There was no transportation, so I walked. They registered me and said they would call me if I needed it.

I came home, but I could not calm down. There were no end of explosions and shooting. I took a bucket and went to wash the car. I think the neighbors were watching and twiddling their thumbs, but I had to do something to occupy myself. Suddenly the door opens, my wife says: "We've decided to leave!" I took her and her daughter to the highway, where relatives picked them up, and they went to western Ukraine, then to Lviv, and from there they walked across the border to Poland, and then moved to Germany. They returned home exactly one year later. We didn't deliberately guess the date, it just happened: they were gone for exactly one year.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

It was very hard without my family, to say the least. In addition, our theater hasn't worked for a long time. The Theater on Podil had already opened, as well as Lesya Ukrainka's and Franko's, but ours did not. It got to the point where my colleagues started doing work that had nothing to do with acting, because they had to survive somehow.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

- A special place in your creative biography is occupied by the TV series The Return of Mukhtar. How many years did you play there?

- For ten years, I went there as if it were my job. Sometimes I even joked during rehearsals in the theater. When the phone rang and I realized that it was from Mukhtar, I would say loudly: "Oh, it's about work!" Everyone would laugh.

- In ten years, everyone must have become friends?

- Yes, we were friends with everyone. And with my partner Oksana Stashenko, who later turned out to be you know who (the actress publicly supported the Kremlin's aggression against Ukraine - Ed.) She even came to visit us at home. Did I feel that Oksana would eventually tell such nonsense about Ukraine? I realized what she really is a little later. She's a human being, how can I put it correctly... Always where there is some benefit, you know?

We hardly ever talked about politics on the set. Perhaps something slipped through only in context. I remember that before Putin's next election, she was very worried that the filming would not take too long and that she would be in time to vote. "Who else but him?" she said, commenting on her choice. And then Euromaidan started, and I felt tension in our relationship because I openly supported the confrontation against the then government.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

And then, I don't remember exactly when, sitting in the dressing room, I read an article that Russians had entered Crimea. And we were sitting next to the Russian actor Lesha Moiseev. I showed him the article. I said: "Lesha, tell me: what is this? What is it like?" And we started to have a loud argument. And across the wall was Stashenko's dressing room. And, of course, she heard. Lesha and I argued some more, and then he hugged me: "Kostya, no matter what, you're like a brother to me." Well, I've never liked their expressions... But I pulled myself together and we left the dressing room.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

And I hear Oksana Stashenko, who was just being made up, discussing something unhappily and mentioning my name. Kostyshyn - this and that... I froze in my tracks. I say to Lesha: "Is she joking?" He: "I don't think so." And she continues to carry on, even when she sees me. Something like we are nothing without them... "We give you money, that's why this series is being filmed. What money did you use to build the house?" - this is how it started. I built the house with the money I earned. I didn't get it for nothing - it wasn't given to me, brought to me, or given as a gift. I earned it. And I was paid for my work, by the way, much less than Russian actors. I told her this. And he added: "And Russian producers shoot in Kyiv because it's cheaper." Since then, we have stopped communicating with her.

I kept in touch with Moiseev for some time. But when he came to Belarus (and we were filming there for some time) in a car with a St. George's ribbon on it, he stopped getting in the car with him. And he explained why. At that time, we had only been greeting Stashenko. And on the set, we had to play a couple in love.

Later I was told that the producers asked the actors: "Talk to Kostyshyn and Stashenko, because they love to play, but you can see that their relationship is not very good." Later there was a break in filming, I don't remember why. I returned to Kyiv. And after a while I got a call: "We are continuing to shoot". I called the producer and told him that I didn't think it was appropriate for me to participate in this project because of what was happening to my country. And then, so that it wouldn't remain just words, I wrote another text, I think on Viber. I got a reply that they understood everything. That's where we parted ways. "Mukhtar was over for me.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

- Did you actually build a house thanks to those filming sessions?

- No, actually, we've been building this house for a long time - we didn't have enough money. We haven't finished it yet, and some parts need to be repaired. We invested everything we earned: money from my projects and my wife's filming. At first, we wanted to buy an apartment, because the one we had was no longer spacious enough for a family with a child. Then we came up with the idea to buy land and build a house. We thought: we are filming and touring, so we can afford it.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

- Did you do a lot of things in the house with your own hands?

- No, unfortunately, other people did it, because I'm not good at it. And that's why the roof needs to be redone now (laughs). But my wife is another matter. She plastered the room and the corridor herself. However, she redid it three times, because everything seemed to me to be wrong. She cried that she couldn't do it anymore, but I persuaded her, I wanted it to be as good as possible. I had to finish it, right? I tried to make arguments that it would be crazy to redo it later, when it was clean. I helped her as much as I could: she applied the plaster, and I sanded it. And, you know, when our friends come to visit us and praise the walls, she throws her hands to her sides: "If you need it, I'll do it!"

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

- Are your friends also actors?

- Well, Lesya Samayeva comes to visit me and my husband, the actor Andrey Samynin. They live not far from here. By the way, they moved in a few streets away at my suggestion. Somehow we started talking about land plots at the same time: they wanted to buy, and we wanted to buy. At first we thought about Vasylkiv. But they refused. And then we took this one. I said: "Lesia, here's a realtor's phone number, call me." And they started building too.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

The other day we all met at the performance of Tartuffe at the Franko Theater. Andriy Samynin's work there is very good. They came to see us on New Year's Eve, when I visited. The actor Serhiy Syplyvyi also lives nearby. They have a swimming pool, so we go there in the summer.

- Your film biography includes roles in the films of Oksana Bayrak, a very popular director in her time, who fled to Russia after the invasion and now films for propaganda TV channels. How do you remember her?

- I only acted in her projects a few times. They were small roles, very short. I remember that she even gave me something as a souvenir after one day of filming. But at the same time, I saw not only her kindness, but also something else-she preferred to work with Russian actors. And not only her - many producers thought that our actors were just something so-so, while Russians were a cool school. I strongly disagree with that. They imposed Moscow actors, and ours were just cast in secondary roles.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

Well, as for Bayrak, to be honest, I didn't follow her work, the only thing I can confirm is that she sincerely admired Russians. I even remember writing a letter in support of Dmitry Kharatyan when he was banned from entering Ukraine. There was cotton wool in her head, which, unfortunately, multiplied. And over time, her position emerged.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

- How do you feel about the fact that there are now opinions that creative people have no place at the front?

- I don't think that actors are some kind of privileged people. My unequivocal answer is that all those who are fit for service should go to the front. But I also understand that you can't paddle with one brush and take everyone away. In any case, the theater cannot stop working. Some of the actors must stay and perform performances. To support people's spirits and help them not to fall into the abyss of hopelessness. The theater must exist, but it cannot be that the actors are not affected by the war. In fact, we don't have such a thing - there are many artists at the front. Unfortunately, we have already lost some of them.

- How did your family react to your decision to go to the front?

- Like all living people, they were very worried. My daughter Ivanka said: "I don't want you to go to war." However, at the same time, I see that she is proud of me. I call home every day. We have a rule: I call my mom and sister in the morning and my wife in the afternoon. Because there is a lot of work to do in a day, and you can't just sit down and talk, but you want to. From early in the morning until almost night, it turns out that I am busy.

Our Ivanka is 14 years old. I can already see that she will be tall, as they say, it's my fault. She took after my wife in beauty and in height. For her sake, I even wanted to go on vacation in military uniform. And then I thought: I don't need to stand out. I don't like excessive attention.

- But in ordinary life you are recognized, right? What do they say in the army?

- They are surprised: "Oh, you're an artist?" I have a great team now. I'm happy with my surroundings, they're really good guys. For safety reasons, I can't tell you where I'm serving. I can only say that it is in the south. In ordinary life, I can't say that I am very recognizable. Some people recognize me, some don't. When I ask people at the market, for example, how much something costs, they answer: "You asked me that yesterday". And they smile.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

- Is it true that your wife, actress Anna Tambova (There Will Be People, The Conductress, Bad Good Cop, The House with Lilies), was the first to come up to meet you?

- Yes! We met during a theater festival in Belarus, I don't remember what it was called. We were performing the play "Have fun! Is Everything All Right?!" staged by Andrei Belous, the artistic director of the Young Theater, where I would now work. I remember that performance very fondly - it was a good one. And when we performed it, my current wife and her friend, also an actress, came up to me and said: "You are so great! Now we don't know how to go on stage after you." And they were supposed to perform their play the same day. Since then, they have been in contact as friends for some time. Anya got married and divorced. We continued to keep in touch. And over time, our relationship turned into what it is now.

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

- Just like in the movies, I'll tell you. Were you not worried about the fact that you have a considerable age difference of 18 years?

- I didn't think about it at all, and I don't think about it now. Besides, everyone tells me that I look younger than my passport age. Perhaps this saves me (laughs). The difference is also leveled by the fact that she is very smart. Or I am very stupid (laughs).

''I came with a St. George's ribbon''. Kostyantyn Kostyshyn talks about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, quarrels with Russians in The Return of Mukhtar, and the cotton candy Bairak

- Do you keep in touch with your eldest daughter from your previous marriage?

- Yes, of course! We're all together, and she and her husband have visited us as well. She is very good friends with our younger daughter, and she studies English with her. Dasha once graduated from a linguistic institute with a degree in simultaneous interpretation. Then she got another degree. But she knows English well. And now she's learning Spanish and Romanian - she likes them. My girls are in very close contact. My children are good.

- Are you counting the days until the end of your vacation?

- Yes, because it's more pleasant here, all my friends are close by. But what can you do, these are the times. There is an understanding that things should be exactly as they are.

Only verified information is available on our Telegram channel OBOZ.UA and Viber. Don't fall for fakes!

Other News

Never get along: what plants should not be planted near grapes

Never get along: what plants should not be planted near grapes

The wrong neighborhood can cause serious damage to the vine
How to clean a dirty sofa with vodka: an unusual way

How to clean a dirty sofa with vodka: an unusual way

Vodka has disinfectant and antibacterial properties