This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: A spelling error has been corrected
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Political tensions are rising between Russia and Ukraine with the impact being felt worldwide.
This is especially true for one Sioux Falls couple.
“What we went through, a big depression in the 90’s, it was a very scary time and hard time” Paul Soroka, co-owner of Olga Alteration & Tailoring, said.
Paul Soroka moved to Sioux Falls in 1999 from Ukraine.
“I went to Ukraine, to the place I grew up, and married my wife in 2001. I was going back and fourth until 2004 where we came together here,” Paul said.
The two have lived in Sioux Falls for over 20 years.
“It’s the best state to live in right now, it’s cold here, there’s not much to do during winter time, but it’s the best place,” Olga Soroka, co-owner of Olga Alteration & Tailoring, said.
They have three children as well as a business, Olga Alteration & Tailoring.
“You just work (laugh) here from the early morning to the night and it’s a big responsibility,” Olga said.
Though they are both American citizens, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has them worried.
“It’s a bloody picture that come to mind” Paul said.
Both grew up experiencing the turmoil Ukraine was experiencing in the ’70s.
“Lenin was in every home, I had to wear a red star on my chest and it was his picture in the middle of it,” Paul said.
The country then sank into an economic depression.
“I lived in downtown and I saw people covering people right in the street because they had died right there,” Paul said.
After Ukraine declared its independence in 1991, the people of Ukraine began rejecting Russia’s political influence.
“They renamed all of the streets, they took down all the monuments, they got rid of everything that reminded them of past slavery ideology they were forced to have from Russia” Paul said.
Over the years the tensions have come and gone, as they work in their Sioux Falls shop, Paul and Olga always remember their loved ones overseas.
“I have still two brothers living there,” Olga said. “The people of Ukraine are peaceful people, they want to live their life in peace,” Paul said.
Living in Ukraine has made the two grateful and appreciative of the life they have created here in America.
“We love this country, we fell in love with this country and its people,” Olga said. “Looking back I am glad I lived through that, because I appreciate what we have here,” Paul said.
As the conflict continues, the Biden Administration has been working on a diplomatic approach to the growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.