top of page

The Green Vest Diary

performance, video



First 6 months of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine I was volunteering on the platforms of Amsterdam Central Station, welcoming Ukrainian refugees who fled their homes. As a native Russian speaker, I wanted to help facilitate their arrival in the Netherlands. So many devastating stories they told, experiences they shared, and emotions I felt, as these monologues poured out, I realized they should not be lost. This led me to write an online diary on a Telegram channel so that I could express the lived experiences and consequences of the Russian invasion and also to release some pressure from my brain that was absorbing these stories like a sponge.

My diary, therefore, consists of short monologues of some of the refugees I met at Central Station, as well as my thoughts and sensitivities about helping Ukrainian people while being Russian. On the 22nd of January, I returned to Central Station Amsterdam and read these stories from my diary in their original language, Russian language. The performance was repeated at Utrecht and Arnhem Central Stations.

Through this performance, I hope to give the tales that touched me so deeply back to the Station. How will people on the platform react to this intervention? Can these stories touch a stranger when the only language they can understand is my body language? Can the power of emotion carry across language barriers? Will the impact of these words be recognized?

This work is dedicated to all the Ukrainian refugees and the “green vest” volunteers who are helping them at train stations across the whole world.

Performance duration: 22 min
Video duration: 22 min
Locations: Amsterdam Central Station, Utrecht Central Station, Arnhem Central Station

bottom of page