Half-truth that led to the army of sadists and rapists
The 9th of May has always been a sacred day for Russians. On this day, our hearts were filled with pride for our army, our country, and our history. Unfortunately, Putin managed to steal it all from us. He stripped us naked and took away our dignity. How did we let it happen, and how can we get it back? Or, more importantly, should we?
Seventy-seven years ago, a Soviet soldier raised a red flag over the Reichstag in Berlin. For many years this day was a celebration of our victory over fascism. We praised those who fought and gave us a chance to live. We mourned those who lost their lives. We talked to veterans and listened to their stories. Did we? Not sure we actually did. It was more about watching the parade in the morning and enjoying the fireworks at night.
On the country level, it was never about veterans. They usually receive a postcard “signed” by Putin and mocking 10,000 roubles. It was never about their stories. But it was an excellent chance for Putin’s propagandists to use for their agenda. Over the last 20 years, it transformed from a quiet memorial day into a demonstration of military power and saber-rattling. They used it to justify military budgets. It helped to support wars like Chechnia. Year after year, Russians got infected with the idea that we are a great nation with a great army. We wholeheartedly believed that people would only hear us if we had the Kalashnikov in one hand and a deadly red button in the other.
Victory Day’s slogan “never again” mutated into “we can do it again”.
And we did.
On the 9th of May 2022, the Russian army bombed Kyiv, Odesa, and Kharkiv. While its President hypocritically put flowers on the monument of Odesa near the Kremlin. Russian soldiers continue to kill civilians and rape women. Russia uses filtration camps and steals Ukrainian children. I read these words. Look at the pictures. And still cannot believe that it is indeed happening. I wish that this is a shitty Hollywood blockbuster. That Americans are mocking us again.
But no. It is our new reality. And it is happening right now.
So we are doing it AGAIN. Only this time, we are the fascists.
My mind was going round and round, trying to find an explanation for why and how people had become those they fought — those they hated.
It did not take long to understand the ugly truth. It is not a momentary transformation of the Russian army. It is a dirty reality of the war. Of any war.
During the war, good things become even better. Bad things deteriorate permanently. — Russian military play.
We always heard only part of the story about the Second World War. The shiny side of it — the victory and acts of heroism. But there was always a dark side. The collateral damage. The killing. The raping. The looting. We were the winners. And winners are not judged. Why not?
The archive records from the war were sealed and never released. But it was there. There were memoirs. Real stories. It just never made it into history textbooks. Or movies. It should have been. Instead of parades, we should have listened to those stories. We should have insisted on unsealing the records. And punish those responsible or express our condemnation. And make sure it does not happen again.
But we did not. So it replicated. In Chechnia. In Mali. And now in Ukraine. Only this time, there is nowhere to hide from it. Unless you only watch Putin-TV and consider the rest fake news.
It is a bit simplistic to think that not knowing the whole truth is the only reason for the brutal acts of the Russians. There are social, economic, and political reasons. Nevertheless, we have to start somewhere. I think it is not a bad place to start by rejecting the very idea of the war as a way to solve anything.
I no longer think we should aim to restore the pride in our army. I believe there should not be any army. There should not be any need for it because we should do all we can to stop the war. To prevent a new war.
And that’s not where I finish. That’s where I start.
Start by telling the truth.
Not half-truth, but the whole story.