Interview with Ivan Sukhamera: Our main goal is to end the war

Ivan Sukhamera was first mentioned in 2014. It was a great and bright story about friends who dropped out of university at the age of twenty and earned a six-figure capital from a social media business. They had internships in China and the preparation of a startup in Dubai, the development of their advertising projects and work in large companies. But time has made its adjustments, or rather transformations. Quick success and earning ambitions faded into the background, and now Ivan is probably working on the most relevant and vital area in 2022 which is the security of Europe.

Editorial: More than 5 years have passed since your last major media interview. During this time, you have changed your place of residence, the vector of work, and the socio-political context has also changed. You’ve got new experience and new competencies. But first things first. Now you are in Lithuania, before that you lived in Poland, where you were educated at SWPS, worked with Oracle and now work with OSCE. Is everything right?

Ivan: That’s right, the events that have taken place during this time have changed many people including, me.

I used to try to stay away from politics, but during the war or the so-called “special operation” it’s hard to keep out. Everything that happens affects everyone.

Editorial: How did these political alterations affect you? Did it help you that you moved before the war?

Ivan: The war started in 2014. I moved to Poland in 2015. Alterations are an understatement; those are great changes to be more precise.

Editorial: We’ve got the impression that you plan and prepare changes in life to a considerable degree. We will return to the topic of the war, I would like to know more about your “Polish” stage. Earlier you said that books and interesting people are more useful than Belarusian education. Why did you decide to get a diploma at the Warsaw SWPS?

Ivan Sukhamera: Some things are difficult to plan and prepare when things turn sour. Everything is very ambiguous. You used to be either red or white. Now there are hundreds of shades, thanks to the Internet for this. Decentralization takes place. But let’s not talk about the war.

As for Poland, it is a wonderful country that helps everyone. I am an ethnic Polish on my grandfather’s side of the family. Poland was ready for refugees, the information was confirmed more than once. They built entire districts across the country.

Why did I study at SWPS? The quality and price of education are the main criterion. A year ago, I was offered to study at HULT, somewhere in London. But it was expensive. Master’s degree includes virtual operating systems and network security. At the moment, I can’t say anything about Belarusian education. When I studied communicative design at VSTU, everything was difficult. But you’re aware of it.

Editorial: Would you like to get more education? How far is it even necessary when everything is changing so quickly?

Ivan: I’m not one for entering university for the third time, I have plenty of work now. But it’s never too late to learn. Recently I have been invited to study at HULT, a business school in the UK. I’m still thinking.

Editorial: Why did you decide to turn to security field and does education really help in this area?

Ivan: It does. Everyone has their own tasks. Our main goal is to end the war.

Editorial: How does the current work correlate with this goal? Since May 2022, you have added OSCE to your resume. Tell us how you entered this company and what do you do.

Ivan: It correlates directly and not indirectly, if I may say so. We are monitoring the situation in all countries in Europe. I mean not the European Union but Europe. This is not a company, but an organization (smiles). I started as a volunteer, it was interesting, now it’s more difficult. There are a lot of incidents and provocations. It’s difficult, in general. Recently there was a congress of parliamentarians in Lodz, Poland. There is a lot of information on the Internet, if you are interested, google it.

Editorial: What’s the hardest part? Is it in scale, responsibility, or in the processes themselves?

Ivan: The difficulty is that there are a lot of provocations. There is a war so you can not trust anyone. I repeat, now there are a lot of shades, there are simply no “rights” and “wrongs”. Everyone has their own story. We are for security and peace in Europe.

Editorial: How is it possible then to find a balance and some kind of objectivity?

Ivan: I communicate with different people. I listen to their stories. Everyone is different, and the truth is different for everyone.

Someone is happy to talk and tell what is happening in their country, someone is aggressive, I am already used to it. The war can be stopped only if we listen to the stories of all sides.

Editorial: How can we achieve this when each side is judgemental, and there are lots of victims?

Ivan: We should turn off the Internet for everyone! Forever! Kidding. Cheburnet, as China shows, does not work. In the information age and weapons are information.

Editorial: Is the security of Europe the only vector of your work now?

Ivan: The vector of work is to stop hostilities. There is high risk of nuclear war, no matter who says otherwise. To negotiate is that’s what business teaches.

Editorial: Let’s go back a little. I can’t help but ask about your early internship at Edelman. In the PR community, this is indeed a very significant company with large capital. How did a young man manage to get into it 8 years ago?

Ivan: I was in China, built connections. At that time there was a Russian-speaking SMM party. Everybody knew each other.

Editorial: How do you choose the field/place of work? Are the scale, profit, reputation of the company important to you now? Or is a personal criterion inferior to them: is it interesting/not interesting to do this?

Ivan: I don’t choose companies, but companies choose me. The main thing is to make it interesting and useful for ordinary people.

Editorial: What are your nearest plans related to work?

Ivan: I interview and talk to people who have moved to other countries because of the war. For now, this is my task. I send reports, I watch the situation, but, I’ll say again, there are a lot of provocations.

Editorial: Has your social circle changed lately?

Ivan: I don’t communicate with anyone (laughs). But seriously, there are only a few people with whom I am constantly in touch. Many were swayed by propaganda, for some Ukrainians, Belarusians are now enemies. Here is the influence of the current media, the news for all social groups is different.

Editorial: Don’t attacks on Belarusians by Ukrainians hinder the work related to peace and security? Isn’t it demotivating?

Ivan: We can understand their position, war is inhumane and breaks all rules.

Editorial: What distracts your from chaos and provocations?

Ivan: Cinema distracts from chaos. By the way, my father (editor’s note: Ivan’s father is screenwriter Oleg Sukhamera) will soon release the second film, “Traces of the Apostles.”

Editorial: And finally: what is the most important thing for you now?

Ivan: Kindness, safety, peace are what’s important. And the ability to listen to people.