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In honor of this national holiday that is so near and dear to our hearts, the #ScalarrTeam is sharing their stories about what Independence means to all of us, why we love Ukraine, and how each of us can contribute to Ukraine’s victory.

Almost six months have passed since Russia declared war against Ukraine, an act of evil that to this day, continues to rage on and uproot the lives of peaceful Ukrainians. Even in the darkest of times, we’ve found that unity, resilience and intelligence are on full display, embodying what makes Ukraine so unique and special. We trust this is what will lead us to victory.

May we soon celebrate without guns and with dancing and flowers instead.

What does independence mean to us

Inna Ushakova, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder

It is the will to make one's decisions and to act without looking back at anyone. Being independent, much like flying, means no one can limit you.

Iurii Iashunin, Chief Product Officer and Co-founder

Freedom to choose your path. The opportunity to breathe freely, preserve and multiply the achievements of Ukraine and Ukrainians.

Olha Datsko, Lead Generation Manager

For me, independence is the ability to be yourself and express yourself as your soul desires. And regarding this opportunity, Ukraine is where I can express myself harmoniously and sincerely, precisely as I feel. In addition, this tragic situation in our country showed as vividly as possible that the concepts of Independence, Freedom, and Motherland are not empty sounds for us but echo our Ukrainian nature, and genuine soul.

Alisa Hubarenko, Graphic Design

Freedom of being yourself, exploring your creativity, and having free will to make decisions.

Viacheslav Panchenko, Front End Developer

To live without pressure or influences to make certain decisions, perform certain acts, or develop in a specific way. Of course, independence of a person or state is tied to responsibilities and duties that go along with it.

Oleg Mygryn, Chief Technology Officer

Nowadays, Independence has acquired an entirely new meeting. Many of us get to live thanks to those that came before us. My family and I live in Bucha and Gostomel; after the Russian occupation and the infamous act of war, everything feels a little different here.

People have a lot of optimism after returning home, even those who lost someone in their family. Opening a store, gas station, or park feels like a step forward to the way our lives used to be, and an even greater step towards victory. Yet, all these changes shape us in a new way and paves the way for a new reality in which we’ll have to live.

We all still have a long way to go. So collect the ashes, turn your pain into strength, and help lay the foundation for the new facet of our country.

Olha Omelchenko, Lead Generation Manager/Researcher

Independence is the opportunity to live in a free, democratic state and have the right to influence the choice of its course.

Maryna Kandiuk, Marketing Manager

Freedom is the right to choose and live in a free country.

Artem Zaika, ML Engineer

Independence for me means freedom of self-expression, freedom to be responsible for one's life, and freedom in decision-making.

What are our strengths?

Serhiy Protsenko, Data Scientist Team Lead

The strength of Ukrainians lies in unity and intelligence, and as the famous Ukrainian proverb says, "It's easier to beat a father with a group." Therefore, I’m sure the occupier will be repelled from our land.

Olha Datsko, Lead Generation Manager

The strength of each person and nation as a whole lies in our ability to take responsibility for our destiny, rich history, present, and future. Thus, it is our duty to uphold our Independence as the greatest honor given to all of us since birth.

Alisa Hubarenko, Graphic Designer

Our people. We are unique and special in our own way. We inspire the whole world with our power.

Viacheslav Panchenko, Front End Developer

Unity in difficult times. You shouldn't be fooled into thinking that we're doing well in peacetime just because there are three hetmans for every two Ukrainians and people in our country probably have small fights on equal ground in their heads.

Still, when necessary, people must get together, organize, and act in ways that benefit everyone. There are also many examples of people helping the military (raising money, buying drones, equipment, ammunition, cars, etc.) and of regular people leaving areas where fighting is going on.

Olha Omelchenko:

Our strength is in our mentality, in our genes, and in our history. Ukrainians have always been freedom-loving people who practiced a democratic system of society. We drew up the first Constitution. We simply cannot do otherwise. Since ancient times, we have thought freely, refusing to obey masters and kings. Can such people come to terms with someone else's system? Of course not.

Maryna Kandiuk, Marketing Manager

In unity and our shared desire to win.

Artem Zaika, ML Engineer

Our strength lies in diversity. Different people are challenging to manage. But in diverse environments, new ideas and innovation are born. Ukrainian people continue to amaze the world. In seemingly hopeless situations, Ukrainian people begin to unite and show miracles of creativity and ingenuity. Ukrainian people can show courage, humanity, and unity in moments when you least expect it from them.

As soon as we start thinking and acting the same way, we immediately become too predictable and easily controlled. Which, in the end, can be used by our enemies against us.

Why we love Ukraine

Olha Datsko, Lead Generation Manager

How sad it is, but the war made me realize how much I love Ukraine and how proud I am to be from this country. Ukraine is in every tree you see in the forest, every plant you touch when you walk through your garden, and every soul that is so honest and open to people and God. People in Ukraine have deep souls, warm hearts, and are always generous. And that's how I see real men and women in Ukraine.

Mariia Isaieva, Data Scientist

This is my home—just like one loves their parents, without conditions or reason, that’s how I love Ukraine. I used to think that home was my hometown of Kharkiv, but since the war started, I've realized that home is all of Ukraine. Here, everyone is like one big family. They fight sometimes, but they still care about and help each other. Nature and landscapes will always be in our hearts, too. I admire our culture and customs. Even when I was in summer literature school, I enjoyed reading "The Forest Mawka" and "The Kaidash family." The brave things that Ukrainian figures in culture, education, and science did for their country, sometimes at the risk of their own lives, make me want to be like them. I love that what makes us Ukrainians is our will and desire for freedom, which has been passed down from generation to generation and is already part of our DNA.

Alisa Hubarenko, Graphic Designer

Because it's Ukraine. Familiar and warm. Sincere and unbreakable.

Viacheslav Panchenko, Front End Developer

Ukraine is genuine, with its history, traditions, achievements, outstanding personalities, and bright future.

Olha Omelchenko, Lead Generation Manager/Researcher

I love Ukraine as a country because it gives me the chance to get a free education, the freedom to speak my mind without fear, and the fact that I can be at least 50% sure that the election results are correct. I didn't vote for our President in the first round, but I know that he will be chosen by the people. I like Ukraine because it has beautiful scenery, a more or less good climate, a wide range of animals, friendly people, and a rich cultural history. And because this is where I come from.

Maryna Kandiuk, Marketing Manager

Incredible people—educated, hardworking, brave, kind, with strong values—people who care about family and their country.

Artem Zaika, ML Engineer

I love Ukraine mostly because of its land. For the fertile land in the Kherson region, the beautiful forests in the Kyiv region, and the cool, moist air in the Carpathian mountains. There are rivers, valleys, beautiful scenery, and pleasant weather. We are fortunate to have this land.

Inna Shaposhnyk, Lead Generation Team Leader

For the feeling of safety inside. Because of the healing spore on the ground. The big oak trees in the background. The walls are filled with pictures of Hamlet. And you can feel the Cossack spirit in the air.

What do we wish for Ukraine?

Iurii Iashunin, Chief Product Officer

The quickest path to victory. And then, the ability to use this one-of-a-kind chance for many generations, which only happens once in a long time and costs so much.

Alona Sachevchych, Administrative Manager

Vyacheslav Chornovil once said: "God grant us to love Ukraine more than anything today - having it, so that we do not have to love it bitterly, having lost it." I wish that we would never know that bitter love for our Motherland. Today, I want to say that we Ukrainians carry only unconditional love for Ukraine, always and forever.

Olha Datsko, Lead Generation Manager

I want the people of my home country, Ukraine, to grow up to care about their independence, which they are fighting for with their blood and lives. I want our land to be reborn, and I want the rain to wash away all the pain, blood, and dirt left by invaders and death. I want our land to become a place where people can grow food and live happily.

Mariia Isaieva, Data Scientist

I want Ukraine to stop being split into "East" and "West" so that people can forget these terms. I want everyone to stop fighting and work together to rebuild the country after we win and make it the best in Europe. So that people from other places will want to come here and learn from our culture, architecture, and people. Ukrainians are amazing. They are smart, brave, and work hard. If we all work together, we will definitely succeed. I also want no one to interfere in our affairs and prevent development. Our state has been fighting for its independence for as long as it has existed. This war will end that fight, because we have already shown the world that we are worthy and will never give up what is ours. Every year, I'm sure Ukraine will get better, and we'll be surprised by how much. But what's most important is that we stay true to who we are, keep our unique history, traditions, and experiences, and build the future on the lessons of the past.

Alisa Hubarenko, Graphic Designer

Victory and continued prosperity for its uniqueness.

Viacheslav Panchenko, Front End Developer

Victory and a bountiful decade of development.

Olha Omelchenko, Lead Generation Manager/Researcher

I hope Ukraine will be patient. It won't be easy to win, but it will happen. We must end this war once and for all to spare future generations from the horrors of war.

Maryna Kandiuk, Marketing Manager

The quickest triumphal victory, recovery and prosperity.

How can each of us bring victory closer?

Olha Datsko, Lead Generation Manager

Strong faith in victory and sincere prayer to God can help us get closer to victory. We all have these things, so no one can say that it doesn't speed up victory. And to put it more simply, we should all do our jobs to the best of our abilities, whether we're working in an office, helping out, or fighting on the front lines. We should also take full responsibility for the results of our actions and not blame anyone else. Ukraine can only win if they act like mature adults.

Alisa Hubarenko, Graphic Designer

Relying on dignity and values.

Petro Tychynskyi, Customer Success Manager

To get closer to winning, we must first come together, because unity is our strength. When we stick together as one big family, we help each other and protect those who need it. To be honest with yourself, your state, and your people, because honesty is a noble trait of the strong. To be loyal to the idea of our nationality and to remember our history and those who gave their lives for our freedom. To remember that without the past, there is no future.

Don't let anyone or anything spread hatred and division among the Ukrainian people. On the contrary, we help our own people who are in need, both morally and financially.

All of these things can help us win and also make Ukraine one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world.

Viacheslav Panchenko, Front End Developer

Take action within one’s reach and possibilities—either physically, with money, or with creativity.

Olha Omelchenko, Lead Generation Manager/Research

I think some of us should stop being "couch analysts" and keep a close eye on the narrative we support. Criticism of the executive power is helpful, but not when it coincides with the enemy’s propaganda. Donate to the Armed Forces, help volunteers, pay taxes and let the government do its job, and everything will be fine.

Artem Zaika, ML Engineer

First, we have to stop trying to find enemies in ourselves. Linguistic nonsense and obsessive beliefs that only I am right and everyone else is stupid make people angry with each other and less likely to work together or help each other. This helps the enemy. Second, we need to stop underestimating ourselves and thinking that developed countries will take care of everything. People often say, "What can I do if I'm a small, unimportant person who can't change politics?" I tell them that it's true that each of us might not have much power on our own. Still, in synergy, when everyone does their job to the best of their abilities, we get a great result as a whole. In the end, an ocean is made up of a billion drops of water. And every drop we add to this ocean of victory is our contribution.

What personal skills are essential to moving the country to prosperity?

Iurii Iashunin, Chief Product Officer

Doing one's work with patience and perseverance.

Olha Datsko, Lead Generation Manager

I've already said it twice, but I'll say it again: being responsible for your words and actions is the most important thing. That's what being an adult is all about. Focusing on beauty and good things is also important because they make closer to God.

Alisa Hubarenko, Graphic Designer

Critical thinking. Readiness for change. Desire to improve.

Viacheslav Panchenko, Front End Developer

If we "move the country,” we are talking about leadership, which implies responsibility and discipline. Far-reaching and ambitious goals, as well as strict daily step-by-step implementation are required. Victory will come for Ukraine!

Olha Omelchenko, Lead Generation Manager/Researcher

Honesty and decency. Before we ask the government to fight corruption, we should stop giving bribes ourselves. And if we want a happy future in the EU, we shouldn't forget to put trash in the trash can and not in the middle of the road. We have a lot to do, but I trust we'll get it done!

Artem Zaika, ML Engineer

I think I will not say anything new if I suggest looking at the experience of developed, democratic countries. In many respects, residents of these countries share the following characteristics:

  • Respect for personal boundaries, high tolerance for other people's beliefs, skin color, and sexual preferences.
  • General optimism, tenacity in work, and desire to get the best possible result.
  • Personal responsibility for the result, not looking for a scapegoat.

Of course, you have to admit that not all countries are actually like that trying to show only their good side, but on average, I think most developed countries have the features I described.

We also share the stories of our international colleagues about why they enjoy working with Ukrainians and what inspires them in us.

Debra García Castillo, Content Manager

Undoubtedly, what inspires me the most about Ukrainians is their character, strength, and warmth. For years, I've worked as part of global teams but never have I encountered so much kindness or a greater sense of responsibility and outstanding work ethic than I have working with people from Ukraine. Even amid tragedy, Ukrainians stand tall, proud, and most of all, hopeful. Their strength gives them the endurance to face today's challenges, but their hearts and minds are what make them look and fight for a better future.

Today, on Ukraine's Independence Day, it's hard to turn a blind eye to the striking and heart-wrenching reality of the current war Russia launched against Ukraine. Even in the darkest of days, I've witnessed more love, support, unity, level-headedness, and intelligence from Ukrainians, all of whom want the best for their country so they can continue living in peace and harmony. These signs of character are what make Ukraine a force to be reckoned with. And I'm sure it's what will lead them to victory.

Ray Saloom, Customer Success Manager

I visited Ukraine in January 2020; not a bitterly cold winter week and a half in Kharkiv, but still very cold for a California person like me. However, my heart, my soul, and my feelings towards the people of Scalarr and the people of Ukraine were forever changed by that trip. I saw positive attitudes from everyone I met, hard-working personalities within the office, and amazing energy from those I spoke to, ate with and enjoyed life with during my visit. Whenever I feel down or think I need some inspiration to get through whatever stops me, I think of all I saw and met there, and that truly gets me to push myself further than I thought I could.

These past six months have seen all those values I saw in my friends amplified and strengthened as they and their fellow countrymen look to continue to defend their free land against the tyranny of an aggressor that vastly underestimated the resolve, the heart, and the power of the Ukrainian people. This solidarity and the unique characteristics of the great people of Ukraine will continue to shine through and ultimately overcome the tremendous obstacles they will continue to face until the aggressor is finally defeated and returns to its own country. I look forward to when that day happens so my brethren and the people of Ukraine will be free again.

Isaiah Arias, Head of Sales

Ukrainians are resilient and brave people. Over the last six months, these attributes have been proven time and time again. Reflecting on my time getting to know all of you, visiting Ukraine, and now working alongside you while your country is in the midst of war has been genuinely inspiring. When I first visited, one of the things I noticed was a feeling of national pride and excitement about the future state of Ukraine - the feeling was contagious! Over my month stay, I came to love the people, culture, and city. What has happened over the last six months has truly broken my heart. I saw the once-beautiful city of Kharkiv turn into a warzone, I have seen unspeakable atrocities committed, and have heard horror stories from many of my team members. There was a moment when I was unsure of the future of Scalarr, and if we'd be able to continue to operate during this difficult time.

But, after several worrisome weeks, I saw you one by one jump back online and get back to work - how you've all managed to do this is simply awe-inspiring. I believe that Ukraine will win this war and once again claim their independence. I believe this because I believe in all of you. You are strong, brave, kind, and resilient - you are Ukrainians!

Slava Ukraini!