Podcast: Then & Now #9 – Teresa Cherfas in conversation with Tetyana Sokolova, for many years a midwife at Mariupol’s City Maternity Hospital No. 2

25 July 2023

by Teresa Cherfas

Welcome to the ninth edition of our Russian-language podcast Then & Now with me, Teresa Cherfas. 

My guest today is Tetyana Sokolova, a professional midwife of 40 years at Mariupol Maternity Hospital No. 2, on the left bank of Mariupol near Azovstal, the industrial plant that became a centre of resistance against the Russian invaders. 

On 9 March, the city’s Maternity Hospital No. 3 was bombed by Russian aircraft and the whole world watched with horror pictures of the destroyed building and Ukrainian soldiers’ desperate attempts to save the life of a pregnant woman, as she lay on a stretcher among the ruins.

Three pregnant women from the rubble of Maternity Hospital No. 3 were brought to Tetyana and her team of midwives, 

For her work, her resilience and her bravery under the most difficult of conditions, Tetyana was awarded the international Anna Politkovskaya prize, named in honour of the murdered journalist.

The recording was made on 20 July 2023.

You can also listen to the podcast here:

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My questions

  • Where were you when you realised that Russia had invaded Ukraine? What was your reaction and what were your first thoughts?
  • You went to work on 2 March.  Did you waver at all in your decision?  After all, it was less than a week since the war had started.  What made you to go to work that day?
  • Tell us about the events of 9 March and how they impacted you personally.
  • You have worked in Mariupol all your professional life – what made you become a midwife?
  • Could you ever have imagined that you would be an eyewitness to alleged war crimes?
  • How did you escape from Mariupol?
  • Where do you live now?
  • Do you cherish hopes of returning to Mariupol one day? 
  • Were you surprised to be awarded the Anna Politkovskaya prize? Did you know about her before?

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