Yesterday and today were special days for my country. If before 2022, everything was still relatively clear, some celebrating Victory Day, some celebrating Liberation Day from Nazism, then this year things have become very confusing, complicated, and unclear. And no, the holidays have not changed, and they are relatively not celebrations, but memorial days, days of sorrow. The Soviet army, the armies of Europe, and the U.S. army together defeated fascism. As I thought, defeated, as many thought, defeated, but it turned out that it just took a different form, lurking and just waiting for the right moment.
There were many signals, many signs, but we were blind until the last moment (I am not even speaking about the USSR times) — some of us were blind until 1994, the first Chechen war, some until 2008, the attack on Georgia, some saw Russians as fighters against terrorists in Syria, many people were blind until 2014, the war in Donbass and the takeover of the Crimea. And me, to my great regret, until February 24, 2022. No, I was never pro-Russian or pro-soviet; I just thought that there were some ordinary people left there; I felt that even those in charge were bandits and murderers, but not insane, and most importantly, not fascists. It was very hard to recognize and acknowledge my own mistakes. And now, it’s hard to admit it, but if you don’t, you won’t draw the correct conclusions. It’s excruciating that they use the rhetoric of fighting fascism, and it’s so cynical. There is absolutely no more illusion that they do not understand what they have become. Take even Putin’s statements as some kind of mockery, literally verbatim to Hitler’s speeches, and everyone is happy with this. Even on the contrary, they are proud of it. The use of symbols (swastikas). Total zombification on TV (Goebbels). Filtration camps. And most importantly, stupefying, since school days, the indoctrination of such a cult of the “winner.”
It’s okay, Vanya, that you live in shit and have no money even for bread and milk (but you always have cash for vodka because it’s sacred, Russian). Still, in ’45, you beat the Nazis, and they are to blame for being poor, and if anything, you can do it again.
And I did not make a mistake in the last sentence when I wrote “you”; it is so. There is nothing that figurative, Vanya; this is the third or even fourth generation from the real winners; they are being hammered into their heads that they are the ones! They will never remember that the actual veterans never considered this day specifically in the context of celebration; it has always been a day of remembrance, a day of sorrow, a special day — which even now we have. And what the Russians have turned it into is sick and disgusting. Miserly presents to not hundreds, but dozens of veterans, thousands of masquerading 70–80-year-old “front-line soldiers,” who were celebrating their 10th anniversary at the time of the victory. And most importantly, joy, happiness, smiles, laughter, fireworks and salutes, and as much alcohol as possible.
And now, many “ simple people” there do not understand why we were mistreated. What have we done? We are liberators and victors, and everyone hates us! Perhaps it’s the fascists there; that’s why we’re fighting. And it is unfortunate because it is tough to change the mind of a person who, in 30–40–50 years, was hammered the same thing. And now, even showing photos of Bucha, Irpen, Mariupol, and children burned alive, they do not believe these are fakes. It is you, we, but you are guilty anyway. Like our writers, painters, and language, they want to steal this day. But we will not allow it. It will always be a sad day, but the day that destroyed one great evil, although now with one remark, gave birth to evil even greater…And perhaps this remark is the main thing now.
P.S. I have two grandfathers, the first Jewish and the second Ukrainian with Balkan roots; from the first day of the war fought in the ranks of the Red Army, I have nothing to be ashamed of, and I understand very well what happened there. And for them, it was never a holiday in the sense of fascist Russia. Well, as trite as it may sound in the end, it’s true; they always said, if only there would be no war, but not “we can repeat it”… And now I am insanely ashamed before them, in front of their graves
Denys Kolomiiets, 09/05/2022