Russian club come together and raise funds to support Ukraine amid ongoing conflict – The Sagamore
The Russian Club held a rally on the steps outside the atrium on March 9 at 7:50 a.m. to raise money for Cash For Refugees, a nonprofit that gives money to refugees when they arrive in another country. Solidarity and strength beamed from the yellow and blue signs in front of the high school.
The Russian-Ukrainian conflict escalated into an invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces on February 24, triggering a global call for action on Ukraine’s behalf. Ukrainian citizens have been fleeing since the start of the invasion and an estimated 2 million people have fled Ukraine, according to National Public Radio (NPR).
The Russian club set up a table outside the science wing to sell baked goods while standing with signs and Ukrainian flags. College and guidance counselor and club counselor Lenny Libenzon said club members came up with the idea to raise funds following recent events.
Senior Julius Arolovitch said the fundraiser was aimed at supporting Ukrainian students and providing money for refugees fleeing Ukraine.
“We are trying to raise funds for an organization that is currently at the border giving out money to people who have just crossed,” Arolovitch said.
Despite the club’s emphasis on celebrating Russian culture, Arlovitch said most members did not support the war.
“In Russia there is a clear divide between people who support this and those who don’t and much of it is propaganda driven. But even in our Russian club there are a lot of people of Russian origin who really care about this conflict and about helping Ukraine, not Russia,” said Arolovitch.
Arolovitch said providing aid to Ukrainians through direct action is most important.
“Awareness is not as necessary as resources. Awareness is certainly necessary, but it’s been so heavily aired in the mainstream news that it’s kind of not our primary focus. What we really need is to help the people there,” Arolovitch said.
Libenzon said the administration has dealt with a variety of issues over the past month and will hopefully provide guidance regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war soon.
“There’s so much going on at school right now. The administration has its priorities, but I think it will also talk about them. It’s a good first step, which we did as a Russian club,” Libenzon said.
Libenzon said many high school students have been affected by the war, especially those who have friends or relatives in Russia and Ukraine.
“We had students whose parents had to evacuate and return. I know someone who just arrived last night,” Libenzon said. “A lot of people in Russia don’t support this war and a lot of people want to leave.”