NewsNational/World News

Actions

Father, son reflect on Ukraine's history under Soviet Union control

Russia Ukraine War
Posted at 11:37 AM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 13:37:16-04

Throughout much of history, the Ukrainian people have suffered under ruthless tyrants.

Like a man-made famine engineered by the Soviet government and Joseph Stalin, killing millions of innocent people in the 1930s.

Today, it's aggression from Vladimir Putin, which bears a striking resemblance.

Peter Mospanyuk grew up in modern-day Rivne, Ukraine when the Soviet Union controlled it.

"When I'd go to school, like, elementary school, you'd need to have a sign showing that you are part of the Communist Party. I said 'no,' and I had teachers' persecution," Mospanyuk said.

Mospanyuk moved to the United States in 1991 to create a better life for his family.

"If my father hadn't fled Ukraine in 1991, I would be there alongside everyone taking up arms and trying to defend the nation," said James Mospanyuk.

James is one of seven children, his entire family devastated by what the Ukrainian people have had to endure at Putin and Russian forces.

"It's something I'm thinking about constantly. Every morning, I get up and pray and listen to Ukrainian music and ground myself on what's going on," said James Mospanyuk.

Now, three decades after gaining its independence from the Soviet Union, Ukraine is again fighting for freedom, and the Ukrainian people know firsthand what Russia is capable of.

James says the KGB targeted his grandfather for running an underground church.

"It was just a consistent pressure. They'd just try to beat you down and try to demotivate you from trying to experience freedoms, life, and practicing religion. It was a lot of fearmongering, and that's what this regime is doing," said James Mospanyuk.

His cousin still lives in Ukraine and runs Solid Rock Mission. He's been collecting donations and helping people flee to neighboring countries.

For Peter, it's painful to see the bombing and the destruction of his homeland, history the Ukrainian people are desperately trying to stop from repeating itself.

"So, we had to go through a lot, and we know what Communism is and what Socialism is — and we don't want it to come back," said Peter Mospanyuk.

Generations of Ukrainians have fought to preserve their identity and freedom. James Mospanyuk says that's why he wants to educate people and encourage them to stand with Ukraine.

Newsy is the nation’s only free 24/7 national news network. You can find Newsy using your TV’s digital antenna or stream for free. See all the ways you can watch Newsy here