Last year, this Ukrainian guitarist’s apartment was hit by a Russian airstrike. Now he’s launched his own guitar company to prove that “even in the most hopeless situations, one can fulfill one’s dream”

Nikita Zhemerenko poses with his SWFT Guitars in his workshop
(Image credit: Elisabeth Starchenko)

On February 24, 2022, Ukrainian guitarist Nikita Zhemerenko had his apartment ripped to shreds by a Russian airstrike. Yet his outlook on life, guitars, and music remains inspirational.

“I want to tell all the people who know my story that even in the most difficult situations, when it seems that everything is lost and there is nowhere else to move, you need to believe in life and choose life,” he says. “In this world, much is possible if you have a goal and the desire to accomplish it.”

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.