Wartime. Stories of our Colleagues: управляющий партнер YC Виталий Васильев

С началом полномасштабного вторжения российских войск в Украину жизнь каждого изменилась. Но она продолжается, и нам нужно приспособиться к новым условиям. Как война застала управляющего партнера Yappi Corporate Виталия Васильева и какие решения по работе компании ему приходится принимать – он рассказал в этой статье.


Life During Wartime, Pt. I: управляющий партнер YC Виталий Васильев


My name is Vitaly Vasiliev, I am an entrepreneur.

Prior to the outbreak of the war, I was in charge of a successfully developing English school that trains personnel from Henkel, Boeing, Ferrero, OLX, Puma and many other big brands. We have more than 260 teachers and 20 people in administrative staff. We have outplayed our pre-covid numbers in November 2021. We have done a tremendous job of creating a digital book for students and integrated it with our in-house written CRM system.

Two days before the start of hostilities, I realized that they were inevitable, it was only unclear how large-scale they would be. I took my family to Lviv. Just on the night of February 23-24, I decided to come to Kyiv alone, get some work issues done and then return to Lviv. 


Life During Wartime, Pt. I: управляющий партнер YC Виталий Васильев - 2


The war caught me in the morning on a train, I picked up the phone, which was physically hot from the flow of messages and a chill ran down my back. The war has begun. 

Transport went intermittently, it was impossible to call a taxi, and I went to my office in the center of Kyiv. I tried to finish some routine tasks and went by metro to my colleague's apartment. News reported that the government quarter might be blocked and potential bombing could occur in the center. After that, I went to friends closer to my area and spent an unforgettable evening in the Khrushchevka bomb shelter

Then I was able to call my neighbor, he is a surgeon and was returning from his shift. Together we were able to get to our house outside the city, not far from Bucha, through the fields and through the oncoming lane. A short stop at the board post. 

Within two days I got the car running, service stations and all auto shops were closed. Fortunately, there were kind people among the neighbors that helped. When I managed to start it, I took off to Lviv. 

I was transferring my cat too, cause the children cried that he might die. He meowed so much at the checkpoint where Ukrainian military equipment was driving in so I decided to let him out of the cat carrier. He began to thrash around, jumped on my head, I jerked the steering wheel on the way, the wheel got off to the side of the road and was pierced by a sharp stone. 

Airplanes are flying above me, military equipment is driving and there is a very clear feeling of impending hostilities. And I am in a field where everyone who wants to leave Kyiv is flying at great speed. After the fifth car and two bent wrenches, I was able to find a suitable key, unscrew the rusted nuts and changed the wheel. People stopped, unloaded their entire trunk in order to get to the spare wrench, and when it did not fit, they calmly folded everything back. That made me feel very awkward. At minimum speed, without turning off the engine, so it doesn’t stall, off I go. 

In 12 hours I was able to get to Lviv. The view of cars left behind and places of warfare made the trip quite thrilling. When I reached my flat, that my great friend provided me with, I wrote to all employees that we will pay salaries without delay if everything is in order with the banking system. As for March, we wrote a little later. 

I managed to send about 15 families in different countries, some we helped to find a spot in Lviv and its regions. Now, having sent my own family to Poland, I stayed. 


Life During Wartime, Pt. I: управляющий партнер YC Виталий Васильев - 3


I gave away my car to a team of volunteers, helped with the purchase of medicines, we organized free classes for those students who want to escape from the current reality (at least for a while), made donations to various organizations that help with medicines, found shelter for people coming in, worked with the logistics of delivering goods from Germany and a done bit more. There are more needs, than we have hands to cover them. 

My head is completely occupied with all the affairs we’re doing now. And I have to find time to think about the business, before I might get enlisted, I have to cover as much as possible. 

The company has a maximum of two months of resources left. We need to restore activity. In the current reality, we just do what we have to. And there will be time for emotions when all is over. For now, I don’t allow myself to feel much. Ukrainian businesses, affected by the war, will definitely need help in the future.

  • prior to the outbreak – до вспышки
  • a tremendous job – колоссальная работа
  • hostilities – боевые действия
  • inevitable – неизбежный
  • large-scale – широкомасштабный
  • intermittently – с перерывами
  • occur – возникать, происходить
  • bomb shelter – бомбоубежище
  • checkpoint – блокпост
  • thrash around – метаться, бросаться в разные стороны
  • impending – грядущий, неминуемый
  • warfare – война, боевые действия
  • escape from the current reality – уйти от реалий
  • get enlisted – быть призванным, мобилизованным
  • restore – восстановить
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