- Anastasia Koshevaia and her corgi Chopa have been separated since Russia invaded Ukraine.
- Koshevaia told Insider she has plans to evacuate Chopa to Spain, but isn’t sure when she’ll be able.
- Sometimes, she said, she cries while editing TikToks of Chopa because she misses him so much.
Chopa the corgi has 153,000 TikTok followers who follow his life and adventures with his doting owner Anastasia Koshevaia. The two never spent more than a week apart in Chopa’s nearly three years of life, until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine separated them.
Now, Koshevaia doesn’t know when she will get to see her beloved dog again.
“It’s very strange,” Koshevaia told Insider. “I always think that he is near to me, I think, ‘Oh I can give Chopa cheese,’ but Chopa is not here.”
Before the war, Koshevaia lived a calm life in Kyiv making TikToks about spending time with Chopa. Her videos showed the duo having picnics, celebrating Chopa’s birthday parties, and spending time with friends. The conflict has changed all of that, creating a devastating shift in Koshevaia’s life that has also played out publicly on Chopa’s TikTok account.
“My life was like a dream,” she said. “But now I can’t return to Ukraine, I don’t see my friends, I don’t see my family, and it hurts me very much.”
Koshevaia was visiting Poland with her boyfriend in early February just a few days before the invasion, she said, but the conflict has made it too dangerous for her to return. As the couple try to figure out what to do next, Koshevaia says she wakes up every day in fear that she’ll hear something has happened to her loved ones back in Ukraine.
Chopa is staying with her parents in a town near Kyiv, which Koshevaia said is currently a relatively safe area. Her parents send her videos and photo updates every day. But it’s still heartbreaking to be apart, she said, because Chopa “is like a baby for me.”
Chopa’s TikToks are usually captioned in English and set to music, and to the average person it’s not immediately clear they’re taken in Ukraine. But on February 26, Koshevaia told her followers what was going on. The content was going to change, she said, because her life had been turned upside down. Russian troops had devastated her country, and shelling had hit buildings in Kyiv. Her family, she said, were running to bomb shelters several times a day.
In her next few videos, Koshevaia gave updates about the war, as well as her own situation. In one, she shared her “life in Ukraine before the war” which featured days out with Chopa and her boyfriend in their home country. It was viewed 8.2 million times.
“Sometimes when I make videos I cry because I’m not with him,” Koshevaia told Insider.
Koshevaia was worried her followers wouldn’t enjoy her pivot to making content without Chopa by her side, and making “content of war.”
“But people sent me a lot of words of support, they offered me help, and they prayed for me and Chopa,” she said. “It was sad to make these videos, I’m crying, but then the support helped me to get through this.”
This support has helped her stay financially afloat too, with offers from companies to collaborate. Koshevaia is now trying to work out how to bring Chopa to Spain, which is where she and her partner are aiming to move next.
Koshevaia plans to keep making TikToks of Chopa using the videos her parents are sending her. It will be his third birthday on March 30, and she plans to film the process of sending him some presents. Just knowing he is safe is enough to motivate her to keep going for now.
“It’s a very hard time for me, I sleep very badly, I am feeling sorry for my country, feeling sorry that I am not with my dog,” she said. “But I hope I will get him with me to Spain, and I will again make funny videos with him and make people happy.”