Russian voices of dissent

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues along with the war of information accompanying it there has been a tendency to turn away from anything Russian as a gesture of solidarity with Ukraine. What this leaves out are Russian voices of dissent, voices that speak out despite the growing and significant risks involved.

Among those to speak out against this criminal war has been a number of Russian writers. There was a collective appeal published that united writers such as Vladimir Sorokin, Svetlana Alexievich, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Boris Akunin, Alisa Ganieva and Maria Stepanova among others, joined as well by a number of international and even Nobel prize-winning writers, including J.M Coetzee, Herta Müller and Olga Tokarczuk among others.

“Today the Russian language is being used by the Russian state to ignite hatred and justify the shameful war against Ukraine…”

A number of other writers have added their own voices of protest and explanations of why they are leaving the country.

Author of Metro 2033, Dmitry Glukhovsky wrote about how “Putin’s regime is now attempting to make its crimes into those of the entire Russian people. To make us complicit. To brand the forehead of every Russian with the letter Z.” He also wrote about the choice between giving in and fighting back Russians face.

Russian horror writer Anna Starobinets posted a message about a wholly different kind of horror on Facebook that has been translated in full here:

“What can I do? Stay in Russia, and remain silent? Become part of it? No, I can’t do that either.

What can I do? Go elsewhere, lose everything? Everything except the shreds of my self-respect, and my children. That’s my choice. I’ve made it – and left.”

Ludmila Ulitskaya published a statement in Novaya Gazeta that has been translated here:

“I believed that my generation, born during World War II, was lucky, and we would live without war until death, which, as promised in The Gospel, would be ‘peaceful, painless and shameless.’ No. It looks like it won’t happen.”

Author of the award-winning Maidenhair, Mikhail Shishkin has written a plea, an apology, a look ahead – here:

“I want to return to Russia.  But to which sort of Russia? Putin’s Russia is impossible to breathe in – the smell of the militia boot is just too strong.” 

Photo – Protests in Poznań – against Russian agression in Ukraine by Bohdan Bobrowski

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Categories: Writers


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