Author: Tamara Zlobina. Translation: Roksolana Mashkova.
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10 years of russian silence must follow the genocide of civilians in Bucha and other towns near Kyiv which the occupiers have left.
They left behind common graves and piles of corpses in the streets. Naked bodies of raped women. Men with their hands tied behind their backs who were shot outside their houses.
All russians must commemorate the massacred Ukrainians with total silence.
Not a minute of silence. But a decade of silence.
No speeches by writers. No published books. No exhibitions. No works by russian composers played by orchestras either in russia or abroad. No university classes on russian literature.
Russia and the whole world must be silent, grieve and make amends.
The only acceptable cultural and scientific activities after the genocide near Kyiv are studies of the russian imperialism and colonialism which made this tragedy possible. To explain their collective guilt to russians. To explain their illusions about russia to the world.
Only after a decade of silence, after a decade of studies of russian Nazism, which turned out to be so unexpected to the entire Europe, we will be able to read tolstoyevsky again. Read it with an understanding of why and how exactly this culture gave birth to the Nazism of the 21st century and to a genocide of the nation whom russians themselves called their “brother.”
If you are from russia and you still have at least a bit of conscience left, practice and support #10yearsOfRussianSilence. This is your responsibility.
Every time you want to say that culture is not to blame and that you protested against putin, look at the corpses in Bucha.
These peaceful people were not killed by putin. Putin wasn’t the one looting houses, raping women and then trying to burn their bodies.
Putin wasn’t the one dragging people out of basements and shooting them in the yard.
Soldiers from various russian regions were the ones who did it. They massacred civilians in towns near Kyiv IN MASS and SYSTEMATICALLY. They consciously, willingly executed peaceful people near the doors to their houses.
They were brought up by russian culture. Russian schools, russian writers whom they studied there. Russian history teachers who constructed the imperial myth. Russian singers, artists, filmmakers and intellectuals who either supported the imperial culture, consciously or unconsciously, or (and these are in the tiny minority) did not oppose it actively enough.
They were the ones who made the average russian CAPABLE of killing a civilian from the nation which russians themselves call their “brother.” Killing a person whom this same soldier supposedly came to “liberate from nationalists.”
It is the russian culture, whose imperialist nature hasn’t been dealt with by russians, the russian history, in which they have not studied the genocides against occupied peoples and did not atone for them, that made the genocide near Kyiv possible.
If you are russian, you must atone for your guilt with a decade of silence about everything except for the de-imperialization of the foundations of your nation: its culture, history, identity.
With a decade of loud atonement for the genocides of Ukrainians, Circassians, Crimean Tatars, peoples of Caucasus, Asia and Siberia. Which you have not admitted, have not mourned, so you did it again in the 21st century.
If you are not russian but European, you must also make amends.
For your ignorance. For being spellbound by russian culture and failing to notice its imperialism. For not studying russian history honestly, for allowing yourselves to be deceived by russian propaganda and russian Slavic Studies scholars, many of whom you still employ at your universities, for thinking that Ukraine is “somewhere in russia’s area of interests.”
For repeating after russian in 2014 that “it’s all complicated” in Ukraine and that there is a “civil war” (because it was more convenient to you than honestly admitting that a russian occupation had started, since it allowed you not to change anything and continue doing business as usual with russia).
For not knowing anything about Ukraine, its language, culture, history until 2022.
For your media using the terms “crisis” and “conflict” in Ukraine in February 2022 (and some idiots still using them today), while in fact there is a full-scale war with crimes against humanity.
For your politicians saying that this is “putin’s war,” and your intellectuals chiming in with “the problem is not pushkin but putin.” You are to blame for the political and intellectual elites of your countries trying to whitewash russia and release russians from their collective responsibility.
The russians who do mass shootings of civilians. Their wives who ask their husbands to steal sneakers and notebooks from Ukrainian homes. The 70% of russians who support the war against Ukraine—and this is not according to Putin’s sociologists but according to a survey by the opposition think tank Levada Center.
You, people of the West, are to blame for putin’s visit to Austria in 2014, while Zelensky has still not been allowed to speak in the Austrian parliament.
You are to blame for the criminal position of Orban’s regime in Hungary.
You are to blame for Germany, France and Italy selling weapons to russia after 2014.
You are to blame for Schroeder and Merkel making Germany dependent on Russian gas. And for your countries still paying money to russia which uses it to wage war.
You are to blame for still failing to understand that putin attacked Ukraine not because he is out of his mind and makes the entire russia obey his criminal will. He attacked because this is normal for the russian imperial culture and identity. Because he knew that it is acceptable for russians to attack Ukraine. That they would be happy, that his approval rating will soar—and it did soar, both in 2014 and in 2022.
You are to blame for the hypocrisy and cowardice of your governments which still haven’t given Ukraine the weapons it needs to protect peaceful cities: tanks, planes, large air defense systems.
This is why thousands of Ukrainians are dying in front of your eyes.
Look at the corpses in Bucha, let them haunt your dreams.
Because it is #WesternGuiltAsWell
Become honestly and uncompromisingly aware of the genocide which is now being perpetrated by russia against ukrainians. Start acting!
A rally “for peace” cannot stop russian crimes.
Put pressure on your governments: Ukraine needs to be provided with tanks, planes, large air defense systems immediately. You have to intensify economic sanctions against russia—right now.
This is the only thing that can stop russian aggression and prevent even bigger russian crimes.