Due to the unrest in Eastern Ukraine, many programmers have run away from the Donbass region to other parts of Ukraine or abroad. Liga.Business reports that, as of early June, one-fourth of programmers had left the region, with most IT companies directing their employees to cities like Kyiv (Kiev), Uzhgorod, Lviv (Lvov), or even out of Ukraine altogether. All told, more than 1,000 IT specialists had reportedly left Donetsk as of 2 months ago.
StepInMobile, an agency dedicated to developing mobile apps, is one of these companies, as originally reported by Ukrainian online publication AIN.UA. Founded by Donetsk-native Denys Nikolayenko, the firm opened in 2012 and has maintained offices in Kyiv and the founder’s home city.
Despite the unrest in Kyiv earlier this year, the company actually grew to 13 total employees by February 2014 . But, as the Maidan movement emerged victorious and the situation in the eastern part of the country deteriorated, Nikolayenko says that, “We did not know what would happen. At some point, the police simply ceased to exist.” Circumstances soon pushed Denys to have all of the Donetsk-based employees work from home, but this proved insufficient as the crisis deepened.
The team then made the decision to move its operations. Reluctant to relocate to a city as large as Kyiv, they decided to take their operations to the western city of Lviv. Eventually, the company wound up at Startup Depot, a Lviv-based coworking space that opened this year.
Other firms fleeing the violence in the East include outsourcer Binary Studio, which has moved most of its 25 employees to a new office in Uzhgorod, Transcarpathia, and PA Gekos, which has sent most of its employees to Belarus or Bulgaria, with the rest of the employees working remotely.
Not every company has opted to send employees away, however. Lime Systems, which develops banking software and employs 150 people in Donetsk, has allowed its employees to work from home and decided to expand its existing Kiyv office. SteelKiwi, a mobile-development agency, also decided to stay in Donetsk, instructing all of its employees to work from home.