Ukrainian TikTok star Valeria Shashinok: How important is the vault humor? | BR . culture stage

Things that make sense when you live in a basementIt is the name of the video on TikTok that made Valeria Shashinok famous all over the world. The 20-year-old Ukrainian showed excerpts from her life after the invasion of the country on February 24 as @valerisssh on the video platform – it has already been dubbed “Modern Anna Frank” Now published a short book It tells of her life before the war, and about the bunker and her escape.

Simon Stern: First things first: How are you?

Valeria Shashinok: I’m tired, but I’m fine. Maybe I’m too tired because I want to feel at home. I’m on the road a lot but never at home.

Your videos from a bunker turned into a shelter in Chernihiv, near Kyiv, made you famous. It showed the bombed city and complicate life in the basement in tik tok style. Why was it important for you not only to leave the press coverage in Ukraine to journalists, but also to show something on social media yourself?

Ukrainian TikToker Valerisssh shows the world what life is like in Ukraine through social media |  Photo: BBC News Daily (via YouTube)

Ukrainian TikToker Valerisssh shows the world what life is like in Ukraine through social media

Personally, I wasn’t really interested in wars in other countries before. I knew they existed, for example between Palestine and Israel or in Syria, but I could not imagine anything. That’s why I use TikTok, because I also want to show young people what is happening in a very close country. I’m in Germany now and from here I think it will take a 10 hour drive to the Ukrainian border – and there is a war there. In Ukraine, someone is sitting in a cellar now and I am sitting in the hotel lobby, these spirits are completely different.


Another Instagram by valerisssh |  Photo: valerisssh (via Instagram)

There is always black humor in your videos. For example, you “thank” Putin for destroying Chernihiv and the most famous video clip, in which you show everything that makes sense in the bunker, is probably not meant to be taken seriously. Is this the only way to face war?

I don’t think if I were a gloomy person it wouldn’t help my country either. That is why I decided to respond to this terrible situation with humor. I think humor is part of our Ukrainian culture. I have many friends and friends of friends who are still in the country. They also make jokes about the situation and that we will definitely win.

It’s weird. I know people in Ukraine who are much worse off than me. For example, I was not raped. But, if people want to call me some kind of modern Anne Frank, it’s up to them, but I don’t feel like the “new” Anne Frank.

Your parents are still in Chernihiv. I ran away after two weeks. Why did you decide to do this?

I felt like my life had stopped. Every day it was the same. I woke up and checked the news, I was bored. I was sitting there underground and suddenly my videos went viral. I felt I could be useful. Even before the war I wanted to help people, do something useful – and then I did it this way. After 17 days I left, there was no internet, no phone, no water, no gas. This is not human life. I asked a woman while running if I was doing the right thing. She said everyone should decide for themselves. But I don’t know what my parents would do if I was killed. I’m glad I’m alive.


Another Instagram by valerisssh |  Photo: valerisssh (via Instagram)

In the book “February 24…The Sky Is Blue No More” she tells short tales about the experience of escape, but also about your life before the invasion and the time you spent in the bunker. You have dedicated it to the Russian people of all people. why is that?

Not many Russians know what is happening in Ukraine. I hope some will read and understand the book. I know that many Russians live in Germany and I hope they read this.

You are now living with a host family in Milan. Show on Instagram how happy you are in Italy Grechka (pointed out. red: buckwheat) for a typical Ukrainian dish. The Russian invasion is also aimed at erasing Ukrainian culture. How do you maintain your culture – apart from typical dishes?

I listen to Ukrainian music. And I talk a lot about Ukraine, about our national dress, about our Ukrainian culture. I have a feeling that now Ukrainian culture can be found everywhere, for example in ESC.


Another Instagram by valerisssh |  Photo: valerisssh (via Instagram)

In your book you also talk about your life before the war. You had a “dream map”, which is a collection of things that you dream about. For example touching an elephant, beautiful houses, countries you want to travel to. What will be on this map now?

no thing. Only peace for Ukraine. That might sound a little patriotic. But I wish as many people as possible could live.

Your father asked you to stay in Ukraine for a long time because tomorrow could be better. Do you believe in a better tomorrow?

Maybe in three years, maybe next year, maybe in ten years. I hope it all ends tomorrow, but unfortunately I don’t think so. I am tired of living in countries that are not my country.

The first story was published “February 24th..the sky is no longer blue”.

Report on TikTok star Valeria Shashenok also ran at kulturWelt on May 18, which you here Listen and subscribe.

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