Interview with Dmytro
Co-Founder of WERUSH
I reached out to Dmytro from WERUSH in October last year in order to cover the skate scene in Ukraine and we only completed the interview end of January 2022. I did not feel right to release it as the war just broke out. However, I changed my mind when I asked Dmytro how he and his family are keeping up. His response was very raw and emotional. Dmytro agreed to publish it along with his initial interview.
Can you tell us something about Ukraine people don’t know?
Do not even know. Kiev is the capital of Ukraine.
Tell us something about yourself?
My name is Dmitro. I was born and raised in Kiev. I have been skating since 2004 and now I am 34. My friend Alex Koniev and I created a board brand and a team called WERUSH.
How big is the current skateboard community in Ukraine?
There are suggestions that there are at least 10,000 people but I am not sure. I notice that more and more new people appear on the main spots every season.
What are some of the main skate shops?
radiusshop.com.ua, stuff shop.com, boardshop.ua
Are there any local brands apart from your board company?
I can name Papa Power, Play, Born, Workers. Only the lazy do not make their brands of boards in Ukraine.
‘Inspires you to do what you love. The universe will surely at some point create the necessary conditions for further development.’
How many skateparks are there and where?
There are a lot of skateparks all over Ukraine. These are mainly wooden structures from High Park installed on an asphalt surface. In 2017, the first concrete skatepark in Ukraine was opened in Odessa. Then we held the first international competition in honor of the opening. In 2021 they built the same in Kiev and in Dnieper.
On youtube I found a clip about ‘An inspirational story of biggest skate park in Ukraine’. However, it is not in English. Can you tell why its story inspirational?
Inspires you to do what you love. The universe will surely at some point create the necessary conditions for further development.
How has the skateboard scene changed since the introduction of this skatepark?
Level has risen significantly. On the street it is much more common to meet skateboarders passing by. Everyone now rides in the skatepark, and at the same time everyone forgot about street style.
Where are some of the main street spots?
According to my version, this is the Mariinsky Park, Postova Square, the Opera House.
Have any skate teams been visiting Ukraine lately?
As far as I know, no.
Who are some of the talented local skaters at the moment?
I only know of Sve Yurchenko and her kick flip posted by Tony Hawk. Nikolai Kravchenko, Yegor Tunik, Yura Korotun, Sasha Groshevoj, Bogdan Porada and many more.
What are some of the challenges skateboarding in the Ukraine faces today?
No indoor skate park in winter!
If you could interview a person, who would it be and why?
Andrew Reynolds because he is the boss.
What are some of the challenges people in general face in the Ukraine
War with Russia and pandemic.
Are there any tensions between Russian and Ukrainian skateboarders?
Question asked on 27 Feb 2022
What is the situation now?
The war, which is shown to Russian people by their government is a complete scam. They are convinced that they are saving us from fascists! Propaganda on its best on a massive scale. When in fact it is them who are fascists! They invaded my country, bombing our cities, killing innocent people! Every Russian is to blame for this! Because of their ignorance, bigotry and silence. They are afraid to express their disagreement with authorities. As a result, we have a dictatorship that is committing genocide of the Ukrainian people. I woke up at 5 am from the sound of rocket explosion just near my house. They attacked the whole country with the help of Lukashenko from Belarus. I spend nights in a bomb shelter with my family. At night there are gun fights on the streets. Turns out “sleeping agents” have been living here before the invasion and now they are committing attacks and killing people. I had to take arms to protect my family and my country!
What can the outside world do to support you guys?
Spread the word ! Don’t be silent. Put pressure on your leaders! Today we are under attack, tomorrow you! Putin must be stopped.
‘They are afraid to express their disagreement with authorities. As a result,we have a dictatorship that is committing genocide of the Ukrainian people.’
My heart and thoughts are with the Ukrainian People.
May this madness be over soon.