We Ukrainians are very concerned about the very misconception about Russia in the West. Friends, you have no idea what Russia is. The brutal and inhuman aggression of the Russian army came as a surprise to you, but for us, unfortunately, it was not a revelation. For many centuries, Ukrainians, like all nations neighboring Russia who had the misfortune to live with them in the same country, have suffered from despotic colonial policies of discrimination, repression, and punitive actions that impress with their brutal ingenuity. The number of victims of Russian aggression during the three centuries of occupation is estimated at millions, which is why Ukrainians today are so desperately fighting for their freedom.
For you, Russia is Dostoevsky, ballet and Tchaikovsky. But the truth is that the high Russian culture was created by the jointly enslaved peoples of the empire, who had no right to voice their nationality to the world. All the best that Ukrainians, Jews, Lithuanians, Armenians and others have created – the Russians have appropriated. For centuries, they have plundered our historical and cultural artifacts, appropriated our cultural heritage, and imported terror, death, and humiliation in return. Modern Russia still forbids us to call our cultural figures of the empire period Ukrainians, representing them to you as Russians.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of ordinary Russians whom you consider victims of the regime today secretly support this regime, otherwise their power would be different. Putin tells them: “You are the highest nation and you must rule the world. Europeans and Americans are spiritless and corrupt. Russia’s borders do not end anywhere” – and they like it, they applaud him. In the children’s anthem dedicated to Putin, the phrase “We will return Alaska” is heard and this is their face – imperial chauvinism, revanchism and xenophobia. They manipulate for their political purposes the victory over Nazism in World War II, while devaluing not only the enormous contribution to the victory of the Allies, but even other peoples of the USSR.
Putin openly said that they would have won the war without Ukraine, while Ukraine is one of the most affected republics, for the contribution to the victory of which he was honored to become a founding member of the United Nations. You could meet the real face of Russia in Poland in 1939, East Prussia in 1945, Budapest in 1956 and Prague in 1968.
We also regret to say that while monarchical Russia treated Europe with hidden contempt and envy, and Soviet Russia tried to conquer it and make it socialist, modern Russia for thirty years taught its citizens to hate everything Western and practiced fake and horror stories. What are the stories that are spreading in the Russian diaspora about European pedophiles who allegedly select Russian children for perversions, homophobic stories and accusations of Catholics of Satanism.
It may sound unbelievable to you, but if you carefully ask a Russian friend about it, it will be confirmed to you and will be supported by several similar fakes. Modern Putin’s Russia dreams of destroying Western civilization because it sees it as ideologically hostile. Friends, the purpose of writing this text is not to sow hatred, because no one can be discriminated against on national grounds. We just want to warn you that Putin has much more support than you think.
We, Ukrainian cultural figures, urge you not to devalue the victims of the Russian war against Ukraine, equating them to the hypothetical “suffering” of ordinary Russians from their citizenship. Russia has not had a single year of peace in its history, continuously waging wars around the world and supporting dictatorial regimes and terrorist organizations. This rule worked regardless of the state system and ideology, so with the overthrow of Putin, the situation is unlikely to change.
Do not be fooled, such mistakes are costly.