Мирослава Гонгадзе. Відверта розмова (Myroslava Gongadze)

Jun 20, 2018 6.7K Views 28 Comments

I sat down for a candid conversation with Myroslava Gongadze. Chief of Voice of America’s Ukrainian Service, TV Anchor, award-winning Journalist, and an all around inspirational human being.

We talked about many topics: from the differences between Ukraine and the USA, to advise for young Ukrainians, to gender role differences between USA/Ukraine, plus much more…

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00:01-10:59 RELATIONSHIPS

11:00-15:52 DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEN/WOMAN USA/UKRAINE

15:53-22:36 DIFFERENCE OF USA/UKRAINE

22:37-25:58 TRUST. UA, LAND OF CONTRADICTIONS. UA PLACE TO UNDERSTAND LIFE

26:00-30:55 ADVISE FOR YOUNG UKRAINIANS

30:56-33:06 MOMENTUM OF UKRAINE

33:07-37:05 WHERE MYROSLAVA GREW UP/ROOTS

37:06-39:28 NATIONAL IDENTITY

39:29 COULD MYROSLAVA LIVE IN UKRAINE?

interesting place to start action
what’s up with what’s up with people not
doors men not opening doors I think
they’re afraid why I don’t know the the
perception what the women would think
about them the quality issue playing
part or they were never trained to do
that that they were never told by their
parents yeah but to open up a door it
only leads to a good result the woman
likes when a man opens the door tell me
one woman that doesn’t if they don’t
they’re pretending they’re faking I
think I don’t know I think American
woman don’t really appreciate as much
the gestures and days and maybe
sometimes don’t even understand the
gestures look I think I’m not a woman
last time I checked right but they may
be those feelings are suppressed deeply
within them but they want those things
to happen
pour them exactly because we’re
different or biologically different like
let’s get over the whole men and woman
are the same stuff like we physically
are different we think differently we
act differently and there’s beauty in
that right there’s no we have the same
similar abilities but we have a
different way of achieving a different
way of acting in different way that’s
why we created different what about this
I heard I forget who told me this I
think I heard this in Ukraine actually
actually I’m 100% sure I heard in
Ukraine men physically most men have
more physical strength so if you put the
two the managed looked as perceived as
stronger but the woman’s strength she
has to be more calculated more refined
and more intelligent with her strength
but actually the woman has the true
strength she can make the man do what
she wants she chooses the man so I’ve
been told many a times but that’s that’s
how it is and that’s
strength right so man thing that they
choose but actually it’s completely the
opposite so what explains the fact that
let’s say okay not all American woman
we’re working in stereotypes but a lot
of them a lot of them you might not want
that door open because maybe they have
to pay something back or maybe they’re
thinking I can do it myself I don’t know
the psychology behind it because in
Ukraine if I open a door it’s
universally 100 percent accepted and
it’s a it’s it’s a it’s actually not
even appreciated I think it’s it’s yeah
expected that’s that’s the word yeah it
flowers yeah and is a guy the flowers
thing is so easy it’s almost so easy
it’s it’s stupid easy where I’m like how
does me purchasing these flowers gonna
have such a positive like how is that
gonna do so much it’s almost like I
cheated that’s why you feel better in
Ukraine because you feel natural more
natural as a man there you feel
appreciated by the other this is good
this is good this is true because look
the and it’s not it’s not woman this is
your place do the dishes it’s not that
it’s that you there’s a yin and yang I’m
not competing there’s no competition you
you do one thing your partner does the
other thing and together it helps both
of you
interesting see so your your fan your
viewer was a feminine and masculine part
is coming out there better the division
of of the masculine and and feminine is
more refined there than here
you think this society is losing it in
some way yeah I I agree with that
the society is losing it in in pretend
or in a in a in a rush to to get
equality we as a society are losing on
on that natural abilities of of the of
the for the states that starts the to
status yeah okay so in Ukraine I find it
very human let’s just say for lack of
better words it’s very human the balance
but I mean do you find that that women
in Ukraine are have to do more and that
they they are they insane like they they
have to be feminine in the same time
they have to be masculine and do stuff
around the home and around work and they
have to take care of kids and they have
much more responsibility in life and
they don’t and sometimes they don’t
did they don’t get credit from that and
women
not everyone but a majority of the
lifting and here is more equal half and
half and you ran one pickup I almost see
in San Francisco yeah I see a lot of
broken man carrying the carriage working
long hours dealing with some serious
high maintenance yeah I made this here’s
a theory and you know better than me
because you’re a woman
woman innately wants to push a man till
he says yes dear to everything it’s like
it’s a power game it’s a power game like
will this guys say yes dear like will he
stand up for himself a woman thinks on
the surface that it’s the more she can
get just like human being the better
more okay he’s gonna open the door he’s
gonna buy this he’s gonna do this no I
don’t think so
I changed the second the man says yes
dear to everything he’s lost all respect
in her eyes he’s done finished we know
these guys so many guys I say what’s the
secret to marriage they say yes just say
yes dear to everything and you look at
how they’re treated they have no heard
there’s no respect towards them right so
I think subconsciously it’s a woman’s
way of seeing how strong a man is
because if he does say yes to everything
then it’s then he’s weak it’s done it’s
over
but why woman wants to to to push the
man say yes you know when they do that
when they when they don’t trust a man
and when they wants to control and they
want their way it’s not necessarily it’s
not necessarily they want the man to say
yes it’s what necessary about what is
important for them to they think they
know better have to do things and they
just want the man to follow
so is it clear is it stand up for
themselves because women will take take
over the world eventually well women are
smarter what can you say it’s like it’s
a different type I mean look at the look
at the society look what’s going on in
universities look at the graduate
students look at the the application
process in universities the 60 70 80 %
is woman it’s the women are getting more
and more power I mean it’s not that
there yet but women are more curious
look at the schools the women are more
more I mean getting the leadership
skills and they already have knowledge
they just need to that leadership skills
to to to shine but eventually that would
would happen I mean I’m all for equality
and I think it has to be 50/50 and
because that we are half and half
Society so that’s when we are together
that’s when we are doing good to the
world but I mean right now I understand
the women push for the Equality right
because we don’t have it in the world
right now
so therefore sometimes we have to really
fight for ourselves but men have to be
careful because eventually women will
take over and that that’s a scary scary
thought control the world men have to
stand up because watch out come really
quickly it sounds like artificial
intelligence but with that said you were
saying earlier that look you like these
traditional values you like the man open
the door you like so if you have a large
demographic or a large percentage of the
population a woman moving into
leadership roles may be making more
money than men say taking
all the weight of the world on their own
someone opening the door for them makes
them feel maybe like maybe we gir know
that emotions come in so it’s great
emotion so you have pleasure Wow okay
but you okay so you have an interesting
position because you’ve you lived in two
starkly different cultures so here tell
me the difference about being a woman
here okay we could go all day on this or
all week I’m sure but like what are the
big differences between being a woman
here you never thought about it really
hmm like you oh yeah yeah hmm I don’t
think so I don’t think I I behave
differently but maybe some little things
I would probably I mean my expectations
are different from man maybe like not
just in a simple stuff
like I kind of adopt my expectations to
the general culture of the society so
that’s a difference general culture did
women pick up heavy stuff and then
opened their own doors and pay for their
bills in the restaurant and
don’t expect flowers but in in in
addition to that women have a expect
then that man would do half of the work
at home and if I and it’s hard for me to
actually make that that choice do I want
the it’s impossible to make a choice
because you do want them to be card that
card is courteous and and show
appreciation and respect by doing this
little thanks but you do want them to
help you around the house in Ukraine
it’s completely opposite they give a lot
of courtesy you want the best of the
Ukrainian system and the best of the
Americans package into one woman and the
man supposed to just yeah he’ll turn
into yes dear a guy and then you know if
he’s doing a majority of the things no
majority means half a half okay so how
is it normally for a woman there Thomas
cough I mean half like population is
very dominant the women okay there’s
more women than men in the society right
so women have less opportunities to for
leadership they have to but in same time
during Soviet time we had so-called
equality so we did go to work and did
earn the money equally to men
and in same time picking up all the
domestic work taking care of kids
cleaning the house everything so
majority of the load of homework and and
work outside of home was on women and
men were just you know had one task to
make money and basically that’s it no I
was expected actually I tell you about
my home yeah let’s say the father was a
like a king so he he has to be taken
care of the food has to be on the table
I I was taught not to argue as men I was
taught that his word is lost so it’s
like patriarchal society mhm
that’s how it brought up and obviously
through that like I grew up and changed
and I but I still have somewhere inside
of me that that ingrained in me you want
to make borscht for someone if I would
definitely well yeah and that’s nice
that’s that’s like the whole point
because if it just turns pragmatic in
all about efficiency then what then
relationships are like it’s just a
transaction at that point I would think
I’m no relationship doctor that’s for
sure
when your so with your you’ve been in
the States 17 years when you’re here do
you do you feel like you you’re a
different person
I mean look we’re a product of our
environments everyone is right to some
degree and you can’t help is much of an
individual as a person is you take in
that energy or the ways of a place
you’re in so how what is and you can
take this any way you want well what is
like an American
Miroslava like what would be the big
difference how do you feel differently
when you’re here let’s say it that way
then say when you when you when you step
off the plane in Ukraine and when you
step off the plane at Reagan or Dulles
does something flip does something
switch is there any difference it’s it’s
it’s tough to recognize particulars but
I think I’m I’m more relaxed and relaxed
about the way I’m dealing with things
because I’m more in control of things
here here yes because I know if I make a
step right or left I know the result
would be particular and my expectation
would be met okay so it’s more clear
path in every direction in Ukraine I
feel confused I I didn’t have that
feeling before when I leave there
because it was a part of life and I
didn’t know that there is possibility of
different type of right of connections
and and and dealing with with things so
that’s why I feel more I mean
it’s clear it’s just it’s here is more
the air is clear and I’m I’m very I
don’t like trash emotional trash I don’t
like trash in the house physical trash I
just I really liked clean clean air
around me and this society gives me that
in Ukraine is too much too much noise
noise too much static around everything
yeah and it’s hard to hear yourself it’s
hard to hear your voice it’s hard to
hear your to hear what you want what you
have to plan and if you’re even planning
something it’s not necessarily will go
your way because of some other
circumstances that does not depend on
you and you don’t control so you have
less free will
yes yes yes does that make what does
that do to life does it make it I mean
it obviously makes it more confusing but
does it doesn’t make it more alive does
it make experiences more alive does it
is there a good side to it or not so
much
for me not so much the the good side of
lead I mean different in Ukrainian
society is that the the people’s
connection yeah when you I mean I still
have a lot of friends there and it’s a
it’s it’s very genuine yeah connections
here are not genuine and they are very
often yes why do you think that I don’t
think that I feel that no but why do you
say I don’t know people have I don’t
think people leave in the moment yeah
yeah here you know it’s like always
about some something tomorrow
mmm-hmm something better bye
better vacation something better right
and and there since there’s no better
they leave in the moment yes that’s what
really one of the big attractions to
Ukraine is people are in their moment
UUs is constantly in the next moment
I mean we’re taught that from day one so
i doubt like all the way to retirement
like people my age looking forward to
retirement exactly and counting it’s
just so bizarre for me to do that but i
kind of get used to it because everybody
do it right but it’s hard it’s hard and
yeah ukraine you don’t know what’s
coming in five years but you noticed you
observe I still I still could not plan I
still couldn’t plan few months in
advance when people ask me about when
they’re planning to take a vacation I
was like whatever I feel like I cannot
tell you right now because I’m not I
mean when I’m way maybe I will feel that
in the months maybe in three months
mmm-hmm
or even I mean with I mean it’s
important to plan it’s it’s important to
have some some some yeah way forward but
I think it’s it’s too much here
they’re at the opposite ends of the
space yes for sure yeah but that’s one
of the things I noticed even growing up
here before I left anyways I have some
very good friends here but I have very
good friends in Ukraine and I found the
Ukrainians you get that deeper richer
connection almost like that I’m in the
bunker and I need someone to get my back
with the gun and we’re gonna wearing
this together type mentality and I feel
in general obviously in general but in
America when it comes push to shove deep
in the deep dark holes of life that
person might go and walk off easier
because it’s not about the individual
mmm it is about the individual it’s
about your yourself right which on the
flip side pushes society forward people
move forward they get over there
[ __ ] easier they’re not held back two
things right yeah so an interesting okay
I was talk briefly about it to you but
what’s really interesting I’ve noticed
in Ukraine is for example I was on the
Marcia comb the woman gets on with this
this infant and naturally just passed it
over to another woman so she get the
money to pay for the Mar shoot ago right
the woman gave rock the baby a little
did some noises no words very just pure
and beautiful in that it’s very pure and
beautiful and I don’t know many places
some African countries yes that’s not
common and definitely not in the Western
world you never ever see that in the US
so while people say Ukrainians don’t
trust each other I hear that all the
time that is the most trusting thing you
could ever do is give your little infant
to some stranger like more than a car
more than anything right so that to me
like the place is still a mystery
seriously because it’s very
contradicting in so many ways we don’t
trust you I can’t trust the package with
my neighbor or this with that but I’m
gonna trust you with my baby it’s it’s
it’s too much contradictory for me it’s
too much opposites it’s too hot and and
cold the time it’s all the time it’s
it’s nonstop it’s just it’s it’s you you
you becoming stressed just being there
and seeing this the contrast in
everything you have beautiful flowers
and the trash you have right Nia you
have rich millionaire or billionaire and
and babushka on the street selling her
goods
it’s and it’s you have a beautiful
renovated hotel and right near
completely destroyed house and and it’s
in your face non-stop and if if you’re a
person who is looking for harmony it’s
it’s just the nightmare and and that’s
stressing me out big time but it’s not
for everyone it’s not like some people
don’t you look inward more because the
exterior is always great people always
want to go to Bali to meditate and find
the meaning of life I’m saying go little
Hanh the island in the middle of winter
and it’s gray and this the the sky is
fusing to the ground and you’re looking
like the world is coming to an end and
some renegade dog comes out you and you
have to pick up a beer bottle and throw
it that that is looking in okay that’s
not beautiful right
but you think more in that existence and
I think there’s more of an awareness how
about that I think it’s it’s depend on
what are you looking for and then if you
are looking for that understanding of
yourself and and in and turn internal
that’s that you create are you if you
want to go on your inward journey and
find harmony within go to Ukraine in the
winter okay so what about the what about
the young people what would you say to
the young people and say you’re living
in Kiev and you’re clever you understand
the world somewhat you know of a
Schengen visa you can travel if you get
some money there’s cheap flights in to
achieve now that didn’t exist a few
years ago you know what do you what
would be your your wisdom what would you
tell these people like if you could give
any advice to them advice but I think
make sure I mean the main thing it’s get
get rid of your fear and take control of
your over your life don’t be afraid to
to act and get a courage to to make
decisions I think the young generation
of Ukrainians are more and more
courageous and we saw that through the
let’s say three years ago at Maidan
young people were the one who were dying
there and who would go with sticks and
Nothingness two against against the
bullets and that’s courageous and we
just need more of that we just need that
the that the the that younger generation
to overcome and and overflow the society
I mean or flow the society and that
maybe that will change the country as a
person the only you you have control
over your life yeah you you try to
understand what is your what are your
talents what are your what are you good
at what what can you bring to the
society and just go for it don’t think
about somebody will give you something
or don’t think that somebody would come
and ask you or please work for me just
create that job I would yeah used to
always create my positions nobody told
me okay this is your job and this this
is this scope of work you’re you’re
supposed to do never
yeah I always created my own scope of
work at everything and that’s what you
have to do would you say it’s it’s fair
to say that Ukrainians young Ukrainians
have more in them than they think that
they can actually rise up more
absolutely
absolutely they have to just believe in
themselves they would that moment of of
revolution that we saw yeah it’s but
they have to repeat that over and over
again every day I don’t mean die I mean
get courage to fight
for their own life and their own future
in a simple way not on the street with
the bullets on in their life with their
knowledge yeah
create something little big small
whatever you can yeah and go was it
so you see a big difference between the
generations I think these young people
it’s it’s a positive change you would
say in general like they have a forward
way of looking at things they want a
better life they’re not they’re not held
down by the heaviness of say the Sylvia
past so that mean it’s possible the
country can take a radical
transformation in the next 10 15 years
20 years
I think the Ukraine is have potential to
to to get transformed very fast because
the the people are smart and they are
willing but this structure over the
society is not and a political structure
is not there to to to give that up of a
price whether you’re couldn’t I’m
related to give that yes it’s oppressive
still oppressive the society is still
oppressive unfortunately and some people
do honestly think a leader is gonna come
in and save the day on a horse that’s
not your leader think about yourself
every single person has to think about
themselves as a leader of their own life
at least for less yeah yeah yes clean
and put your bad together and you start
working right yes how do you how do you
tell the world how to be if your own
house is in an order in your mind in
your in your life right yep cool yeah I
mean I saw that I came from Italy was it
two summers ago and I stopped to thrash
the Italians there’s everyone knows
what’s great about Italy but I’m just
gonna say what I saw I saw people in
Ukraine a young people that were so much
more driven and hungry than the Attar
the Italians have just been comfortable
for a long time and you were seeing
right now and Europe and the
unemployment rates for young people it’s
like it’s like in this part of the cycle
I feel it’s it’s going down where I
honestly think Ukraine is an upright
this part of the cycle this thing
it may be on a bumpy bottom for a bit
but it’s like it’s it’s gone through
that and it’s coming nobody’s a futurist
really knows but there’s a momentum and
an energy you can feel in countries I
was in Greece a couple weeks ago and
that energy is not so good because they
were comfortable for a long time the
Ukrainians have not been comfortable and
through that makes people hustle more it
makes them more real resilient to
Brazilian yeah so I go back and what
I’ve lived there for 14 months 15 months
I’m gone a lot but I plan to stay for
quite some time I don’t know the way I
operate my life I’m not gonna say I’m
living there forever but I really feel
like I’m putting some roots down and the
people and it’s only because of the
people that are there it’s a very
accommodating place to come into I mean
for example my language skills are
pretty bad and you just have the
attitude open attitude to everything and
and and inward-looking yeah but I I find
it interesting that a lot of people
there don’t see what’s what’s cool about
it you can help them yeah you can help
them that’s maybe that’s what your
mission is for the next few years show
them and help them to understand their
way to get out of their own way
do you have any interesting stories from
your homeland from where you grew up
is there anything that’s to come but I
saw like I saw the picture of your house
right next to this beautiful church like
that it looks like a fairy tale where
you grew up maybe it was just the way
the picture was framed and no no no it
was I I remember I was the market
marketplace the main main plaza main
main it’s called square mice quang
square town it was my backyard so I
learned to bike there and and do
gymnastics Street and everything you
used to just spend childhood play soccer
everything in front of like main main
main government building and the church
on Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. I usually
had a bell of the church waking me up
when I wanted to sleep and then the bell
on the clock of radish I would start
start their bells and that’s that’s was
my and now even now every time I go
somewhere when I hear the belt it’s like
my childhood it’s it’s very very and I
go there I go there it keeps me energy i
I need that
going to your roots I feel stronger when
I get energy from there so as much
recharges your batteries despite how
hectic not in cave if not in cave but in
in my home time a co hometown yes it
does recharge me there’s something to be
said for that that simplicity it’s nice
like just simple things or the forest or
the middle of the forest where my
grandparents lived and where I spend a
lot of time when I was a child I go
there to just to sit on the on the in
the garden under the tree and just do
nothing just sit there and that gives me
so much energy come bring me back to the
to the roots to the reality to to nature
but that nature is connected with my own
land so it’s it’s I just have it’s like
must for me that’s the paganism in you
because I you you do even in Kiev you
feel that that pagan I feel like I did I
honestly feel a special spiritual
element to it key for me is uprooted
uprooted yeah and people are I always
feel when people are connected to to to
dilute to the land and or they are prude
it always I can I can read person like
that you are I think you are more
connected than uprooted but you are
uprooted by your own well and you are
trying to put your roots in our
different places you know so you your
yeah you are connected but you’re
connected to many places and you you
just you try to understand
there you go mm-hmm you get roots there
I have a little bit of roots in Ukraine
but I give them not you training I never
will be you know that’s the difference
of Ukraine in America right you can be
American seriously you are technically
right yes yes but you can be viewed as
American yeah
I’ll never be Ukraine you can ever even
if I speak perfect Ukrainian I’ll always
be the outsider whatever I’m cool with
that
I don’t know it’s a that’s that’s got
its own pluses too but don’t you feel
here you’re you’re like you’re part of
this American and that’s fantastic to
hear that’s good that I can feel home
here I can be as as natural as everyone
else and and I’m not immigrant because
everybody’s immigrants so it’s normal
yeah I always feel that in Europe that
I’m not welcomed in America in America
is one first thing you you actually
mentioned that when you come to to the
$2 airport and when the garden tell you
welcome home and that’s just amazing
feeling when you have that and I do feel
that I come home I’m welcomed in this
country I never feel that in Europe and
I very often don’t feel that in Ukraine
I know I’m welcomed home yeah but nobody
tells me and nobody gives me that open
hand in Ukraine thank you you’re on your
own
thank you for that because I never
noticed that I’m always pointing these
things out about Ukraine but I did
instead never even thought of that
yeah you could probably teach me a lot
about America to be honest because when
you’re in your country you just don’t
see it but that’s true yeah they always
welcome you home but in Europe you don’t
feel comfortable they don’t feel
welcomed and say England and I mean
Italy okay
England better maybe because of the
language and maybe they’re a little bit
more careful in France I know I feel
welcomed
I always feel like they wanted me out in
Italy they just to their own so I don’t
know full Miroslava I know well go to
the airport but but you okay I’ll ask
you a harder question do you do you
think you could ever move back there do
you yes okay no hesitation you said that
very yes absolutely
see I just you’re willing to go into
that that banya like experience where
everything’s chaotic and absolutely the
left and right if if I feel that I will
be needed there I will be affected there
and I can do something yeah I’m I’m very
driven person in if I see that I can
bring some positive results I will do it
but I don’t see it yet and I hope I will
see it I don’t want to be I am I want to
be effective I want to be efficient mhm
and if I can let’s say what I’m doing
right now I think I’m helping a lot of
people in Ukraine yeah and I’m more
effective here mm-hmm I will go to the
place where I would be more effective
for my country you just feel a better
worth in life when you when you’re
helping more people yes I just I know
it’s not about it’s I I mean my purpose
is to to connect people to inform to to
give them power to make their own
decisions
mm-hmm to show them the way mm-hmm
and whenever I can do it
right now it’s here at my job you have
your team I am fantastic
I’m fantastically appointed to do what
my purpose is to fulfill my purpose I
want to do more obviously I would love
to do more mm-hmm but the opportunity
has to be there
thank you it’s been fun talking with you
and I’ve been teaching you the history
of DC story by story we don’t know it’s
truth or not but it’s been fun at least
okay thank you

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