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“You consumed the war in Ukraine as if it were a Netflix series”

BarcelonaNext to the Palau Blaugrana there is another equally old installation, but with the same charisma. It is the Palau de Gel, a venue that welcomes amateur skaters (tourists and locals) during the autumn and winter and which hosts the activity of one of Barça’s non-professional sections, ice hockey. The first men’s team is coached by Danilo Didkovski, a former Ukrainian player who has been living in Spain for 22 years. He speaks Spanish with an Eastern European accent that he can’t and doesn’t want to avoid and is proud to have passed on his passion for sticks to his son Stanislav, a member of the Catalan staff for a few years. Both pose for the ARA in the team’s main locker room, where brotherhood is breathed and t-shirts, protections, helmets and skates are stacked with the sharp blade. Once portrayed, they prefer to start the conversation in the coach’s office, a tiny room next door that pays homage to humble sport, one that does not capture focus and survives thanks to the simple love of practicing it.

“The truth is that hockey this year would have helped me a lot to disconnect,” said Stanislav, who has spent most of the season without playing for a cut in his Achilles tendon. While showing his scar, he consoles himself by saying that at least he has been able to make some trips to cheer on his teammates, who at the beginning of April were proclaimed league champions against Puigcerdà. Junior Didkovsky has grown up in Spain (he has lived there since he was four), but he has continued the war in Ukraine, which is four months old this week, with the same grief, anger and resignation that his father transmits. “I was in Kiev [on va néixer l’any 2000] visiting my grandparents ten days before the attack and nothing made me think that all this would happen “, he remembers. Neither he nor Danilo know when they will be able to return. in Barcelona to return to the Ukrainian capital even though the conflict has been concentrated in another part of the country.

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Latvian journalists and a rescue van

“My aunt has already gone back there,” laments senior Didkovski, who is getting his parents, who are now grown up, not to do the same. The move to get them out of Kiev at the beginning of the attacks was quite hilarious: “My mother did not want to leave the city because my father is recovering from a brain death, but we convinced her with the help of some “Latvian journalists who rented a van from my brother. The condition for leaving them was to help their mother get their father down and take them to Poland, where my brother was waiting for them.”

These were days of a lot of nerves and a few hours of sleep at home, of not understanding how one could have reached the extreme of having to live a war in Europe in the middle of the 21st century. “Vladimir Putin is a barbarian who wants to massacre the population and gain territory as was done in the Middle Ages,” said Danilo, who received all sorts of messages of encouragement at the start of the conflict, including from the chief executive. of Barça, Joan Laporta. “This war is nonsense. An absurd, surreal situation and a well of misinformation,” added Stanislav, who kept telling his Catalan friends to keep an eye on social media: “Everything is too much on Twitter or Instagram. “It is said that Ukrainians are Nazis and it is a lie. Russians are masters of propaganda.”

As a result of these messages from the Kremlin, the Didkovsky believe that the Russian people are living “deceived.” “Putin has eaten the coconut in his people. He has turned them into zombies. You tell most Russians that there are civilians killed in Ukraine and they don’t believe it. In Moscow or St. Petersburg there are still people with a certain critical spirit, but in deep russia people are anesthetized by a president who is ordering the killing of ours “, says Danilo with pain, admitting that he has had to cut off his relationship with some Russians. It also hurts to see how Europe has normalized the conflict after the impact of the attack in mid-February: “It’s sad to see how people have consumed the war as if it were a Netflix series. collection of food and medicine that closes when the war is not over. Those of us who have family in Ukraine do not forget. ” Stanislav listens intently to his father and tries to relativize: “People have their lives and lose interest in what they can’t do. But it’s better to keep in mind that there is a war in Europe.”

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