Ukrainian War Hits the New Yorkers Close to Home

It’s almost two weeks since the war in Ukraine began, and it doesn’t look like it’s ending anytime soon. Reservations in Russian restaurants have decreased because people did not want to support Russian cuisine. Sveta, one of the restaurants that serves Russian meals, receives negative emails about the war. The owner thought it would be a good idea to use a more recognizable name. Last week, they changed the category from Russian to Eastern European so it decreases the amount of negative emails they would receive. Some Russian places in the city have been vandalized.

Vlada Von Shats, the matron of Russian Samovar, said, “We have people on the telephone calling us Nazis.” This restaurant is holding a sign to support Ukraine during the war because most of their employees are Ukrainian.

The Russian people in New York City are mostly siding with Ukraine in the war. They are complaining about the assumptions made that all Russians are with Putin when they are not. They have nothing to do with Putin.

Although multiple restaurant owners have shown their support in the Ukrainian war, they struggled to get customers because they are Russian. Some people have received phone calls whether they side with the Russians or the Ukrainians. An owner of Russian dumplings in New York City said he feels sad about the community because they start attacking Russians online without understanding their story and their support in the war efforts.

Neal Elkin, a financer who ate at Russian Samovar, said, “We just thought Russian businesses are probably being unfairly treated, and it would be the right thing to do to have dinner here. There tends to be a lot of virtue signaling in how people behave these days, and to take it out on a business like this is unfortunate.”

The server at Russian Samovar wanted to omit her name in the press. She states that she has a family in Russia who does not support Putin’s path. She’s checking the news daily to make sure that her family is safe.

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