On 24 February 2022 Europe woke up to a new reality. War came to the continent.
Russia attacked Ukraine. Millions of Ukrainians had to flee their homes and seek shelter in another country.
Estonia has been helping Ukraine in word and deed from the very beginning.
During 2022 nearly 50,000 Ukrainian refugees came to Estonia, of whom nearly 300 came to the city of Paide.
The first refugees arrived in the city in early March, as reported in a local newspaper. (READ)
At the same time, a literary event organised by Jaan Malin took place in Paide, P. I. Filimonov was interviewed by Igor Kotjuh. The event included a book sale by both authors, and the writers decided to donate all proceeds to war refugees. This event was also covered by a local newspaper. (READ)
Since then, Igor has identified himself as a volunteer. He is a spokesperson and helping hand for Ukrainians in Paide.
Food and medicines.
Clothing and school supplies.
Donating resources to those in need from generous sponsors as well as personal funds.
Drawing up documents, dealing with officials and finding accommodation.
Translation work and information about the Estonian lifestyle.
Weekly Estonian language and culture classes for beginners. At the end of the year, this work was recognised as the Learning Deed of the Year in Järvamaa. (READ)
Excursions in the county and to major Estonian cities.
He manages the Viber group Ukrainians in Paide (about 200 people).
He is working to amplify the voice of Ukrainians in the media. For instance, he participated in the process of selecting presenters for the programme ‘UV Factor: Our Ukrainians’. (PROGRAMME).
Igor mediates communication between the Ukrainian Cultural Centre and war refugees.
He provides refugees with educational literature, as well as Ukrainian and Russian-language fiction.
He cooperates with volunteers from Narva, Tartu, Tallinn, Võru and Riga. This has enabled many war refugees to reach different countries across Europe.