We talked to Andrey Goopsa — is a designer from Kharkiv, just a year ago
at the first weeks of the war. On that time, Russian army attacked Ukraine with five front lines. Murders of civilian people in Bucha, merciless bombing of AzovSteel plant and many others commitments of russian army is still ahead. As that real face which "second world army" will demonstrate to all of us.
But rocket attacks of civil and residential infrastructure for achieving their political aims, Russia started to do it from the first days of full scale invasion. At the same time, Andrey rolled out the project on his own Instagram page
, demonstrating how did Ukrainian cities looked like before and after Russian army. We need to notice, that the army assured everyone that they do not bomb residential infrastructure, schools and hospitals.
Since one year of the war a lot of things have happened. Including things that showed a great possibility Ukrainian army not only to protect but also take back our own territories. Inspiring army of Ukraine, Andrey decided to make his project wider, and now he shows what kind will be Ukrainian cities after the war.
— Hi Andrey! We talked in March last year. How is Kharkiv in March 2022 different from Kharkiv in March 2023?
— A lot has changed. Now the city lives and looks to the future. Our military was able to liberate the area and the city itself became much calmer, although not completely. Transport, shops, cafes work. People are trying to live a normal life and want Ukraine to win as soon as possible.
— Your project has also changed a lot in a year. You started creating works in which Ukrainian cities are shown after the war.
— Yes, this year Ukraine has made serious progress in the fight against the occupiers — this is very inspiring, so inspiring things began to appear in my project. In addition to the works in which I show how the cities looked before and after the shelling of the Russian army, I began to think about the future and imagine how the cities of Ukraine would look after the war, after restoration.
I am sure that when Ukraine wins, recovers and rebuilds, it will look much more beautiful and modern than it was before the war.
Cities of Ukraine after the war.
© Andrey Goopsa
— In addition to the visual transformation of cities in Ukraine, you show cities in Europe — how they were during the Second World War and how they look now.
— Yes, this is also about inspiration for the future. I want to show, first of all to the Ukrainians, that Europe was once destroyed too. But now, for the most part, she looks very nice and modern. For example, Warsaw, which is not far from us, was completely rebuilt after the Second World War. Therefore, everything will be restored, and everything will be even better than it was before the war.
Destroyed European cities after restoration.
© Andrey Goopsa
— Interest in your project in Ukrainian and Western media is quite large. Did you expect this?
— No. To be honest, I didn't think about it at all.
— Is this interest always positive or negative?
— The negative that I remember was about my video about Russian cities. I showed how backward cities in Russia could look like if the Russian authorities spent money not on a war with us, but on their improvement and development. Judging by the comments, residents of such settlements saw this video and began to write that I was wrong, but what they were doing was right.
Terrible view of Russian cities due to huge military spending.
© Andrey Goopsa
— In addition to architecture, you also show how some personalities looked or were perceived before the war, and how they look and are perceived now.
— Yes, this is one of the most powerful transformations, in my opinion. How is Putin now seen outside of Russia? His words are worth nothing, he is talking nonsense... The President of Ukraine, on the contrary, has become a self-confident, strong leader, cheering for Ukraine. Although there were those who expected him to show weakness. For example, that he will leave Ukraine.
I just wanted to show it in one picture.
Volodymyr Zelenskyi and Vladimir Putin before and after February 24, 2022.
© Andrey Goopsa
— Yes, it really makes a strong impression. You also make a printed NENKA magazine. Tell me about it.
— The idea appeared almost from the beginning of the war, to try somehow, not only informationally, to help their country. The magazine is printed, sold, and all proceeds go to the territorial defense.
I would like to believe that the magazine is also of historical value. Everyone who purchased it will have something from the past associated with this war. It is printed in Ivano-Frankivsk, because at the time when I started to publish it, it was impossible to publish something in Kharkov.
The first two numbers collected about ₴40,000. Now I'm planning the third one, I want it to be more inspiring.
— How did you manage to organize exhibitions in Austria, Poland and Spain?
— People just find me and offer to show these works to draw even more attention to Russia's war against Ukraine.
— What are the plans for the project?
— It seems to me that such and similar projects will be important even after the war. So that Ukraine and the world do not forget what war is, and that it was just recently. No more detail allowed!
Interview: Sergey Gutakovsky