Mariupol: Summer Memories, Besieged Warfare, & the Future of Ukraine
With Olia Koutseridi
Olia spent summers in Mariupol, dashing through the massive food markets, eating dried fish with her grandparents, and picnicking on the beaches alongside tourists from around the world, including Russians.
However, in 2014 those neighbors mounted siege after siege upon Mariupol. The rounds of assault and resistance became so commonplace that Olia’s grandmother, who worked at the now infamous Azovstal Steel Plant, got used to them. Olia's family never suspected the full scale besiegement that began February 24, 2022.
For 20 days, Olia, who now lives in Austin, Texas, lost touch with her grandmother and aunt while she used her training as a historian to meticulously track the information trickling out of Mariupol. After 30 days in a basement amid shelling, as her mother’s health failed, Olia’s aunt decided she would rather die trying to escape than staying the basement. This is Olia’s account of Mariupol as it was, her story of living through the first 100 days of Russia’s war on Ukraine, why she believes Russia will never fully succeed, and how she is preserving recipes as an act of resistance and hope.
- Why was Mariupol immediately targeted for besiegement?
- Olia’s aunt and grandmother in hiding for 30 days
- “Even the act of cooking was unsafe”
- “I’d rather die trying to escape than in this basement”
- Their dramatic escape
- What are these filtration camps we keep hearing about?
- How Olia has coped
- What Olia is doing now - trying to preserve evidence of Russian crimes
- 50% of Ukraine is occupied or has fled
- Why Olia has hope for Ukraine
- “The fight is over, they just won’t accept it”
- “Russia just needs a lot of therapy”
- The support from Olia’s community in Austin
- The markets of Mariupol
- Mariupol and food culture in port cities
- Olia’s new mission to preserve recipes that are being erased
- Reputable organizations to donate to
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How To Contact Olia Koutseridi
This Episode's Storied Recipe
Recipe Shared by Olga Koutseridi
An ode to the fresh produce and fish in the port city of Mariupol. Olia grew up eating this fish in a sauce of tomatoes and caramelized onions.
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