Media with focus on geography and the people of Ukraine
Ukraїner – online publication with focus on geography and people was founded in June 2016 by Ukrainian blogger and traveler Bohdan Lohvynenko. The project aims at discovering and presenting little-known places of Ukraine to Ukrainians and to the international audience. Together with his team Lohvynenko is travelling around the country and is reporting on their discoveries by means of texts, photos and videos.
Web site of Ukraїner comprises three sections: people, places and food. Text materials (mostly longreads) are available in five languages – Ukrainian, English, Polish, German and Russian, video subtitles are also available in French, Italian and Georgian. Musical tracks used in the videos have been provided free of charge by over a hundred of Ukrainian bands.
Ukraїner team has already made three expeditions, the fourth is yet to come. Researchers have traveled to the regions of Poltava, Zakarpattia and Pryazovia (parts of Donetsk, Zaporizhia and Kherson regions by the Sea of Azov). “We focus on human stories of common people, on their small victories, on little cultural events as well as on what is going on in the periphery and usually passes by the media,” explained Bohdan Lohvynenko. “People in those places are sincere, interesting and true. This is the Ukraine that is worth showing to not only Ukrainians but to Europeans as well,” said Pavlo Pashko, cameraman of Ukraїner project. Thanks to the expeditions and to the attention they get, local people sometimes get surprised to learn that the things they’ve used to, are actually something unique to the wider audience – like, for example, a narrow-gauge railway in Zakarpattia. The project also helps establish horizontal ties between the regions of Ukraine.
Expedition which the team is getting ready to will explore the Ukrainian Polissia (northern and north-western Ukraine). The team will travel from Chornobyl to the Shatski lakes, the route will cover part of Sivershchyna (Chernihiv region) and Sumy region. The expedition will last three days. Researchers also expect that the trip will help deepen the dialogue between common Belarusians, Poles and Ukrainians. They plan to visit 40 places. Among them are the sites that the team plans to use as location for a promotional video of the region. There are about 30 people whom the team plans to interview, shares their plans the project founder Bohdan Lohvynenko at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
“Ukrainian Switzerland” and the Chornobyl exclusion zone
Among the places that the team plans to shoot are Ukraine’s three biggest sweet water lakes: Svitiaz, Bile and Nobel. It is also the area along the Sluch river that is sometimes called “Ukrainian Switzerland”, said Taras Kovalchuk, photographer of the Ukraїner project. Some sites are not even marked on Google Maps as there are almost no roads there. One of the most interesting places is an isolated village where about 20 elderly women currently live. They use boats to get to the nearest town.
The Ukraїner team will also travel to the Chornobyl exclusion zone around the nuclear power plant. “In Chornobyl apart from the usual materials we will be filming the 360ᵒ-video in partnership with the Polish studio The Farm 51. […] We will be filming the plant itself, the exclusion zone, the city of Prypyat and the people who have not left the zone. It will be an opportunity for those who have never been to the Chornobyl exclusion zone, to see it in a virtual way,” said photographer Serhii Korovaynyi. A team of eight will take part in the expedition including a Belarusian cameraman and a Polish photographer.