June 16, 2024

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Russian, Ukrainian Business Owners Face Angry Phone Calls and Emails

Russian, Ukrainian Business Owners Face Angry Phone Calls and Emails

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  • Russian and Ukrainian dining establishments in the US are having angry phone calls and e-mail.
  • A single Ukrainian organization proprietor explained he used the label “Russian food stuff” for convenience.
  • “But we are not victims right here, the Ukrainian nation is,” one particular restaurant proprietor said.

Very last Sunday was the 2nd working day that Andrew Wurth worked following Russia invaded Ukraine — and when the threatening cellular phone phone calls began. 

“They implied they were heading to smash up our home windows,” he reported. “They questioned if the Toyota in the parking whole lot was mine. They were looking at the retailer.”

Wurth is from Ohio, but he’s a pupil of Slavic and East European Scientific studies at The Ohio Condition University and works as a prodazets (that’s Russian for “cashier,” he mentioned) at Diana Deli, a Russian and European foodstuffs retail store in Columbus, to apply his Russian. One of the homeowners is Ukrainian, and the other is Russian. 

“We have both Russian and Ukrainian personnel at all amounts,” Wurth reported. “We did not want this war.”

Still, possible consumers have walked in, seemingly imagined of it is a Russian meals retail outlet, and walked out. He approximated that it was about just one or two individuals each hour when he labored Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. 

Diana Deli is 1 of 4 establishments Insider spoke with that claimed an uptick in offended e-mail and mobile phone phone calls, 3 of which have also witnessed a decline in consumers, since Russia invaded Ukraine. All of the establishments are nominally Russian and searchable by means of Apple Maps and Google with that label, but several are owned or co-owned by people today from Ukraine and provide food stuff that reflects the countries’ mixed heritage and society.

At the New York Metropolis restaurant Sveta, the “Russian” label was just a matter of usefulness and advertising, mentioned Alan Aguichev, a co-owner. His mother and the restaurant’s namesake, Sveta, immigrated from Ukraine to the US and ran her very own cafe in Queens that is now closed. 

“We normally thought Russian delicacies and Ukrainian delicacies are mainly the exact same matter,” Aguichev explained. “It was for persons to have a much better knowledge of what they are having.” 

A mother and son. Sveta, the mom, has short brown hair and has her hands on her son, Alan's, shoulders. The background is black. He is wearing a white button-down.

Alan and Sveta Aguichev.


Marsha Owett



Now, Aguichev is removing any mention of Russian food items from the restaurant’s several on the internet presences — its website, social media, Yelp — and modifying it to “European.”

But he can only regulate so substantially, contemplating the trouble of scrubbing the net, he stated. (I conveniently discovered the restaurant by seeking “Russian food items.”)

Previous week, on the initial working day of the invasion, a person emailed Aguichev with the issue line “Detest Russians,” and the textual content mentioned, “Go home.” He’s also witnessed a slight drop in clients. 

Russia and Ukraine have a long cultural and geopolitical history. Anne Applebaum, a Pulitzer-winning skilled on the topic, explained to CBS that Russia and Ukraine share an origin in a late Middle Ages civilization termed Kievan Rus, which was claimed to be founded by the Vikings in the ninth century.

Right after Russia’s revolution in 1917, Ukraine fought for independence, but it shed and became portion of the Soviet Union until finally the union dissolved in 1991. Ukraine has been an independent region considering the fact that then. In 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that no former Soviet Union international locations, these types of as Ukraine, be authorized to sign up for NATO, and he stated last thirty day period that Ukraine had no real file of getting an impartial point out. 

‘A Tough Time’

Rina Atroshenko was 7 several years aged when she left Ukraine with her moms and dads in 1975, while it was component of the Soviet Union. Following she produced Traktir in West Hollywood, California, the cafe fed a varied viewers, and she served Russian-Ukrainian delicacies.

“Russian delicacies is assorted with influences from many nations and locations surroundings these types of as Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Poland, and Latvia just to identify a few,” the site stated. 

Now, she’s fielding angry cellular phone calls inquiring irrespective of whether she supports the country. 

“I am acquiring a tough time with the cellular phone phone calls,” Atroshenko reported. “I’m strolling in the protests yesterday in Santa Monica with most people.”

Atroshenko has contacted her “signal person” to see regardless of whether he can deal with the “Russian delicacies” sign with a Ukrainian flag, and she’s purchased flags to be set up in the windows. 

Team at the Russian eatery Tzarevna on the Decreased East Facet in Manhattan are also anxious. Mariia Dolinsky, a co-operator, stated staff ended up fearful to speak Russian to every other, that a single person was telling shoppers they were from Belarus when requested, and that they’d received indignant calls to the hostess stand. Business enterprise was down about 50{067fe502a31e650c5185733df64156900ec267ebfd90cbebf0b3fe89b5b413d8}, she claimed. 

Dolinsky is from Russia, and her spouse is of Taiwanese and Ukrainian heritage. “We are versus this war and are not shy about it,” she wrote in an e mail. She stated they put a signal outside the restaurant with their placement and are working on a advertising to give proceeds from a selected food to charities in Ukraine. 

Dolinsky included, “But we aren’t victims listed here, the Ukrainian nation is.”