Unity As a Weapon Against Evil: How Volunteering Helps Resist Russia’s Enemy Attack (Part 1)

May 18, 2022

Innovecs is a global company, we have two large offices in Ukraine located in Kyiv and Mykolayiv. On February 24, Ukrainians woke up to a new reality — a hostile Russian invasion shattered the plans and quiet lives of 45 million people.

Instead of getting confused, the Ukrainians united in the name of victory. President Zelenskiy is now compared to King David of Israel, who skillfully dealt with the huge and ugly Goliath. A small country on a map is fighting a huge Russian army.

National collective responsibility has been a powerful blow in response to Russia’s legend of a weak and divided Ukraine. Here everyone is either a soldier or a volunteer. Each of us has our own battlefront. Someone hospitably opens the door to migrants, makes dumplings for soldiers in the defense, someone donates to the army, and seeks options to buy bulletproof vests and medical kits for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Someone performs DDoS attacks on Russian sites and is waging an active war on the information front. Some advise and provide psychological assistance, some treat and organize humanitarian convoys free of charge. Innovecs, like hundreds of others, has joined the financial support of the army. We also organized additional fundraising for each team member who wanted to donate money to support the army.

Of course, Innovecsers help not only with funding, but also volunteer. Today we will share some stories of our team members who chose their “battlefront” during the war with Russia.

"We have a truckload of anger at the enemy: we disrupt Russian sites"

It is common knowledge that Ukrainian and international IT companies have become powerful partners of the Ukrainian army not only on the military front but also on the information front. It is thanks to the rapid development of the IT field that we are successful in the information war with the invaders. At Innovecs, a group of people willing to join the cyberwar has implemented many useful initiatives in this area. There are now 56 people in the group, each proposing and implementing ideas.

“There were no prior plans to create a cyberwar group. I just started my attack at the request of the cyber police (they were looking for people on the first day who could help and join the attacks on Russian sites) and asked my teammates for help because I knew they were very good specialists. Then we created a separate group with the help of the Community Manager and began to share experiences to make our attacks more successful. We had a hard time finding adequate answers to questions in the All-Ukrainian IT Army at that time, because different people were involved, and it was difficult to exchange information. Our team was full of fast learners who immediately started working. We reacted quickly and managed to strike the maximum blow until the enemy could not yet get where this was coming from and what to do. We worked for the same goals as the All-Ukrainian IT Army, often changing targets for successful attacks due to inquiries from the cyber police”, — said Bohdan, one of the Innovecs experts.

In the first days, it was quite easy to attack Russian sites, because the occupiers were not ready for it, the guys say. And only on the third or fourth day did they face even minimal protection. Thanks to the successful coordination of all IT specialists, the members of the group launched an attack on the cyberattacks protection resources and then changed the purpose of the attack again to confuse the enemy as much as possible. “The result can be assessed by official results from the Ukrainian cyber police. Everyone who joined the cyberattacks contributed to a certain degree, — says Bogdan. — We have a truckload of anger at the enemy and the desire to help in any possible way. Some take a machine gun, others treat the wounded, and everyone is doing something they can do. We can be useful on this front.

"The first rule in a difficult psychological state is to find someone who is even worse and help"

In troubled times, it is extremely difficult to stay focused and not panic. More and more people need psychological help and support. Rodion Aznaurov, Technical Lead, and a professional psychologist offers free individual psychological counseling. It helps anyone who has difficulty coping with anxiety, who has panic attacks, or frustration.

“The first rule in a difficult psychological state, both in peacetime and in wartime, is to find someone who is even worse off and help, — says Rodion. Since, in addition to psychology, I study the neurobiological reactions of the brain, I recommend only those methods that work not on the basis of ‘believe me, everything will be fine’ psychology, but affect the brain mechanically”.

When speaking about wartime volunteering, Rodion emphasizes, that everyone’s contribution is vital: “We have to do something we are good at to help: disrupt websites, deliver food, finance organizations, advise, or — what is no less important — take care of own family. We are one, we are a nation, we have to create power and monolith, investing our forces in the common body of the country”.

Anastasiia Aksonova, the HR People Partner at Innovecs, also volunteers for psychological support. She moderates a telegram chat where people can seek psychological help and then refers them to psychologists. Now the group has 30 professionals.

“Many are now helping financially, it is also important to maintain people’s psychological state. Today, almost everyone experiences anxiety and stress which is normal. I would like people going through difficult life changes to be able to turn to qualified professionals for free. When you help others, the strength automatically appears. After all, you understand that a person may already be on the edge, and a simple call to a psychologist can change the state and save lives”, — said Anastasiia.

"Doing something is much easier than staying home and being anxious"

Diana Nahirna, Technical Writer at Innovecs and leader of the Mindfulness Community, volunteers in several ways: by raising money for the army and coordinating the delivery of ammunition, weaving nets, and conducting an hour of psychological support. She started helping actively from the first days of the war. In one of her Facebook posts on February 27, she wrote: “I am near Lutsk and still seem safe, although I am exhausted — we have been making camouflage nets all day. It started in several living rooms last night, people in my community cut pieces into strips and twisted them into tangles, and in the morning we were in the garage with rolls of fabric and nets, and in the afternoon we were in the school gym. Volunteering effort is snowballing. Doing something is much easier than staying home and being anxious”.

Diana is already planning what she will do after the war which really helps: “I’m thinking about the day when I will return home to Kyiv, order sushi and hit Netflix, and most of all — I’m waiting for the reconstruction of bridges in Kyiv”.

One of her tips during an hour of psychological support is to find time to realize the value of the contact and relationship we have now. “We are together, we support each other, we love and we will win”, — she said.

Oleksandr Buratynskyi, Senior Agile Coach at Innovecs, collects and delivers food, medicine, and military equipment for the Defense and Army. He participates in fundraising and animal welfare projects.

“In such moments, it is much more difficult for me to be inactive than to look for a resource to help others, — says Oleksandr. — You might have a hard time admitting that you can be powerless in something and you need to help where you are and whom you can reach. This terrible injustice, the treacherous murders of the Russian invaders, their ‘motivation’ — all of that is an attack, the destruction of basic human values, principles, freedom, and peaceful existence in general. It’s impossible to put up with, I can’t sit back while it’s happening”.

Everyone’s contribution is crucial because now it is not just a war, but genocide, a crime against humanity, Sasha is convinced: “Now, more than ever, it is important to help in every possible way. Regardless of how different we are and what we argue about in peacetime, we are united in our desire to live in peace and we will not allow any madman to change that”.

"By doing good, we bring our victory closer"

Ira Naumets, PR Specialist at Innovecs, helps accommodate people traveling from eastern and southern Ukraine to western Ukraine, builds a volunteer contact base, and provides them with relevant requests from both IDPs and journalists.

“Today I feel like a kind of transit point. Evacuating from Kyiv to Lviv, I stopped at my friends’ apartment. They went abroad. Now people from Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, and eastern Ukraine are staying with me for temporary residence. For a while, I had a girl from Mariupol living with me, whose family was under siege and with no connection for several days in a row. She cried all the time. It was very difficult to work and volunteer in such an atmosphere. I will say it as it is: prayer helped as if the sky cleared up again. I reloaded and moved on”, — she said.

In addition, Ira helps to find comments for the media, joins the war on the information front, and helps to raise funds for humanitarian aid. “I believe in our victory when I see how the whole world supports us. An acquaintance of mine from Australia organized a group of retirees who donated money to humanitarian aid for Ukrainians. Indeed, in relation to the scale of the humanitarian catastrophe, this amount is a drop in the ocean, but the very fact of their desire and willingness to support us makes me very happy. I handed over these funds to my friend from Rivne, who delivers humanitarian aid to a shelter in the city of Kyiv every week. People are not afraid to risk their lives for the sake of others. How can this not be inspiring?”, — Ira shares her impressions.

“I have a feeling that by doing good, I am bringing our victory closer, — she said. — If each of us helps at least three people, the good triples. And the energy of good has a robust potential and it is the most powerful weapon that makes evil helpless. I’m glad that I can be useful. My contributions are not significant, but important. I have a daily practice that distracts me from anxiety. As I go to bed, I reflect on the useful things I have done, and how vital I have been that day. This vitality banishes fear and helps to remain diehard”.

This is just the first portion of our inspiring stories, and we have a lot more to tell about our great people Innovecs is so proud of. Together we stand against pure evil, our unity is a superpower. Stay tuned to learn more.