Follow us on Telegram:
Editor’s note: the following text is not an analytical article, but the opinion of a Russian citizen. It is not intended to cover the many opinions on the subject, but her own and those of other anonymous citizens who share it. For security reasons her identity must remain anonymous.
I am Russian and I would like everybody to know that not many people in Russia do really support the war in Ukraine except for those who are brainwashed by propaganda. Our hearts ache for the people in Ukraine. Many of Russians have Ukrainian relatives, and for a long period of time our nations had been friends.
When the war began, the Russians were shocked and started pleading for an immediate peace. The online petition for stopping the war gained one million signatures within just four days. Unfortunately, there is only one person whose opinion counts in this country but it’s common people who usually suffer from the consequences of his decisions.
People raised in democratic systems may say that we deserve our sufferings because we have elected our president ourselves. They may be partly right, although it is needless to say that personalist dictatorship is not that kind of regime where your opinion is asked for.
For many years our country is being run by the dictator, who is now continuously destroying the political and economic stability, which he has managed to create himself during his first years in office. However, no one dares to stop him. He has surrounded himself with people who immediately support everything that he proposes and who are afraid to say a word against him. As far as the ordinary people in Russia are concerned, I must admit that the authorities do not give a damn about us. Their only mission is to lick Putin’s boots.
By now, the authorities seem to have realized how great a mistake this war was. However, the dictator never admits his failures. As the result, the authorities are going out of their ways to suppress our freedoms and to prevent us from knowing and saying the truth about this terrible war. People who try to take part in public protests are beaten and fined or put in prison. Since 24 February, the police have arrested more than 8000 people at anti-war protests. The last independent media are closed and many social media are blocked. Moreover, just right now the authorities have issued a new “law”: now anyone who is trying to spread “fakes” about this war in public can get up to 15 years in prison. By “fakes” they mean the materials which do not conform to the official version of what is happening. We are even not allowed to call this war a “war”! They say we should use the term “special operation” instead.
In addition to being oppressed from the inside, we are being hit with the unprecedented sanctions from the outside. Many international companies have closed their offices in Russia. The supply of goods and mediсaments from many countries has stopped. Giant retailers like Apple, IKEA and H&M have shut down their stores and stopped online trade. Airbus and Boeing have halted the supply of aircraft parts and services to Russian airlines, and many Western countries have banned Russian carriers from its air space. As the result, it is nearly impossible now to leave the country. Many Russian banks have been cut from SWIFT. Russian Ruble (our currency) has a record devaluation. Our economics is collapsing and people are losing their jobs.
It seems like the whole world is taking part in a giant competition — the participants are struggling to make the lives of common people in Russia as unbearable as possible. I understand that the aim of the sanctions is to stop Putin. Nevertheless, I would like to clarify two things. Firstly, the empathy for the common people’s sufferings in Russia have almost never been a reason for the authorities to change anything. I am afraid that Putin will not stop this war even if we all starve… Secondly, these sanctions can turn the Russians against the West. There are quite a few people in Russia who do not support the war but at the same time hold a grudge against the West because of sanctions. They feel abandoned both by their own country and by the rest of the world.
So here we are now… The threatened, dismayed and poor people, rejected by everybody, under the bloody tyrant who is killing our brothers and sisters in Ukraine to satisfy his imperialist ambitions.
My only hope is that this nightmare cannot last like this much longer. The economic and political situation in Russia is worse than ever. I firmly believe that this war foreshadows the collapse of dictatorship in our country. By committing his terrible mistake, Putin has hastened his fall. This regime is agonizing already and many people will soon understand this. Our ancestors overthrew the tsar in 1917 and I believe it’s time for us to do the same.