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How the founder of the Saint Javelin charity brand, which Zelenskyy wears, intends to help in the rebuilding of Ukraine

Christian Borys founded Saint Javelin before the war began, with a t-shirt reaching President Zelenskyy.
Christian Borys founded Saint Javelin before the war began, with a t-shirt reaching President Zelenskyy. Image Credit: Viktor Kvashenko

Christian Borys, a former journalist, began a charity effort five months ago by producing $10 stickers based on a meme amid mounting evidence of Russian troops mobilizing on Ukraine's border.

Borys is planning a longer-term push to help rebuild a country whose economy has been decimated as millions flee and cities are under siege, with 41,000 orders in 70 countries, $1 million in donations, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's approval.

Borys provided Insider with financial documentation to back up his claims.

T-shirts for $39 and a bomb-detecting dog.

According to KnowYourMeme, the "Saint Javelin" refers to an image of the Virgin Mary holding a Kalashnikov rifle (named Madonna Kalashnikov), which has since been replaced with an anti-tank javelin missile and has become synonymous with Ukrainian calls for Western intervention in the war.

Borys was a former Ukrainian correspondent who kept in touch with reporters still in the country in December, highlighting the growing inevitability of war.

Borys shared an image of Saint Javelin on his Instagram page, asking if anyone was interested in purchasing stickers, and within two days had raised $1,000.

T-shirts and hats bearing the symbol, as well as those depicting the "Ghost of Kyiv" and Patron, the bomb-sniffing dog, quickly became popular. Borys explained that he had been responding to trending topics to keep his brand in the public eye.

"People were looking for ways to contribute right away. Not only donate, but also raise awareness and support, and we were there to help "Borys explained.

Borys set up a meeting with Ukraine's defense minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, in March, and gave President Zelenskyy a Saint Javelin t-shirt.

"I still didn't believe it because this guy obviously has so much on his plate," Borys said of his conversation with the defense minister. "Then he messaged me on Facebook a few hours later and said, 'hey, the president has your shirt.'" Reznikov could not be reached for comment.

Borys is aiming for a longer-term impact with donations to companies like Help Us Help and the 2402 fund for journalists, starting with moving production to Ukraine. 

"Over the next few months, my goal is to literally produce everything we produce in Ukraine," Borys said. "In this way, we can assist factories that have been impacted by this."

'Go fu*k yourself Russian warship'

Borys' first partnership in Ukraine was with The Sewing Brothers, a Kyiv-based firm. It was a high-end fashion retailer before the war, designing luxury tracksuits worn by "2 Bears, 1 Cave" comedians Bert Krieshchner and Tom Segura.

While they wrestle with a war outside their door, stylist Ivan Drachenko and his team have been producing anti-war clothing, including the "go fu*k yourself Russian warship" t-shirt.

"We realized our business was going to change in October, and instead of beautiful dresses and suits, we'd be sewing military ones," the Sewing Brothers' Drachenko and Tatiana Pankia told Insider in an emailed statement.

Borys said Saint Javelin had also placed an order for hats from a factory in conflict-torn Kharkiv, where he estimates half of the workers are fighting between shifts.

"I can just see how excited people get when we place an order," Borys said. "Most factories there are able to work, want to work, and need to work."

Saint Javelin was founded by volunteers and now employs ten people as demand grows.

"I want to reframe it from a charitable project to a social enterprise that could last decades and raise tens of millions of dollars, rather than half a million dollars," Borys said. 


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