Borscht for Victory T-Shirts


These t-shirts were designed by my father, Haras, in an effort to provide support for a team of about 300 volunteers in Kyiv, that prepare thousands of portions of food every day for those fighting for Ukraine. All profits from these t-shirts will be sent to this group of volunteers.

Borscht for Victory. Story by my father, Haras.

“Putin will not win, because he is fighting not only the Ukrainian army, but the entire Ukrainian nation.”
Milena – Kyiv, Ukraine shortly after the 24th of February 2022.

And the entire nation has mobilized – in Kyiv there is a group of about three hundred volunteers who prepare thousands of portions of food for those areas which are under constant attack and without kitchens.
I became aware of this last summer during a ZOOM call with some friends in Kyiv when Milena mentioned that she, along with her husband Volodymyr and a few others, regularly helped prepare food – in her case usually cooking for 9 hours a day.

The Beetroot Dilemma
“They need a logo!” I thought, and then we could print T-shirts or badges or hats… As it turned out, they already had one, but it would be good to have a name that translates well in both Ukrainian and English – Milena suggested “Borscht for Victory”.

I could work with that – borscht and beetroot. The initial design, featuring a large red root vegetable at the centre – it was perfect – I sent it to Kyiv. The reply was: “NO, NO! We need a bowl of BORSCHT, not just a beetroot!”

The Art of Typography
For me, the critical component of the design was going to be the font.

Ukrainian is written in Cyrillic, and while many Cyrillic fonts are derivatives of Latin-based fonts, there are unique designs that are inherently Ukrainian – my favourites are those influenced by the Ukrainian Baroque or Cossack Baroque period.

I came across a website that specialises in and promotes Ukrainian-designed typefaces: and this is where I discovered Rutenia. A quirky typeface with strong historical roots. Initially designed by Vasyl Chebanyk, a graphic artist, calligrapher and lecturer at the National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture in Kyiv.

Professor Vasyl is Wearing the T-shirt and hat ! ! !

We ended up ordering T-shirts, aprons and toques and the plan was to take a portion of the order to sell at the bakery and send the remainder to Kyiv.

I asked Milena if it would be possible to give the professor a T-shirt and a hat. Shortly after everything arrived in Kyiv, I received an email that thrilled me to bits: it was a photo of Vasyl Chebanyk wearing his iconic hat with a red trident variant of his font and a “Borscht for Victory” T-shirt, and then a second photo where he had the toque and T-shirt on and was standing beside Milena.

I have no idea what it must be like to be under constant attack and what the Ukrainians are going through every day. Part of the idea of the T-shirts and the logo was to try and connect with them and perhaps offer some moral support. It was very encouraging to get a message back from Ukraine saying, “Now that we have this gear, we can feel like a real team – “Ми справжня команда!”

Finally, I’d like to thank the Régimbal Group in East Ottawa for their exceptional screen-printing services. As a loyal customer, Black Walnut Bakery has relied on their expertise for a number of years and has always been impressed with the high quality and excellent service they provide.

Colour: Black

Haras (Myro’s father)
Vasyl Chebanyk
Milena and Vasyl
Milena is 7th from the left and the founder of the group is Tinia 1st on the right
Volodymyr at home prepping on his porch.

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