She is a dread of Russian propagandists and politicians that aren’t ready for uncomfortable questions. Today, we’ve found out that she beat cancer. About going into politics and Rendezvous, the rejection of all Russian, media literacy and the victory over the terrible disease – the way Yanina Sokolova herself sees it in the section “Who is…” from Opinion.
About her own transition to the Ukrainian language
For someone, this may sound like a piece of news, but the TV host began speaking Ukrainian when she was 19. Before that, she lived in Zaporizhia, communicated in Russian, listened to Russian music and watched Russian TV. Now she confesses: all this had an impact on her because the brain was thinking only about one thing: get to Moscow.
“ Only when I was a third-year student at the acting faculty of the Karpenko-Kary Institute, I had the feeling that I terribly lacked the Ukrainian vocabulary. Back then I was working in the morning shows on the top channels and realized that the people who watched me, and it is without exaggeration – millions of spectators, will cease to trust me if I don’t master the Ukrainian language. I began to read Ukrainian literature.
And it works. I was reading the Ukrainian literary classics every day. Then I switched to modern Ukrainian literature, but there, language is a bit different. And then there was an event that completely convinced me that I should speak exclusively in Ukrainian. This was the birth of my children.”
About language in general and language law
“Language is a factor of national security and identity. Never ever will we force to use the Ukrainian. At home, everyone uses whatever language they want or used to. But let the rest who want to communicate in Ukrainian, think in it, and bring up children, have this right. Respect it,” the TV host is convinced.
Yanina also commends the language law that all of us have been waiting for so long. Moreover, she was one of the initiators of some kind of flashmob, recording videos on this topic.
“In a developed country everything should be Ukrainianized as much as possible. Furthermore, the law doesn’t infringe the right of national minorities at all. I know that during its preparation, they were consulting with representatives of the Venice Commission. I want to calm down the Russian-speaking population, which is now terribly suffering from the fact that this law was adopted, and to say that if the Russian language is paramount in their personal lives, then their rights won’t be violated.”
About Rendezvous with Yanina Sokolova
The project of personal interviews with top politicians, businessmen, artists, etc. has long been a peculiar benchmark for “masks dropping” of those, whom we are accustomed to seeing in a certain sustainable image.
“To show them like people, and not figures. Well, at this stage, we succeeded. 60% of people who come to Rendezvous, for a moment, stop being celebrities and turn into human beings. Many of them cry… No matter what post they hold. Sometimes it seems to me that we’ve already turned into some soap opera show. (Laughs.) Why is it happening? For various reasons. But what I can say for sure- it became litmus for us. There are things that make them get rid of their role, which our characters are bearing on the screen and off it every day.”
But not everything is so simple. Sokolova admits that very often the guests of the program don’t want to drop their masks down, to leave their comfort zone.
“On their way home after recording or waking up the next morning, the hero or his spokesman starts to call nervously either to me or to our guest editor. They ask to view the material before the air, fearing of their frankness, which, in their opinion, absolutely discredits them. People are afraid of being naked. With all their weaknesses and with far worse than anything – the truth…”
About the possibility of going into politics
Journalists who become politicians can hardly surprise anyone now. However, Yanina is unanimous on this issue: she’s not going to the elections.
“I am a journalist. Now I feel the power and I have a team of people who can do something useful for this country and show events as they really are. I believe that every Ukrainian should do something useful locally – then the state will be strong. And to live according to the principles of truth and justice, that’s the thing that we’re going to do next.”
About authorities and transition of responsibility
The actress emphasizes: one of our worst habits is to transfer all opportunities and hopes to authorities while standing aside. Although, in effect, those changes are within the capacity of us, Ukrainians.
“There are enough people here to get our country on its feet. Another matter is that a lion’s share of other people makes and whether they can live the way they will benefit, develop this country, and not just jibber-jabber, as is often the case.
If we choose someone, then we think that he must settle down everything. And if he doesn’t solve at least 70% of what he has outlined, then we expel him. This very desire to give away all the reins of power and the ability to change to the authorities – this is an awful mental bad habit. So I would like everyone to understand that we can make all changes in this country at the local level.”
About the influence of the “Russian-Soviet world” and its eradication
Speaking about the “Russian world”, the TV host identifies it with the Soviet Union and states: this influence will remain until its generation will rest in peace.
“ It sounds cynical, but it’s true. It is unlikely that you will convince my Russian-speaking neighbor that she should think about a European strategy, and not about further cooperation with the Russians. My grandmother sees the power in Russia because she has lived all her life in the Soviet Union. She thinks that all Russian is better than ours. And until this generation is gone, we will have nostalgic St. George ribboned people who will pull us towards the east.”
Sokolova is convinced that the “Russian world” (or maybe Soviet?) should be eradicated by force and cruelty, and by no means in a different way.
“As for strategic matters in our country, you can’t target them with light-reforms. These are corruption, the language topic, educational reform, penalties of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, reform of the Criminal Code. The more severe the punishment – the better will be the results of reforms .”
About Crimea, its return and Putin’s trump card
The journalist is convinced that the Russian president is unlikely to agree to just give away the peninsula, for it is the greatest trump of imperial Russia in domestic politics.
“I will remind you that Vladimir Putin is a person who acts a lot exclusively for the internal audience, for the Russians. Those who live in poverty, who are isolated from the rest of the world, due to Putin’s actions, those whose GDP is rather low, who don’t have development, who live in poverty.
Returning Crimea “to its native harbor” is a big trump card. Do you think Putin wants to get rid of a trump card, one of the main ones? Given that his rating is not very high in Russia. This 86% was a year ago, now this figure has dropped significantly. Taking into account the wars, the difficult situation, and many other things. I think that it is unlikely that he will refuse from Crimea.“
About beating the cancer
Ukraine found it out this morning. Yanina Sokolova, who tirelessly trolls Russians, sharply criticizes the authorities of the aggressor, sorts everything out and does it all with a constant smile, it turns out, for seven months she has been fighting cancer.
“While in November, the society wallowed in the scandalous episode with Prykhodko which we had filmed in advance, I was laying in a resuscitation, connected to medical equipment, pinned with catheters all over the body and with holes in the abdomen. During this time I have experienced 30 radiotherapy sessions and 4 courses of chemotherapy, as a result, I lost my hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, I have a couple of organs less, but a huge love in my heart.
During these 7 months, I’ve realized what true friendship, love, and sacrifice are. And the fact that our society is NOT READY to coexist, and the state is not always ready to provide acceptable living conditions and treatment for people like me.“
After beating the disease, the journalist decided to dedicate the next part of her life to this issue. The issue that absorbed her from the inside.
“I want to help Ukrainians with cancer to ease their life and be… happy. Even in this turbulent period. It was for this purpose that we together with the team decided to create a multimedia project. Ya, Nina. You won’t see there fatigued doom and pity. We will make a movie, release a book and a song that will be the anthem of love. Yes, namely love. For salvation from cancer – it is love.”
Here you can support Yanina’s new project.
By Dmytro Zhuravel
The publication was collected from numerous interviews, speeches, and appeals of the material’s protagonist.