Ruslan Habdulov

We are telling you about the most active volunteers of the B50 Community. The first hero is Ruslan Habdulov. The guy has been with us since the end of April. Less than a month ago, he was just an active volunteer. And now he is coordinating our team at the works in Moshchun!

Read  #B50heroes interview with Ruslan Habdulov:

  • where Ruslan got his organizational skills;
  • why he had never volunteered before;
  • what profession allows him to help people so much.
NameRuslan Habdulov
CityKyiv (surname from father, who comes from Yoshkar-Ola)
Age33 years old, birthday – September 18
Profession, occupationLawyer, worked in real estate for 15 years, including as a manager
HobbiesTraveling, before the pandemic, he used to travel to Europe 3-4 times a year.
Also, he traveled a lot in Ukraine before visa-free. Loves the Carpathians, Lviv.
Sea or mountains?Mountains! The sea is only, if not in Ukraine, but somewhere in Scandinavia, Italy, Greece.
Childhood sportoccasionally played basketball, football
Favorite foodlikes to eat a lot in general, but does not allow himself much due to rapid weight gain, recently he has lost almost 10 kg

– Ruslan, where were you on February 24? How did you know that russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine had begun?

– My wife woke me up and said: “That’s it, Ruslan, the explosions!” We were at home, in Troyeshchyna (Kyiv district). To be honest, I did not fully believe that this would actually happen. I read how many troops the russians were preparing to invade Georgia and Chechnya, and how many they have now. And I thought: “Listen, this is unrealistic! 200 thousand? Are you serious?” Even before that, I drove around Kyiv region. It was such a warm February. I looked at these swampy fields. I thought, what kind of person would have to be to go into these swamps with these forces right now. This is ridiculous, it’s unreal! I was sure that this was some kind of bluff, political pressure to push something through.

We did not prepare an emergency suitcase. We just filled up the car with gas. We have a house near Fastiv (Kyiv region – ed.), and we went there. And we just lived one day at a time, in general. When I was sitting there, I was very angry that I was doing nothing. And I thought to myself that we will return to Kyiv, and I need to start getting involved! I have the time, I have the financial ability not to rush to make money right away.

– Did you have any savings that you could afford not to work?

– Before the war, I worked for 15 years in one company and made a career there. I am a lawyer by profession. I had a management position, I combined the functions of a lawyer and many others. When the active phase of the war began, I went on vacation. I have about six months of vacation time, because I used to go only for a week or two.

The work of a lawyer is often a boring job. But up to a certain point, it was interesting. There were complex tasks, difficult decisions that had to be made and implemented. And I liked it. Then there was a change in management. There was little dynamics and a lot of routine.

It was killing me! When you don’t like your job, when you have no motivation, you do something, and then you sit around for half a day and get bored, you go out and buy something and eat. I actually remember this as a very “sad time”.

I was tired of such monotonous paperwork. Everything was moving towards some kind of logical conclusion, and now it’s coming to it. In fact, I have this job. But in reality, I realize that it is gone. If it wasn’t for this phase of active war, I might not have made this decision myself. Because that job brought money, stability, and some freedom. Why not now? If not now, when?

I used to deal with real estate. Now I’m trying to earn money with this, with something else that allows me to live on a free schedule. I’m happy with it, I don’t want to go back there. And this allows me to devote time to volunteering now.

– How did you find out about the B50 Community?

– I’ve been trying to find myself systematically involved in some kind of volunteering for a long time, since 2014, actually. But this trip of life that I had with my work was destroying me morally. I seemed to have the desire and time, but no energy. I wanted it all the time, but I did nothing. I was only sending some money, that’s the maximum.

And when I returned to Kyiv, I almost immediately started writing and calling various foundations, filling out applications and Google forms. I thought that I would try everything and get a place somewhere. My wife saw an advertisement for B50 on Facebook (I think they advertised once in a Troyeshchyna group), she sent me a link, I came and it all started.

– What was your first day of volunteering with us like?

– I went to the trenches (to dig – ed.) near Kyiv, it was the end of April. Now I miss the physical work a little bit because of the organizational aspects, I had a lot of fun. For example, I liked being in the trenches because there was less running around, which is not the case in Moshchun. You arrived in the morning, took a shovel and started digging. In the evening, you come home, and you feel good about this fatigue. And there was a cool location there – the forest, pine trees, coolness, the smell of pine needles. I love it.

– How did you go from being an everyday volunteer to becoming the coordinator of work trips to Moshchun?

– I have always had organizational skills. At school I was rather inert, neither here nor there. But at the university, I got into it… Once we had to organize ourselves into groups, everyone stood, and I took one, two, three steps and started. In my final year, I even became the group leader.

When I lost my main job, I felt a vacuum of responsibility. Or a hemorrhoid vacuum (laughs). And I filled it as best I could. You just see some white spots in the organization of trips. And you start to get involved. I have the time and the skill to do it. It’s an organic process. I didn’t come here with a plan to solve organizational issues in a month.

– What does the coordinator do while the volunteers are working for the owners in Moshchun?

– Collecting applications. Usually, everything starts with a meeting in the village or a phone call. When you are in Moshchun, it is advisable to go and see for yourself. Understand what is there and what is needed, what is the scale of the tasks, who can do it.

Before leaving, it takes about an hour and a half to distribute the volunteers, in particular to the locations, so that they don’t waste time on the spot. Also, if possible, we optimize logistics so that empty cars do not go.

It takes some time to get creative when you think about how to improve everything. When there were 2-3-4 cars, something was rational. And when it’s 8-10 cars, you need to improve and automate the processes.

Communication takes some time.

– What was your favorite day of volunteering?

– I loved last Saturday (July 2, 2022), when for the first time there were so many people!!! Adele, another coordinator, and I organized everything. Everything came together, there were no major overlaps or problems. I really get a thrill when you organize a process and then everything comes together…

I like organizational work. If I’ve been at that job for 15 years and haven’t drunk myself to death, then my resources are unlimited)))

– What would you like to say/ask our volunteers?

– I would like to ask the volunteers to be patient with our possible imperfections. Because we try to see them, respond to them, and organize the processes really well. We haven’t learned this, we do everything on the fly. If you do something (paid or unpaid), you have to do it well. It’s a kind of self-respect!

Now we need people with skills who can learn! People who can do something by default. They can get involved. Because there is less and less work with rubble, and more and more work with roofs, with some structures.

– What do you think will happen next? With the volunteers after Moshchun? With Ukraine?

– It would be interesting for me to move on to some kind of creation now. So that we can start building. People need shelters and roofs for the winter, even if they are primitive.

In general, B50 is a certain cluster of people who are ready to do something important, who have heads and hands. This is a good potential that can be used for the benefit of society and in other ways not related to destruction. We will think about it together.

I think that this war will not end in two years. I think it will take the form of a kind of permanent conflict that will not continue at the same pace as it did in February and March. As long as there are two countries – Ukraine and russia – this conflict will continue, it will not run out of steam. But there are many countries in the world that exist in this way, and quite successfully. The same South Korea, the same Israel. Despite how difficult it is for Ukraine now, everything is much better than it could be, in fact! The country is holding on, the economy is holding on, the army is holding on. And I am holding on…

Interviews were conducted by:

  • Interviewer — Nataliia Hryniuk
  • Editor — Kateryna Lehka
  • Translation —  Yuliia Habdulova