Jura-Doktorand der Uni Hamburg harrt in Bunker in Kharkiv aus

Serhii Lashyn, ein Doktorand an der Rechtswissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Universität Hamburg sitzt momentan in einem Bunker in Kharkiv (Ukraine) fest. Wir haben mit ihm über den Krieg und seine Lage gesprochen.

Der gebürtige Ukrainer studierte Rechtwissenschaften an der Nationalen Juristischen Jaroslaw Mudryi-Universität Charkiw (NLU). Die Uni mit über 23.000 Studierenden gehört zu den wichtigsten Hochschulen der Ukraine im Bereich des Rechtswesens. Auf Grund seiner hervorragenden akademischen Leistungen wurde Serhii mit dem Akademischen Stipendium des Präsidenten der Ukraine ausgezeichnet. Nachdem er seinen Jura-Bachelor mit Auszeichnung ablegte, machte Serhii seinen Master-Abschluss an der Central European University in Budapest. Im Jahr 2017 hielt Serhii als einer der Gewinner eines globalen Aufsatzwettbewerbs eine Rede auf dem Podium der Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen zum Thema Nachhaltigkeit. Seit 2016 ist Serhii junger europäischer Botschafter im Rahmen des OPEN Neighbourhood Programms der EU.

“Desperately trying to survive in Kharkiv”

Inzwischen promoviert Serhii an der Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law, dem Graduiertenkolleg der rechtswissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Universität Hamburg. In seiner Dissertation untersucht er insbesondere die Autonomisierung der EU-Bürgerschaft. Er veröffentlicht außerdem Beiträge in englischer Sprache auf dem deutschen „Verfassungsblog“. Unter anderem über das Verfassungsgericht der Ukraine.

Für eine Welle der Anteilnahme sorgte der Twitter-Beitrag des Doktoranden am 8. März 2022, in dem er mitteilte, sich in einem Bunker in Kharkiv aufzuhalten. Seinen Follower:innen teilte der Doktorand mit, er sei nicht in Sicherheit.

Zwar spricht Serhii deutsch, um ihm die Kommunikation in dieser schrecklichen Lage zu erleichtern, haben wir ihn aber auf englischer Sprache für JURios interviewt:

Dear Serhii, we are very sorry that you are not safe. Can you tell us: Where and how are you? Are family and friends with you?

In early February this year, I came back to Kharkiv, Ukraine, to spend my semester break with my family. Stuffed with some German treats for my parents and friends, I flew to my home expecting to recharge my batteries and have a good time. On February 24th, I woke up to a cannonade and screams of people. After checking my phone, I knew that the worst has happened: war. My parents are now with me. I care about them as much as I can in these circumstances. Some of my friends managed to evacuate but most of them stay in the besieged city because evacuation routes are hardly accessible and very dangerous. 

How is the situation in Kharkiv? Is the supply with water, food, electricity and medicine secured? Do you get help from outside?

The situation is more than horrific. The city is heavily shelled several times each day. Airstrikes have become a routine part of our life. We hear cruise missiles and fighter jets flying literally over our heads. In my rough estimation, more than half of the city is now ruined. The place of my childhood is being erased in the most brutal way. Electricity, water, and gas are being cut off regularly, so we have to spend days in darkness, without an opportunity to drink something hot. To make things worse, this March is unprecedentedly cold in Ukraine. Now temperatures drop to -15 at night, making survival without heating even harder. Finding basic food is a challenge. Getting medications is impossible. Medical assistance is now not accessible. 

We heard that there is massive destruction in the residential areas of Kharkiv. What is the security situation?

Many people, including those who I know personally, have lost their homes. Their apartments and houses are now rubbles. I assure you, there is no security or safety in Kharkiv now. Some people were killed some days ago while trying to buy groceries because the department store was bombed. Doing the most basic things is now a highly dangerous gamble. 

Serhii sammelt mit seiner Mutter Himbeer-Zweige, um daraus Tee aufzubrühen.

Is there a way for you to leave the city and the country? Has the University of Hamburg offered to intervene?

To my knowledge, one can leave the city using a personal automobile or train. The first option is, obviously, not available to everyone and is also quite dangerous, let alone the shortages of petrol. As to trains, two or three trains leave the city regularly. I attempted to use them several times but to no avail. The rail station is extremely overcrowded and, even after hours of waiting in the freezing temperatures, only women and kids are let in. Kharkiv is a 1.5-million city. Can you imagine what happens when suddenly everyone rushes to escape? This is a humanitarian catastrophe.

Universität Hamburg offered some help and support. Obviously, the University cannot organise a rescue mission or stop this war. The greatest help and reassurance come from my fellow doctoral students. The fact that they wait for me in Hamburg is a ray of hope in this darkness.

Do you have any hope for the Ukrainian people? In your opinion: What should Europe, the US and the UN do now to help?

I am proud to be Ukrainian these days and I pray that my country will live in peace and prosperity one day. Saying what the West should have done to avoid these horrors is difficult and not really my area of expertise. But I can say surely that what had been done was not enough to prevent this war and so much has to be learnt.

If you have the time to do so: Can you tell us a bit more about the topic of your thesis?

Absolutely! Any doctoral student can talk about their thesis for hours without a pause. I am no exception. My dissertation deals with EU citizenship, a concept that embodies the democratic nature of the Union and manifests European values. Introduced in 1992, EU citizenship underwent an impressive evolution from just a beautiful symbol to the fundamental status of its holders. I look into Union citizenship from different angles in order to understand its evolution and see what it is growing into. On a general note, European integration is something I am passionate about since the first year of my bachelor’s studies. EU brought peace and prosperity to a part of the continent that had seen the most violent atrocities of war. For me, it is not only a field of research but my personal conviction, something I truly believe in.

Can we and our readers offer any help? Is there a way to send money directly to you?

Unfortunately, money cannot buy peace. Meanwhile, the price of food and basic supplies have skyrocketed, my mom needs medical assistance, I have some serious health issues as well, so impressive medical bills await us when we have access to medicine. For those wishing to help, my PayPal is https://www.paypal.me/SerhiiLashyn. I know that, even in the West, so many people struggle to make ends meet and live from paycheck to paycheck, so any help will be truly appreciated.

Update 28. März 22: Serhii konnte gemeinsam mit seiner Mutter, die dringend auf eine medizinische Behandlung angewiesen ist, nach Ungarn fliehen. Er hat vor, bald in seinen Studienort Hamburg zurückzukehren. Wir bleiben mit ihm in Kontakt.


Unsere Leser:innen bitten wir darum, auch weiterhin öffentlichkeitswirksam Solidarität mit der Ukraine zu zeigen und – wenn möglich – zu spenden oder Geflüchtete aufzunehmen. Wenn Ihr Euch sicher sein wollt, dass Euer Geld direkt bei einem Kommilitonen in großer Not ankommt, dann nutzt Serhiis Paypal Link: https://www.paypal.me/SerhiiLashyn

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