"I've said goodbye to my apartment": Ukrainian actress, who escaped from the "DNR", spoke about the lawlessness that reigns in the region
Actress Olena Khokhlatkina, who for many years was the prima donna of the Donetsk Ukrainian Music and Drama Theater, left the city with her husband, the star of the TV series "Spiymaty Kaidasha," Viktor Zhdanov, and their schoolboy son at the outbreak of war. All the past of the star couple's life, including their property and favorite job, remained in their hometown.
In a conversation with OBOZ.UA, the actress admitted that she still pays utility bills for her Donetsk apartment, but suspects that she will soon lose this property. According to her, the so-called "DPR" has adopted new laws.
"I have an apartment, but I have almost said goodbye to it in my mind," Khokhlatkina says. "The so-called 'DPR' has adopted new laws, and now the housing of owners who have left has the right to be confiscated in favor of the 'republic'. While the apartment is still standing, a man I have been friends with for many years comes to pay the utility bills. This person also held on for a long time: she did not receive a passport or other documents. She had to use some kind of deception or fiction because you can't openly refuse: they will immediately suspect you. She delayed it for as long as she could."
"I really miss the photos of me and my husband, the albums of my children. I will fight for them," the actress adds. I haven't lived there in ten years, I've bought new books and other things. I had a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's iconic painting The Last Supper in my apartment, which was a gift to me. I liked it very much. When I was leaving, I wanted to take it away. I came up to it and asked it to protect our home. And to wait for us."
The actress is currently working at the Ivan Franko Theater in Kyiv, but she still doesn't have her own place, "We have been renting housing in Kyiv for all these years, and we have never had the money to buy our own. We have already changed apartments and neighborhoods twice. Emotionally, they are also warm and cozy. I do everything for this. We submitted a document to the Ministry of Social Policy and got on the waiting list as internally displaced persons. And the queue was already very long at that time."
Olena Khokhlatkina knows from her own difficult experience what life is like for Ukrainians who, like her, have lost their entire past because of the war, "Since 2014, the word 'hold on' has become very annoying to me. It does nothing for anyone. It does not help anyone. The only thing that will help is people who not only support you with words but also with some deeds, even simple ones. For example, by offering a cup of coffee. I remember when we were leaving Donetsk, we would stop to spend the night or just see our friends. And everyone shared what they could. It was so touching. we didn't ask for anything. We had enough to eat, but I will never forget those 200 hryvnias that were quietly put in my pocket. It was such a sign of unity and support. I'm grateful to my fate that I meet such people."
"My life before 2014 was comfortable, calm and planned. I was sure that everything would be the same in the future. A family, a job in the theater, an apartment and a piece of land where I grow vegetables and am very proud of the harvest. And then I had to leave it all behind. The absence of home is a huge loss because it is a place of strength, where you take energy. It's also a piece of that land. And the incredible pain you feel when you lose it... no one can really understand it except you and writers or philosophers who think in images. Those who have experienced it themselves will also understand," the artist adds.
Read the full interview with People's Artist of Ukraine Olena Khokhlatkina on OBOZ.UA on Monday, December 11.