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"This is bad news". Andrii Dzhedzhula on his visit to the TCC, the divorce of his ex-wife, Santi Dimopoulos, and the courts for his daughter

Andrii Dzhedzhula

The popular actor, TV presenter and showman Andrii Dzhedzhula told how the war changed his life and attitude towards his colleagues in the show business. He also shared news from his eventful personal life.

In a conversation with OBOZ.UA, the artist admitted how often he sees his son from singer Santa Dimopoulos, who lives with his children abroad. He also told us whether he manages to communicate with his daughter from his marriage to blogger Yulia Reus, who also found temporary refuge from the war in another country with her family.

– Andrii, a question, as they say, on the spur of the moment: have you updated your military registration data in the TCC?

– I'm in the process of doing so – I plan to finalize the issue this week. I'm going to pass the military qualification commission and everything else necessary. I am a reserve officer, a senior lieutenant. But I have never served, only studied at the military department at Shevchenko University. I am a military lawyer by profession.

– How did your life change during the war?

– I did not leave Kyiv from the first day of the invasion. I was looking for ways to be useful. I tried to reach out to my Russian-speaking audience on social media. It seemed to me that people did not fully understand, they were misled, they were not being given the right information. But then, when I faced the harsh reality, I stopped trying to prove anything. In early March, I was among the defenders of the Zhulyany airport, and several times took paramedic and tactical training courses. I had everything I needed – bulletproof vest and everything else – with me since 2014, when my cousin went to war. But there was also something quite funny in this clothing: protective knee pads against rollerblades, brightly colored sneakers - a kind of Pokémon.

''This is bad news''. Andrii Dzhedzhula on his visit to the TCC, the divorce of his ex-wife, Santi Dimopoulos, and the courts for his daughter

I realized that the guys needed a lot of things, and when the occupiers withdrew from Kyiv, I started volunteering. We brought aid from Poland and other parts of Europe. I still go to hot spots. I have just returned from Kharkiv and Izyum. The second area of my work is charity auctions. I consider myself a champion in organizing such events. I can even sell air – I'm famous for that. In addition, there are not many hosts of my level left in Ukraine. I held my first event in March 2022. The most recent was a Ukrainian charity event at the Cannes Film Festival.

''This is bad news''. Andrii Dzhedzhula on his visit to the TCC, the divorce of his ex-wife, Santi Dimopoulos, and the courts for his daughter

What did the war change in me? The attitude towards our show business has changed very seriously. I remember the conversations before the invasion. "What will you do if the war starts?" – "I will defend the country with weapons," they answered. But as soon as it started, I called some of these colleagues. "I'm already in western Ukraine, taking my family out," they explained why they couldn't help us. It turns out that there were a lot of people who were ready to do something before, but it turned out to be just words.

To be honest, I don't have a bad attitude towards people who left the country. Everyone reacts differently to danger – let's be honest. But my attitude towards people who pretend to be soldiers or volunteers but have nothing to do with it has changed a lot. We saw a lot of them during the war. And vice versa, many of them had good qualities, but we somehow did not notice them, and now we have. I know people who, with their profession, could easily find a good job in any country in the world. And since the beginning of the war, they have been delivering meals to the places that are most heavily shelled by the enemy. And I have other friends who rented apartments in Kyiv and went abroad to enjoy all the benefits provided to Ukrainians there. At the same time, they did nothing for Ukraine.

– What do you think, for example, about Oleg Vynnyk, who left the country during the war and has since disappeared from public life?

– I never understood what happened to him. It's a strange situation, the fans of this singer are people from Ukraine. And he still hasn't said much about the war. Why? He has never been popular in Russia, they don't know about him there. His most important audience is here, and he at least squeezed "stop the war!" out of himself. They said something about him being depressed and so on. In his only interview since the beginning of the full-scale war, he said that he was "on his own front." And what is this front? Unfortunately, we have a lot of people who like to say that.

I stopped speaking Russian in public altogether. I can with my friends, but in social media, videos, and posts, I cultivate the idea that people should speak Ukrainian. But I do not condemn those who have not yet done so. And I'm sure that we shouldn't force them to, because sometimes it has the opposite effect. Frankly speaking, I am not impressed by many of the harsh statements made by linguist Iryna Farion. Especially if this intolerance toward Russian-speaking people concerns the military. In many places we visited, such as Chasiv Yar, near Bakhmut, we met many military men who spoke Russian. But that makes them no less patriotic than others. And even if these guys do not yet know how to speak Ukrainian fluently, all this will come with time – there is no need to push.

''This is bad news''. Andrii Dzhedzhula on his visit to the TCC, the divorce of his ex-wife, Santi Dimopoulos, and the courts for his daughter

– You mentioned your brother, Brigadier Yuriy Sinkovsky, where is he now?

– He is my cousin, our mothers are sisters. He was the commander of the 129th separate territorial defense brigade. Now he is retired for health reasons. He works as an advisor to the head of the Kryvyi Rih State Administration. Inside, in his soul, he is a completely military man.

– What does he tell you about the timing of the end of the war?

– A military man does not talk about such things. No matter who you are to him, he always answers questions in generalities. He will never scare you. My brother speaks about everything in a controlled manner: "Everything is fine, we are holding on". And you can't get anything else out of him. He never complained, even when it was very difficult. Everything is always fine with him. And those who say that everything is bad are either panickers or people who do not have access to information. They give an assessment based solely on a local situation, without knowing the big picture.

My opinion is that events can develop according to two scenarios. It will be a very long war. The second option is that it will be over next year. They say that everything can happen suddenly. However, I don't understand what it means: fighters on both sides stop and disperse? Something doesn't add up. The only thing that is likely, in my opinion, is the removal of Putin: either he dies or something else happens. And his entourage will sing: "We didn't do it, we were hostages of the situation." This option is possible.

I am not inclined to think that all Russians have gone mad. There are people with common sense in the opposition who left that country. There are Russians who are here with weapons to protect us. So in many ways, it is for their sake that I cannot afford to call all Russians shit. It also seems to me that many of those who publicly support the Kremlin's aggression actually know very well that they are wrong. They realize what a mess the country is in. But you have to be a strong person to be able to admit mistakes. And this is not about them. Is that why you don't wear Western clothes? We'll wear our own clothes. We don't need the dollar, we'll go with the yuan. But this is absurd, any restriction is bad.

– Andrii, do you still have friends there?

– My mother's best friend, who took me to kindergarten as a child, is Russian. She has lived in Kyiv all her life, but she has a Russian passport and this year she moved to Russia. It was becoming increasingly difficult to communicate with her - she is a stubborn patriot of her country. But her move to Russia is most likely not related to her political position. She fell ill with a serious illness and went to her sister, who volunteered to take care of her. I also have a friend there. When we talked to him at the beginning of the invasion, he said: "Andriy, this will all end quickly, you'll see." But over time, the rhetoric of the conversations began to change - everyone is being seriously brainwashed there. When he later started his own thing, that everything was not so clear, I said: "Answer me one question: "Who started this war? Who attacked the neighbors?" For some time, we tried not to even talk about all this in order to preserve our relationship. And now we haven't talked at all for a year.

''This is bad news''. Andrii Dzhedzhula on his visit to the TCC, the divorce of his ex-wife, Santi Dimopoulos, and the courts for his daughter

– Tell us, how often do you see your son, who moved abroad with his mother, singer and former member of the band VIA Gra, since the beginning of the invasion?

– We are in touch with him every day by video, sometimes several times a day. He now lives in Dubai. The first time I saw him since February 2022 was a year later, when I went abroad on a volunteer mission. It took me two days to get to France, where he lived at the time, to stay with him for a little more than one day. And the next time we saw each other was when he came to visit me in Kyiv for almost a month in December last year. We did a lot of work on his health, had surgery to correct a deviated nasal septum - he is allergic. Now everything is fine, he controls his health with the help of medicines that were prescribed for him. He plans to come to me again this summer.

''This is bad news''. Andrii Dzhedzhula on his visit to the TCC, the divorce of his ex-wife, Santi Dimopoulos, and the courts for his daughter

– What language do you use to communicate with him?

- We communicate in three languages. We speak Ukrainian, Russian, and English. He is also learning Spanish now. At school, he speaks English. I sometimes catch myself thinking that sometimes I write to him in Russian, and then I say to myself: "Okay, dude, stop!"

– Do you talk to his mom now?

– Let's be honest: we parted ways with his mom calmly. It was only later that some unpleasant things started, but I didn't start it first. So it happened that we had no contact for years. I kept in touch exclusively with my son. He has a card that is linked to my account. We agreed on the amount of money he would receive from me per month for personal expenses. And we started communicating with his mother on January 1 of this year. She wrote to me herself about issues concerning Daniel. But I can't say that we have close communication now – we talk exclusively about what is in the area of her son's interests. Well, in principle, that's how it should be, I think.

''This is bad news''. Andrii Dzhedzhula on his visit to the TCC, the divorce of his ex-wife, Santi Dimopoulos, and the courts for his daughter

– When she announced her divorce from businessman Igor Kucherenko on social media in April, how did people react?

– I think it's bad news. My son lived in the environment he was used to, and now it's all changing. Frankly, I want to say that Santa's husband and I got along very easily. We communicated with him from time to time, when some issues related to our son required it. And now I will need to build a relationship with someone else again, and my son will need to get used to it. But unlike my ex-wives, I wish them only happiness. And I want the men they choose to be good people, because my children are with their mothers.

''This is bad news''. Andrii Dzhedzhula on his visit to the TCC, the divorce of his ex-wife, Santi Dimopoulos, and the courts for his daughter

– You are also divorced from your second wife, blogger Yulia Reus. Do you keep in touch with your daughter Adelina, who lives with her mother?

– Now I talk to Adelina twice a week by phone, thanks to a court order. Before that, I didn't even know where she lived. Her mother took her to Poland when I had a decision from the guardianship council that I had the right to take the child to my place three days a week. My mother had claims that there should be a transition period for the child to get used to it. So I started going to the kindergarten every day. But I didn't take Adele for overnight stays, although I had the right to do so, so as not to traumatize her, and I worked with psychologists. However, her mother at one point packed up and left with the child, simply warning me not to come to see my daughter for a while. She said she was going to her parents in western Ukraine. And two days later she wrote to me that they had decided not to return, but to go to Warsaw.

Now we have virtually no relationship with my daughter's mother, we correspond only officially. I have no intention of returning Adelina to Ukraine without her mother's wish. But if she were to return, I would prefer to participate in her upbringing. This is not like when people share a hotel or some land. This is not a financial issue, but a moral one. I am a conscientious father who is not deprived of any rights, I have no court restrictions. I want to take part in my child's upbringing.

''This is bad news''. Andrii Dzhedzhula on his visit to the TCC, the divorce of his ex-wife, Santi Dimopoulos, and the courts for his daughter

– Andriy, maybe we should wait until your daughter grows up and decides for herself that communication with her father is important to her?

– Tell me, do you have children? Two girls, you say? Can you give your children to some person for nothing now? Can you give them up for eight years, or five years, I don't know? This is why there is such discrimination. We are moving towards Europe, towards a liberal society. Why did someone decide that the article of the Family Code, which provides for equal rights of parents, and most importantly, equal rights of a child to receive comprehensive upbringing from both parents, should not be in effect? A child can forget that he or she has a father.

I raised my son until he was five years old after the divorce. He lived with my parents from the age of one to five. And I took my daughter (also after the divorce) from seven months to nine months old for a day on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Three times a week she was with me as a baby, and my mother had no questions. So why would there be questions now that I can't handle a three-year-old daughter? The only difference between a father and a mother is the ability to breastfeed. Everything else can be done in half - either by a man or a woman. In our country, everyone can drive, everyone goes to work equally, but when it comes to raising a child, the mother's right is a priority.

You can ask the neighbors – not a single person characterizes me negatively as a father, not even Yulia herself. The very fact that she gave me the child three times a week only shows that she recognizes that I am a conscientious father. I want to be able to pass on to my daughter everything that my parents put into me – my attitude to life, to money, to people. All the values that should be instilled in her from an early age. You know, when we lived together with Yulia and I heard her say to her eldest daughter, indifferently: "Your father is on the phone," I didn't attach any importance to it. I thought, well, there must be some kind of story there. And now I found myself in the same situation.

''This is bad news''. Andrii Dzhedzhula on his visit to the TCC, the divorce of his ex-wife, Santi Dimopoulos, and the courts for his daughter

– Do you keep in touch with your eldest daughter Yulia, who became the wife of former Dynamo player and Ukraine defender Ilya Zabarnyi?

– No, not in any way. At one time, she and her mother lived in Solomianka, and she went to school there. And then I enrolled her in a school that was very difficult to get into, but it was located right next to the house where we already lived together. Angelina was very offended by me, saying that all her friends stayed there. But it was at this school that she met Ilya Zabarny. They started dating at the age of 15 or 16.

''This is bad news''. Andrii Dzhedzhula on his visit to the TCC, the divorce of his ex-wife, Santi Dimopoulos, and the courts for his daughter

– What do you do for a living now?

– I work for the Kyiv TV channel. I host private events, the fees for which have become smaller, and this is understandable. It's hard for people now. For some time, my savings helped me out - I saved up for a new car before the invasion. But that money was quickly spent on volunteer work, and no new income came in. The first year and a half were frankly the worst in the industry. And I don't have a chewing gum kiosk in Hydropark to insure me. Now it's a little easier. But when I hear that some events are not timely now, I want to answer: in this case, it is not the time to bake pies and sell them, it is not the time to repair teeth. Life goes on, and the main thing is that people should remember what a difficult period we are in now. And no matter how many good deeds we do, it is not enough while our soldiers are dying. We have to do something all the time.

''This is bad news''. Andrii Dzhedzhula on his visit to the TCC, the divorce of his ex-wife, Santi Dimopoulos, and the courts for his daughter

– Like every public person, there are a lot of rumors about you. Is it true that you had an affair with Katia Buzhynska and even wanted to get married?

– No, it was within the framework of a video recording with Katia, when she was shooting a music video. I played the part of her lover who proposes to her. Everything was scripted. But modern journalism likes to come up with sensational headlines. Now Katia and I are friends, and she has a wonderful foreign husband.

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