About colonization, fear and slavery, or simply about Russian society

About colonization, fear and slavery, or simply about Russian society

I am writing this column on the evening of February 24, the anniversary of the full-scale offensive. It is unofficially reported that Russia will launch a missile attack at night, so the editorial office of Svidomi has already worked out a plan for the night shift. I remember how, a year ago, I also sat and worked on the news feed while the news were pouring out like a river. Fear and hatred were raging inside me. A year later, the fear is gone, but the hatred remains.

Since 2014, Ukraine has been trying to be vocal about the topic of the Russian-Ukrainian war, but it was quite difficult to explain to foreigners that people are dying and cities are being destroyed in the east of Ukraine. However, when they saw missiles hitting Kyiv live, they began to realize what war is faster.

Yet there is one thing that Ukrainians have a hard time explaining to the world — we will never be friends with the Russians. When asked about future relations with Russia, I model the situation with the offender and the victim. When the victim is safe, no one expects them to contact the abuser. On the contrary, the main task is to prevent any contact.

We do not consider ourselves victims. We are fighters. However, Russia is, was, and will be the offender in this story. Then why does the world want so badly to bring us and the Russians to sit at the same table?

There is an opinion that Russians cannot do anything about Putin. And that only the president of Russia is waging this war, and ordinary citizens have nothing to do with it. However, this is not how state processes work, so it is not worth putting up with such an idea.

The world also believes in good Russians: Yuriy Dud, Alexei Navalny, and the rest of the so-called opposition. But if we analyze their theses, we can understand that their consciousness is just as colonialist as Putin's policy. Only on a smaller scale for now.

For example, Alexei Navalny agrees that Russia illegally invaded Ukraine. He also recognizes that Russia has illegally occupied Crimea. However, in Navalny's opinion, Russia should not return Crimea. "It's not a sandwich to be passed back and forth," he said a few years ago. According to Navalny's logic, you can occupy territories you like.

It is also worth keeping in mind that Navalny is Putin's opposition. The opposition, which every time misses the point in the questions on the decolonization processes. Let's at least recall his reaction to the creation of a Ukrainian church independent of Russia. The "oppositionist" criticized this event, blaming Putin for it.

"Today, an event of historic proportions will take place. A schism. The Kyiv Cathedral will complete the creation of the Local Church in Ukraine. The ROC (Russian Orthodox Church) will lose up to half of its "live" income. What was created for several hundred years was destroyed by Putin and his idiots in four years. Putin is the enemy of the Russian world," Navalny said at the time.

He also repeats Putin's theses about "one nation," although he admits that these words are offensive to Ukrainians.

However, this does not prevent him from promoting his "tragic fate" on the world stage. Thus, the film about Navalny's life story managed to get an Oscar nomination.

In addition to their faith in the Russian opposition, the appeals of international celebrities to "poor Russians who are holding on and resisting the regime" are surprising. The question arises: "And where is the resistance?"

If a gathering of five people with banners or laying of flowers at the monument to Lesia Ukrainka on the anniversary of the full-scale invasion are called resistance, then the Orange Revolution (up to 500,000 people gathered) and the Revolution of Dignity (with 106 dead and 1,372 wounded) can be called wars.

The international community should understand that Russians are not fighting Putin's regime in any way. They accept it. The independent Russian analytical center Levada-Center provides the following data: in March 2022, 68% of Russians supported the actions of the Russian military, and in December 2022, support rose to 75%. Another independent project ExtremeScan notes that support has dropped from 64% to 55% (as of October 2022).

I read a report in the New York Times about what was happening in Moscow on February 24, 2023. The journalist spoke with some Russians. Some perceived the exit of companies from the Russian market as an opportunity for their brands to fill a niche and develop. Others have compared the sanctions to the Covid period, saying it wouldn't last forever.

An 18-year-old guy felt sorry [for the Ukrainians] and laid flowers at the monument to Lesia Ukrainka. But compassion will not change anything. Putin will not change his mind about launching missiles because of this.

After a year of the full-scale invasion, Ukrainians are not surprised by the Russians' position. However, they hope that people who read this report will ask themselves: "Why aren't the Russians resisting?"

The situation of the Russians is not hopeless. It is complicated, but there is a way out of it. In fact, the tactics should be the same as Putin's. He is trying to win by quantity, so why can't 142 million Russians (as of 2015) stand up to Putin alone?

Yes, they will be beaten with batons, killed, imprisoned, and tortured in prison. It is impossible to topple the regime in a day. And after the overthrow of the regime, it is necessary to change not only the system, but also the worldview. It's hard work, but it's worth it.

However, it is easier for Russians to live in fear and humility in a totalitarian regime.

My last question is to you: "Are Russians worthy of your sympathy?"

While some imaginary Nikolai in Moscow expresses his regrets, and the world expresses its sympathy for Nikolai, I will pull out a carrier for my cat, waiting for another Russian missile attack.