Members of Russian Speaking Community Club make friends and participate in Halloween event
Members of Russian Speaking Community Club make friends and participate in Halloween event

Russian speaking students find friendships across borders

November 13, 2019

While Suffolk’s student body consists of a great variety of different nationalities, many international students struggle to adjust to a new community on campus. To help them, some students have taken initiative to provide a platform for cultural communication.

Recently, a group of Russian speaking students, coming from Ukraine and Russia, created the Russian Speaking Community Club (RSCC) to unite all the students who share their language.

“No matter which country we’re coming from, we still speak the same language,” said RSCC President Polina Damaskina, a marketing major and sophomore coming from Ukraine.

The club’s main goal is to unite Russian speakers coming from different countries in one community here at Suffolk through events like movie-nights and mafia games.

“I think it’s a great way to communicate and understand each other because language is always a barrier when you speak with another person,” said Damaskina.

The Russian speaking community worldwide consists of many different nationalities from Eastern Europe and Asia. Most were previously a part of the Soviet Union. While they share the Russian language, they have their own unique, individual cultures.

Members of RSCC represent Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Lithuania.

Damaskina believes that the club’s broad range of cultural backgrounds provides members with a great opportunity to both share their culture and learn from each other. Especially now, as clashes between Ukraine and Russia rage on.

“I think that it is important for both Russians and Ukrainians to have this club,” said Yelyzaveta Yeriniak, a biology major and senior from Ukraine. “I feel that many Russians don’t understand the whole situation surrounding the conflict, while interacting with Ukrainians they can see the real state of this matter. Whereas for Ukrainians it is very important to meet adequate Russians who are ready to, let’s say, see the situation from a different perspective.”

Russian speaking communities worldwide have experienced a great divide after the events of 2014, when Russia sent troops to Crimea to secure the referendum for independence. The revolution spiked a civil war in Ukraine between eastern pro-Russian regions and the Ukrainian government.

While Russia supports Ukrainian separatists, the conflict rages on. According to the UN Human Rights report, more than 12,000 people lost their lives during the conflict.

“Creation of this club shows that we are united, even though our countries have a war between them,” said RSCC Vice President Ali Shakirov, a finance major and sophomore from Russia. “By creating this club we’re showing that we still can join together and communicate well.”

Shakirov also hopes that the club can prove wrong numerous stereotypes about Russians and their culture currently embedded in modern society.

So far, RSCC has had two meetings and welcomed more than 30 new members to the club. A recent event organized by the club was a Halloween-stylized mafia game in Samia academic center.

The club has plans to organize numerous events for the Russian speaking community, such as Russian food-nights, discos and attending concerts, including a concert of famous Russian rapper Basta on Dec. 19 in Royale nightclub.

The group is looking forward to organizing a joint event with similar Russian speaking communities from Boston University and Northeastern University.

The rest of the RSCC E-board consists of junior Kirill Shapkin from Russia as treasurer and freshman Elizaveta Kuiun, from Ukraine, as secretary. The club meets weekly on Thursday nights.

Damaskina hopes to unite more students in the club, including those who don’t speak Russian, to share their unique cultural experience, make friends and find a community on campus.

“For us whenever you come here, to another country, it is always so nice to feel like at home, even though you are thousands of miles away. I think by creating the Russian speakers club we connect all the countries together and make a little home in a new country,” said Damaskina.

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