Allison Quinn ’07 Covering the War in Ukraine

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By Rich Bodee - boderich@my.dom.edu
Dominican Star staff writer
Dec. 15, 2015


Dominican's motto is, "Inspired minds. Amazing Possibilities." This can lead one to infer that, with a Dominican education, the sky is the limit. A perfect example of this is Allison Quinn ’07. I recently caught up with Allison to see what she has been up to since graduating from Dominican. 

Allison graduated with a degree in creative writing. 

"Dominican university helped open me up to the outside world, made me more curious and gave me an appetite for knowledge and new experiences," said Quinn. A new experience was exactly what Allison was after. 

Following graduation, she moved to Russia, learned Russian and after working for a newspaper in Moscow, decided to work for an English-language newspaper called the Kyiv Post in Ukraine. Allison says it was while working in Eastern Europe that she learned that "journalism didn't have to be boring or follow a formula like [she] always imagined." 

"A perk of my job is the vast collection of insane stories," said Quinn.

She is a war correspondent and frequently visits war-torn countries in Eastern Europe, so you can only imagine the things she has seen.

"I'm not even sure a creative writer could come up with these situations," Quinn. "I've been asked to translate for terrorists in Syria, rescued by Georgian spies in eastern Ukraine and shot at by snipers that I later became friends with. That only covers the past several months. If I had become a writer of fiction, as I originally planned, I don't think I would have ever accrued such strange experiences."

As you can imagine, doing this type of work gives you a chance to examine your own morality as well as your mental preparation.

Allison had an interesting way of mentally preparing herself, "The only mantra I ever had while driving into really dangerous areas; areas where shelling was constant, mines were everywhere and snipers were active was, 'Don't worry. You won't feel it anyway'. I think most people in war zones start to think that way - you accept the possibility of death, but reassure yourself that it will be quick and painless. That's all you can really do."

As unbelievable as some of her statements were, one of the most fascinating things we discussed was Edward Snowden. Snowden is a former NSA contractor who leaked documents to a journalist and then fled to Russia and was granted asylum. The question of whether Snowden is a hero or a traitor is one that has gained notoriety in the debates of both political parties this election season. However, Allison says that, in Russia, Snowden is viewed differently. 

"Most Russians think he was a hero and noble man who fell victim to the monster that is the U.S. surveillance state," said Quinn. "Russia has used Snowden very cleverly to convince its citizens that they have it better than those in the West. In reality, Russia's security services have surveillance systems that top those of the West."

For more information on Allison or to read her work, go to her Kyiv Post profile page.

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Allison Quinn's Kyiv Post profile