Twenty people changing Transcarpathia

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Our Varosh team meets people and learns all about their lives and job, trying to understand their main ideas and motivation. And then we tell you about the people in our articles.

We have introduced to you hundreds of professional, smart and gifted, unusual personalities. Each of them makes his contribution to the development of his area in their native city, region and country.

We have set up an ambitious goal: to write about 100 people changing Transcarpathia. Let’s start from the first 20 that we chose. And then the matter depends on you, our readers. We will carefully read all comments and compile further articles based on them.

Before you start reading, let’s pint out: this is neither a rating nor a comparison. Just people doing their job well. So as to change the whole of Transcarpathia. Surely, for the better.


The company from Selyshche

Petro and Inna Pryhara, Orest del Sol, Jurgen Kreftner and the team around them, their ideas and love to Nyzhnie (Lower) Selyshche. They have turned a depressive community into an example to follow. And not only for Transcarpathians but for the whole country. The village community hosts The Selyska Cheese Dairy, the ecological farm Zeleniy Hay (Greenwood), a snail-growing farm, a hostel welcoming groups of visitors and a club named “Shargo Rigo” for holding cultural events, the international theatre festival “The Bird” and many other smaller but no less important projects.



The writers: Myroslav Dochynets, Petro Midianka, Andriy Liubka

We are going to publish an extensive article under the title “The literary Transcarpathia” soon. In it, we are trying to dwell on all modern Transcarpathian writers and poets, working both for children and for adults. To our mind, Transcarpathia is mostly represented in the country by these three men of letters: Myroslav Dochynets, Petro Midianka, Andriy Liubka. Myroslave won the National Ukraine Award in honor of Taras Shevchenko in 2014 for his novel “The Well Master. Chronicles of the richest man of Mukachevo Estate” and his novel “The Highlander. Waters in Lord’s channels”. Petro Midianka won it in 2012 for his collection of poetry entitled “Luytra (Stairway) to Heaven”. As for Andriy Liubka, he may as well be on the waiting list to the award.


Lina Degtiariova and Oleh Olashyn

These names may not be well known to the vast majority of people but Lina and Oleh’s work can hardly be overestimated. The researchers take care of Uzhhorod modernism buildings and speak of the importance of their preservation at all levels: local, national and international ones.

On their site, Uzhhorod Modernism, launched by Lina and Oleh a few years ago, you will find valuable information on the modernism architecture in Uzhhorod, the buildings and architectural details, as well as the city environment of the Czechoslovakia Republic; the styles of functionalism, neo-classicism, purism, art deco, rondo cubism, expressionism, streamline etc.

Oleh is also the founder and publisher in Transcarpathian Heritage, where he posts on the history of Transcarpathia and Transcarpathians.


Olympians and athletes: Anatoliy Herey, Ann Mary Dancha (Chundak), Ivan Kovbasniuk

There are a few dozens of gifted athletes in Transcarpathia, representing our region on the world’s level. We are going to talk about three of them.

With the assistance of the honored coach of Ukraine, Vasyl Herey, a well-known fencing school was established in the region, now in top-5 leading schools of Ukraine. Anatoliy Herey took up his brother’s concern and nowadays the fencing tradition is continued by his nephew, Anatoliy Herey-Jr., a world champion and prize winner in Europe and World Championships.

Ann Mary is a snowboarder, a prize winner in the World Championship, a participant of 3 Winter Olympics (2010, 2014, 2018). A Master of Sports of International Class in snowboarding.

Ivan Kоvbasniuk from Rakhiv area is a downhill skier, a member of Ukraine’s national team in Olympics 2018.


Valentyn Shtefanio

A confectioner that needs no extra words of introduction. And with tourists, his confectionaries are always, when not topping the list, certainly in top-5 of must-visit. Valentine is the author of a hundred chocolate bestsellers from his brand, and the “Uzhhorod” tart that has become the city’s landmark.


The young artists: Ruslan Tremba, Victor Melnichuk, Natalia Tarnay, Beata Korn

We called them young but it would be more correct to name them “a new generation of Transcarpathian artists”. They are all united by some freshness and ease in their creative work. Both in painting and in sculpture and photography. Here is a list of those we follow and recommend to you. The list of surnames is, surely, far from being complete.

Ruslan Tremba, Emma Tremba, Victtor Melnichuk, Beata Korn, Ivan Nebesnyk, Natalia Tarnay, Vadym Harabaruk, Natalia Shevchenko, Petr Riaska, Vasyl Kadar, Andriy Voznytskiy, Olesia Voznytska, Nata Popova, Oleksandra Tokareva, Vasyl Kohutych, Mykhaylo Khodanych.


Fedir Shandor

A tourism expert, professor, tutor, sociologist. A man that made thousands of Ukrainians fall in love with Transcarpathia and all that belongs to it. A contributor to dozens of city and regional projects that make our region so much the more attractive from a tourist’s point of view. He has united the local manufacturers of craft products, a co-designer to the project of mini-sculptures in Uzhhorod, the creator and guide of over a hundred routes in the city and Transcarpathia.


Mykhaylo Ilko

Mykhaylo Ilko is the founder in ILKO Gallery in Uzhhorod. A location that changed the concept of exhibitions and musical events and brought them up to a brand-new level. The gallery celebrated a 6th anniversary  earlier this year and, during this period, it has hosted a few dozens of exhibitions, performances by Ukrainian and foreign musicians, as well as educational and presentational projects.

In his career, Mykhaylo himself, apart from being an artist, was involved into holding Eurovision in 2005 and Euro-2012 in Kyiv and also into creating the Ukrainian national font.


Myroslava Kalamuniak

It is hard to imagine the Uzhhorod garment factory without Myroslava Kalamuniak. She has been the head of the enterprise for over 20 years. The operation was founded back in 1946, to support the development of textile industry in Transcarpathia and has become a brand since then. She is ambitious, straightforward, strong-willed. These are the traits of hers that saved the production during largest crises and launched her own trademark Parada.

Nowadays, the factory is involving young designers, working both in the Ukrainian market and abroad. In particular, they’re producing for Hugo Boss, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc O’Polo and others.


Vasyl and Andriy Riabych

Vasyl and Andriy Riabych run the Fischer enterprise in Mukachevo. This is an exclusive representative of the famous Austrian brands of Fischer and Lőffler in Ukraine. The factory is one of Europe’s greatest. Apart from Austrians, some American and Canadian companies place their orders for goods here, in particular – hockey equipment.

There is a total update of the ski and hockey sticks collection every year at the factory. And that means 180 models of cross-country skis. 130 models of downhill skis and 70 various modifications of hockey sticks. The goods made in Mukachevo is sold in over 40 countries worldwide.


The Bartoshes couple

A unique couple. To rent a castle – this is what romantics is all about, at first sight. And how much truly titanic efforts to save the castle, at a second glance. Yosyp Bartosh does everything for that. Saint-Miklos in the village of Chynadievo, in the vicinity of Mukachevo, has become a true magnet location for tourists, locals and organizers of various events. For instance, a florists’ exhibition from all over Ukraine and a festival of medieval culture, The Silver Tatosh.

Tetiana, his wife, helps him in everything. And she is an artist and a painter herself, busy with the old scratching technique with Easter eggs (the pysankas). However, her patterns are not traditional but in fact tiny copies of paintings by known artists.


Oleksiy Ivancho and Kosyno

Oleksiy Ivancho and the health and recreation complex of Kosyno, built up by him, is known all over the country. Hundreds of visitors come here for revitalizing and the healing water. It is located right in the middle of a 200-year-old oak wood in Berehovo area.

There are seven different swimming pools with thermal and fresh water within the site, sauna facility, a hotel and a restaurant. And this year Oleksiy Ivancho also launched the first aqua park in Transcarpathia.


Hennadiy Hutman, Anatoliy Poloskov, Oleksandr Meresiy from Chateau Chizay

Chateau Chizay produces Transcarpathian wines only from their own vineyards. The brand owns 272 hectares of them and bottles 1.3 billion bottles annually and keeps 120 barrels in their wine cellar. The craftsmen creating their wines mostly took their studies in Europe but do their best to keep the local traditions in winemaking.

Chateau Chizay was founded in 1995 in Berehovo area. The company founders say that it is not just a wine plant but a whole winemaking settlement, a true hub of the noble craft and a manmade miracle of Transcarpathia.


The volunteering movement headed by Halyna Yartseva

They talk little of the war now. Or nothing at all. And it may seem that volunteers’ job is not so great. But is absolutely wrong. Just like many years ago, when they did not sleep for weeks and worked around the clock to provide the frontline soldiers, the ones protecting our peaceful life here. So it is now: every day contacting the military servants, their wives, parents, and children. This movement was headed by Halyna Yartseva and gathered a few dozens of people. It is hard to overestimate their job.


Emil Sokach and the Cantus choir

25 years officially, and actually even longer, this academic chamber choir takes the lead in the musical culture of Uzhhorod. With the advent of this team, the city and the region reached a brand-new artistic level. A new generation has grown up listening to Cantus. And the choir has grown professionally with it.

We talked of music and people involved with the bandleader and the art manager of the choir, a People’s artist of Ukraine, Emil Sokach, in the following conversation.


Nasha fayta (Our family)

By creating the first Transcarpathian humor cartoon, its authors, Mykhaylo Karpenko and Pavlo Mandzych, have told this country about Transcarpathia more than a whole book might do. Here they introduced local plots, the dialect, and the life style. We have collected 10 most interesting facts on the cartoon. The first episode in the serial, the one that evoked most active response, is under the link. And other links are for the music videos created by the guys for the music bands TIK and ThreeHundredEight.


Oleksandr Kovach

Oleksandr Kovach is not only a winemaker producing really good wines for over years, bit a man with  pro-active attitude, defending it for the sake of his job. He is the head of the union of private winemakers and winegrowers of Transcarpathia, organizer of festivals and a popularizer of Transcarpathian wine in Ukraine.

The winery tasting room of Chardonnay, founded by Kovach, has been working in Uzhhorod since 2007. They serve exclusively local, Transcarpathian wines, produced by the family winery. Oleksandr was the first to open a location with Transcarpathian wines beyond the region, in Lviv.


Valentyn Frechka

Valentyn Frechka, a Transcarpathian, became the author of a paper manufacturing technology using fallen leaves as he had just turned 17. The ecological project brought the young man awards in many Ukrainian and international competitions. Now Valentine is studying in Kyiv and is continuing to develop and improve his invention, under the name «RE-leaf». The project presentation has already taken place in some countries in Europe.


Tetiana Literati

It is already about 4 years now that Tetiana Literati started her project “The lost Uzhhorod”. Transcarpathians literally get lost in the journalist’s publications on the old city, its famous and little-known personalities, on the history of buildings with all the dramas and happy moments in life that happened in them. The ease and spontaneous presentation of the material, uncommon facts, regard to details – all of these have made it popular. Tetiana’s publications, in some miraculous way, make people from the Internet era, with their pace of life growing ever faster and shallow perception of information read true long-read storied and look forward to a new one. Exciting, with no academic smug, her researches, though, carry a great mission, bringing up a true patriotism, appealing to preserve historic momuments and traditions, make one stop and think again of the important things in life.


Tetiana Zhovkivska-Lemak

Tetiana Zhovkivska-Lemak is just the case when they teach the good with one’s own exemplar, with no reading sermons, condemnations and disregard. Due to her perseverance and belief in the rightness of her ideas, Uzhhorod got its first plastic-free shop. One was launched in 2018, and another one appeared just a few months ago. The girl has been a vegetarian for many years, conducting various workshops on the subject.

Read all about the idea of the Green Shop and some other successes in Uzhhorod in our article “Four successful city projects of Uzhhorod that may become exemplars to follow”.

Disclaimer: the present material is presented by the civic community of “Institute of Central European Strategy” with the support by US Agency for International Development (USAID). Creating the material became possible with sincere support from the American people as provided via US Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents or the material is a sole responsibility of the civic community of “Institute of Central European Strategy” and does not necessarily reflect opinion of USAID or USA government. Reproduction and use of any part of this material in any format, including graphical, electronic, copying or using in any other way whatsoever is prohibited without a link to the original source.

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Rosana Tuzhanska

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