Recruiters Standing With Ukraine

by | Mar 8, 2022


On Friday one of our own recruitment community, Anastasia Yalanskaya, was killed delivering aid to a dog shelter near Kyiv. She was 26. “Friends do not know why she was targeted, but believe Russian troops are increasingly killing civilians at random as a way to scare the population into submission.” 💔

Since the 24th February, I have spent a lot of time staring at Messenger looking for the green active dot or ‘active x minutes ago’ notification, and exhaling as I see the many Ukrainians I know still ‘appear’ to be ‘OK’.

Of course, they’re not OK. They are experiencing things we cannot comprehend. 💔

Twice I’ve been to Kyiv (but only this week learned the importance of using this correct spelling!) and both times I was invited by powerhouse women, Alexandra Gorodova & Taya Mliuzan (pictured), and Oksana Kikhtenko and her team, who have created separate events that enrich their communities of HR and recruiting professionals.

Alexandra Gorodova and Taya Mliuzan

Both times I felt welcomed by every person I met, at the event and in the city. 💙💛

Since the 24th, I’ve been in a private group, incomprehensibly experiencing the life of Karen-Marie Kragelund, CEO & Founder of KmK & Partners, as she fled her adopted home of Kyiv after 15 years. Forced to leave her life, possessions, network and friends, but still taking the time to share the horrors and kindnesses she experienced along the way.

Wanting to do more than just send love and light, I asked what more we could do.

Keep working with & supporting Ukrainian businesses 🇺🇦

Vlada Liashchenko, Managing Partner of CNA International IT Recruitment, was on holiday in Berlin when her country was invaded and now she and her husband are displaced.

This is a photo of her team from a few weeks ago. It is captioned with “We are in love. Finally and irrevocably. We are in love with the work we do. In love with their profession! Some would say we’re lucky. Let’s not deny it, but just wish the same to you! Love your work, and let it be mutual. ❤️ “

How swiftly things can change.

Ukraine: Photo of the CNA International team

Thankfully, Vlada (6th from the right) has friends in Berlin but getting longer term accommodation is proving challenging and then there is the task of the legal procedures to stay. But she doesn’t want to stay, she wants to return home… just like we all would.

When I asked her how we can help, she said two things:

  1. ‘We organised a movement to buy medical supplies for Ukrainians’ and you can support it here, via her husband’s post. “I have been in contact with a German Surgeon – Uwe Matschke who will be purchasing medicine and first aid supplies on behalf of us, here in Germany, but we really need your help. “
  2. Help my team! In an article for Recruiter Magazine she said, “Local companies in Ukraine have generally put recruitment on hold. However, international clients based outside of Ukraine – “we have clients from Canada, the US, Africa, Asia, Australia” – are supporting the business by hiring Ukraine-based candidates on a remote basis and also recruiting EU-based Ukrainians and relocating them to other countries.” Vlada’s colleague, Taya, messaged me similarly, “we need lots of international projects. The team needs them to survive in breaks of helping to win the war.”

Olga KotovaOlga Kotova Ukraine 2019, freelance tech recruiter & founder of OKHiring, who I met at Oksana’s conference in 2019, messaged me similarly. “now we are trying to survive and not lose heart. There will be a crisis in our country for several years and we are now looking for options where and how we will build ours anew. What will help me personally is to help find clients to do my job.”

Please don’t take away work from Ukrainians, wherever they are in the world, because they need it to support each other. Pay them promptly. Ask them how you can help.

1. More Ways To Donate & Support

On top of donating to the DEC, some ways to support I have seen include:

Ukraine AirBNB
  • Also, I am an Ambassador for Hope for Justice and they are deeply concerned that women and children traveling alone could end up trafficked. Please read more here.

I’ve seen so many posts and ultimately you have to choose what feels right to you. And please use your common sense to keep your data secure.

2. Share Information

These are only the ones I know of. Keep your eyes peeled for more. And please share.

3. Support all refugees ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽

Reading this report of violence and racism towards refugees by Ukrainian military at the Polish border is hard to stomach. It is ironic that those who proudly support their leader have forgotten how Zelensky’s own family has been persecuted and don’t show compassion.

If you choose to support refugees, support ALL refugees.

4. Stop the spread of dis- & misinformation

Disinformation: is “false information, as about a country’s military strength or plans, disseminated by a government or intelligence agency in a hostile act of tactical political subversion.” It is also used more generally to mean “deliberately misleading or biased information; manipulated narrative or facts; propaganda.”

Misinformation: is “false information that is spread, regardless of intent to mislead. Misinformation doesn’t care about intent, and so is simply a term for any kind of wrong or false information. Today, misinformation spreads very easily thanks to technology.”

Here is a Twitter thread explaining how to fact check ‘information’ before you pass it on. And please don’t judge others for falling for dis- or misinformation, those of us in the UK & US know a lot about its impact – just look at the last decade in our histories.

When I feel despair from my Ukrainian friends, it is mostly about propaganda. They feel the propaganda is too hard to fight against. 😢

Chatting to a Ukrainian recruiter while writing this and she said, “I know people who receive texts from THEIR PARENTS in Russia while they are sitting in a bomb shelter saying “we are clearing you of fascism”, “there are no Russians there shooting”, “you shoot yourself” etc.”

This is the propaganda machine at work.

It does seem bleak, especially when you hear that on Friday “the president signed a bill introducing a prison sentence of up to 15 years for those spreading information that goes against the Russian government’s narrative on the war in Ukraine.” while restricting access to Twitter and Facebook. And then you also hear that Google & TripAdvisor disabled reviews after people used them to spread the truth about the war.

We can easily read about this impact in our free countries; here is one from the BBC, Protests across Russia see thousands detained, and while writing this, I read of foreign journalists fleeing Russia and news outlets, like the BBC and ITV, being shut down. There is also this video from a Russian serviceman captured in Ukraine; he talks of brainwashing.

Educate yourself, educate others, look beyond the headlines. Get the facts. We will have to get creative to get the truth through. No, sadly, I don’t have the answer. But we must try.

5. Don’t throw stones

Already I have had to delete far too many comments from people who will never understand what it is like to grow up in a country where freedom of speech is not a given, and speaking up can lead to the harshest of penalties. People who genuinely believe that all Russians are full of hate and support their leader.

The irony of some thinking their country is the greatest in the world, while they too fall victim to home-grown tyrants who try to control the life-choices of others. Before you spread hate or judgement, check your own backyard. Has your country helped keep Putin in power through the laundering of money? Like right here in London; I challenge anyone to watch this and still feel holier than thou.

Unless you were born and raised in Russia or the former USSR, you have no comprehension of what it is really like. Dig deep and find compassion for the people repressed by the propaganda machine they don’t know they are a victim of. Send them love. Send it with hope that they will wake up and see that they only know what they know because “the president can sign a bill introducing a prison sentence of up to 15 years for those spreading information that goes against the Russian government’s narrative on the war in Ukraine.”

In the same way that I was welcomed in Kyiv, I have been welcomed in Moscow, and I don’t believe that any of the Russians that I met want this war with the Ukraine.

This is a time to lead with heart.

Let us use compassion.

Let us unite.

Let us all #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦


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