Ukrainian techno fans using ‘clean-up raves’ to clear villages hit by Russia

Young Ukrainian techno fans are using what they call "clean-up" raves to clear villages hit by Russian rockets.

Ukraine's vibrant nightlife was brought to an abrupt halt when Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine in late February, kicking off his "special operation" in the country to the south of Russia.

Fast forward to July and towns, cities and villages have been raized by Russian forces.

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Yahidne, a village in Chernihiv Raion, around 87 miles north east of Kyiv was hit by a rocket strike in March.

On Sunday, July 24, a group of young people threw a "clean-up rave" where they cleared the remnants of the village cultural centre, which was destroyed by the strike.

Shovels in hand, they got to work while a DJ blared techno and house tunes. Some volunteers even stopped work to boogie, before picking up their tools and resuming the graft.

“Volunteering is my lifestyle now,” said Tania Burianova, an organizer with the Repair Together initiative. “I like electronic music and I used to party. But now it's wartime and we want to help, and we're doing it with music.”

The DJ used a stack of ammunition boxes to prop up his decks as the group loaded the debris onto a tractor.

Burianova said the raves, of which there have been eight so far, bring together those who had lost their nightclub community during the war, and also help in the clean up effort.

“We miss (parties) and we want to come back to normal life, but our normal life now is volunteering,” Burianova, 26, said.

Local resident Nina, 68, said she was glad of the help from the young volunteers, who have so far repaired 15 homes in the village.

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"They already repaired our windows, doors and entrances," Nina said of the volunteers. “We couldn't do it ourselves with our salaries or pensions. I'm thankful that they helped us.”

Most of the volunteers were in their 20s and 30s and came from Kyiv, about two hours' drive away.

But others have come from the western city of Lviv and also nearby Chernihiv, while some foreign volunteers arrived from Portugal, the United States, Germany and elsewhere.

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