All stories, even ones that seem to have reached their finale, continue in some way.

Pavlo Petrichenko, the soldier in the 59th Brigade who, on March 29, created a petition to ban online casinos, died in battle on April 15. On April 16, President Zelensky promised to consider his petition and establish some kind of control over online casinos.

Now a new petition has appeared on the website of the President’s office, asking to posthumously award junior sergeant Pavel Petrichenko with the title Hero of Ukraine. The petition has already received the 25,000 signatures required to earn the President’s attention.

At the very beginning of the full-scale war, Ukrainians were captivated by the heroism of the military pilot Stepan Tarabalka – otherwise known as the “Ghost of Kyiv.” During the first two weeks of the war, while defending the skies over the Ukrainian capital, he shot down a good many Russian fighter jets. However, Tarabalka died on March 13, 2022, in an unequal air battle over Zhytomyr region. No petition to the President’s office was required to spur the authorities into making him a posthumous “Hero of Ukraine.”

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Tarabalka has also become the hero of a comic book story and he is remembered with gratitude by the residents of Kyiv and all of Ukraine. Now his mother, Natalya Tarabalka, has joined the military chaplains corps.

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“I decided to join the military chaplains, having my own spiritual experience and having received the necessary knowledge base for chaplaincy,” Natalya said, adding: “I want to be needed and useful, not only for my family but also for the military and veterans.”

Since the death of her son, as well as studying to become a military chaplain, Natalya Tarabalka has organized and launched the “The Warmth of a Winged Soul” health and rehabilitation center for military personnel.

She achieved this using the compensation money received after her son’s death, but she says it would not have been possible without the support of volunteers and local authorities, and this support remains constant.

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During this war, we have often heard how, instead of children continuing the work of their parents, it is parents and other loved ones who continue the work of their deceased children, husbands, and wives. But sometimes there is no continuation, only a dark full stop.

At the beginning of spring, the Kvilinsky Garden, a garden center and flower farm in the Poltava region, founded many years ago by the family of Jan and Olga Kvilinsky, ceased to exist.

Jan’s passion for roses was well known. The varieties that he cultivated can be found in gardens all over Poltava region and beyond. In addition to roses, he loved boxing and foreign languages.

At the beginning of the war, Jan sent his wife and little daughter to the United States and went to the front. At the end of January, he died in Avdiivka.

“The Kvilinsky Garden no longer exists.” This message, placed by someone on Jan’s Facebook page, shocked acquaintances and strangers alike.

Considering how many companies and farms have been left without owners due to the Russian aggression, you might expect there to be almost no small or medium-sized businesses left in Ukraine. But the statistics tell a different story.

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In 2023, almost 315 thousand private firms were registered in Ukraine – more than in any other year of the last decade. Most of the newly registered businesses are hair and beauty salons, perhaps opened by displaced people who have moved to safer regions of the country.

A large number of small construction companies have also opened. There is a logical explanation for this: many builders and home renovation specialists have been working for years on a cash-only basis, without being registered and without paying taxes. Today, the number of private customers who can offer these companies work has fallen sharply, but there is work on central and local government programs for the repair and restoration of buildings destroyed or damaged during hostilities.

Only officially registered construction companies can get work on such programs, but the scale of the projects makes it well worth registering. There are hundreds of thousands of damaged or destroyed buildings which could keep construction companies in business for many years to come.

Statistics show that since the beginning of the war, a little more than 200,000 private businesses have closed each year – fewer than those opening. However, the statistics do not include private businesses that no longer function but may not have been closed down officially. Figures for cases like these remain a mystery.

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It is not known whether Jan Kvilinsky’s wife and daughter will return to Ukraine. Perhaps the story of his Garden Center will be continued. Recently his brothers-in-arms organized a boxing championship in his memory, while friends from the world of horticulture appealed to people who have roses from the Kvilinsky nursery to remember Jan when the roses bloom in their gardens.

The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.

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