"We love the nature and people here" - a family fled the war and found home in Tampere

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the twinning of Tampere and Kyiv. As part of the anniversary, the city of Tampere publishes stories about people from Kyiv living in Tampere on its social media channels and on the tampere.fi website. The first article tells about the Krylova family who fled the war to Tampere.
Kolmihenkinen perhe istuu pöydän äärellä. Lapsella on kädessä sininen ilmapallo.
The Krylovas arrived in Tampere two years ago in March 2022.

When Russia started its large-scale war of aggression against Ukraine two years ago in February 2022, millions of Ukrainians had to flee their homeland and seek refuge elsewhere in Europe. The Krylova family from Kyiv also fled the war. They left their hometown of Kyiv and arrived in Tampere in March 2022.

Initially, the Krylovas considered seeking asylum closer to Central Europe, and one option was the Czech Republic . However, based on a tip from a friend, they finally ended up in Tampere, a city they didn't know before.

“We didn't know anything about Finland or Tampere then. However, we soon noticed that it is safe and comfortable to live here, says the mother of the family”, Aleksandra Krylova.

Before the war, the Krylovas lived about ten kilometers from Kyiv in a village called Shchaslyve. In English, the name of the village means "happy".

The Krylovas see much the same in the Tampere region as in their home village in Shchaslyve.

“Shchaslyve is like a small, beautiful world – nature and forest are always close, just like in Tampere. Only the lakes are missing”, Aleksandra says.

In Tampere, too, the Krylovas were able to live next to the nature, as the family moved to the vicinity of a forest and a lake and along good transport connections to southeast Tampere.

“We live near a lake, and we are enthusiastic about fishing. Being by the water and fishing is like meditation. It's amazing how there can be such big fish in the lakes! We were scared when we saw large salmon jumping in the waters of Ratina”, Aleksandra laughs.

The family has adapted well to Tampere. The parents have found work, and daughter Alisa is attending a Finnish-language elementary school.

Now, Aleksandra works two jobs: the mornings are spent working in Prisma, and the evenings at the gym the family founded a year ago.

Aleksandra is a physical education teacher by training , and the Krylovas ran their own chain of gyms in Kyiv. Nowadays, Aleksandra guides stretching and breathing exercise classes at their gym in Hervanta. 

Kolmihenkinen perhe istuu vihreän jumppamaton päällä. Lapsi istuu äidin sylissä.
The Krylovas run a gym in Hervanta, where Aleksandra teaches stretching and breathing classes.

The Krylovas consider studying the Finnish language to be the biggest challenge of living in Tampere. There are not enough Finnish language courses in the evening when parents would have time to study. Daughter Alisa has learned Finnish at school.

“We would like to learn Finnish, but there is too little time in everyday life to study. We try to study Finnish from home with online courses, but it is not as effective as studying in an on-site course. However, the Finns we have met have gladly changed their language to English when speaking with us”, Aleksandra says.

Now the family hopes to stay in Finland permanently so that they can continue building their lives in Tampere.

“We would like to offer Alisa a future in Finland, so that she could study and later work here.”

Concern for friends and relatives left in Ukraine is present in everyday life.

“We are worried about our relatives and friends left in Ukraine. We wish the war would end and we could all live in peace, says the mother of the family.”

Tampere supports Kyiv in the twin cities' 70th anniversary

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the twinning of Tampere and Kyiv. The cities will celebrate the cooperation, which started in 1954, with a variety of activities in both Tampere and Kyiv.

On the anniversary’s website, you can find out about the events of the anniversary and ways to help Ukrainians and Kyivans. You will also find related news and a summary of how Tampere has supported Ukraine in the midst of the war.

Text: Johanna Sokka
Photos: Johanna Sokka
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