Running away from the war…

The labor migration problem has always been relevant to all countries in the world. But for Ukraine it has become particularly crucial since the spring of 2014, when the Crimea was annexed, and then a war in Donbass began. Hundreds of thousands of people became forced migrants. Having lost their work, accommodation, family ties, they often went to the unknown …

Only in Volyn, where 1 million people live, 5478 forced migrants have been officially registered during these years.  Among them 2406 women, 1562 children, 1510 men, and 1608 people – retired employees.
The fact that some forced migrants still can not adapt to the new conditions is obvious … Therefore, we help them in different ways: 435 children are arranged for their study, 2439 received help for treatment, and 3114 – a subsidy for housing and communal services.
Director of the Department of Social Protection of the Regional State Administration Oksana Gobod also reported the following facts: 881 forced migrants applied for the employment to the Employment Service, and only 357 wanted to receive a job …

But, fortunately, in Ukraine there are a lot of representatives of socially responsible business, which, at a time difficult for compatriots, opened the doors of their enterprises for representatives of Crimea and Donbass.
Executive general manager of the Modern-Expo Group, Petro Pylypiuk and his colleagues, determines the most important task: not only to help internally displaced people and families affected by the war in Donbass but to provide them with good work.

The story about the group of companies “Modern-Expo” is educative.

“We went for a month or two …

First of all, we met with Oleksiy Podumov, one of those who, due to the deployment of the conflict in the East, had to seek new opportunities and conditions for safe living outside the territory of the Anti-Terrorist Operation Zone. In “pre-war” time, he lived and worked in Donetsk.

From January 2017, 33-year-old Oleksiy Podumov – the head of the service department of the main office of “Modern-Expo”.
“I was born and brought up in the industrial city – Konstiantynivka, Donetsk region. The city is quite typical for the industrial Donbass, because it once worked more than 20 powerful enterprises, known far beyond Ukraine, even in USSR. After graduating from high school I entered the Faculty of Physics of Donetsk National University. Obtained Master’s degree in physics and a rather interesting and responsible job: he worked as the radiation and nuclear safety inspector of the State Nuclear Regulatory Committee of Ukraine “, – Oleksiy Sergiyovych tells his biography.
A rather important step in the professional development of a young civil servant was given by the international program under the auspices of the IAEA, where he, together with other colleagues from many countries of the former Soviet Union, received a qualification of a radiation safety specialist at the Minsk International State Ecological Institute named after Academician Andriy Sakharov.
He worked as Chief State Inspector of Nuclear Safety in Donetsk, Zaporizhia and Luhansk regions. In Donbass there were lots of enterprises and establishments that use their equipment with nuclear sources in their work, Oleksiy Sergiyovych travelled in the official business of virtually all the cities of these areas …
… We communicate in a cozy office, more than a thousand kilometers from Donbass, which we talk about. It is not easy to recall the turning point in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens. In the fate of Oleksiy Podumov July 2014 became a decisive one …
In 2014, Oleksiy Sergiyovych has already headed the direction of ensuring the quality control of products of five plants of one of the holdings of the financial and industrial group SCM. In the turning point of July 2014, only thanks to the developed, strategically perfect anti-crisis program, the company managed to save the lives of its employees. Several weeks before the active hostilities, the evacuation of workers from the factories from Donetsk and Gorlivka to other regions of the country was promptly implemented.
“We went for a month or two,” Oleksiy Podumov recalls. – And it turned out that we stayed for years … “.
The company provided all employees with jobs in Kharkiv, Kryvyi Rih and Kyiv, and even strengthened the social package.
“At that time I chose the plant in Kryvyi Rig, because it was about a temporary stay. Therefore, the choice of the city did not matter at all “, – recalls.
Having given the company six years as a functional manager for laboratory testing, in late 2016, Oleksiy Podumov decided to put even more sophisticated, even more interesting goals and conquer the broader horizons.
So, at the end of the last year he was called, interviewed, and then offered to head of the department of service in the “Modern -Expo” company.
“After getting acquainted with company history, values, innovations and approaches in work and personal communication with the executive general manager, Petro Pylypiuk, I realized that the chance to work together for the benefit of this company should be used!” – reveals the secret of moving to Lutsk Oleksyi Podumov.
The specifics of the current work of this migrant from the Donetsk region are simple and difficult. It has more than 30 specialists. The main task of this team is to provide reliable service support for the sale of equipment and to ensure the impeccable reputation of Modern-Expo.
The work schedule is tense.
“We start to work at 8 am, and we finish – as sometimes, sometimes – late at night …” – confesses, but does not regret …
How has Oleksyi Podumov adapted in Western Ukraine, about which in many eastern and southern regions of the country there are various horror stories about “bloody banderivtsi”? In the end, is not this Russian-speaking representative of Donbass afraid to speak Volyn native language for him?
“Of course, it would be easier for me to adapt if I changed my place of residence and work in ordinary rather than extreme conditions,” says Oleksyi. – Frankly speaking, before moving from Kryvyi Rih to Lutsk, there were certain feelings and anxieties regarding the housing issue, the nuances of moving my family and others. But the responsible staff from the Department of Personnel promptly solved the issue of finding and renting an apartment for my family, for which I am grateful to Modern-Expo. Thanks to the daily support of colleagues, constant team work and corporate values that are practiced here, I can confidently say that Modern Expo is an inspiration and a force for self-realization. That is why here, in Lutsk, I feel comfortable both at work and outside.


And in terms of scary things (laughs – aut.), it seems that they need to believe in someone, and somebody – to believe. It is empty for me. In addition, wherever I was in Western Ukraine (Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Uzhhorod, Rivne), I say frankly: nowhere have I felt any discomfort! My parents are Ukrainians, I am Ukrainian! My mother is fluent in Ukrainian and comes from the charming Poltava region, where her roots are. And as for me, yes, I often communicate in Russian … It’s no secret that every person thinks only one of his childhood in his native language. I need some time to go to the Ukrainian language, which I also have quite free to own. And these fractions of a second on the disassembly of thinking sometimes spend ineffectively … It takes some time to adapt, and everything. ”
Well, of course, one who has become accustomed to live in urbanized cities since the childhood (and Donetsk, Kiev and Kryviy Rih are exactly the same ones!), that quiet and small Lutsk, of course, meets its peculiarities. Here, in order to get from home to work, you need to spend less time, and hence there are more opportunities to communicate with loved ones. Alex took his family from Kryvyi Rih to Lutsk, so it is possible to have a good time with relatives to have fun.
But on the hobby of time in our hero is not enough. I confessed that I once practiced karate (that’s why the famous master Masutyatsu Oyam was and remains an artist), I was fond of drawing, sometimes writing poetry and small works in prose … But now it’s not up to this. Although, it is likely that when the rhythm of life goes in the usual way, long-standing tastes will become reality again.
There, in the Donbass, Oleksiy Podumov left the most elderly people – his parents Sergiy Petrovych and Liudmila Anatoliyivna … Most of the friends with whom students spent the first years of independent work, already departed, who was where … Alex admits: from time to time there are memories about the pre-war time, sometimes even in a dream, seeing along with old friends walking along Donetsk with a magnificent alley on Pushkin Boulevard, near his native university … But it is perfectly well understood that these pictures can not be a reality at the moment. Therefore, it provides its life in new conditions with a memory of the past, but with faith in the present and confidence in the future.
And reveals the secret of how to adapt in the new conditions, in spite of nothing:
“When people are forced to leave their native land and go in search of a better share for thirty-nine lands – this is one thing. And now I live and work in my home country! ”

Interest in staff development

Another representative from the category of forced migrants, who found his place in the company “Modern-Expo” – Mykhailo Popov. Currently, Mykhailo Sergiyovych lives and works in Verhniodniprovsk, Dnipropetrovsk region, where he successfully heads one of the factories of the company “Modern-Expo”.

“Before the events in the Donbass began, I worked as the director of the plant for the production of polyethylene pipes and looked rather confidently in the future – the plant was developing, the number of orders increased. But later, due to force majeure circumstances, the plant had to be closed, – says the young director. – I was hoping for a quick resolution of the incomprehensible situation, but this did not happen … “.
Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of forced migrants, in Ukraine, either lack or do not actually have state and international programs for operational placement and adequate solution of social and domestic problems. Therefore, the experience of “Modern-Expo” in this regard is indicative. And he proved his effectiveness in one more concrete case – in the fate of Mikhailo Popov, who says:
“Soon I was offered the job of deputy chief technologist at Verhniodniprovsk plant of powerful radio engineering, which is part of the Modern-Expo group of companies and located in Verhniodniprovsk, Dnipropetrovsk region. The project I was involved with was the production of refrigeration equipment. It was interesting, because I used to work in “NORD Group”, where I was already engaged in the technology of manufacturing refrigeration equipment.
The first impression from the plant “VZPR” Ltd. was very positive – well-renovated buildings, dazzling purity in the production, new equipment – all said that the company was successful and with great plans. After a visit to the main enterprise Modern-Expo in Lutsk, where I talked to Executive General Manager Petro Pylypiuk, I was convinced that the company has ambitious plans for the future, and the leadership contributes both to the development of the company as a whole and to the personal growth of employees. At “Modern-Expo”, various training is provided for both workers and managers, and a system for attracting all employees without exception to the organization of improvements. Prior to that, I did not encounter such an interest in leadership in the development of my staff. ”
How could Mikhailo Sergiyovych enrich his professional experience in the new circumstances?
He does not hide anything:
“When I was working on the” VZPR” LLC, I first departed for a business trip to Europe. In order to solve production issues and get acquainted with new partners at exhibitions, I visited Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Switzerland. Subsequently, I was offered the position of deputy director of manufacturing, and I agreed. The work has become much more compared to the position of Deputy Chief Technology Officer, but I already had experience in managing production.
The next step was that the Director of LLC “VZPR” offered a position at the head office of “Modern-Expo”, and I, respectively, the position of director of LLC “VZPR”. At the moment, I am grateful to the fate that led me to Modern-Expo, my leaders, Petro Pylypiuk and Andriy Honcharuk, for seeing the potential and entrusting me with this responsible position. Now I am in an atmosphere of constant development, which our company strongly supports. Therefore, in the future for me there is only a direction for personal development and for the growth of LLC “VZPR” and “Modern-Expo” as a whole. ”
Similar to situation of Oleksiy Podumov, it is impossible to avoid the question of how the director arranged his life in a new place.
“Having moved from Donetsk, where the population was about 1,000,000, to Verhniodniprovsk, where there are no more than 17,000 people, probably was not my dream. And although for a comfortable life there is everything and the level of service is not the one we used to in Donetsk, where there was a lot of competition and a struggle for the client. Let me go there, but I got an interesting job, and at the weekend, with my wife and son, we go to Dniprodzerzhinsk, Dnipropetrovsk and even to Kiev. And we go fishing and gather mushrooms. Yes, despite everything, we miss our own city, Donetsk, where we have lived all our lives and where everything is so native for us “, – concluded Mykhailo Sergiyovych.

A new perspective

It is clear that under such circumstances it was impossible to dispense with the executive general manager of Modern-Expo, Petro Pylypiuk. Actually, the working schedule of Petro Pavlovych during that period was so tense that in Lutsk (he moved there from Vinnitsia many years ago) it was not easy to find him.

Finally, we had such an opportunity. And here’s the answer to a simple question: “What does he think about the situation with forced migrants?”
“The international company “Modern-Expo” claims itself as a socially responsible one, and confirms this in practice. One of our most important values is a team, people who need to get their production or office site for their work, where they will feel safe and fully reveal their potential. We take care about this regardless of where the person came from, where he or she lived before he or she started working with us. Those colleagues who were forced to move to Volyn from Luhansk and Donetsk Regions, running away from war, did not become an exception to the rule, ” said Petro Pylypiuk.
How did you get more than 20 specialists in the company?
“Some of them independently sent their resumes, someone was recommended by the partners. There are already good specialists among them. There was a student who transferred to study at one of the Volyn universities, graduated from it, and now he works with us and wants to develop further. There is also a director of the factory of “Modern-Expo” group of companies in Verhniodniprovsk. The company offers a non-residential supplement for renting a dwelling, a subsidy for food. We have different types of compensation, and each case involving migrants is considered separately. ”
Now we already know that Modern-Expo has powerful production facilities in Lutsk and Verhniodniprovsk. And what other sites can offer to forced migrants?
“Potential workers from the East of Ukraine, like any other colleagues at Modern-Expo, may get an offer to work, for example, at a plant in Vitebsk, Belarus, which we opened in May this year and where we created more than 200 new workplaces. The manufacturing area of the company is 25,000 m², it is equipped with the latest metalworking technologies, so there is enough work to do. And in the economic zone of Lublin (Poland) at the end of last summer, we began construction of a manufacturing and logistics complex together with office premises. The first stage of construction is 4.5 thousand square meters, while the second and third ones provide an opportunity to build a production site an additional 10 thousand square meters. At the end of August 2017, we put into operation a production and logistics complex. And this, in the future, will create new jobs for our people: already on European manufacturing sites “, – says Petro Pylypiuk.
That’s how the principle “East and West together” is realized in practice. Because Ukraine is the only one, and during difficult times of its development here they can help one another, providing people with the opportunity to live and work under the peaceful sky.

Foto by Natali Shvets.

About the company
Modern-Expo Group is an international holding, one of the leaders in the production and supply of commercial equipment in Europe. The company is on the market during 23 years, totally employ over 3,000 people. The main office of “Modern-Expo”, as well as the main production facilities (65,000 square meters), is situated in Lutsk (Ukraine). With the development of the product line, the company expanded the manufacturing area by opening a plant in Verhniodniprovsk (Ukraine, 22,000 sq. M.) and Vitebsk (Belarus, 25,000 sq m). The geography of the holding’s supply is more than 60 countries of the world.

Representative offices of “Modern-Expo Group” are concentrated in Poland, Germany, France, Great Britain, and OAU.

The partners of Modern-Expo Group are Nestle, Groupe Auchan, PepsiCo, Metro AG, British American Tobacco, Carrefour, Mars, Mondelez, Rewe Combine, Henkel, SPAR, X5 Retail Group.

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