My name is Grytsko. I was born in Omsk, Russia. My father Andriy is a Ukrainian, he is a descendant of former political prisoners who were deported to Siberia from Rivne region. His family never forgot about Ukraine – they were always secret- ly celebrating Christmas and Easter. His family always had a lot of Ukrainian books by Franko, Shevchenko, Lesia Ukrainka and others. Parents taught children to keep silent about traditions in their family. However, the spirit of Ukrainian heritage remained in their hearts.
My mother Daria was also brought up in the Ukrainian family. In 1970, her parents went to work in Chukotka and stayed there for 32 years. They were spending their every holiday in Ukraine staying in Stakhanov, Luhansk region. My grandparents are largely involved in my upbringing.
My grandfather, originally from the Ivano-Frankivsk region, spent 10 years in prison camps and was rehabilitat- ed in 1956. In the past I actively participated in the work of the center of Ukrainian culture “Siryi Klyn” [tr. Grey Wedge] in Omsk where I read poetry and learned dramatic art. After some disagreements my family left the center and created its own family club of Ukrainian language and culture “Zbizhzhia” [tr. Grain]. My family actively supports Ukraine, which often provokes aggressive reaction from some town residents, including our neighbors. But we do not give up. We have visited the grave of Pavlo Grabovskiy in Tobolsk (Tumen region, Russia), attended official opening of the monument to Taras Shevchenko in Novosibirsk, organized the march of traditional Ukrainian embroi- dered shirts in Omsk, etc. We always had a Ukrainian fl ag with us at all these events. I love Ukraine. I am proud to be Ukrainian and I want to visit this country one day. This is what my picture is about.