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Interview with children from Ukraine who escaped from the war

At Youth Culture Center


Child A (girl) & B (girl) and Their Mom


Are you in 5th grade?

A: No I am in 6th grade. I already graduated in Ukraine but in Korea, the new semester didn’t started and I am waiting to become a 6th grader.


When did you come to Korea?

A: I came here on October 3rd, with Olena (the first interviewee). My dad has been in Korea already and I came here with my mom and 2 sisters. My sisters and I lived in Ukraine and my mom visited Korea often. All of my family came to Korea because of the war.



Did you bring all of your belongings to Korea?

A: No I couldn’t bring all of them but brought as many as I could.



Then do you still have your home in Ukraine?

A: My grandparents still live in Ukraine. My grandfather is 52 years old. In Ukraine, all men under the age of 60 can be drafted for military service and he couldn’t leave Ukraine. And married women are not able to leave without their husbands.



Wasn’t it scared to stay in Ukraine?

Mom: It was indeed, of course. We went underground for 2 weeks. And we couldn’t go outside because everyone on the street are shot by guns. After that, we left Ukraine and stayed in Poland for 3 months. We escaped to Poland and prepared for visa at Odesa where my mom was. We came to Korea from Poland. Poland and Romania is close to Ukraine, and people who are in the cities close to Russian are taking a detour to Russia and Moscow.



How did you go to the Poland?

Mom: We took a bus from the countryside to cities, volunteers from the Red Cross rent buses at the city and we moved little by little by bus to Odesa. I have heard there was a train. There are many churches in Poland, many people ask tickets to Goryeo people town.



Do you sleep well?

Mom: Yes, I've been sleeping well since a few days ago when I came here. I think it is because of the jet lag.



Did you sleep well in Ukraine?

Mom: No. I had to stay underground for 2 weeks and I could stay on the ground only when I eat breakfast, wash my face in the morning. 

On February 24th, the day of break out, I woke up by a bright light from the outside. It was the bombs. I woke up by the noise of bomb and the light. I came to Korea few days ago, the sound of airplane still makes me terrified. It is because many bombs were dropped when the airplane flies in Ukraine. When the bombs were dropped we stayed underground. Sometimes the aftereffect of the bombs made the door open.



What is your hobby?

A: I like to draw pictures.

B: I like to play basketball.



What do you want to be in the future?

A: I want to be a painter.

B: I don’t know yet, probably a model?


What do you want people to know about Ukraine?

Mom: We have to believe without giving up. The war would end some day and we would be able to go back to our home. 



Child C (girl) & D (boy)

When did you come to Korea?

We came here on 31st, March, 2022. 


How old are you?

13 and 11.

What did you think when you came to Korea?

C: The scenery is beautiful and parks are so beautiful.

D: The scenery is beautiful and the scenery of Jeju Island looked so beautiful I went there. (Goryeo people town received the funding grant recently and people who came to Korea after the war had a trip to Jeju)



How did your life change after the war in Ukraine? Did it change a lot?

C: I kept staying underground and didn’t go out.

D: I was at the same house with her.



How long did you stay underground?

C: We stayed underground as soon as the war broke out. We stayed there for a week and went to the countryside where my grandmother lives. 



Then you would have not gone to the school. 

C: No I didn’t. I took on-line classes.



Do you contact on-line with your friends?

D: Yes. 



What is your hobby?

C: I like playing basketball.

D: I like playing soccer, basketball, etc.



Is there anyone you respect the most?

C: I respect Ukrainian president the most. 

D: So do I. 



When do you feel happy?

C: I feel happy when I am with my relatives and friends.

D: I feel happy when I am with my family and relatives.



Do you sleep well?

C: I sleep well now.

D: I sometimes have trouble with sleeping, but I usually sleep well.



Have you had a dream about Ukraine when you sleep?

C: No. I don’t have any dream about Ukraine at all.

D: I had a dream about Ukraine once. (male)



What was it about?

D: The dream was about Ukraine won the war.



Do you know the history of Goryeo people?

C: Yes. I have heard of it from my grandmother that it happened long time ago and they were deported by someone.

D: No I don’t.



What do you like and dislike about Korea?

C: Nothing. / I don’t like squid.

D: I like the nice people and beautiful scenery of Korea. / I don’t like spicy food. 


What is your dream in the future?

C: I want to go back to Ukraine again.

D: I want to be a programmer. 




Interview with an adult

Adult, 32 years old


How old are you?

I am 32 years old. 



Where are you from?

I am from Russia and Turkmenistan.



How old was you when you went to Russia?

I was 10 years old and it was in 2000. 



Did you go there with your family? 



Where did you live in Russia? 

I was in St. Petersburg.


When did you come to Korea?

I came here in 2018 and it has been 4 years. 


Why did you come to Korea? 

I came here to study Korean.


Why do you want to study Korean?

Because I am a Goryeo person.


Is your mom living here?

My mom is in Russia working as a nurse in obstetrics and gynecology.


How many siblings do you have?

I have a little brother and elder sister in Russia. I came here alone. 


Have you been to Russia again on holiday or New Year’s Day?

Yes, I went to Russia for a vacation last time. I had to keep working last year, so I took a month off. 


How did you feel when you first came to Korea? 

I went trip to Yeosu Expo for 2 weeks 10 years ago. 


How was your life in Russia?

I worked at Mc Donald’s.


How about you childhood memory, what is your happiest memory in Russia? Or Turkmenistan?

I remember spending time with my family at the two-storied house. 


What do you think is the difference between scenery of Turkmenistan and Korea? How is it in Turkmenistan? 

Turkmenistan’s scenery was better in the old days. I had moved because of the worsened policies.

 (Situations in Turkmenistan is as bad as North Korea, as Turkmenians are not able to go abroad)


Then do people remember when they suffered oppression? 

The things were good in the old days too. The oppression has started since then and I don’t remember much about it. For example there are many ethnics in Turkmenistan, such as Turkmenian and Goryeo, many robbers robbed rich people with their guns. 


Do you remember that time? 

Yes, I had hard times then. My little brother was only 2 years old, and my mom and brother had escaped from them to other’s home and got shocked and collapsed.

Were you at home at that time?



Then do you remember everything about robbers invading?

Yes. They invaded when everyone was sleeping. 


Were they arrested by the police?

Yes. And it was hard for me to recall this memory in the past, but it is okay now.


Do you speak Russian also at home?

Yes. My father was a manager of Goryeo People Community. He used to be an MC whenever there was an event.


Do you know the old history of Goryeo people who were forced to move to Russia? 

No because my father passed away too early to hear that story in person. But I have read about it from a book.


Have you heard of Goryeo Theater?

No, I didn’t know at all before I came to Korea.


What do you like and dislike about Russia?

Everything is good if you live in a big city, but Russia is not a safe country as Korea.


Are there many crimes in Russia?

Yes, there are no CCTVs, surveillants, and police. 


Does police act like gangsters sometimes?

Not all of them, but some of them do. 


What do you like and dislike about Korea?

I like that Korea is safe and there are always jobs. 

But the atmosphere at work is not good. Koreans speak rudely and curse at Goryeo people. (He works at factory), there is racism there.


What is the biggest difference between Russia and Korea?

I think it is good for your mental health to live like Russians because they don’t work that much like Koreans. And there is a wage difference about 10 times. In places like St. Petersburg and Moscow, wages are high, but other cities do not.


Do you sometimes want to go back to Russia?

Sure I do.


When do you want to go back to Russia?

I will go back to Russia when I finish learning Korean because I’ve been here for 4 years but I’m still not good at Korean. 


Are you going to Korean school?

Not now, I studied programming.


How long did you study programming?

I studied programming for about 2 years.


What do you want to do when you finish studying Korean and go back to Russia?

I want to work at Korean embassy or do my own business. 


What is your hobby?

I like to listen to the music and dance.


What kind of music and dance you like?

I love hip-hops.


Do you sing sometimes?



Do you like Korean hip-hop or other countries’?

It doesn’t matter.


Who do you respect the most?

I respect my father the most. He is suffering from diabetes and he was rushed to the emergency room because of COVID-19. And he is not able to walk because of the aftereffects from COVID-19.


What is the most important in your life?

I think my family is the most important. 


When do you feel happy?

I feel happy when my family and friends are healthy, and there is no war.


What do you think of Russia-Ukraine war?

I am praying for and looking forward to the end of the war. Because my little brother could be drafted for military service. I had made a visa to go to Korea and I could’ve came here this October. But recently, many Russian soldiers were drafted and I needed the document that I am discharged. I think it would been delayed because of the war. 


Do you and your brother have to join the military if they draft you?

Yes. But I don’t know yet. And we don’t want to think about it.


What country do you think you are from?

I think of myself as Russian on the inside and Goryeo on the outside. I think Russians are kind.


Is there anything you want Koreans to know about Goryeo people?

I want them to know that we are of the same nation.


What is your dream in the future?

My dream is to live healthy without war.


Victoria: Most of the people now just want the war to end really soon. I hope there is no damage from the war.







Interview with older people (60’s and 70’s)






Female, age -


Are you from Ukraine? 



When did you come here? 

I came here last month (September), and it has been 2 weeks since I came here.


How do you feel? 

(Thumbs up & Smile)


How was your life in Ukraine over the past year? 

It was fine. 


Were you not scared or affected by the war? 

After the war broke out, the sounds of bombs blowing up and planes made me so uncomfortable. 


How was your life in Ukraine before the war? 

Before the war, I lived in my home, going to academy, and farming. (The interpreter explained that she really has a huge house, not an apartment, in Ukraine.)


Then you had to leave your house and everything behind in Ukraine? 

Yes, I left everything in Ukraine. 


Do you have a daughter? 

Yes I got divorced my husband and I have a daughter. 


I am really sorry to hear that. 

I had no choice but to leave for my baby’s safety. Because the sounds of bombs and planes were too threatening. 


How old is your daughter? 

She’s 5 years old. 


What is the happiest memory of your childhood in Ukraine? 

I was born in Uzbekistan and moved to Ukraine when I was 4. 


Do you remember that time? 

For now, I remember living in Uzbek a little and everything else is about Ukraine. 


Do you have any good memories when you were young? 



Would you explain what they are? 

She was well off in Ukraine. (Interpreter explained instead) 


Do you know about your ancestors who first moved to Russia? 

As I lived in Ukraine since I was really young, I don’t have any memories of Uzbek. 


Then you don’t know about your ancestors at all? 

No, because my grandfather passed away too early. 


Neither know you that Goryeo people were forced to emigrate under the Stalinist government, in 1937? 

No, I don’t know well.


Have you been to Goryeo Theater or seen Goryeo people acting? 

I don’t know well. 


What is the most important in your life? 

As I came here recently, I don’t know well about it. 


When you sleep, do you dream about war? 

Yes, I was just worried about Ukrainians. 


Did you have many friends? 



Did you get along with Goryeo people in Ukraine? 



Do you speak both Russian and Ukrainian? 

Yes I speak both of them. 


Then do you speak Korean too? 

No. Not at all. I can’t. 


Do you think you are Ukrainian or Goryeo person? 

As I am Goryeo person and I live in Ukraine, my exterior shows I am Goryeo person and my inner side is Ukrainian. 


Do you think the people you got along think the same like you? 

Yes, they think the same like me. 


How do you want the children from Ukraine, Russia and Uzbekistan to grow up? 

I want them to be well and feel comfortable. 


What was your hobby in Ukraine? 

I do farming, farming is my hobby. 


Didn’t you go to movies or something like that? 

I hung out with my friends.







Female, 61 years old


May I ask your age? 

I am 61 years old. 


Where were you born? 

I was born in Uzbekistan. 


When did you come to Korea? 

I came here 11 years ago. 


Do you remember the day you left Uzbekistan? 



How was it? 

I came here on February 9th, 2011. 


Did you came here alone? 

Yes, I came to Korea first just with my friends. 


What did you think when you left Uzbekistan? 

At first, I came here first to have fun and sightsee Korea. And I have been working here and living so far. 


How was Korea different from what you imagined? 

At first I had a hard time because of my lack language ability. And being workless made me worried. Because I worked a lot at stores or restaurants in Uzbek, being workless was a big difficulty.


Do you remember the happiest memories when you were young in Uzbekistan?

I had been living in Uzbekistan. There were not many good memories in Uzbekistan. (laugh) 


Then, is there any good place in Korea that you remember the most? 

I love Korea, because I meet my friends once a week. 


Where is your favorite place in Korea?

I love every place I visited, but I love the sea the most because there is no sea in Uzbekistan. 


Have you been to Goryeo Theater? 

I didn’t know at all before I came to Korea. 

We asked you these questions because according to a book, people of the Goryeo Theater were originally in Kazakhstan, but they traveled to various places. 

Now I know about them from photos, but I didn’t know them well when I was young. By interacting with Goryeo people, I got to know them much more and better than before. 


Then is there any differences between Goryeo people in Kazakhstan and in Uzbekistan? 

Yes, there are differences.


What are they? 

I think Uzbekistanis seem different people because they use different laws. We are able to distinguish a Goryeo person from Ukraine and a person from Kazakhstan. Uzbekistanis are more kind and warm-hearted. However Kazakhstanis these days, they lie a lot. 


Is it because you are Uzbekistani?

Hahaha (Sooyoung) 

Also in Korea, Goryeo people are divided into Uzbekistanis and Kazakhstanis. If Uzbekistanis see someone carrying heavy bags, they would help him. But Kazakhstanis don’t give a hand and they only watch. How nicer are Uzbekistanis! 


Have you heard of the old histories from your parents or grandparents? 

No, I couldn’t meet my grandfather because my parents lived separately and my brother lived with my father when I was young. And also because of my parents’ hometown, they are from Sakhalin, and we were born in Uzbekistan. 


Have your grandmother or mother explained about 1937’s deportation to you? 

No they did not. We were too busy when I lived with my mother. We left to countryside to live and our house was small.


Did you speak with your parents in Russian? 

Yes, at that time we used Russian. I don’t know Uzbek well. 


Didn’t you use Korean at all? 

My parents spoke in Korean when we were young. Especially, my mom didn’t know Russian so we learned and spoke Korean at that time. 


What village do Goryeo people live? 

We lived in Svetlor. 


What brought you to here Korea?

My friends asked me to visit Korea for a trip and from then on I am living in Korea. It’s hard for people for the first time who came alone without their family. It’s hard to stay more than 5 years without a visa. (Because of H1 visa)


What do you like and dislike about Uzbekistan in particular?

I think it is comfortable to live in Uzbek, weather is sunny, and all the fruits are delicious. And the meat and bread are delicious, too. The meat tastes sweet in Uzbek. It’s different from Korea.

Everything is fine but there’s no work to do. It is hard to make money, but life was good, though. 


Do you still visit there?

Yes, I go there often. I went there 2 months ago. 


Do you stay there for a month when you go there? 

I go there once a year and stay for a month. But it is hard to stay long because of the pandemic. 


Are your family and friends in Uzbekistan? 

They are scattered in different places, Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan. I had met my friends every day and hung out cooking. 


What do you think are the pros and cons of Korea? 

I love everything about Korea. Very much. I think there is no flaw at all. Korea is great to live in, good to earn money, and they pay me a lot.


What do you think is the biggest difference between Uzbek and Korea? 

There are many differences. It is hard because Uzbekistan is a multinational country and laws are different.


Would you tell me the specific example? About the biggest difference?

It is not easy to distinguish because I have been here for really long time. I think I am a Korean now. It was the first time since I visited Uzbekistan 4 years ago. Uzbekistan is very similar to Korea now. I don’t think there’s a big difference between them. Uzbekistan has changed a lot like Korea.


What do you want Korean people to know about Goryeo people? 

I don’t know because I have not thought about it. 


We interviewed the students at Saenal School yesterday, what kind of life do you want these students to lead?

For students, Korea is a good place to live. I want them to acquire Korean nationality. 


What do you think your nationality is? Uzbek, Korean, or Goryeo? 

I have been thinking that I am a Goryeo person even though living in Uzbekistan. And we Goryeo people are well spoken of diligence. Goryeo people did all the farming. 


Have you been racially discriminated in the 90s?

No, not at all. I could speak Korean a little when I came to Korea. Koreans are not racists. 


How about Uzbek’s attitude to Goryeo people? 

Neither did them. 









Female, 71 years old


May I ask your age? 

I am 71 years old. 


Where were you born? 

I was born in Uzbekistan. 


When did you come to Korea? 

I came here in 2010. It was 12 years ago.


What brought you to Korea? 

To be honest, I have thought that it would be good to come to Korea when I was young. Because my mom has told me that we have our homeland and she spoke Korean. My husband passed away when I was 50. And my friend who have worked 4 years in Korea suggested me visiting Korea. She told me not to struggle alone and come back when life in Korea is hard. And I am staying here since then. 


Do you remember the first day you came to Korea? 

Sure, I remember. 


How was it? 

I had a good feeling that I met my homeland and my family. And everything seemed beautiful.


Then, has the image of Korea from 11 years ago and the image of Korea today changed a lot? 

It has changed a lot but I still have the old memories a lot. The food that my grandparents cooked for me and the food Koreans eat are all the same and there is no big difference. We just haven’t eaten seafood a lot because we don’t have an ocean. I haven’t eaten long-legged octopus nor abalone and didn’t know what they are like before then. 


How was your life in Uzbekistan? 

It was good to live in Uzbekistan. I was born there and I was an operating theatre nurse for 20 years at a hospital. 


What was your happiest memory of your childhood? 

I remember everything. I was happy, lived and ate well at that time. All the memories of my childhood are good. 


Is there any particular day among those memories that you remember for a long time? 

Yes, I remember when I drank and play a lot. I used to drink a lot, but now I could drink only a little beer. 


What language do you speak with your parents?

I speak both Korean and Russian. My grandfather and parents spoke Goryeo, the old Chosun Dinasty language. So I could understand everything in Korean when I came to Korea. But I don’t know Uzbek because I spoke Russian even though I was in Uzbekistan. 


Do you know the history of Goryeo people who were forced to move to Russia? 

My grandparents know but they didn’t told us that story that much. They talked much about difficulties they had when they settled down. 


Do you think your grandparents lived happily after the settlement? 

Yes they lived happily. They raised all of their children and they married well. Grandparents lived in Saratov, Russia for 20 years. Saratov is about 1,000km away from Moscow. 


How has your life changed when Gorbachyov and the political background changed? 

We obtained Russian citizenships and came to Russia for farming. 


What do you think of the current war between Russia and Ukraine? 

I don’t know well about that issues. I just want the war to end soon. 


Have you heard of Goryeo Theater?

Yes, when I was 15 they visited our school for a play. 


Do you remember what kind of play they did? 

I was too young to remember well. 


Did they do play and gave a concert?

Yes, they did all of them. They came to my town once a month. And I am familiar to them because they often came to where I lived from Kazakhstan. 


What do you like and dislike about Uzbekistan? 

I love everything about Uzbekistan. Good people and delicious food. (Did not answer what she dislike about Uzbekistan) 


Do you go there often? 

No, I have Russian nationality and I would die in Korea. I don’t have Korean nationality yet.


What do you like and dislike about Russia? 

I had a good time in Russia, too. I ate, dressed, and lived well. 


What is the biggest difference between Korea, Uzbek, and Russia?

I think they all are similar to each other.


Is there anything you would like Koreans to know about Goryeo people?

No, nothing particular. 


How would you like the next generation, such as 3rd and 4th generation Goryeo people who came to Korea, to live in Korea? 

I want them to keep living in Korea and live happily. I hope so in the future. 


What do you think your nationality is? Uzbek, Korean, or Goryeo? 

I am a Goryeo person. 


Do you dream of Uzbekistan when you sleep? 

No, neither Russia.








Female, age -


Are you from Uzbekistan

I was originally born in Uzbekistan and went to Ukraine for work and went to Russia. My current nationality is Russian but my permanent residence is Ukraine.


When did you move to Ukraine from Uzbekistan?

It was in 2002.


Then you went there when you were 20? 

Yes, I was 22 and my daughter was 2 years old. 



When did you go to Russia? 

I went there in 2007 for work. Because I had to obtain citizenship to work, I prepared the documents and obtained the citizenship.


Where were you in Russia?

I was in Chelyabinsk, it is near Yekaterinburg.


When did you come to Korea? 

I came here in 2016. I had to go and return many times to make money. My parents and my daughter was in Ukraine. I was preparing documents for my daughter to bring her here and the war broke out. And it took time. I stayed underground for 20 days, took refuge in Poland, and camped for 18 days. At that time I heard that Goryeo village can prepare the tickets and I asked for it to come here. At first I was alone and my family came here recently. 


Are your friends still in Ukraine?



Why did you come to Korea in 2016? 

I came here to make money. I am the only person who can work because my parents are unwell and my daughter has to wear a hearing aid since she was young. The reason I originally moved to Ukraine is my daughter. Uzbek doctor said that she would be able to hear 10% if she uses a hearing aid. 


What is the happiest memory of your childhood? 

I have my home and climate was temperate in Uzbek. And there was no discrimination against Goryeo people but not in Ukraine. 


What language do you speak between Russian and Uzbek?

I speak Russian. 


Then did you speak with your parents in Russian?

My grandparents speak Goryeo language a little and I spoke Russian with my parents.


Have you heard of the history of Goryeo people? 

Yes, from my grandparents. 


How was it? Would you please share if you remember any of it? 

I don’t remember well because I was too young, but I know that the parents of my grandparents were forced to move because of the war. The one thing I remember the most is that my grandmother talking about her parents’ generation. She told me that she bore her baby in the warm place. 


Have you heard of Goryeo Theater? 

No. I lived in the countryside and I don’t know about theaters. 


What do you think are the pros and cons of Korea?

I’ve seen only advantages of Korea, and I don’t think there are disadvantages. I want to obtain the citizenship in the future. Because we are in the same ethnic group race, I hope the government to accept us. 


What were the pros and cons of Russia?

There were no particular pros and cons in Russia as I was there to make money. But there was a little discrimination against me like Ukraine.








Female, age -


When did you come to Korea? 

I came here in 2010. My sons are in Uzbekistan.

What brought you to Korea? 

After the collapse of Soviet Union and independence of Uzbekistan in 1992, a missionary came in from Korea. I was working at a factory at that time. I’ve heard that the pastor had hard time in Uzbekistan. Probably Uzbeks thought that people from Korea are all wealthy. So my mom kept telling me to help the pastor, and I gave him a hand. 


How did you help him? 

He came to Uzbekistan to establish a church. I had wide contacts at that time because I was working. And I helped him with my wide acquaintance. Missionary work is illegal in Ukraine. So we gave a feast every Ukrainian holiday and gathered people to preach. And city officials started to help, and we got permission to build a church. 


My husband is an architect. We didn’t have materials, and went to the elder of a church and … (she talked about building a church) 


How did you feel on the first day you come to Korea? 

Because I already know many Koreans, the pastor and the elder came to the airport to greet me. The pastor took me to his home and told me where to live and work. He generously treated me like family.


Were you originally a Christian?

No. Before meeting pastor, I thought there was no God. Even though I helped the pastor, I didn’t believe in God. I helped him because my mom asked me to. 


Then do you believe in God now? 

Yes. I interpret the pastor Chan-young Lee’s preach at the church every Sunday and Wednesday evening.


Do you know the history of your ancestors who were forced to move to Russia?

Yes. I’ve heard many times that my grandmother took the train, having hard times, and too many people died in 1937. And she told me many times, how my grandfather passed away. 


When did your grandfather pass away? 

He passed away in 1937. 


Where was he heading for? 

He died when was going to Uzbekistan. 


Do you know where he lived in Korea?

I don’t know. I think I don’t remember because I was too young at that time. I remember the little brother of my grandfather passed away in Uzbekistan. At the funeral, some grandfathers told me to bring his every stuff to burn. My grandmother fetched a paper and Korean was written on it. All of us didn’t know Korean and we burnt them all. When I think about it now, I am so curios and sad about what it was. I thought that might be a genealogical record. So I don’t know where he lived and he is from at all. 


Did you speak Korean or Russian with your grandmother?

My grandmother and mother speak Korean. I could understand Korean when I was young, but when I went to school later, I gradually forgot Korean. 


Have you heard of Goryeo Theater? 

Yes. I remember when my mother cried a lot after she watched a play that I don’t know. And she cried when she explained what she watched to other people. My grandmother heard what she said and cried a lot too. 


Did Uzbekistan changed much after you came to Korea?

I couldn’t go to Uzbekistan for 3 years and I went there this January. I couldn’t go around a lot because of COVID-19, but looking at the scenery outside the car, I found that there would have many developments.


What is the biggest difference between Uzbekistanis and Koreans? 

Uzbekistanis work slowly but Koreans work rapidly. But the culture of respecting adults is similar. Uzbekistanis are really nice. 


Is there anything you don’t like a bout Uzbek?

I didn’t have any conflicts with others because I could speak both Russian and Uzbek.


Has anything changed before and after Perestroika?

I only used Russian before, and I only used Uzbek after Perestroika. So all the people who can’t speak Uzbek had gone off to Russia. The independence were gained all of a sudden, people didn’t answered back when I spoke in Russian. Because Uzbeks were ignored by Russians and they think it is natural and I think so. 


Where do you think you are from?

I am a Goryeo person. When I was in Soviet Union, I got a month off after 11 months long work. And I went local trips and traveled abroad for many times. When at airports, the language is different and I was always worried about my lack language ability. But I found that everyone is the same like me in Korea and I felt warm from them. I also traveled a lot in Korea. I’ve been in Seoul and even wandered around at night. People were surprised about it and asked me if I wasn’t scared to walk around at night, but I wasn’t scared at all. It was because we are all the same people. My granddaughter once said that only Goryeo people are everywhere. Because there were 11 ethnic groups in Uzbek, it seemed Goryeo people everywhere.


What do you want Koreans to know about Goryeo People?

We are not good at Korean and know not much about Korea yet. And I want all of my families to live in here. I think I cannot live in Uzbekistan again. As I am living here Korea for many years, I found that everything in Korea is advanced. I want all the children could live here ... I still have a lot of curiosities about Korea and I am still getting to know.

Only one of my 3 children is in Korea and my grandchildren are 12 and 15 years old. 


We interviewed the students who are Goryeo and living in Korea. Would you tell us what kind of life do you want these students to lead? 

First of all, I want them to do as Koreans do. And because there are cultural differences between Russia and Korea, I want them to come here soon and to be able to adopt the Korean culture smoothly. Last, I want them to study hard and to be helpful people for Korea. 

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