Local Effects of Russo-Ukrainian War

Theresa Fu, Claire Ireland, and Jimmy Yu

An array of Ukrainian flags line a neighborhood street in Lake Forest.
(Photo by Jimmy Yu)

The effects of war know no borders. From individuals whose family members and friends are stranded in areas of violence and uncertainty to economic turmoil, war consistently tends to affect a significant population outside of the official “war zone”. This is the case with the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War. Its tendrils have spread past Ukraine and Russia, finding a significant place on the global stage including within local communities of LFA and the larger Chicago area.


Historically wars have impacted people outside of the locations in which they occur; in the American Revolution, the French’s involvement led to economic depletion, and in WW2, US women joined the workforce as a result of many men being sent overseas.


Currently, Chicago’s large Ukrainian community is worried about the situation abroad– leading to efforts like the Hromovytsia Ukrainian Dance Ensemble in Chicago (which teaches Ukrainian children dancing via zoom to maintain some hope and normalcy). Additionally, a state hotline and credit union have set up special relief funds. LFA English Teacher Tyler Madeley added “If we continue to have these rallies… this outcry of support for these individuals whose lives are being taken, it’s not something that you can turn a blind eye to… its something that you have to address, I think that’s kind of the beauty of Chicago in general when there is injustice in the world, it’s refreshing to see the city stand up.”


LFA’s global community has members with close ties to this conflict; many of which now bear an emotional burden. An anonymous LFA community member disclosed “I was trying to read less news… because it makes me feel really bad when I constantly see reminders of what is happening. And my grandfather is in Ukraine right now and the separation within the family [takes an emotional toll].” These feelings of emotional taxation were echoed by Tyler Madeley, “There’s a big feeling of helplessness across that side of my family because they’re so scared for their family and realistically all they’re able to do at this time is wait, [leaving] a lot of anxiety.”


For many this anxiety is increased by the economic repercussions the conflict brings. The anonymous individual described “There was a period where my parents couldn’t reach their bank accounts and once things like currency began plummeting in value, it became hard to purchase normal things”. Sending money to students abroad is a necessity—yet constrictive sanctions in places like Russia make this difficult.


Through acknowledging local impacts of the Russo-Ukrainian war, it’s clear that fostering a community of understanding and compassion is necessary (something that LFA has worked towards via hosting dialogues and study sessions). Such acknowledgement must also be shared with those locally affected by other conflicts like the unrest in Afghanistan connected with Taliban rule.


Ongoing conflict is widespread; waging emotional wars and economic crises that extend to beyond simply the war-ground. The Russo-Ukrainian war levies turmoil even 5,294 miles away— in the LFA community.