Sunday, August 3, 2014

Window on Eurasia: ‘Ukrainians Will Never Forgive Russians for This War,’ Luhansk Resident Says

Paul Goble
            Staunton, August 3 – A resident from Ukraine’s Luhansk Oblast who says he is half Russian in origin has written an open letter to Russians in which he says that he and other Ukrainians “will never forgive” Russians for attacking Ukraine because they have allowed “their government to create a hell on our land.”
            And he adds that the attitudes Russians know that Western Ukrainians had toward the USSR will “after 20 years” be shared by “practically all Ukrainians” about the Russian Federation, a development that makes all talk about “fraternal links, love and friendship” complete nonsense (
            The writer who does not give his name but did provide the website with a photograph of himself says that Russians “know” that their government is acting in “a neighboring country” in such a way that all the residents are suffering, infrastructure is being destroyed, and factories are being closed.
            “Earlier,” he continues, the militants were about half local people and half people from Russians, but now the latter have the upper hand. They shoot at people and take what they want. Moreover, “there are Chechens” – and the writer stressed that he “can distinguish a Chechen from someone who simply hasn’t shaved.”
            “Half of my family,” he writes, “are consists of [ethnic] Russians. My father is a Russian. But I do not want to consider myself a Russian. I was born in Ukraine: this is my country. My mother, a good and liberal woman who very much loved Russia in the recent past and considered Putin a good president not long ago now hates you and constantly reads product codes” to avoid buying Russian goods.
            And she is not the only one who has changed her views as a result of Russian actions, he says. “Many have” even in the places in eastern Ukraine that Moscow has claimed are on its side.
            “I never liked to generalize and always tried to avoid it,” the writer says. “Of course, I know that there are among you those who do not support all this. Makarevich, Novodvorskaya, the single deputy who voted against the annexation of Crimea, the prisoners of the Bolotnaya, a poet without ears, people who have risked their freedom and gone to meeting with our symbols.”
            “Thank you,” he says. Your actions are touching and welcome, “but today’s Russia is not you. You are outcasts, something which in this situation is more a compliment than a condemnation.”
            “Russia today is Putin, Girkin, Shoygu, Kiselyev, women in squares with posts saying ‘Putin Advance,’ your border guards,” and those who attack Ukrainians.  Ever more of the latter understand this, and they will “never forgive you for this war.”
            “Your president” is responsible for all this. He gives the orders to those who “are killing us.”  It is possible even likely that the Ukrainian army may kill some of us as well. But unlike your forces, it “is defending its own land” rather than invading that which doesn’t belong to its country.
            “Farewell,” he says in conclusion, “live happily.” And he expresses what he says is his “sincere” hope that “in your cities nothing like this will happen.”

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