Viewers think that soldier Anatoly Stefan is making the videos for his young daughter.
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For the first time in Europe’s history, we’re experiencing a war through social media. There are thousands of users in Ukraine who use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok to document what’s happening in their country for the whole world to see.
In the past weeks, the TikTok account of Ukrainian soldier Anatoly Stefan (@alexhook2303) went viral. There he can be seen dancing to music from Michael Jackson to Nirvana on battlefields, alone or with his comrades.
It’s something he’s been doing since 2020. But it has become more frequent since December of last year, when the problems between Russia and Ukraine began to escalate.
Apparently, although it hasn’t been clearly confirmed, he has been doing it to show a girl who appears to be his daughter (who appears in several past videos) and the rest of his family that he’s well and to bring a smile to their faces. Many have drawn the conclusion that he started doing it to make the separation more bearable when he had to go to training camps.
One only has to wander for a few minutes through the comments on the TikTok videos of this Ukrainian soldier—who uses the pseudonym Aleksandr Kovalenko—to see the many words of encouragement and hope in many, many languages.
At the end of February, when he didn’t upload videos for several days, rumors began to spread that the soldier had passed away; but he later refuted the rumor with a video. In it he said he was still defending the independence of his country. If he doesn’t upload more, it’s in part because he doesn’t always have a cell phone connection to do so, or must avoid doing so for his own safety.
Currently, Stefan has more than four million followers on TikTok (and more than 200 thousand on Instagram @kovalenko8380) who look forward to his videos every day. It is not known for sure what has made his account so popular or whether he was doing it for his daughter. What is beyond doubt is that stories of love in times of war are always a light in the midst of darkness. And this is just one of them.
Here you can see an image of the soldier Stefan and the little girl: