Ukrainian woman shows life in a bunker on TikTok

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Valeria Shashenok was a freelance photographer whose portfolio included travel photos, portraits of couples and the occasional selfie. But as the Ukraine crisis unfolded, the 20-year-old went from documenting the finer aspects of life to showing the harsh realities of life in Ukraine during the war.

Through videos on social media, mostly on TikTok, Shashenok shares life as it is today. This includes living in a bomb shelter (with his parents, dog and two family friends) without electricity while documenting the rubble inflicted by the Russian military.

Shashenok juxtaposes the harrowing scenes of his daily life with humor, adding a touch of the absurd to all of his posts. In the underground shelter, she takes stock of who and what is there. She calls, for example, the pool of water a “hot girl jacuzzi” and her mother a “personal Michelin restaurant”. When the refuge loses electricity, a video features cuts of dark and eerie scenes (literally and figuratively) with music that can only be described as airy and carefree. “Heaven” is the legend.

The designer started creating these TikToks to describe what is happening in her country. “I’m that person who always harped on everything with humor. It’s the best way to show people the problem. Shachenok says. “I’m that person who always sees the light in the dark, and it’s a great way to do something for my country.”

Although she remained in Ukraine for weeks after the war began, Shashenok’s latest TikTok shows that she is out of the country and into Warsaw, Poland. In her typical style, she documented the journey – arduous to say the least – which began on a train and ended in her friend’s arms. “This is the most horrible trip of my life!” She writes in the video. “Thank you Putin” and includes three smiling emojis with hearts around their faces.

By creating these war videos, Shashenok wants people abroad to have a different perspective than what might be portrayed elsewhere in the media. “They must know that the Ukrainians are the strongest”, she explains. “I wanted to show that a man, a Russian, a president, a fool, destroyed my homeland. And I’m a little girl who can’t stop this man. I wanted to show what really happened. How I see, in my style.

Valeria Shashenok went from freelance photographer to chronicler of the harsh realities of life in Ukraine during the war.

@valerissshshit happens♬ Bound 2 Slowed n Reverb by Kanye – Jxy.Creations
@valerisssh I spent my childhood here, thank you Russia #stop the war ♬ ylang ylang – solartune
@valerisssh Third World War! Putin, thank you #Ukraine #stop the war #russiastop ♬ I leave you words – Patrick Watson

His TikTok videos include dark humor, such as making a video about “things in our bomb shelter that make sense.”

@valerissshTypical situation in Ukraine♬ Che La Luna – Louis Prima
@valerisssh Russian government, thank you! #stop the war #Ukraine ♬ Tarantella – Mulberry Street

Shashenok makes these videos to really show people what is happening in his country.

@valerisssh Live my best life Thank you Russia! #Ukraine #stop the war #russiastop ♬ Che La Luna – Louis Prima
@valerissshWelcome to my 5 star hotel ♬ original sound – allrapperlations

The videos show how the situation deteriorates as the war drags on.

@valerissshChernihiv❤️♬ I miss the old Kanye – _
@valerissshi hate russia♬ Госудáрственный гимн Росси́йской Федерáции – Национальный Гимн России – Россия The One World – Ensemble
@valerissshHeaven♬ Listen Honey – Friday at Sea

Although Shashenok remained in Ukraine for weeks after the invasion, she recently left the country and landed in Warsaw, Poland.

@valerissshThis is the most horrible trip! Thanks Russia♬ Celebrate the good times – Mason

Valeria Shashenok: ICT Tac | instagram

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