Week 12: May 11 – 18, 2022

PEACE AS A SIDE-EFFECT OF ‘A COMFORT’: RUSSIA’S LIFE CONCEPT

Inna Rogatchi (C). Blue Breeze. 2020.

This, the twelfth week of the Mean War, had both drama and new shifts, some of them of a destiny changing qualities for entire countries. 

The images of soldiers leaving Azovstal after three month’ of heroic battle, carrying their heavily wounded comrades were as dramatic as it gets.  Three months of heavy fighting left a distinct sign on those heroic people, and after this experience, all of them, representing many different units of the Ukrainian army, got united , and should be perceived not according to their units’ affiliations, but according to their essential and heroic standing for their country. 

Russian authorities know precisely that defenders of Azovstal were soldiers from six different divisions.  Without blinking an eye, however, they have declared all of them as the Nazists, and now are preparing a legal ground for setting up a tribunal against them all, instead of a promised exchange of military personnel agreed with the Ukrainian side. Nothing new, of course, but getting repeated, the pattern stamps Russia’s reputation as a negotiating partner and also as a country with ‘a floating’ set of values, putting it extremely diplomatically.  

This real life drama and real heroism with the absence of a happy-ending have reflected in a special way against president Zelensky’s address to the full house in Cannes at the opening of the most important film festival in the world. His speech was a master-piece in its fine thinking, precise metaphors, and top class style. And also in its delivery. Volodymyr Zelensky was not simply tired. It is known that he sleeps very little during the last three months, and gets bad news in a high proportion. He also personally experiences real horrors of a terrible, barbarian Mean War, and once a person experiences something like that, it stays in him for the rest of his life. Zelensky experiences this kind of shocking sensations weekly if not often. One has to have a steel psycho to carry on in a measurable way with such emotional luggage which is with you always. 

On the day he addressed the super-posh Cannes, president Zelensky was totally busy with the grave ending of the Azovstal three-months’ defence. It is not only grave, it is a grieving situation. But he did bear himself with a calm decency and a dignified composition. 

I cannot agree more with Volodymyr Zelensky on his projection on dictators and cinema: The worst dictators of the 20th century loved cinematography. It is known about them. But the most important thing left after them is the eerie documentary footage of the newsreel”.   In my view, the footage is the most important document of history, because it  shows us human expressions and emotions, and provides us with real-time pictures of people, and the results of their activities. We can read volumes of Eichmann’s deeds during the years in different countries. And then we see his so-called face during his trial in Jerusalem, and all that terrible knowledge which did let you sleep for years, gets an explanation as you are watching evil impersonalised, acting so routinely. As if. 

It is exactly what president Zelensky meant in his over ten-minutes’ speech at the opening of the 74th Cannes Festival.  The leader of the attacked Ukraine said with a deep conviction to the black tied glamour crowd filling every seat of the Palais des Festivals: And we will never forget it, because it is not even Hell” , referring to the famous quote from the great film M.A.S.H.  “War isn’t Hell. War is war, and Hell is Hell. And of the two, war is a lot worse…”.  It is indeed. Ukraine experiences it in full measure. Without any fault. Without the slightest objective reason. With no provocation. No nothing. And we are watching it on our screens, helplessly to a large extent. This is what makes this Mean War so deeply mean. 

In order to prevent  a similar scenario, on this 12th week of the Mean War, Finland and Sweden both decided to join NATO, in a tectonic geopolitical move which was not remotely imaginable yet a half of a year ago. This decision is not only about our border which is a vital thing, undoubtedly. But essentially, it is about the way in which the entire country reacts to evil. As simple as that. Finland leads the countries of Europe and the UK in the adequate and honest perception of the Mean War. 85% of the Finnish population sees it as it is, as unprovoked Russian aggression. The range of such attitudes differs very much among the countries of Europe and the UK, from this noble mark to 20% of seeing the things as they stand by Bulgaria, with many grades in between, which is a sad discovery for many. 

The way in which Finland carried on the pivotal matter of the country’s joining  NATO will go to the history’s books. Its openness, its extremely thorough preparedness on all and every level and in all and every aspects, the planning, the timing, the proceeding, the attitude, the publicity, the dialogue with the nation, all of it reminds me of an elegant chess combination conceived and executed brilliantly. Finland is rarely blessed with our president Sauli Niinistö, and in this existential issue, the government, the parliament ( 188 members of it from 200 voted for, remarkably), experts, journalists, people in its majority reacts and acts exemplary. We are very proud of such a just reaction by Finland as a country. It does matter a lot. It sets the standards high. And keep it, in a calm and assured way. Chapeau to us all. 

Meanwhile, in Moscow, on the 12th week of the Mean War, after three months of hysteria, the energy seems to dwindle. For the first time during the military campaign, some of the people who are familiar to a large TV audience in Russia, honestly, to a giant audience, started to produce something unexpected, something which would make them a target of vicious attack momentarily yet a couple of weeks ago. In the sphere of official mass media military propaganda in Russia, nothing is done by chance. Such things do not happen there, period. People who  are involved in that process and that industry for years, know it by their skin on a micron-like level. They would not open their month to pronounce some criticism without a sanction, or ‘a recommendation’ as they call it, by the certain curators from the presidential Administration which has been transformed, according to first-hand knowledge from there, into ‘almost completely a military unit, with its strict discipline concerning every move, not to speak about decision-making’.

So, in such a heavily controlled situation, two leading military experts, both colonels of the Soviet army, both good specialists, both with a serious experience of work in the Soviet and early Russian General Staff, started to disseminate totally weird statements. “ There is no slightest doubt that our ( Russian) army would need at least a decade to restore itself’ , says one of them, facing a long-faced quazi-militant hysterical propagandist who leads the most popular Russian TV talk-show and everyone one’s same long-faces in the studio. Nobody protested. But there was much more. The colonel was very conveniently arguing  that Russia ‘does not need the third Afghanistan ( with the first one happening in the 1920s and 1930s, the same fruitlessly). ‘ Contrary to Afghanistan, the population of Ukraine is much bigger, and they can, actually, fire the weapons much better. They are defending their country, – a pause, an express self-check – well, in the way they understand it, but they do-defend-their-country with weapons in the hand very efficiently, one must say – because this is what we are seeing. So, do we need the third Afghanistan there? No, we do not”, – stamped the colonel. Nobody argued. But there was more: “ All these de-nazification and de-nationalisation, all these are not the goals of the army. The army has completed its goals in Ukraine. It has. Now, there are  not the army tasks , there are tasks for the Ukrainian population themselves, and possibly for special organisations ( like FSB or local administrations). But not for the army. The army should be recalled from Ukraine. Now.” Nobody argued in a studio full of shameless, cynical, professional one-sided Russian propagandists. Nobody was even angry. They all know the truth. And now it is aired national-wide. Why? And why now? 

There is another expert who was speaking at the same time, also during this week 12th of the Mean War, in another extremely popular and the same if not more hysterical militant propaganda TV show. He dared to speak the truth about the total isolation of Russia , ‘let’s face it, we are completely isolated in the world’. He suggested that it is ‘a high time for people to stop consuming information-tranquillisers and to face the truth’. He said that the war is weakening the Russian army while the Ukrainian side ‘might have an one-million army soon’, that ‘with the US lend-lease  program and the EU full-scale military assistance, strategically the situation will be only worsening for the Russian army, and it is advisable and necessary to seeing things as they are’. Nobody argued in that studio either, all gloomy faces were around. They also know the truth. As they know it in the Kremlin, as well. 

And the first signal about it was sent to the Russian public by the president’s press-attache, himself a complete hard-liner, even by the Russian standards. Speaking alongside his hard-line colleagues from anti-dream team, the Russia’s super-arrogant minister for foreign affairs and extremely cunning and trying so hard, always unsuccessfully for his country and often quite successfully for his beloved self the first deputy head of the Kremlin Administration Senior Kirienko, in front of a giant rally of selected youth in what was called as ‘the marathon of knowledge’, the P’s speaker said the following: ‘ We ( Russia) will get the peace. Of course we will get it. On the conditions which are comfortable for us’. 

The Freudian slips of those people are amazing although they are not surprising. So, the Kremlin mouth-piece, a trained, experienced and highly disciplined former KGB high-rank officer who does not utter a random word without a good reason, started to prepare his country for a peace solution. He does exactly the same thing which the two colonels started to do on the state Russian TV in psychological preparation of the Russian public for the changing situation which demands now finishing the army’s actions somewhat in the foreseeable future. This is happening for the first time during the three months of the Mean War. And it comes straight from Mr Peskov’s boss. 

But in his addressing the mass of the selected youth, the president’s press-attache said more than he wanted, actually, rather atypically for ever restrained self. “A peace on comfortable conditions’. Those people just sincerely do not get that peace is not a relative value. That’s the problem with them. And it would be like that forever. 

Week 11: May 4 – May 11, 2022

Summary of the Week 11: May 4  – May 11, 2022

TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT

Inna Rogatchi (C). Condition of Light. 2022.

The time in May around May 9th, Victory Day, as it is known in Russia, was this year nervous for many people around the globe. People were concerned that the Russian leadership might go further in their aggression, to celebrate the date which they have made a hysterical propaganda tool for their population. That did not happen. Instead, the official celebration was brief and muted, with leadership looking tense and uncomfortable. We also saw all those crowds in the rallies all over Russia, with defiant masses, not just being stuck in  their history three generations back, but enjoying it, or making the impression of it. It really does not matter. 

What does matter is that the country, a huge country that occupies the 8th part of the Earth’s territory, with a population of 145 million people, has come to its fiasco, on so many levels, almost all levels of life.  It is a political fiasco, military fiasco, diplomatic fiasco, economical fiasco, humanitarian fiasco, scientific fiasco, international cooperation fiasco, communications fiasco, development fiasco, and – morale fiasco. Each of these fiascos can be analysed in detail, and perhaps it is worth it, for the educational purposes. But maybe, it is not. Because fiasco is fiasco. It is obvious, and it is definite. 

It indicates a qualitative change that has occurred to Russia as the result, readiness, conduct and support of the Mean War.  It was a matter of choice, and the worst possible one was taken.  If that leadership would not be sure that it is largely supported by the Russian society, there would be another option on the Kremlin table. 

The total, multi-dimensional fiasco of Russia tells graphically about serious transformations in that society. Too serious to be ignored. I call the change the transformation in absence of light. The core of the tissue of public and individual life in Russia has been corroded to the current state of post-humanity. It has excluded them from the life and normal functioning of the world in so many respects. And it will have deeply negative long-term consequences. At least two generations will feel the consequences of this qualitative change.

 The Mean War turned out to be counter-productive in a mega proportion. As some of the Ukrainian leaders have mentioned recently, ‘Soon Ukraine will have two Victory Days, but Russia has already lost its own’. Dead-right. In no time, Mr P & Co have achieved extraordinary results in so many directions they could hardly dream about: the level of global awareness with Ukraine, Ukraine’s history, Ukraine culture, Ukrainian language, Ukrainian people. The Russian ‘liberators’ have made 45-million Ukrainian citizens to become deeply devoted patriots of their country, absolutely justly so. 

And at the same time, and by same means, the Mean War has turned Ukrainians to massive rejection of anything Russian. Until this very time, Ukrainian cities , despite changing a lot of the Soviet time’ street-names, were keeping  a lot of them still, additionally to the names of subway stations and all other toponames. Additionally, there are a lot of memorials to Russian culture figures, and many museums connected with Russian culture. This all will be gone very soon now, in a sweeping desire by the wide Ukrainian public to get rid of anything that reminds them, not to mention, memorialise anything Russian, would it be Pushkin, Tolstoy, Rachmaninov, or any other Russian name.

This is not a witch-hunt. This is a natural reaction to the Mean War. No enemy ever would be able to cause more harm to the meaning of Russia, Russian history, Russian culture, Russian language in a neighbouring country of Ukraine then the Kremlin leadership and its stunningly useless barbarian army. Ukrainian people will not only not forget, they will reject Russia and anything Russian for at least two generations ahead . Morally, it is worse than any Versaille Treaty for Russia. 

But it is rejected not by Ukraine only. Their allies are few and pathetic, their stand in the West is compromised completely and for foreseeable future. They are self-made pariahs of the civilised world. They are genuinely not interesting subjects to the world any longer. 

For twenty years, from 1945 until 1965, there were no celebrations, nor was it a cult of May 9th, Victory day, in the USSR. Why so? Because the memory of the horrors of the extremely difficult war was very near. People should not be reminded about what has become a very painful part of life for every Soviet family, literally so. From 1965 onward, until the end of the USSR, it was an appropriate celebration, modest, inner, organic, warm and humane. There was no fuss, and everyone understood that it was first of all the day of the veterans, those who really physically were risking their lives in the very difficult fight against the Nazi Germany. 

The last twenty something years, from 2000s onward, an empty, cold, pretentious, false hysterical narrative have replaced the Victory Day making it a propaganda tool of a worst sort, cynical and shallow. 

The sad story of modern Russia is that the best of their collective memory of the XX century has transformed from real enthusiasm to gloomy reflection, and from justified celebration to deep sadness. They are big enough to live on their own. And they ought to exist in that self-mode for a long time ahead. Because they have made the doors of the world to be shut on them. Humanity does not co-exist with inhumanity. This is against the laws of human nature. 

Day 77: May 11, 2022, Wednesday

FORCED MIGRATION: STALINISM OF the XXI CENTURY

Inna Rogatchi (C). Memory Landscape XX. 2021.

The situation on the ground after merciless shelling by the Russian ‘liberators’ in Mariupol was such that many people who were coming out from the basement barely understood what was going on there. Some people can sustain the pressure, and some cannot. Some can sustain shelling, destruction, murder, and some not that strong. So from the basements in Mariupol appeared many completely disoriented people. 

They were taken care of. They were told by ‘the liberators’ and their representatives that Ukraine is no more, and that they would be taken very good care of in mama-Russia. There they would be provided with a good lodgings, they would be sustained financially, they would be helped with a very cheap bank loan only for 2% of annual premium, they would be provided with jobs. Everything for you, our dear brothers and sisters. 

Just one thing: in order to receive the whole package, you are not expected to live in Moscow or central Russia. Those packages are available only for those people from Ukraine who would like to live in the Far East, in Vladivostok region. Our Vladivostok is very developed, as you might know. 

Plus: in order to become a legitimate receiver of the package, one has to decide at once, now, on the spot. Those packages are extremely popular, you see, and if you would like to get it, you should decide at once, and to sign those documents, also on the spot, here, here, and here. OK, well done, you are all set, we will take care of your transportation. 

These disoriented people were all pushed, not physically, but in a logistic way, to a very prompt decision, and soon, to physical trains which delivered them all the way to the Russian Far East. Not even in Vladivostok, but to a small village 200 km from there, which is literally nowhere land, I’ve checked.

While they were travelling all that long, they realised that they were fooled in a big way. Those fantastic loans with 2% interest are provided only to those who are under 35, the Ukrainian replaced people learned while travelling, nobody told them about that special clause before they signed the papers. And most of them are over 35, as it was obvious to those ‘liberators’ who duped them on purpose. 

Instead of a ‘large and developed’ Vladivostok, people who used to live all their lives in a big city as Mariupol is, were placed, forcibly, to small villages 200 km from Vladivostok. In some other cases, people were also placed by cruel deception to simply awful places, such as abandoned camps, literally, the places where the utilisation of the Soviet arsenal of biological and chemical weapons was conducted in the 1990s. These places are lethal, period. 

Instead of promised good apartments, people are placed in their new places for a month at a time, after which they are responsible for finding and paying for their apartments, with no work provided. 

Of course, nobody pushed them in the trains coming to the Russian far East. They were ‘simply’ outwitted. ‘Simply’ disorientated. ‘Simply’ provided with false information. “The liberators’ ‘simply’ used the people’s fear, terror, fatigue to orient them towards the direction which was directed by those bastards who has envisaged and carried on such a smart plan. 

‘The liberators’ have confiscated those people’s passports, initially it was told to them that passports are collected for ‘a registration’. But then those poor fooled people have realised that their passports have not been returned to them for many weeks. It means that even if they would have the energy – the strongest wish they all do have – to try to get themselves out of those holes, they are unable to do it without their passports.   

“If only we could have a few days, like two -three days, after we got out of our basements, to come back to normality, and to think a bit, never in our life we would not agree to anything like that. It was a trap. What do we have to do now?” – those desperate people told the journalists of Radio Liberty who did manage to speak to them on their ordeal. 

Trapping people, treating them as slaves, confiscating their passports was a very well-known practices in the Stalin’s USSR. Now, the Mean War spreads its meanness beyond the hot-spots of fire. It lures people into the terrible traps in the most mean way, cruelly, shamelessly, and it treats them as slaves. In the XXI century. Bloody Hell. 

Day 76: May 10, 2022, Tuesday

RUSSIAN CROWD

Michael Rogatchi (C). Backstage. Fragment. 1995.

One of the most repulsive pictures in my life stays in front of my eyes days after I saw it for the first time, a few days ago when I was getting a mass of various materials regarding the preparations for the Victory Day celebrations in Russia. It is a picture from a hospice there where elderly dying patients were forced to wear cheap caps imitating the Russian /Soviet/Red Army military caps which are not the part of the Russian army uniform for decades  by now, but which has been a super-hit in that mass militant-like hysteria in Russia for several years by now, getting to the peak around the Victory Day on May 9th. 

We used to see the children wearing it in enlarging quantity, each year claiming yet more younger children pushed by their parents and teachers to that idiotic mass fashion. When it started, those wearing it were teenagers, it was a game, sort of . Now, several years later, the children wearing it are in kindergartens, and it is frightening. As my good friend mentioned, ‘they look exactly like the children marching in the Hamas camps’. 

At the same time with the children, those caps known in Russia as ‘pilotka’, are worn now by more and more ageing people, those kids’ not only parents, but also great parents. And it is not caps with the Red Army star only, there are also strips and shoulders  on the outfits for the kids, demonstrating that people who are enthusiastic about this mass cheapening in Russia, do not have a clue what a real army is about and what a real strip and shoulder means. There are also false rewards, tin medals and banners on those outfits worn by 5-6- year old kids, and younger, not to mention toy weaponry of all sorts.  To say that they all look idiotic in that cheap military masquarade it is to say nothing. But they seem to like it.  

More,  in the gift packages for those invited to the VIP-zone seats in the Red Square, there was that cheap pilotka cap, plus a scarf in the colours of their aggressive St Georgiy militant cult, menacing dark orange and black, a similar badge, and some other military-like things for common use. In telling gestures, many of those present at the VIPs lounge made a point of immediately put those awful caps on themselves, some of them in combination with scarfs and badges. Ministers, special advisers, senior officials were in such a hurry to demonstrate their loyalty, looking pathetic, even among themselves. My colleague was present there  and this is ‘a field-report’, so to say. Nobody smiled there, and nobody celebrated. They all were on duty, I was told.

All this enthusiasm and preferences  is the bosses and the crowd’s own business, of course, and first and most of all it tells about those people who like to make mannequins from themselves and their children. We saw millions of them on May 9, 2022 on the streets of various cities in Russia bursting into the streets for mass rallies known as “Immortal Regiment’.  

The Russian leader who was very tense, concerned and largely unhappy during the military parade on the Red Square, has become his own self while marching – not more than for 10 minutes, of course – in front of one of such huge columns in Moscow down-town.  During the military parade, he was very much afraid for his own skin. To the degree that they decided to cancel any airshow, the best part of the parade. After the menace in his head passed, and he was leading the crowd in pilotkas, he was relieved and happy, he knew that the crowd was for him. And it was a huge crowd.

Nobody forced those crowds. Of course, everything there was thoroughly organised as it always is the case there, especially now, during the brutal war they are carrying on in the most savageous way. But all those millions marching through the streets of Moscow, St Petersburg, and every other Russian city, were people who volunteered to come in support of the ultra-patriotic current Russian narrative of the WWII, but yet more importantly, those who would like personally support their leadership of blatant liars and brutal aggressors. 

The way in which the Mean War is waged against Ukraine does reflect the character of this crowd. That’s why this mass supports P, that’s why it lives on lies produced by their boorish  propaganda as on oxygen. 

So, those good, normal people in Russia in possession of conscience and those who share normal humane moral values are in utter minority. All our friends are like that, and we are glad about it. But in all those rallies, there was present and current Russia, its undeniable majority, and this is the major reason to be concerned about the fact that such country with such population has a huge nuclear arsenal. 

I feel sorry for those honest, good, talented, able, aspiring  people with conscience who turned out to be trapped in that Empire of Absurd. But those people do not define that country. They are decent and good, but they are an utter minority there. 

How merciless one should be  to force the old dying people to wear those idiotic farcial pilotkas. This is the image of Russia today for me. And until this will change, it doesn’t matter who leads them, one P or another. It really does not matter. Russia’s biggest problem is that crowd.  False, shallow, and cruel.  

Day 75: May 9, 2022, Monday

DE-VICTORISING the VICTORY DAY IN RUSSIA

When talentless people are in charge, sooner or later the result is disastrous. For Russia, it happened later, but it is obvious. Their celebration of the victory over the Nazi Germany which has been built into the cult, tastelessly and falsely, this year was the reflection of their army’s fiasco in their aggression against Ukraine. Minutes before the show started, information appeared that the peak of the military parade, its airshow has been cancelled, both in Moscow and in every other Russia’s city which has planned it.  The reason? ‘Bad weather conditions’. Those ‘bad weather conditions’ were obvious on the screens of the direct translation from the Red Square. In fact, the weather was perfect. One of the less experienced female journalists reporting from the spot, was enthusiastic about ‘wonderful sunny weather here’. Poor thing. She might be left without a premium for working on a holiday. 

Being faced with an unexpected change of the script, Russian official TV did not find anything better to replace the suddenly disappeared demonstration of an air might with their filming of the general rehearsal of the show, just two days ago, on May 7th. We learned that 77 aircrafts, including historical ones,  had been chosen to fly over Moscow to symbolise the 77th anniversary of the day. Among those 77, was an old IL-80 known also as the aircraft of a Judgement Day, the monstrous aircraft whose purpose is to accommodate a Russian leader whoever he would be, during the nuclear war. That old machine was sent for some modification a couple of years ago. Instead of modifying it, somebody in Taganrog, the city where it was sent, looted dozens of computers from there and some panels – to exchange it for a miserable sum as metal scrap which it most likely was. 

We also were told by the commander of one of the aircraft units, Su-27, that they were about to fly over Moscow forming a Z-letter in the air, as that military pilot explained, in a matter-of-fact way,  ‘to demonstrate the title of the operation’. Indeed. 

Thanks to him, it was for the first time from the beginning of the Mean War in February 2022, that Russia’s side has stated the meaning of the Latin letters on their tanks of the country which uses a Cyrillic alphabet. We all knew that latin letters V, O, and Z used all over that pathetic country convulsing in militant hysteria, meant V( ladimir) O(leksandrovich) Z(elensky), the first letters of the name of the president of Ukraine whom the Russian leader has ordered to eliminate directly to his Chechen trustee Kadyrov yet three weeks before the Z-operation started, on February 3d, when ordering Kadyrov to the Kremlin. But official Russia never explained to its 145-million population using a Cyrillic-alphabet why there are the Latin letters on their tanks and what the hell it means. Now it was slipped by the commander of the SU-27 squadron that such is the official name of the operation. It is always good to hear things from its original sources.  

But there were no Z-ts on public display in the places where the authorities were instructed to drop it. Because it looks too German, some people say. And it is in a foreign, un-patriotic alphabet, anyway. In the places where the local authorities were not instructed in time, or over-did in their Z-zealotry, poor Russian state TV had to cut off their direct translations repeatedly, and to run the news which had been shown just five minutes ago. It had never happened there before. The excusing smiles of the anchors were telling. 

The leader looked very concerned, and actually very ageing, indeed. It is actually seen, it is imprinted on the mugs of them all on the top of the current Russian power, a very rapid ageing. In those two months, all those persons have aged for ten years at least. It means  that they all are under permanent pressure, they are concerned, some of them are frightened. They all are obviously unhappy, very gloomy, but most of all concerned, from the top to the toe. It was obvious in the direct translation from the Red Square today. 

The man who has started the Mean War, was not assured of himself at all, in a manifesting way. His speech, which he corrected as he pronounced it, and from which he decided to drop several passages, as it was seen from the direct transmission, was a defensive offence, not the other way round. He was insisting that Russia ‘ had no choice but to start’ this operation. He obviously was not believing a word of what he was reading from that speech. It never was like that. 

In the direct transmission from Sevastopol, the Russian state TV anchor was literally astound to see what appeared on the screen: a huge portrait of Stalin decorated with flowers, and ceremonially brought in the front of large column of people, in the way in which the Russians carried on the portrait of their successive tsars in front of manifestations. In ten seconds, the direct transmission from Sevastopol was cut off, with more repetitions instead of direct transmission, accompanied with the guilty smile of an anchor. In 40 minutes, ‘direct’ transmission from  Sevastopol was back on the screen, corrected, with no Stalin visible any longer. 

The same tricks were in use from every place there in Russia where the Z-letter was not just visible, but dominating the landscape, as in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan where obviously military hysteria of the worst sort is thriving.

On the day which has become a false cult in Russia nowadays, this year, at the moment of the Mean War, there was anything but a holiday both in Moscow and all over that Z-country. It was a stressed demonstration of loyalty, with no self-conviction in what they are doing at all, starting from the leader, his bodyguards to the members of the Russian government. What  a pathetic, stressed, semi-aborted show. Not surprisingly though. When a country de-victorises its own victory, the result is exactly as we saw on May 9th, 2022, on the Red Square: forced gathering of concerned people. Nothing more. And no air show at all. Cancelled. Judgement Day must be near.  

Day 74: May 8, 2022, Sunday

BOMBING MUSEUMS: NEW TOP-SPORT IN RUSSIA

We know that Russian ‘liberators’ liberate Ukraine as terminators. Such is their style of a third-rate superman. We saw many museums in Ukraine targeted, burned down, shelled off, erased, completely destroyed, including a large and important museum which was the house of the primary Russian Tsaikovsky composer. As my Italian music colleague mentioned at the time: “Let’s see what they will do when they discover that ‘their’ Tchaikovsky was half Ukrainian ( on his paternal side)”. I replied to my colleague that they would not believe it and would call it ‘the Western propaganda’. 

This time, they did hit, on purpose, a historical building of the XVIII century in the Kharkiv region. This was a very well-known place which was a large and very pretty park with this XVIII century manor  house in which Hrigory Skovoroda died and where he is buried there in the park. The house was a very well-done museum of world importance. And certainly, of importance for Russia, because Skovoroda is known – or probably was – as the father of the Russian philosophical mysticism, and all Russian big names of that sacral for them direction originated from the Skovoroda’s works who were all written and published in Russian. This year is also the year of Skovoroda’s 300th anniversary of birth. Additionally to being a philosopher of a primary importance for Russia, Skovoroda was a renowned poet, composer and famous teacher.

My friends visited the beautiful and very well maintained house-museum of the major Russian philosopher in a largely Russian-speaking ( formerly )  just a couple of years ago, and I was told about how well it has been renovated and how neatly maintained. It   was the case with many museums and parks in Ukraine, I have to emphasise in a special respect towards people who worked hard on that for years, and who wanted their country and their places to be nice, beautiful and well-maintained, unlikely in their giant neighbourhood where there is stunning and depressing  picture of rusted land in so many places apart from their capitals and some large cities. This is a medical fact, which probably drove jealous-crazy some of the small-minded neighbours who love to destroy and who feel their machism fulfilled in that primitive sport. 

The beautiful authentic and historically important building of the XVIII century was hit by a Russian missile directly.  When the world erupted in furious condemnation, some while after , as if nothing happened, Russian army issued a statement about ‘successful destroying two building harbouring the commanding positions of the Ukrainian nationalistic army in the Kharkiv region’, addressing indirectly their next exploit to the totally destroyed by a direct hit museum, house, park and burial place of the great philosopher. 

We have been learning the meaning of the contribution of  Hrigory Skovoroda in school. As heavily marginalised as Soviet schools were ideologically, the Soviet official school curriculum respectfully and dutifully recognised his input into what was known as Russian culture internationally. Millions of students in Soviet universities all learned Skovoroda’s works and legacy in a substantial detail because he has become the origin of the mighty direction of the Russian civilization in its philosophical part. On his grave in the destroyed now park next to the very old oak under which he used to work under, and which has been bent together lovingly and with great care, preventing the oak’s self-destruction, by Ukrainian people who worked in the museum, the epitaph and all text is in Russian. 

People and the Russian Emprire authorities  in Skovorodinovka village near Kharkiv where the house of Skovoroda’s friend and patron Kovalsky is located, making the epitaph in the year 1794, had no clue that their idiotic successors eleven generations later will make the entire 45-million Ukranian nation of which a large part was natural Russian-speakers, especially in that area, the Kharkiv region, to turn their hearts from their native language, and willing to speak Ukranian instead, in their just defiance and in their absolutely justified indignation with anything Russian brough to their peaceful life with missiles, fire, death and total destructions by the brutes who has appeared from the Planet Ignoramus. 

My friends, who had visited the Skovoroda Museum a couple of years ago, and who are themselves internationally known historians, have told me: “We will not forgive that to the Russians, too. We will not.” They are very kind people, peaceful, educated, whose families were deeply and productively rooted into Russian language and its culture. My mother knew the famous father of the husband, a Russian-speaking and Russian-writing teacher and writer from Kiev, well. We, the next generation, are suffering together, in unison,  during all those 74 days of this Mean War. Now, the tone of my friends has become steel-like. People have their boundaries. People’s suffering has its limits. Ignorant arrogant imbeciles cannot proceed in their barbarian way endlessly. They will meet the entire country which they attack, not only sustaining and defying this sheer evil, but also turning to hate them. With a good reason. And with all following consequences.  

Day 73: May 7, 2022 Saturday

RUSSIAN ART MUSEUMS NEW GUIDELINES: BAN FOR DOVES & CLOUDS,  BUTTERFLIES  ARE NOT RECOMMENDED

If I did not know the source of the episode, I would not believe it. So surreal it is. But I know the source, and the story is the fact. It needs a new Magritte to visualise it. 

In March, there was an important meeting among Russia’s top-museums senior staff called in by the Ministry of Culture. There at the Ministry, a special working group has been established to go through ALL the content of ALL major Russian art museums. To check if there is nothing politically incorrect is featured there, in their new Z-reality. 

Then, a member of the Ministry’s working group on museums internet content provided mandatory instructions and also ‘strong recommendations’ from the Ministry to the museums regarding their sites’ content. 

Among those official instructions and recommendations were the following ones: images featuring doves are forbidden from the sites, including any Picasso and alike; any dove  should be taken off site. 

Also are officially mandatory forbidden: clouds, especially dramatic ones, black & white photos, anything sad. In the category of recommendations, butterflies were featured. ‘ ( Images of ) butterflies are not recommended. We are not forbidding it definitely,  like doves, it should depend on the context and theme, but in general, we are not in favour of butterflies. Perhaps, it would be better to take them off, to be on the safe side’, – a quote from the Ministry of Culture representative’s guidance for Russian top art museums to update their sites immediately.  

“You have to put an immediate thorough attention to ( your museum) sites. We have checked it all by now. You all have to make rapid changes there all over. Change everything according to our guidelines now and be attentive in the future. This is a very serious matter, and we will follow your sites permanently”, those called for the special meeting were told determinedly. 

A lot of damage has been done after that historical meeting already. For example, a large exhibition of the classic of Russian post-modern art Grigory Bruskin which was opened at the Tretyakov Gallery in March, marking the 75th anniversary of now 77 artist, was shut down promptly, due to its ‘inappropriate’ from the point of view of the Ministry of Culture content. It did not matter that just five years ago Bruskin was chosen and invited by the same ministry to represent the Russian state and its culture at the Venezia Biennale with the very same compositions which were exhibited at the show at the Tretyakov. After there was no Bruskin with his anti-totalitarian art in the Tretyakov Gallery physically, the whole content of it, a very rich material, was whipped off the Tretyakov Gallery’s site in a blink of an eye. As it never existed. Gone. Charmingly, the artist was unaware of any of it until his exhibition was taken off both from the halls and from the site. Why bother? 

The person who was present at the meeting and who was a senior art expert at the leading Russian state art museum, has left her position voluntarily. She is not alone in that sad process. Russian museums were praised among the art experts world-wide for a very high level of their curators and specialists. From now on, they will be known for the North-Korean style of management of their sites cleaned off doves, clouds, sad pictures, black & white images, and possibly butterflies. No, Magritte would not be able to visualise this extreme nonsense either. My hopes are all for Banksy now. 

Day 72: May 6, 2022, Friday

BLUNDER WITH  BABUSHKA FOR ALL RUSSIA

We could all laugh our heads off this story unless it involves living old couple who got themselves into the trouble and who were and are used shamelessly by Russian exemplary stupid propaganda jerks. 

In March, when there was an intense Russian ‘liberators’ attack in Kharkiv region, they came shelling a particular village. One elderly woman was trying to appease the aggressors to the best of her long life experience. So she found an old red Soviet flag somewhere and came out with the flag in front of the liberators. She thought to calm them down and prevent the imminent destruction of her house and village. She failed. Everything was shelled down, her house, her village, and her elderly husband was severely wounded. 

The ‘liberators’ went further in their deadly attack, but some of them have photographed a petite old woman with a disproportionately large flag. The image was a gift from heaven for a hopeless Russian propaganda machine: babushka was real. 

What followed was as pathetic as it can be in a place ruled by dummies. Babushka with a red flag has become a meme of the Russian liberation of Ukraine. The image, extremely badly done, has appeared  everywhere: posters, panels, stickers, souvenir dolls, banners, so-called paintings, and so-called sculptures in several cities of Russia, plus in the Russian-controlled territory of Ukraine. An usual for them hysteria and fetish  growing as a snow-ball towards the climax of that hysteria planned for May 9th. 

Following the total failure with the Operation Ukraine, the Kremlin  administration has changed their main curator of the task, tasking with it the first deputy of the administration senior Kirienko  who was born by an Ukrainian mother. He is trying hard. To the degree that he decided to participate personally at the next opening of the momentarily done cheap plastic babushka sculpture at the Russian controlled territory of Ukraine where he visited to inspect and to boost the effort. 

It was a scene from a movie about drug-cartel bosses’ life in Latin America: everything is dead-serious and everything is hilariously pathetic. And so blisteringly cheap as the material for so-called sculpture featuring babushka. Senior Kirienko was ignited in his reverence of babushka in his opening speech: “Oh, this Russian woman, this heroic Russian woman!.. If I only knew her name, I would bow down to her toes!.. If I only knew!.. She is the Babushka for all Russia! Yes, she is!” Kirienko, as his boss, and as it goes with patented evildoers,  is a heavily sentimental type with a highly labile psyche. 

The real babushka, meanwhile, whose name is known very well and for over a month by now, Anna Ivanovna Ivanova, is spending her time now in a hospital together with her husband who is still treated there from the wounds from the “liberators’ shelling. The old couple simply has no other place to live, as Anna Ivanovna’s desperate gesture to save her house and her village was totally ignored by the Russian bandits in military uniform on the ground. 

Anna Ivanovna is very angry with them. She spoke to the press several times already and set the score with ‘the liberators’ clear. “It is such a lousy situation there in our village after they came and shelled us. What had we done to them? I tried with that old flag to calm them down. I hoped that they would not destroy our house, and our village. But no, they did destroy it all, and they wounded my husband, an old innocent man. It is so lousy what they were doing here”, – she told anyone who wanted to hear her. 

So, Kremlin fresh-made anonymous babushka-for-all-Russia turned out to be the next blunder. Why do they ignore to do a minimum home-work in order to preserve themselves from non-stop international self-ridiculing? Because ruling mediocre and below that does not have a clue about very term ridicule, not to mention its meaning. Let them enjoy that ghastly new anti-art of all-Russia’s babushkas all over the place which so successfully cancels itself. 

Day 71: May 5, 2022, Thursday

ORWELLIAN TRIAL ON ORWELL IN  RUSSIA

Michael Rogatchi (C). The Third Eye. 1991.

One does not know to cry or laugh on daily news from the Russian Land-Behind-the-Glass, the fact is that they astound us with incredible regularity. Recently, there has been a trial in St Petersburg which considered the case of a man who went to protest the Mean War with a slogan. That slogan contained nothing more than a quote. The quote was the following: ‘ World is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength’. As students from the high school know worldwide, the phrase comes from George Orwell’s ‘1984’. But who the hell is that George for the Russian police in St Petersburg who have arrested the man with this quote on his sheet of paper, and opened an official trial against him – or George Orwell? – for ‘discreditation of the Russian army’, the most popular new article in the Russian criminal code which has been added there as soon as the Mean War has started.

So, there was a real trial in St Petersburg. The trial decided that George Orwell did not discredit the Russian army. How could he, indeed, have been dead since January 1950? Luckily, the female judge from St Petersburg did not like to ridicule herself to the world. St Petersburg is a cultural capital of Russia, after all. The prosecution was very unhappy. Possibly they will appeal the decision. 

But the elderly women in Ulan-Ude which is far from St Petersburg was not so lucky. She was driven straight to the police station by the driver of the bus who has decorated the front window of his bus with a large Zieg-sign, the sign of loyalty in Russia nowadays. Modest pensioner politely and quietly asked the driver ‘to take off the sign of war’ from his bus in the city which buries the young soldiers who are killed in the Mean War daily. For some reason, Burjaatia of which Ulan-Ude is capital has a disproportionately high number of soldiers sent to Ukraine. And they are killed en masse there. 

So, the bus-driver has driven that woman directly to the police station, and she has been trialled and sentenced to a week of imprisonment, this is given a seriously bad condition of her health, according to the legal authorities there. 

In another true Orwellian style, a prosecution in Moscow is preparing for yet another trial: several protesting people there were so desperate that they were ready to commit a public suicide. They were arrested, and charged initially with hooliganism in the public place. But prosecution has changed the article. They will be trialled for terrorism now. 

We used to say that Soviet reality was truly Orwellian one. We used to say that post-Soviet reality was sometimes Orwellian, as well, but to a much lesser degree. And now, in what I call a post-humanity period of Russia, their reality is quasi-Orwellian one. I wonder, did George Orwell who visited the USSR and saw some of its niceties with his own eyes, was also inventing, even if in his head, something like post-Orwellian prose, post-Orwellian world, post-Orwellian perception, and post-Orwellian values? He might be. 

Orwell was Kafka of his time. And his capacity is not enough any longer for description of the realities of Russia’s daily life from February 2022 onward. 

There is another phrase in ‘1984’, the essential book of mankind. And I have to admit that this phrase seems prophetic to me when I think about what Russia has become: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

Week 10: April 28 – May 4, 2022

Summary of the Week 10: April 28 – May 4, 2022

‘To Put the Red Button Down’ – Nuclear War Hysteria in Russia

Inna Rogatchi (C). After Guernica: 2022. War Pictures.. Original Art Panel. Mixed Media. 150 x 200 cm. 2022.

Towards the end of the USSR, that monstre that ruled the lives of millions like slaves, we were joking about obsession of the Soviet authorities with their false desire of ‘putting the red button down’. To everyone, just everyone, during the three decades passing from Khruschev’s idiocy at the UN and his hysterical Caribbean crisis ( for which he was really replaced by more reasonable comrades), it was perfectly clear that nuclear arsenal is the weapon of detente. 

In 1988, while working in a somewhat freed up cultural and intellectual atmosphere in Leningrad, my husband and I were the members of the theatre group which became well-known overnight. We presented our hit, based on my, in a partnership with three more friends, play,  with my husband’s set and costume design at many festivals, both domestic and international ones. Our 300-seats hall was hosting three times that capacity, with people sitting on all possible places, including the floor. Moreover, people were visiting our performance once and again, not only those who were living in Leningrad, but with steady stream of visitors from Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, and all over the late Soviet Union, from as far as Sverdlovsk ( now Ekaterinburg) and Novosibirsk, all that in an unheard for that time trend of coming for specific performance from hundreds of thousands kilometres. Very quickly, it was established also a fan club was established for this performance specifically which was literally unheard of in Russia at the end of the 1980s. 

The performance and the play was called We Are Playing the King!.. , and it was the late Soviet homage to the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, referring to Soviet reality. Among the characters of the play, there was a crazy Colonel, symbolising the militarised to the insanity part of the Soviet Army and those who were supporting that futile , hilarious in its idiocy path. That Colonel was obsessed with the necessity to put the red button. He was treated as the other inhabitants of that madhouse which was our country, by different means. Everybody laughed at the poor Colonel. He, as the rest of the characters of the play, was all too recognisable in the late Soviet society. 

As I’ve said, We Are Playing the King!.. was a super-hit during several years. We have had a lot of VIP guests as well. Once, we had not that much of a VIP, but somebody to whom our theatre’s leadership was paying a measurable attention to. He was a person with  a small unremarkable figure, and his eyes were everywhere at the same time. He was also the person who made himself invisible while in a company of more than five people, but it was clear that he was registering everything said in the room. He was a pro in these matters. He was former – former? there is no such thing – KGB. At the time, he was a deputy mayor of Leningrad. His name was Mr P. 

Deputy mayor of Leningrad was showing his enthusiasm for our performance although we all understood quite well what kind of feeling it caused among the professionals from Lubjanka. The play presented the whole country as a madhouse where the male nurse was that KGB-kind of a person, with all its vocabulary, habits, gestures, aspirations, and what had been behind it all. We knew of course that Mr P would be mad at our performance, but at the time, he was not at liberty to show his genuine reactions. He was playing the King as well as it was played on the stage. He was applauding enthusiastically, he was laughing along with an overcrowded hall ( there were a lot of funny lines in the play),  he was greeting the actors many times  going wild after the end of the performance, as the whole audience did. He could not allow himself to stay apart. Those invisible people. 

Coming behind the stage to greet us all, the deputy mayor of Leningrad was super-friendly and super-enthusiastic. He was one of us, how else. But I noticed that he did ask in his soft voice and that special feline manner whenever a recorded version of the performance exists, if so, he would be so obliged to have it. I do not recall if Mr P was provided with the record of our legendary performance. Maybe he did. I hope that he has watched it a million times. 

I remembered that episode because everything that is going on in Russia today in real life, not on a stage, is a macabre accelerating nuclear war hysteria. They crossed the line of acceptable in their own heads first, as usual. They are speaking about the possibility and even necessity of a nuclear strike daily, via different media, all mainstream ones, on TV, radio and internet. They are calling it to happen. They are instigating it. What has started as a non-verbalised probability after that very same Mr P who did not like to stay invisible any longer, very much to the contrary, ordered his defence minister and the head of his General Staff to switch the mode of the nuclear forces of the Russian Federation into the Ready-to-Go mode just two months ago, has become agitated, articulated, instigated reality in that country daily. 

In that nuclear war hysteria are involved today senior so-called journalists, professional arrogant propagandists, mini-Goebbelses of all kinds and sorts. There also are still until recently normal professional military journalists who have become somebody else, afflicting monsters. There are also all kinds of experts – and ‘experts’ , former officers, present officers, scientists, and so -called scientists. Writers  – and ‘writers’, even some of the clergy. Not to mention MPs, and all the range of officials. The very idea of using nuclear weapons is getting enrooted into Russian society at a crazy speed. It is imposed on the society in full consciousness. It is as true as it is unbelievable. 

This is not only wrong. This is sick. Deeply sick. 

Never in our life had we thought that our innocent play with that crazy Colonel trying so hard to put the red button under any circumstances and everywhere would become a hard-porn reality of that country stuffed with nukes. And that small invisible character who was smiling so friendly at our performance, who was laughing his head off at the madness of our Colonel, how come that the most ridiculous idea has come into his head in such a monstrously serious way? 

I wish I knew then. Maybe, we would write something entirely different. Cinderella’s awful step-mother turning Mother Teresa, Sleeping Beauty turning rock-star. Something innocent, something harmless, something totally undoable. 

Let’s hope that amidst all the ghastly rhetoric , their instinct of survival would wake up. There is  no point to refer to any reasonability there. But instincts may still work. I hope so. Just am thinking: where the hell are all those people who were so unique in their healthy reaction at our performances? What has happened to them? And why?

Day 70: May 4, 2022, Wednesday

NOW SWEDES ARE THE NAZIS: The New Age of Russian Racism

Well, I would not say that it is inventive. First of all, the large posters mushroomed in Moscow, with one of them next to the Sweden Embassy there is the response to the originally Swedish giant posters in Russian just opposite the Russian Embassy in Stockholm which were a good tasted and ironical, inviting staff of the Russian Embassy which is obviously left with a very little to do after the start of the Mean War, for a cup of coffee. It was nice, light and measured. 

The copy-cat response all over Moscow, and probably some more places in turned hysterical Russia is rude and idiotic. As usual. To enlighten those without Russian language command, the template reads: “We Are against the Nazism, But They Are Not”. “We’ are coloured in Russia’s national flag colours, ‘They’ are in Swedish one. The message is as simple as an axe. Russian style of conversation. 

Under the template, there are varieties of anti-heroes from ‘Them’-category. In the photo in my poster, there are actually three people condemned by Russian public propaganda: writer Astrid Lindgren, the author of Karlsson and Peppi the LongSock; cinema giant Ingmar Bergman, incredibly; and IKEA’s founder Ingvar Kamprad.  On the other version of the poster, there is also Sweden King during the WWII Gustav V who is branded as a Nazi supporter. 

As is is widely known, Kamprad was a self-identified and self-confirmed Nazi supporter who later publicly denounced his own choice in his youth. The other two giants of Swedish and world culture has nothing to do with the Nazis whatsoever. Lindgren indeed did not like Soviets, Bergman had his encounter with the pro-Nazi people who were hosting him during his student exchange short trip when he was 16. In fact, he took the facts and pictures from the Nazi concentration and death camps after the war very badly, and it haunted him for decades. King Gustav V had his input into persuading his government to agree to provide the logistics to the Hitler regime. It is a fact. But it is also a fact that it was Gustav V  who intervened personally with true Nazi Horti in Hungary on behlaf of Raoul Wallenberg and his mission. 

Very diligently, the new Russian posters are marked with the organisation who has produced them. It is the ‘Moscow branch of the “Our Victory” organisation’.  Now, Our Victory is a project conceived and runned by the main Russian political party, United Russia. This is their joint project with yet another baby of United Russia, Russian Historical Society, a pathetic anti-scientific revisionist pseudo-historical organisation run by the same bunch of officials who are in the leading positions in the country today. I think, to name them is to give an extra-advertisement to those unworthy individuals. 

The point is that an idiotic, third-class in thinking and executing anti-Swedish campaign comes right from the top of the Russia’s power. As if they have nothing better or more important to be busy with at the moment. 

Judging on the design of the prepared template for the posters accusing the entire Sweden as a country in pro-Nazi sympaties, the campaign will be continued and will target the other countries. It is very easy to put the colour of any country’s flag over those “They” word, to indicate any given country, and to place the photos of that country’s leading historical personalities, to blame via them the whole country in the alleged Nazi sympathies. 

Given the direction of the thought of the near-Kremlin geniuses , Finland could be the next, given Swedish and Finnish intention to join NATO, with all the enemies of Russia to follow, starting from their beloved enemies the UK and the USA, and to the rest of their long enemy list. 

Swedish authorities have already mentioned that they are not going to discuss at the level of Our Victory organisation. They are right. Our Victory, who?

But if there would be a proper opportunity to remind those fierce ‘anti-Nazis’ as Russian nasty propaganda, military, political elite and anyone else position themselves nowadays, to remind them about at least some from a very long list of their country’s servility before Hitler and Nazis all the time from his seizing the power in 1933 and until that ‘so unexpected’ for Stalin beginning of the Germany war against the USSR, and even after that, importantly, perhaps, it should be done to dress them down a bit. First of all, they should face their own history which they still hide all the years after WWII. Till today, their archives are closed regarding many essential documents revealing very telling episodes and facts. This is additionally to their treaty with Hitler in August 1939. Additionally to their training the Reich officers. Additionally to taking off millions of square metres of fertile black soil from Ukraine, by the way, and sending it by endless trains to whom? To Nazi Germany. Additionally to sending thousands of trains full of equipment to where? To Nazi Germany. One of my favourite documents of this sort is Stalin’s extremely nervous  telegram to his emissaries  in the West in which he commanded, or rather uncharacteristically kindly asked them to try by all means to establish the channel of communications with the Germans, as high as possible, and to try to ask Herr Adolf personally ‘would he be satisfied with having Kiev, please’? I saw this document from the Russian archives. I was later told that it has been classified back. No wonder. 

But there are extremely many facts about scandalous behaviour of the USSR’s leadership in their collaboration with the Nazi Germany from 1933 onward and with their incredible appeasing of it, plus their supplying the terrible Nazi regime by wide variety of essential resources and training their military personnel. Even from the open sources, there is more than enough material for launching an efficient educational program on who did what and who was against whom with regard to the Nazis. But of course, the geniuses who run Our Victory or whatever else of the kind are immune to the truth of history. They and the country in which they are turning Russia now is a ghost only. A ghost of truth, ghost of decency, ghost of dignity, ghost of humanity. A ghost of life. Shadows. 

Day 69: May 3, 2022, Tuesday

TORTURES OF POWS IN THE XXI CENTURY: RUSSIA’S PRACTICES

Inna Rogagtchi (C). Frost. War Pictures. 2022.

What one needs to shock an ombudsman, the person who supposedly had been used to all kinds of injustices? One needs to narrate to an ombudsman the chronicles of Russian tortures of the Ukrainian prisoners of war, as it happened recently when Ukrainian ombudsman Ljudmila Denisova was provided the information from the Ukrainian prisoners of war who were recently returned to Russia in an exchange between the side. Ljudmila Denisova, a Russian woman  from Arkhangelsk by her origin, and experienced Ukrainian politician and official, goes through gruesome experiences daily during all the time of the 69 days of the Mean War. Still, the ombudsman stated officially that she was shocked after getting the latest information from the tortured Ukrainian soldiers. The young boys were returned home, after repeated and uneasy efforts of the Ukrainian side, without limbs, with amputated legs. What has happened? 

They were forcibly taken off their boots, which the Russians filled with an icy water ordering the prisoners to put the boots on. With those boots filled with ice water, young men were placed face down on the ground, outside, in chilly weather, and forced to stay in this position for three-four days. 

It is happening now, in Europe, just next to us. The prisoners were kept blindfolded for days, they were moved blindfolded. Prior to the exchange, they were moved in cargo railway tracks, for hours. Chillingly familiar, isn’t it? Prior to the exchange, those people with amputated limbs were left by their captors on stretches just in the middle of the road, before being picked up by those who were responsible for actual exchange. 

I am  reading it and I still force myself to believe it. It is not just that the Russians treat prisoners badly. It is all another story altogether. It is that they are instructed and commanded to commit tortures, on a regular basis. It is that somebody teaches them how to do it and what to do. It is that they enjoy doing it. It is that nobody stops them , but instead, instigates them. 

It is that evil is created, added and applied on a large scale in front of our eyes. I do not even talk about the Geneva Convention and other legalities. Those who are ordered, commanded and instigate to torture openly in the way the Russia so-called army does, and who order this feast of evil give no damn about any conventions. They are living in another world. The world beyond humanity. But they are harming our world, the lives of many normal people, for now and forever. This must be stopped. And there are ways to stop it, if the body which is responsible for obliging the Geneva Convention would wake up, at last, and start to act as it should. 

Day 68: May 2, 2022, Monday

HITLER THE JEW: RACIAL THEORY IN ITS RUSSIAN INTERPRETATION, 2022 

Michael Rogatchi (C). Living Shadow. Oil on canvas. 90 x 60 cm. 1993. The Rogatchi Art Collection.

Officialdom of Russia in the face of its current Foreign Minister Lavrov has managed to stunned the world again. Importantly, Lavrov used the opportunity provided to him willingly by the Berlusconi’s owned Italian  Mediaset corporation to relay his views and statements in a lengthy interview aired on Sunday, May 1st. 

One needs to know the Italian media landscape in a closer detail, to get the full picture. Mediaset, privately owned by the long-standing P’s special and close  friend, too close one to keep a moral sanitary normality with this regard, is in a permanent rivalry with the state-owned RAI television. The Mediaset program with Lavrov aired on Sunday May 1, was simply disgusting. My Italian journalist colleagues, many of them, independently from each other, have called it, both privately and publicly, as ‘the one of the lowest, most shameful episodes in the history of Italian journalism and television’. “ It was basically Lavrov’s monologue, with servile nods and ‘understanding’ smiles by the program’s author, Giuseppe Brindici, who was literally on his knees before Lavrov”, – said by a distinguished colleague with a long career at Italian television. 

So, in that comfy atmosphere willingly created for that Russian  propaganda offensive, a senior representative of the Russian leadership aired to the world, knowingly precisely well what he was doing, that statement about supposedly Jewish blood in Hitler, comparing him with the president of Ukraine, and most importantly, about ‘worst anti-Semites to be found among the Jews’ themselves. 

Official Israel went ballistic, the passage was reported world-wide promptly, people were gaping in disgust, and even normally ready for response president Zelensky had to say that he had no words for that outrage. Our friends started to write and call us. And I? I was enraged, but not surprised, not for a bit. The same as my husband who said that he was expecting something like that to happen for a while by now. 

One needs to know the history and tradition of anti-Semitism in Russia , or perhaps live through this experience, not to be surprised by their top minister referring to possible Jewish blood in Hitler and to call Jews the worst anti-Semites. It is as sick, as cynical, and if someone is a master of cynicism in the P’s government, it is his foreign minister Lavrov who opted to use his mother’s maiden name, or the name of his step-father, there are two versions of its origin,  to smooth in his own diplomatic  career rejecting his father’s Armenian surname from the rich and prosperous family in pre-revolutionary Tiflis, current Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. 

Senior international diplomats who know Lavrov personally have told me privately that they ‘never met a more cynical person’. Dubious legacy. 

The real  message of his insulting and outrageous statement is not the one which he hoped for in their helpless fiasco on all possible fronts, military, morally, politically, etc. They, on top of Russia’s power, are very angry due to that total fiasco, and being boiling angry, they are losing control of expressing themselves. It is a known behavioural pattern. To get this low as Lavrov allowed  himself to shame his country and himself in that relaxed sympathetic towards them Italian unchallenging interview-monologue, one has to be beyond despair. And he obviously is. He got older by ten years during the last two months of constant frustration. 

Quite similar to the psychological tests on what one’s smile tells about a person, what one’s behaviour being drunk tells about a character, people’s behaviour in rage and frustration also reveals a lot about their personality. Lavrov’s behaviour being angry shows very well what kind of person he is: low anti-Semite and arrogant, cheap, unsophisticated racist. Period. 

It also shows Russia’s leadership, not just their foreign minister’s attitude towards Hitler and Hitlerism. He is an experienced fox, cautious towards reflecting the correct line correlated with the policy and views of his boss, and general outlines of the state policy. Whatever he might think and feel personally, he would never allow himself to air anything which does not reflect the mainstream of the Kremlin policy. With his – and Mediaset’s – assistance, the world now knows that Russia is back to its traditional utter anti-Semitism, updating it to the new low, version for XXI century, with refering to the Jewish blood of Hitler and insisting that the worst anti-Semites are to be found among the Jews themselves. 

If president of Ukraine Zelensky did not happen to be Jewish, the world, most likely, would be kept out of this educating knowledge.  So now we know. And the world must not only react to that, but to treat Russia’s leadership, at all levels and in all dimensions of politics, economy, and whatever else,  for who they are: anti-Semitic racists of the XXI century. 

Day 67: May 1, 2022, Sunday

 ARRESTS FOR ‘INVISIBLE SLOGANS’ IN RUSSIA

When I saw the photo which is on my work from the War Posters series, initially I thought that some of my journalist friends  working in Moscow were tired, understandably, being under such permanent pressure, and posted a senseless photo, by chance. ‘Hmm, what did they mean, really, with those kids just staying there with some dance-like gesture and nothing happening around? People get tired there, surely”, I thought. But in a minute, I was reading that what I took for a dance-like gesture was actually a gesture of a person who was holding a poster. As if. I was also reading in total misbelief that actually a lot was going on around those kids in the Red Square in Moscow. They all were arrested. In a few hours, I’ve got the quote from the police protocol of the kids’ arrest. In an official police document, it is written, black on white:” detained people were holding in their hands invisible posters with anti-government slogans’”. This is an indisputable champion in a very long top list of the causes of arrests of people in Russia  today. 

After the arrest of youngsters in Moscow for their pantomime, there is no reason, actually, to be surprised because of the series of previous multiple arrests made in many Russian cities of the people who were keeping in their hands empty A4 sheets. It quickly has become ‘a norm’ there. Orange is the new black, what a cliche. Surreality is a new reality there in Russia, and it is a mere fact. 

Critically thinking people there are thoroughly enjoying another recent arrest. It happened in Yakutsk, in the far North.  A young man who was masked all over up to his eyes, came next to the local morgue, with A4 sheet in his hands as well. His A4 was not empty. It was a photo of a bier, with a sign in Russian ‘Zhenich Prijehal’, A Groom  Has Arrived. Normal Russian black humour. But the police in Yakutsk did not get it. The youngster was promptly arrested. 

 According to several human rights watch organisations, today there have been more than 40 surreal arrests in Russia with regard to the  not obvious protests of the people, or not protests at all but people’s opinions expressed. Nine of these cases concern journalists who were supposed to conduct their duties. One of these cases is simply outrageous. Journalist Maria Ponomarenko has posted one post in her Telegram channel describing and referring to the tragedy of bombing of theater in Mariupol. She has been arrested, recently was imprisoned for two months awaiting a trial. ‘A trial’. Kafkian one. She was imprisoned for ‘violating’ Russia’s recently adopted new article in their criminal code imposing imprisonment for 10 years for ‘discreditation of the Russian army’.  Ten years of imprisonment in the Russian prison for one post in social media referring to extensively  reported all over the world world crime. 

The same 10-year imprisonment is looming for the elected politician in one of the Moscow municipal administrations, Alexey Gorshkov. He did not post anything. He just aired his doubts regarding planned celebrations for children in a conversation with colleague deputies, some of them were for his opinion, some against it. The dialogue was posted to YouTube. The deputy who in a perfectly civilised way doubted possibility and necessity to organise rosy celebrations for Moscow kids while ‘children are killed in Ukraine’, had been reported, arrested and also imprisoned for two months, with a very real prospect to get ten years of prison for the ‘violation’ of the same new article of the criminal code. His other colleague who sided with him, managed to get out of Russia before being arrested. The prosecutors are using against elected deputies such quasi-Stalinist terms as ‘motivation by political hatred’, ‘expression of negative attitude’, and alike. So, expression of negative attitude is criminally punishable in Russia today. This should be well understood by everyone. 

I have read with my own eyes, otherwise, I would not believe it, fresh  legal documents from the ongoing trial in Russia against a well-known journalist. There, in black on white is written the following: “According to the prosecutor, the Signal App installed in the journalist’s phone is a proof of his espionage activities”. Not the content of the messages in his phone, but a mere fact of installing Signal App. The fact that Signal App is used by 100% world diplomats, including their own, and the fact that Signal is used today by 40 million people worldwide does not make any difference for those prosecutors, obviously. It probably convinces them more firmly that there are 40 million spies around. 

No wonder that Russia’s general prosecutor is so busy. Poor man is as busy as ever. For example, a few days ago he in full seriousness proposed, officially, to ban ‘any symbol that could be used for the purposes of extremism. The ban should  include all memes as well”. This is a direct quote. This is what Russia’s top prosecutor is busy with nowadays. And this is for real in their vast Through-the-Glass place. 

As surreal and wild as it is, it is deadly serious. The authorities are spreading a real terror in Russia nowadays, in a preventive way, in order to silence anyone with slightest protest, and more, simply with own opinion. Or with an empty A4 sheet. Or no empty sheet is needed any longer for prompting those hilarious lines in a police protocol about ‘invisible anti-government slogans’. 

Russia, due to its perpetual irrationality and upside down surreality as a norm of life, had a chain of great sardonic writers, masters of dizzy metaphors who would be understood only by the inhabitants of that place, great Evgeny Schwartz, fantastic Daniil Kharms,  our contemporary late Grigory Gorin. They all have created eternal masterpieces stuffed with bitter-sweet metaphors of the sort of ‘invisible slogans’. But all of them, in their wildest dreams could not imagine that their masterly metaphors would be processed to such extreme, and will become reality. It is beyond any extravaganza. It is terror of imbeciles. The most scary terror of all. 

  Day 66: April 30, 2022, Saturday

SPECIAL OPERATION ON RUSSIAN TERRITORY : A WAR AGAINST BLUE & YELLOW

Inna Rogatchi (C). Life of Light. 2019.

There is only one hospital functioning in a very limited way today in once big and thriving Mariupol city. That hospital is under control of the Russian ‘liberators’ who send a doctor from Donetsk to lead it, with some of the hospital’s own personnel and some other doctors working there voluntarily – because people need help. That doctor turned out to be an honest and decent man, and without crossing the lines of endangering his own and his personnel position under the occupation, told the truth of what was going on there. And why. 

That doctor, who is trying to be calm and professional, told that under the Russian siege, people in Mariupol had to eat raw potatoes. For a long time. Which has caused a lot of sickness among a large number of people. He also said that many people had not even that. 

At that hospital, currently working there doctors and medical personnel can treat only easy cases, the head doctor said. For anything beyond it, they had to transfer the patients to Donetsk. But. The problem is that the prevailing number of people feeling sick in Mariupol, exhausted, seriously under-nourished people who are surviving the Russian siege, are refusing to be transferred to Donetsk even for a temporary treatment, even for an operation. “I keep saying to those people: please please let us transfer you to Donetsk, there is light, there is warm inside any premises, there is normal water, normal food and adequate medical services. You will be treated well. And you do need an operation. But people are refusing to go en masse. I can only guess on their motivation to refuse the treatment there ( in Donetsk”, – sighs honest doctor and seemingly a good man. 

I also can guess why stoic people from Mariupol are refusing to go to Donetsk which is under Russian and local militant gangs control even for urgent operations. They were seeing the Russian treatment in general enough to stay as far away from it as possible. 

In this hospital, the only one functioning in Mariupol partially so, there is a severe, acute shortage of practically everything. The hospital relies on volunteers, and humanitarian relief organisations largely in everything, from food to any kind of medicine. What kind of governing power is it which abandons even the hospitals in the zone under their occupation and control?  This kind of power, that conducts the Mean War. Mean Power. 

According to the official data WHO, by  March 24, 2022, there were as many as 64 hospitals in Ukraine attacked and damaged. In three weeks time, by April 14, 2022, the figure rose up to 120. Meaning almost 60 hospitals were hit in three weeks, almost twenty per week. Isn’t it too barbarian even by barbarian standards? 

Day 65: April 29, 2022,  Friday

MARIUPOL’s ONLY HOSPITAL: IN, OUT and AROUND

There is only one hospital functioning in a very limited way today in once big and thriving Mariupol city. That hospital is under control of the Russian ‘liberators’ who send a doctor from Donetsk to lead it, with some of the hospital’s own personnel and some other doctors working there voluntarily – because people need help. That doctor turned out to be an honest and decent man, and without crossing the lines of endangering his own and his personnel position under the occupation, told the truth of what was going on there. And why. 

That doctor, who is trying to be calm and professional, told that under the Russian siege, people in Mariupol had to eat raw potatoes. For a long time. Which has caused a lot of sickness among a large number of people. He also said that many people had not even that. 

At that hospital, currently working there doctors and medical personnel can treat only easy cases, the head doctor said. For anything beyond it, they had to transfer the patients to Donetsk. But. The problem is that the prevailing number of people feeling sick in Mariupol, exhausted, seriously under-nourished people who are surviving the Russian siege, are refusing to be transferred to Donetsk even for a temporary treatment, even for an operation. “I keep saying to those people: please please let us transfer you to Donetsk, there is light, there is warm inside any premises, there is normal water, normal food and adequate medical services. You will be treated well. And you do need an operation. But people are refusing to go en masse. I can only guess on their motivation to refuse the treatment there ( in Donetsk”, – sighs honest doctor and seemingly a good man. 

I also can guess why stoic people from Mariupol are refusing to go to Donetsk which is under Russian and local militant gangs control even for urgent operations. They were seeing the Russian treatment in general enough to stay as far away from it as possible. 

In this hospital, the only one functioning in Mariupol partially so, there is a severe, acute shortage of practically everything. The hospital relies on volunteers, and humanitarian relief organisations largely in everything, from food to any kind of medicine. What kind of governing power is it which abandons even the hospitals in the zone under their occupation and control?  This kind of power, that conducts the Mean War. Mean Power. 

According to the official data WHO, by  March 24, 2022, there were as many as 64 hospitals in Ukraine attacked and damaged. In three weeks time, by April 14, 2022, the figure rose up to 120. Meaning almost 60 hospitals were hit in three weeks, almost twenty per week. Isn’t it too barbarian even by barbarian standards? 

Day 64: April  28, 2022, Thursday

‘THANK  YOU FOR NOT  KILLING US’

CHECHEN TREATMENT AT the MENTAL CLINIC IN 

BORODYANKA

Inna Rogatchi (C). Tear Rain. 2022.

It happened in March. But people needed some breath to be able to tell about that. In early March, Russian ‘liberators’ seized a large mental hospital in Borodyanka, 80 km from Kyiv. Terror started, with patients got agitated, some of them on the run, three of whom were never found any longer; many in panic resorted to under their or anyone’s beds and hided inside the small closets for days. In a week of so, Chechens arrived, to a total terror of doctors, medical personnel and all the patients. Borodyanka hosted a large mental hospital, with around 700 patients there, a hundred of them bed-ridden. 

The nice Chechen squad was in a good mood. They were laughing while taking over a mental hospital from their Russian so-called brothers in so-called arms. Being obsessed with social media uploads day and night, Chechens had a working professional camera with them. They are keen journalists if you did not know. 

They commanded all patients of the mental hospital to gather in the courtyard in front of the building. It had been done. They commanded everyone to smile. ‘Smile! Smile! Smile!’ – they screamed at the frightened to death mentally ill people. People cried. And cried. And cried. Camera worked. The Chechens were unhappy. Then they tried to improve their video. Otherwise, what would they upload to TikTok? 

Then they commanded the hospital director, a woman, to start to praise on camera V.V.P. ‘Say: “Thank you, dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!” Say it now! Say it loud! Now!”  They were all with gun-machines turned towards a crowd of crying mental patients, doctors and nurses in the front of the hospital’s building. 

The hospital’s director who actually started to work there a couple of months ago, being a director of a school before, tried to think on what she must do, very quickly. “ If I refuse, they will kill us all on the spot. But I’d rather die than to thank that criminal. Yes, it is fine with me, but all those people right here and now. What to do? What to do?” Chechens were screaming: “Loud! Now! Loud!” Director said on the Chechen camera dropping the name: “Thank you for not killing us” – and fainted. Chechens were laughing like babies with gun-machines. 

By a miracle, they controlled that large mental hospital in Borodyanka for only one day. Or maybe, it was not that much of a miracle as it is known now that Ukrainian high military command was doing everything they could in that tragic situation appealing to ‘the liberators’ and sending them messages explaining who those patients are and trying to appeal to the remnants of humanity among ‘the liberators’ command. They obviously succeeded as the Chechens were replaced the next day by the regular savages. 

And the savages they all are. ‘The “ liberators” controlled the mental hospital in Borodyanka for several weeks. All those weeks there was no electricity, no water, and no heating in the hospital. The temperature there was -7C. People had to drink the technical water and they all fell ill. Twelve patients died. The personnel had to prepare some very scarce food for them on an open fire. “The Liberators’ looted everything possible and impossible. Leaving, they left most vomiting, literally, as well, absolutely sick graffiti all over the hospital’s walls. They made it in their excrements. And sick people and medical personnel exhausted during the weeks of the Russian siege, had to clean it. 

This ‘army’ is going to parade on their Red Square and may other squares in their cities soon, celebrating a 77-year old victory which they all did defaced with the excrements of their soldiers today, on the high command of a pygmies, all over it. 

Hitler the Jew: Racial Theory In Its Russian Interpretation, 2022 – Essay

The Essay was published at The Times of Israel.

Officialdom of Russia in the face of its current Foreign Minister Lavrov has managed to stun the world again. Importantly, Lavrov used the opportunity provided to him willingly by the Berlusconi’s owned Italian Mediaset corporation to relay his views and statements in a lengthy interview aired on Sunday, May 1st. 

One needs to know the Italian media landscape in a closer detail, to get the full picture. Mediaset, privately owned by the long-standing P’s special and close friend, too close one to keep a moral sanitary normality with this regard, is in a permanent rivalry with the state-owned RAI television. The Mediaset program with Lavrov aired on Sunday May 1, was simply disgusting. My Italian journalist colleagues, many of them, independently from each other, have called it, both privately and publicly, as ‘the one of the lowest, most shameful episodes in the history of Italian journalism and television’. “ It was basically Lavrov’s monologue, with servile nods and ‘understanding’ smiles by the program’s author, Giuseppe Brindici, who was literally on his knees before Lavrov”, said by a distinguished colleague with a long career at Italian television. 

So, in that comfy atmosphere willingly created for that Russian propaganda offensive, a senior representative of the Russian leadership aired to the world, knowingly precisely well what he was doing, that statement about supposedly Jewish blood in Hitler, comparing him with the president of Ukraine, and most importantly, about ‘worst anti-Semites to be found among the Jews’ themselves. 

Michael Rogatchi (C). Living Shadow. Oil on canvas. 90 x 60 cm. 1993. In the Mirror of Shoah collection. The Rogatchi Art Collection.

Official Israel went ballistic, the passage was reported world-wide promptly, people were gaping in disgust, and even normally ready for response president Zelensky had to say that he had no words for that outrage. Our friends started to write and call us. And I? I was enraged, but not surprised, not for a bit. The same as my husband who said that he was expecting something like that to happen for a while now. 

One needs to know the history and tradition of antisemitism in Russia , or perhaps live through this experience, not to be surprised by their top minister referring to possible Jewish blood in Hitler and to call Jews the worst antisemites. It is as sick, as cynical, and if someone is a master of cynicism in the P’s government, it is his foreign minister Lavrov who opted to use his mother’s maiden name, or the name of his step-father, there are two versions of its origin, to smooth in his own diplomatic  career rejecting his father’s Armenian surname from the rich and prosperous family in pre-revolutionary Tiflis, current Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. 

Senior international diplomats who know Lavrov personally have told me privately that they ‘never met a more cynical person’. Dubious legacy. 

The real message of his insulting and outrageous statement is not the one which he hoped for in their helpless fiasco on all possible fronts, military, morally, politically, etc. They, on top of Russia’s power, are very angry due to that total fiasco, and being boiling angry, they are losing control of expressing themselves. It is a known behavioral pattern. To get this low as Lavrov allowed himself to shame his country and himself in that relaxed sympathetic towards them Italian unchallenging interview-monologue, one has to be beyond despair. And he obviously is. He got older by ten years during the last two months of constant frustration. 

Quite similar to the psychological tests on what one’s smile tells about a person, what one’s behavior being drunk tells about a character, people’s behavior in rage and frustration also reveals a lot about their personality. Lavrov’s behavior being angry shows very well what kind of person he is: low antisemite and arrogant, cheap, unsophisticated racist. Period. 

It also shows Russia’s leadership, not just their foreign minister’s attitude towards Hitler and Hitlerism. He is an experienced fox, cautious towards reflecting the correct line correlated with the policy and views of his boss, and general outlines of the state policy. Whatever he might think and feel personally, he would never allow himself to air anything which does not reflect the mainstream of the Kremlin policy. With his – and Mediaset’s – assistance, the world now knows that Russia is back to its traditional utter antisemitism, updating it to the new low, version for XXI century, with referring to the Jewish blood of Hitler and insisting that the worst antisemites are to be found among the Jews themselves. 

If president of Ukraine Zelensky did not happen to be Jewish, the world, most likely, would be kept out of this educating knowledge. So now we know. And the world must not only react to that, but to treat Russia’s leadership, at all levels and in all dimensions of politics, economy, and whatever else,  for who they are: antisemitic racists of the XXI century.

Week 9: April 21 – April 27, 2022

Summary of the Week 9, April 21 – April 27, 2022

TURNING HEAVEN AND EARTH FOR UKRAINE VICTORY – psychological definite shift in the Mean War

Inna Rogatchi (C). Soul Search. Original drawing in crayons Luminance, oil pastel, with hand-applied pigment of gold on pigment print on cotton paper. Song for Ukraine exclusive series . 30 x 40 cm. Size in a museum passepartout 40 x 50 cm. Ed. of 10. 2022. The artwork is part of Inna Rogatchi charitable art appeal in support of the people of Ukraine. 

The Mean War against Ukraine continues for 9 weeks by now. It will not be finished tomorrow. As we can see, the world community needed two months to recover from an initial shock and to start not only to express solidarity with attacked Ukraine, but to think – and most importantly, to act properly to help and to assist the the brave and resilient country  attacked by the moral Neanderthals although I didn’t mean to upset the Neanderthals.  

We know that military assistance comes and reaches Ukraine. The only thing is that it comes too late. And in the war , especially in the Mean War, there is no such thing as belated military assistance. 

We also know that Ukraine gets many other possible kinds of help: financial, logistical, intelligence,  humanitarian, possible help in reconstructing the destroyed country. It is all deadly important. But Ukrainian sky is understood to be left a prey to the unqualified savage army of thugs. 

Still, the most important thing has happened during the ninth week of the Mean War. The process which has started on February 24th, 2022, from its total disbelief and all kind of arguments justifying not that whole-hearted help to Ukraine, through the horrors of Bucha, Borodjanka, Mariupol and so many other places, has transformed into firm commitment by the world not only to sympathise with Ukraine, but to stand next to it. This is a fundamental, qualified shift. A principal shift in the commitment to help Ukraine to prevail. 

In the phrasing of the US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin ‘to turn earth and heaven’ to help Ukraine to win its battle, the joint decision of the collective West has crystallised. Moreover, the US Defence Secretary has made this crystal clear statement not just anywhere but at the largest US base in Europe in Ramstein, Germany. That base and its military personnel had a long and productive experience during the decades that they had been posted there, so far from their home, and so stunningly necessary in the third decade of the XXI century. I have many friends connected with the US base in Ramstein and I know that well-preserved tradition well enough.  I know that once these kinds of people and institutions are committed, they are committed. There are no ifs left  in such a context. 

Ukraine paid a very high price to be understood in the way it is understood now, and to be consciously defended by the united community of the world’s countries. Unnecessary high price, in my opinion. Unpardonably high price, with insuperable damage on so many levels. But Ukraine also was able, as amazingly as it is, to teach us all to be brave, articulated, moral and resilient. It was a much needed lesson. I hope it will be taken by all parties thoroughly. 

Day 63: April 27, 2022, Wednesday

‘A REGULAR THIRD WORLD WAR’ – STATEMENTS OF THE RUSSIAN MILITARY VETERANS

So, a serious event had happened in the Russian parliament recently, a special meeting of the Duma  ( Military) Veterans Affairs Committee. The Committee is chaired by MP Mironov, the head of the party called Fair Russia. Mironov himself never fails to remind the public that he was a paratrooper in his past. Recently, this Russian MP has gathered some attention by his inflamed public instigation to kill the president of Ukraine. “He did deserve it. He deserved it in full. It serves him right!” – a senior Russian MP was exlaming and repeating, repeating and exclaiming publicly in Moscow recently. Well, we got it: a senior Russian MP, the leader of the parliamentary party, was publicly instigating the assasination of the president of a sovereign state. 

As this was not confronted, the former paratrooper who is seemingly more militant decades after his regular army service, was emboldened to get into the Russian domestic contest of warmongers which is rather crowded. 

During his Military Veterans Affairs Committee recent show in Duma, the people present there, some who should be there to follow the mainstream of Russian politics, you see, were quite impressed, as I am hearing, first-hand.   “There was a super ultra militant hysteria there for several hours, conducted at full speed” – those observers mentioned. 

Just some of the pearls from that Duma Committee official meeting: “ There is a regular war ( which is going on in Ukraine), the Third World war” – said one official, on the record. “ It is a historical battle of the XXI century’ – said another. “ If there is a war, we should carry it all out” – said the third. 

Everyone who was speaking at the meeting was calling for far more radical military measures against Ukraine. The Committee also officially reprimanded Russia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Lavrov who repeated, due to his role and script for it, that their country ‘does not seek the change of the government in Ukraine’ . “What on earth are we not seeking the change of the government there? What else are we seeking then?” – a former MP who is still a member of the Committee was exclaiming. 

The Committee has demanded, also on the record, that Russia’s schools and universities would be running special programs for establishing ‘the correct understanding about purposes and tasks of the war among our children and youth. This is absolutely important’. 

Nobody from the present, several tens of adult men, did not call the Mean War as ‘ a special operation’. They all are former or current officers, for them to call it ‘a special operation’ and to use any kind of euphemisms is an insult. 

Those warmongers from and in Duma really demand more blood and destruction. Yet more blood and destruction. They are very agitated. They see by whatever professional eye that has left among them that their army is losing big and that it is utterly incompetent.  They are registering a professional disaster, ever subconsciously so. But their reaction to what is going on with their army acting in a way of useless barbarians is quite telling. They want it to be improved to the last Ukrainian. And to the annihilation of the Ukrainian cities, towns and villages. 

The hate behind this low militant idiocy is stunning. Even people who are living in Russia and who are professionally observing this one and the other similar official committees and bodies there are stunned. “What on the earth are they hoping for?Are they adequate? How does  it possible for the professional military to be so wall-stupid?” – the person who was present during that telling Committee meeting at the Duma was exclaiming. “In the end of that mad-house show, where everyone tried hard to be more militant than Shoigu & Co, I felt that I needed to see a psychiatrist, to check if everything is OK with me, and if I did not hallucinate all that afternoon at that Duma audience room”. – “But those one in that hall, they did not feel as if they were in urgent need of medical help although they definitely are in danger. They and the world where they can reach’,  – I said to my friend. – ‘No, – he said – they are completely occupied  by running the regular Third World War. They were waiting for that for so long”. 

Day 62: April 26, 2022, Tuesday

CHERNOBYL ANNIVERSARY in 2022

 April 26th is the date which is known to the world as the date of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. As it was not enough, 36 year after that nightmare-like day, Russian geniuses were very close to organising there a terrible repetition from the day one and thereafter of the Mean War 2022. As if it was not enough to cross the path, in the tanks,  through the forbidden zone around the deactivated Chernobyl nuclear station thus rising to the air an enormous cloud of what is known as ‘a rusty dust’, deadly, lethal dust which was left as the result of the catastrophe, to cut the way to the station, according to the genius plans of the genius tactics planned the operation in the Russian army. As if it was not enough to get people on the ground of the Rusty Forest, a no-go 5 kilometre zone on the station perimeter, so dangerous that it will stay in its status for eternity. As if it was not enough to command the thousands of ‘the liberators’ dispatched in that way on the ground to cave in trenches just inside the Rusty Forest. Whom they were supposed to defend themselves from? – I still wonder all the time. As if it was not enough to seize entire active Ukrainian personnel at the station, killing five people there and keeping hostages for three and half weeks the rest of them depriving people who were providing the security of the station – and the bloody captors, as it goes – from food, drink, bathing, and any normal sanitary condition, not mention such luxury as sleep. 

As if it was not enough to make and leave behind a repulsive mess made by stupid barbarians in the station’s premises – just check some of it on the pictures in my poster. As if it was not enough to loot the computers from the Chernobyl centre, and anything lootable from there. As if it was not enough also to loot , for souvenirs, many bottles with samples of highly radioactive liquids from the station. I wonder who would be honoured by receiving such great souvenirs from ‘the liberating operation’, or would it stay in the possession of the marauders, effectively killing them all? As if it was not enough to destroy, on purpose, as orangutans on megatons of steroids, the priceless and crucially important archive of the Chernobyl centre, with unique documentation collected and kept there during the last 40plus years. 

When those vertically-oriented orangutans retreated, solely because hundreds of them started to suffer from acute syndromes of the radioactive disease and had had to be rushed to the nearby hospitals in Belarus for some kind of treatment, Ukrainian authorities and locals who were able to visit what has been left from the neatly maintained previously Cherobyl centre, were stupefied to find such a pogrom both inside and outside it. The same stupefied was Dr Marco Grossi, the Director General of the IAEA who had to visit the Chernobyl twice by now, with his second visit was around the date which we all do remember so very painfully. Now, after that savage pogrom, the Ukrainian Chernobyl Centre urgently needs a large amount of equipment, in order to stabilise the station and its premises and maintain it safe. The orangutans who were enjoying themselves at the Rusty Forest and in the no-go zone would die within a calendar year. This is strictly medical projections. There are hundreds of them. 

Typically , not a word is muttered about Chernobyl in Russia after the truth about their just unbelievable stupid criminal activity there was told to the world after their jackal-like retreat from there. And how boasting they were on ‘taking Chernobyl under our control’ on the first day of their Mean War. Taking control for what? – one wonders. For distributing the souvenirs with lethal liquids among the orangutans without explaining to them that it is not vodka? Amazing army, indeed. A gang. 

Day 61: April 25, 2022, Monday

UKRAINIAN MELODY BY POLISH ORCHESTRAS FOR THE WORLD

On April 11, 2022, two weeks ago, there was a wonderful event in our virtual global space. Thirty eight Polish orchestras, conducted by the top conductors from Poland, Ukraine and many other countries, performed one piece of music in a special action of solidarity with Ukraine, on the initiative of the Society of Polish Philharmonics. The piece they played was Melody by Myroslav Skoryk, a very well-known Ukrainian maetre of music who died in 2020. You are welcome to see and hear this touching and masterly performance here.  

Anyone who is versed in music is aware of the long-standing fact of an exceptional quality of Polish musicians, due to the long tradition and refined way of understanding and performing of music. The brilliant performance of Skorik’s Melody is one more beautiful justification of the thesis. 

But there is so much more in that story and its meaning. Myroslav Skoryk was well-known in the USSR, which had treated his family harshly. That cultured family belonged to the Ukrainian Polish intelligentsia with backgrounds in Europe. The composer’s parents, father the professor of history and mother the professor of chemistry were both brilliant graduates of the University of Vienna. His great-aunt was nobody else than famous opera global super-star Salome Solomyia Krushelnitsky. 

Poor Solomyia who literally did save Madama Butterfly for Puccini and posterity, with the composer  always remembering it with trepidation and love ( Solomyia sang the Butterfly part for the second time and in a new edition in June 1904 at the Teatro Grande in Brescia, four months after the fiasco of the opera at its premiere at La Scala in February 1904), who sang under the button of Toscanini, and together with Caruso, Shaljapin, Ruffo, after the death of her Italian husband, the mayor of Viareggio, decided to return briefly to her house in Lviv, then in Poland. That brief return turned to be eternal, as the year of those events was 1939 and the month was August. 

A world star was confined in a few rooms in her house which was occupied in turns by Soviet and German troops, had no possibility to move anywhere from Lviv either during, or after the WWII, and left strayed and penniless there giving private lessons to earn some miserable living. She was repeatedly refused to be given Soviet citizenship thus denying her the possibility to work or pension. But she was promptly extorted by the Soviet authorities to give away her villa in Viareggio, and her entire property in Italy. 

When a poor lady of an advanced age agreed to do that under heavy pressure in early 1950s, Solomiya was provided the Soviet passport to travel to Italy and to handle the business via Soviet representatives. Being thoroughly robbed, a legendary singer was allowed to work at the Lviv Conservatory as a teacher. She was bestowed a professor title one month before her death in 1952 at the age of 70. Among a very few possessions that Salome Krushelnitsky managed to keep, there was her photograph with a signature from her good friend and colleague, they were travelling the world and performing  at the stage together, maestro Giacomo Puccini: “To the most beautiful and best Buttefly ever’. 

There is no wonder that a quarter of a century after Solomyia’s death, her grand-nephew Myroslav has authored a ballet called The Return of Butterfly about the astounding life of his great aunt. The ballet which was written back in 1978 is in the repertoire of the Lviv Opera today. It is beloved by the public. 

Myroslav Skorik and his immediate family were the same trapped in Lviv as his famous aunt. The composer was a year old at the time. He was born the same year as my uncle.  A couple of years after the end of WWII, in 1947, Skoriks family was deported to Siberia for about a decade. They were allowed to return in 1955, so the future big composer did not have a chance to meet his aunt in person, but the family in which such a star was the centre of its general and cultural life did educate Myroslav about her and her friends and colleagues’ life and input in world culture. 

The process of return of the exiled families of ‘enemies of the Soviet people’ from Siberia and Kazakhstan in the 1950s and 1960s is a separate and special saga. Many of them actually did not, many did so partially. We know is first-hand in detail, as my husband’s family was exiled to Kazakhstan from yet ‘better’ place, the Gulag Valley of Death in the Russian Far East, following the arrest of his father, regarded by the NKVD ‘the enemy of the people’ whose guilt was simply belonging to ‘the wrong’ family of the similar to the Skoryks culture intelligentsia from Poltava, of a Jewish origin as it goes in my husband family’s case, and with the same Polish multiply cultural connections which were the tissue of life in Poltava historically, as it was in Lviv.  

Myroslav Skorik has become well-known pianist, composer and conductor, and is regarded as the one of the strongest proponents of the famous and special indeed Lviv Musical School. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a famous composer emigrated to Australia and got an Australian citizenship, but the same as his famous great-aunt did  a half of century ago, he also returned back home soon. Skoryk was the leader of the Union of the composers of Ukraine and the artistic director of the Kyiv Opera in the mid-2020s, until a few years before his passing. 

His Melody played with such soul and beauty by so many Polish musicians all over Poland in their solidarity action two weeks ago, is regarded by the Ukrainians as one of their most essential melodies. No wonder why. Among the international conductors who led their corresponding orchestras in that beautiful action of solidarity in the midst of the Mean War, there was naturally the conductor from Ukraine, who is shown in the end of the video. It is a telling performance.  But  most importantly, the essence of that great solidarity  gesture is a joint emotional expression of the best which is there in the souls of those people who are not indifferent to the torments of the others, the victims of the ongoing Mean War. 

I am very grateful to the straight-back Polish musicians and their international colleagues for such a Melody. For such a memory. For such in-tuning of their and our hearts at the moment when words do not work at all.

Day 60: April 24, 2022, Sunday

The TWO MONTHS OF THE MEAN WAR : GRIM BALANCE

Inna Rogatchi (C). A War Kind of a Spring. War Pictures. 2022.

It is a beautiful spring sunny day today. There in Ukraine. And there in Russia. It is also an Orthodox Easter which is celebrated in both countries, the aggressor one and the attacked one. 

The Russian Orthodox Church has a lead today in their national celebrations, from the huge cathedral in Moscow to small ones in small cities. Their TV is all-religious today, non-stop. The degree of official state hypocrisy there is beyond imagination. Their current church leadership is just another top functioners. They are unable to be and to do otherwise. The schism between the Russian Orthodox Church leadership, their nomenclature, and many people in Russia who are believers and are against this cursed Mean War, is giant. I cannot tell how many years should pass for this schism to disappear. 

So many Christian people in Russia are grieving today, on the day which generally is their most bright holiday of hope. So many people there are saying, writing and repeating: “Jesus resurrected not here and not for us this year”. So many people are publicly deciphering Russian XB abbreviation on all their Easter cakes and many other decorations in an anti-war way. Normally, that XB means ‘Christos Voskres, Jesus Resurrected’, this year it means, for many people there,  ‘ Chvatit Voiny, Enough of War’. 

Many people decided not to go to their churches, but to stay at home, to meditate, not celebrate, alone and with one’s own family and close friends, to escape those impossibly false ceremonies at the Russian Orthodox Church officialdom. It seems to be the most dramatic, most sober, most sad Easter in Russia for many people there with conscience for the past 30 years, for the time of one generation. 

Having said all that, I have also to say that although there are many of those people with conscience in Russia today, many of those who are categorically against the Mean War, who are suffering, who are living in deep personal crisis, with great compassion towards the Ukrainian people, the victims of the Mean War, with burning shame for their country and its leadership who has entered into this mad adventure, and outright military crime, still, my friends, and their friends are in a stunning minority in that big country. 

With confusion and terror, they are saying about those thousands filing  cafes all over Russian streets, those smiling, celebrating, drinking, eating, enjoying themselves and all around. Those are people of all ages, one should not be mistaken to think that it is only elderly generation who fell victim to the unprecedented Russian propaganda and support the Mean War sincerely. 

As one of the respondents of the fresh social study conducted by two Moscow-based sociologists in three cities of Russia said to them: “of course, I am against the war. Who is for the war, actually? What are you talking about? But where do you see the war, actually? We are conducting the special operation, as we are explained very well daily, and this is not a war. Of course, I am against the war”. Of course, he is. 

This unbelievable laziness of mind, this amazing inability to think independently, this mass instinct of power does not matter how it is used. These behavioural treads demonstrated by the majority of the Russian people during the last two months, in their blind support of the Mean War, does not matter active or passive, are extremely disappointing phenomena. Many of them, especially in the sphere of culture, are worried that they would be ‘cancelled’ internationally solely because of the fact of their national belonging. They might be because the decision-making about exclusion of Russian and Belarussian cultural and sport participants at the international events would not be able to make distinctions. 

This is naturally a grim perspective, and it is quite upsetting for those people in Russia who are against the war, but still might become the victims of the international boycott to their country-aggressor. 

But in my view, much more deep and serious scars of rejection and desolation could mark those people from Russia who are laughing in their cafes today, ignoring the photos from Ukraine which each of them can easily access but does not bother to do so. This kind of indifference, arrogant, purposeful indifference, this kind of ready acceptance of utter lies, and this stunning absence of compassion among such a big segment of 145-million society is the most warning mark of the Mean War. 

Perhaps, that man in the Kremlin who has decided to go on for the Mean War, did it to a serious degree with his knowledge, understanding, or feeling of this quantity of support that he, his views, his position, his methods would enjoy in the country where his club of friends has ruled over the last 20 years. He is, or perhaps, was pragmatic enough to act ruthlessly but more or less within the margin of what was acceptable to the prevailing amount of the people in his country. 

The fact that the horrific unjustified war, with crimes committed daily against the territory and the people with whom a huge amount of Russian citizens do have family relations, not to speak about friendly and collegial ones, is supported, accepted, and does not , actually, much bother prevailing number of population, screams out. It gives its leaders a carte-blanche for ceremonial Easter rituals, with enormous pomposity, and the similarly enormous hypocrisy, not only by some individuals who behave in churches as on the Mausoleum roof, because they simply do not know a difference, but most importantly, but that extremely false church leadership who shamelessly serves the regime to its best.  

As the Mean War ran for two months now, 60 days and nights of horror and annihilation, it can be seen, felt and understood that it is not only Moskva the flagship did sink in Russia. It is the Russian society’s common conscience that sank. This is self-inflicted trauma. And self-inflicted traumas of the sort are treated the most slowly. If ever. 

Day 59: April 23, 2022, Saturday

ORTHODOX EASTER: RUSSIAN GREETINGS FOR ODESSA

We knew that Russia’s commander-in-chief and his military would avenge the sinking of their Moskva flagship. There were various ideas among the experts regarding the possible targets. Experts are aware of strategic and tactical flaws in the present Russian warfare, flaws so stunning that the size of their army does not decisively matter, actually, so much below any level of quality it is. Still, experts were expecting significant military targets in Ukraine to be chosen by the aggressors to strike their revenge for their flagship sanken in the Black Sea. Military is a key-word here. 

But in the morning of the Quiet Saturday as a day before Easter is known in the Orthodoxy, Odessa was attacked by seven Russian missiles which most likely were fired from their submarines in the Black Sea there. Two of the missiles were intercepted by the Ukrainian air defence forces. The rest five attacked the residential areas of Odessa wounding 18 people and killing eight people, including three generations in one family, all women, grandmother who was just over 40, her daughter, 20-something young mother, and her just three-months old baby Kira. 

Three-months-old baby girl.  Three generations in one family, in one hit. On the Quiet Saturday on which, according to the Orthodox customs, one should not even get slightly irritated, not to speak on anything else. 

 Many people lost their words by these barbarian actions of those who started and still conduct the Mean War, for two months by now. But I think that we should not retreat to that mode. We should name the things by their names. We should demand accountability for committed crimes. The Mean War should not be allowed to happen. Not in the first place, not after two months of barbarian savage attacks. 

Those who assume the right to kill innocent people should be stopped immediately and treated for who they are, military criminals. They did show to the world, not just to Ukraine, what their religion is. They did it on the most sacred time in the Orthodox calendar – but what do they care? Anyone who might suppose that spiritual values of humanity means anything to the Kremlin bosses and their military, is not on this planet. 

Once, in my book “Ten Commandments in the USSR”, the book which researches and explains the Soviet mentality and how it has been formed, I wrote: “Those who are apologetic for the Soviet regime, are either idiots, or scoundrels”. Either one did not give a damn on the value of a human life to praise the USSR, or one was a total jerk unable to comprehend the reality in which 250 million people lived as in the prison ( minus nomenclature and the KGB and around). 

Today, I would say that anyone who finds any apology for the butchers from the Kremlin is not an idiot any longer. The openness and real-time availability of information deprive potential idiots from that escape of an absence of the information. 

Today, those who tolerate the actions of the Russian military and those who direct it, are either patented cowards or simply despicable creatures.  Would it be a chain of German former chancellors, third-class plebeian French and Italian politicians, trembling power figures in Austria, nasty mental machos of the both sexes in Hungary or Serbia, greedy German, French or Italian industrialists, or pathetic as ever Western commies  intellectuals of all kinds and sorts.  We should not be interested in their motives, there are usually just two: money or compromenational material against them in Russian possession. 

Orthodox Easter Quiet Saturday Russian bombing in Odessa just did show once again, graphically, tragically, who they are: jackals. Stupid, lazy, uneducated, unable, lying, brainless, soulless primitive criminals. 

Day 58: April 22, 2022, Friday

RETURN OF UKRAINIAN REFUGEES: UNPRECEDENTED PHENOMENA

Inna Rogatchi@. Hope Against Hope. Blue & Yellow Song for Ukraine series. 2022.

When I heard it for the first time, I thought that there is a separate case. It was in the midst of the frantic evacuation of the Ukrainian civilians from their homes, a hectic flee, with all kinds of emotions involved. My friend told me that in the middle of an uneasy journey in the car towards Poland, some of her distant relatives decided to return to their homes. ‘How come? Why?” – I asked. We all knew that the situation was precarious there. – “Well, they just want to return to their home. They do not want to go to the unknown”, – my friend told me. Those several women did return to their homes from the middle of the way of their small group of a few cars. They were using auto-stop to get back. 

But day after another, I was and still am learning that Ukrainian people are returning to their homes en masse. I have noticed that many of them, in Poland, Germany or France, did not like to register as refugees. “We want to work, we do not want to be refugees” – they have told one friend who helps them in Berlin, and to the other one who does the same in Paris. They also believe that to be ‘a refugee’ is somewhat shameful, degrading them in those societies where they had to flee from their homes and their work. 

As the Mean War continues, more and more refugees from Ukraine moved back to their homes. That steady process was unfolding to the degree when the number of the people returning to Ukraine has become larger than the number of those who are leaving the country. It happened a couple of days ago. This is an unprecedented phenomenon. It does tell a lot about the Ukrainian people, their attitude to their life, to their country, and to their way of thinking and living.  

 It was overseen, in my view, with not enough attention and understanding given to this important feature of the Mean War. 

The refusal of a large number of the people who had to flee their homes to become refugees, and to keep that status,  their willingness and intention to work in the new countries and circumstances speaks powerfully about dignity and self-respect. The return of hundreds of thousands of the people from Ukraine back to their homes in the midst of the war tells about their caring about their country and their belonging to it. 

This is a luxury for a huge amount of the inhabitants of Russia. Since Karamzin and Pushkin, since Gogol, Chekhov, Saltykov-Schedrin and Turgenev, we know from generation to generation , once and again, how a huge bulk of Russians dislike their motherland. They always wanted to study abroad, to work abroad, to travel abroad, to buy abroad, to live abroad. There always was and still is that powerful disbalance in their own society and in their own lives, for very many of them, between sharp dislike and criticism of practically everything ‘here at home’ and over-rosy perception of so many ever-attractive features for them ‘there abroad’. 

As one of the current descriptions goes: “ The true Russian patriot today has his children living and studying abroad, his apartment in London or Berlin, his summer house in Spain or Italy, and his working position here in Russia’. 

It always was like that for very many people in Russia, and I do not believe that this feature would change in the foreseeable future.  

But I still  am thinking about so many Ukrainian people who are returning back to their country, their cities, their homes, under the Russian bombs, despite the war. And I am proud that I was born in Ukraine. I really am. 

Day 57: April 21,  2022, Thursday

EASTER TRUCE UNFULFILLED

Inna Rogatchi@. Expectations Failed. War Pictures. 2022.

A few days before an Orthodox Easter on the coming Sunday April 24th, 2022, Antonio Gutteres, the UN Secretary the General, extended an appropriate gesture, both political and human-wise. He addressed the presidents of Ukraine and Russia with a suggestion to introduce an Eastern truce, at least for a several days period. Ukraine agreed momentarily. Russia did not. Telling, but not surprising for a bit. It would be surprising if they would agree, and yet more, if they would keep the promise. 

As far as I can see, nobody in Ukraine was holding breath in this expectation. They know their neighbour much better than well-disposed top officials from Portugal, New York and many other civilised places.  

They know the real attitude of the Russian leadership towards matters spiritual which, in fact, is an obscure illiteracy. They also know what those mediocres with nukes at the top of the power pyramid in Russia are fascinated with, apart from gas & oil prices and logistics. That Russia’s bosses’ true fascination goes undeservingly for militant quazi-myths, a surrogate anti-science rubbish which is extremely attractive for the circle on the top of the Russian power today. 

So, no, unlike Mr Gutterres, Ukrainian people did not expect a miracle of an Eastern truce from their neighbour who is determined to destroy the entire country. So determined are they that they did not even bother to pretend or to impose, even temporarily,  a kind of normal human behaviour in the society celebrating Easter.  

 But still, the UN Secretary General decided to visit both Ukraine and Russia in his forthcoming trip in an effort to establish the conditions for the direct peace negotiations  between the aggressor and victim presidents under the UN patronage and in the Turkey premises. That ‘s all fine. Every sincere effort is worth it. But for all wrong reasons – and all wrong messages -Antonio Gutteres decided to visit Russia first. This is just flat wrong. The right diplomacy with this kind of tyrants is true, as medical, as it gets. Otherwise, they will continue to behave in their boorish mode of an outcast. But what is more serious and what really matters, they will continue to destroy. 

SLAVONIC MOTHER OF RURIK the PRINCE: Putin’s Torment – Essay

The essay was published at The Times of Israel.

Inna Rogatchi (C). Threatening Horizon. 2021.

There has been an indicative moment inside the Kremlin recently, which did show Putin’s torment. In a dialogue with a 10-year old boy , all orchestrated as always, but still, children are blessed to provide some spontaneity by default, the Russian leader got involved into the theme in which he prides himself to be an expert. The theme is history, specifically, Russian history. The boy was instructed to speak about the favourite subject-matter of the leader. So, the leader eagerly got involved into the matter of who really founded Rus, pro-Russia. Were it the Normans represented by Rurik, as the world knows it? Or were there some Slavs on the ground who did invite Rurik, who thus initiated the establishment of the Fatherland? The man in the Kremlin very soon seemed to forget about the boy on the screen who did his job by getting the leader into the discussion, and produced quite a meaningful monologue? “So, the adepts of the Norman theory of the Rus establishment are actually wrong. First of all, there is an opinion that Rurik’s mom was of Slav origin, something like that”. There was a pause among the audience on the screen. Everybody waited to hear a new theory of the origin of Russia produced by the leader. The leader was in the intense process of revolutionising the science of history. He had his drive. 

“And yes, indeed, Rurik did not find himself here in Novgorod, in the end,  by chance, by the way. It needs to be understood that he was not invited there by chance. Rurik had had some kind of relation, or perhaps his relatives may have had, some certain relation to Slavs, Slavonic territory, to Novgorod, and so on!” Putin the historian was completely absorbed in his articulated thoughts, I understood from the people who were privileged to see the show with their own eyes.

The leader went on: “ The fact that someone with a squad came here from some Scandinavian place, does not mean at all that the Norman theory of the establishment of the Russian state is correct. Not at all.” 

The silence among the participants on the screens was getting more and more ceremonial. People sensed that they were witnessing an important revelation. They were right about it. 

“ Because somebody did call him ( Rurik)  in, somebody indeed invited him to serve here. He ( Rurik) did not get there on his own. He ( Rurik) did not conquer a thing on his own, not at all!”  The leader was very engaged in this extraordinary passage on history of his country which he leads so catastrophically. 

In fact, Putin’s desperate monologue on allegedly Slavonic mother of Rurik and his struggling appeals to convince anyone who would listen that Rurik did-not-come-&-conquer-anything on his own, but was invited, asked to do so, shows the torment that the Kremlin boss is struggling with amidst his disastrous campaign in Ukraine. After two months of the Mean War, the man who started this nightmare tries to find – and to air – any justification to his terrible decision-making, even assigning allegedly Slavonic mother to Rurik. Thanks that he saved Rurik’s father, for now. 

That extraordinary by all standards, including no standards, knowledge of history, Russia’s leader ought to his new school of so-called historians  who call themselves New Chronologists. Do not think that they are uneducated charlatans. They are charlatans indeed, but educated ones, mostly professors of maths and some of them of physics, all working at the best – as it used to be – in Russia university, the University of Moscow. The fact that mathematicians and physicists all of the sudden decided to come out with an entirely new version of history, does not bother the Russian educational authorities. On the contrary,   they were given a three-story very well renovated building in the centre of Yaroslavl, and a lot of financing to run the Museum of the New Chronology there. The exposition of the ‘museum’ which opened in 2019, is technically semi-savvy, with usage of new and multimedia. There is a constant stream of students from schools and higher education who were mandated to get the latest word in the historic science from there. 

The degree of lunacy in the narrative of that museum is incomparable. The Galilee is presented there as ‘Russian city of Galich’, Jesus is said to be ‘the son of the Galich princess Irina who married Joseph’, Jerusalem in that museum’s main exposition is known as “Eros, the capital of the second Empire”. It teaches masses that “Jesus was born in Crimea” and that Crimea is also “the place where Jesus’ mother was buried”.  “The first Christians ( who were from Crimea) established the first ever monastery in the cave which now is the part of the men’s monastery in Bakhchisarai ( in Crimea)”.  

Some more revelations from the Russian New Chronologists supported and promoted by the state:  “Crusader Wars” and Trojan War are various names of the same war. This war, in fact, was the first world war”.  During that war, “the Western Europe was fighting against Galich Rus non-stop”. Until ‘the Western Europe fell, with establishing all over Europe a new Empire whose capital was Vladimir, temporarily so, while Constantinople was in the process of building’. I swear, those are direct quotes.   

Attention: we are getting to Rurik. In this officially accepted and promoted version of lunacy, “The Russian state was found by a disciple by Andronicus-Christ, a member of the Royal Roman dynasty, who is described under the name of Aeneus in Virgil’s poem ‘Aeneid’. In the Russian history, that is the famous prince Rurik, who consolidated separate Russian principalities into a single kingdom. The powerful state created by Rurik-Aeneus, covered the Volga region and the Nordic Balck Sea coast. The capital of the kingdom was the city of Yaroslavl’ – is written in the explanatory panel, with QR code provided. 

There is a lot of unbelievable garbage all over that three story building in the centre of the city near Moscow where that museum is thriving. This kind of ‘knowledge’ is fed to the president of the country with a long history, previously mighty science, and huge nuclear arsenal. That president seems to be susceptible to this sheer lunacy if he gives the public historical overview regarding Rurik born from ‘ a Slavonic mother’ directly from his Kremlin office.

The morning after that extraordinary history hour in the Kremlin, the Russian leader ordered his hopeless minister of defence to halt the assault of Azovstal in Mariupol. I bet he saw Rurik in his dream last night, and tried to defend himself on the matter of Rurik’s mother.  

Week 8: April 13 – April 20, 2022

Summary of the Week 8: April 14- April 20, 2022

SLAVONIC MOTHER OF RURIK: Putin’s Torment

Inna Rogatchi(c). Sky Landscape V. 2018.

There has been an indicative moment inside the Kremlin recently, which did show Putin’s torment. In a dialogue with a 10-year old boy , all orchestrated as always, but still, children are blessed to provide some spontaneity by default, the Russian leader got involved into the theme in which he prides himself to be an expert. The theme is history, specifically, Russian history. The boy was instructed to speak about the favourite subject-matter of the leader. So, the leader eagerly got involved into the matter of who really founded Rus, pro-Russia. Were it the Normans represented by Rurik, as the world knows it? Or were there some Slavs on the ground who did invite Rurik, who thus initiated the establishment of the Fatherland? The man in the Kremlin very soon seemed to forget about the boy on the screen who did his job by getting the leader into the discussion, and produced quite a meaningful monologue? “So, the adepts of the Norman theory of the Rus establishment are actually wrong. First of all, there is an opinion that Rurik’s mom was of Slav origin, something like that”. There was a pause among the audience on the screen. Everybody waited to hear a new theory of the origin of Russia produced by the leader. The leader was in the intense process of revolutionising the science of history. He had his drive. 

“And yes, indeed, Rurik did not find himself here in Novgorod, in the end,  by chance, by the way. It needs to be understood that he was not invited there by chance. Rurik had had some kind of relation, or perhaps his relatives may have had, some certain relation to Slavs, Slavonic territory, to Novgorod, and so on!” Putin the historian was completely absorbed in his articulated thoughts, I understood from the people who were privileged to see the show with their own eyes.

The leader went on: “ The fact that someone with a squad came here from some Scandinavian place, does not mean at all that the Norman theory of the establishment of the Russian state is correct. Not at all.” 

The silence among the participants on the screens was getting more and more ceremonial. People sensed that they were witnessing an important revelation. They were right about it. 

“ Because somebody did call him ( Rurik)  in, somebody indeed invited him to serve here. He ( Rurik) did not get there on his own. He ( Rurik) did not conquer a thing on his own, not at all!”  The leader was very engaged in this extraordinary passage on history of his country which he leads so catastrophically. 

In fact, Putin’s desperate monologue on allegedly Slavonic mother of Rurik and his struggling appeals to convince anyone who would listen that Rurik did-not-come-&-conquer-anything on his own, but was invited, asked to do so, shows the torment that the Kremlin boss is struggling with amidst his disastrous campaign in Ukraine. After two months of the Mean War, the man who started this nightmare tries to find – and to air – any justification to his terrible decision-making, even assigning allegedly Slavonic mother to Rurik. Thanks that he saved Rurik’s father, for now. 

The morning after that extraordinary history hour in the Kremlin, the Russian leader ordered his disastrous minister of defence to halt the assault of Azovstal in Mariupol. I bet he saw Rurik in his dream last night, and tried to defend himself on the matter of Rurik’s mother.   

Day 56: April 20, 2022, Wednesday

MUSEUMS AND MUSEUMS: KYIV and MOSCOW

On March 22nd, 2022, there was a much anticipated event in Moscow, the opening of Grisha Bruskin’s important Scene Change exhibition at the New Tretyakov Gallery. 77-year old Bruskin who lives in New York has become internationally known during the ‘perestroika’ with many of his works expressing a typology of Soviet life. Later on, Bruskin has become a master of what one can call as anti-totalitarian art. He is a world-famous artist, and this special exhibition in Moscow was prepared to mark the 75th anniversary of the artist in his native city. Due to the covid, the exhibition was postponed until now. The exhibition was built in nine consequent halls, with artworks and installations there strikingly , just strikingly relevant for today. Even up to a Chagall-like portrait of a pair flying in the sky, with brightly red shoes and blue-and-yellow colours in the centre, yellow dress of a woman against bright blue sky.  The painting was exhibited alone on a big wall, in its centre, clearly in a statement-like motion. 

There was also an entire hall of many sculptures as if screaming of Gulag, eternal Gulag, as it goes. Many figures in that frightening and extremely well- installed exposition reminds Mr P, for some interesting reason, although Bruskin created it many years ago. ON his other well-known paintings, also created decades back, many still figures remind the same Mr P, in a prophetic vision of the artist. 

There was a hall hosting well-known Bruskin’s installation of two thousand-figures composition featuring a totalitarian, pro-fascist crowd of mannequins. It was a retrospective exhibition, but it screamed out its incredible actuality, as if all of those many works were done by Bruskin just yesterday. As some of my art friends who was lucky to visit the exhibition said: “It seems as time encounters the artist, as the artist was the first one to know what would happen”. 

It was a very special thing to open this exhibition in Moscow and in Russia these days. And at least the art and culture community there got all its messages. They could barely believe that it was really happening. And they were right. They know their country all too well. On April 19th, 2022, three and half weeks after the exhibition’s opening, it was shut down, violating the agreement with the artist and announced plans for the exhibition to be opened until July this year. It was shut down momentarily, citing ‘technical reasons’ without any further explanation. Moreover, any trace of the exhibition was erased from the New Tretyakov Gallery site. As it never happened. Ever. Happened. Gone.  There is some information about ‘unhappy signals from some unhappy visitors’, as museum staff admits privately. There  also was information about some high-up culture establishment visitors who were shocked to see this scream against totalitarianism in the centre of Moscow at the leading state art institutions today. It is all so familiar to us who lived through it in our Soviet and late-Soviet life. The time has obviously made a loop in that huge place, with those many millions whom Grisha Bruskin did show so eloquently. Only he did not know that it would be relevant again. Or he might have known. 

At the same in Kyiv, there were dramatic scenes in all main museums in the capital of Ukraine – as the one in the poster. The thing is that the museums in Kyiv had been frantically busy there recently, during the Mean War. They were emptying themself. It was a huge operation about which it has become possible to tell only now, after it has been completed a few days ago. Not just some of the most valuable artworks, but all of it had to leave its homes, and to be transported to the safe places to wait until the end of the war there. The picture in the poster is telling , but it is yet not the most dramatic from the materials documenting the operation to save the treasures from the Kyiv museums. There are pictures of huge beautiful frames piled in the futuristic stacks,  empty,  in empty halls. They are staying there as  carcasses. It was a truly painful scene. For how long will the Kyiv museums be in this desolated shape? For long, I presume. It all is part of life, normal life. Culture has been attacked in Ukraine methodically and severely, in a premeditated plan carried on by the force of ultimate evil, as the whole world is terrified to see daily, for 56 days by now. 

They eliminate culture with a certain plan and in a full conscience. They eliminate it, or force it to retreat, both in their own home and in the home of the neighbouring country which they invaded without any reason but with viciousness and brutality, in order to weaken the people’s morale, their spiritual strength, their aspirations and their will for freedom, both inner and behavioural. They forced the Kyiv and other Ukrainian museums to empty themselves and to shut down in an ongoing effort to make everyone like those figurines from Grisha Bruskin’s prophetic installation: similar mannequins, faceless, expressionless, with similar intention, similar move, and that move is a fascist salute, their only drive. Two thousands, two million, two hundred million. The more, the better.  

But those stupid tyrans – why tyrans is always stupid? Because they are extremely marginalised in their own intellect, so to say – always loose, and end badly. There is simply no other way. But they are also always bad students, and they never learn history as they should. 

Day 55: April 19, 2022, Tuesday

‘WHO HAS PERMITTED YOU TO LIVE NICELY?’

We know by now how ‘the liberators’ behave in the myriad of Ukrainian cities, towns, villages that they attack and enter. The loot carried on by ‘the liberators’ is colossal, massive, encompassing. It is barbarian in all and every way. 

They grab everything: furniture, tv sets, jewellery, even used female underwear ( what for?). They grab it to send to their homes via post from Belarus in the parcels from 50 to 450 kg, and with a giant mass of goods transported in the military trucks to Belarus to be sold at many impromptu bazaars there. It is a huge and blossoming business there by now. 

Everything that they could not grab, they smashed, destroyed, and broke in a manifesting way of savages. They are having a pleasure from this massive application of brutal force and anti-human behaviour. 

They are also instigated by their commanders to mark their bloody presence on Ukrainian soil and in Ukrainian homes. They are defecating on purpose on the neat sofas that they could not take with them, on the kitchen tables in once neat kitchens, in the sitting and dining rooms of the people who cared about their living and tried hard to make it nice. It is a challenge, you know. To show who is the master in everyone else’s house, and in a certain style of the nation of poor Tchaikovsky and poor Chehov. 

From many interceptions during the Mean War of the Russian military speaking with their families back in Russia we have heard regularly: ‘How the heck are they living so nicely here?”  meaning Ukrainians whom ‘the liberators’ brutally attacked, crushing all their belongings and marvelling repeatedly on neat houses and taking care of premises of the Ukrainian people. 

Then the slogan which is in the photo appeared as ‘the liberators’ stamp over the destroyed houses and homes: ‘Who permitted you to live nicely?’ This vandalism is seen all over ruined Ukraine today. This is the mark of ‘the liberators’. The mark of their phenomenally  stupid enviness, their unlimited  greed, their moronic aggressiveness and blazeness. Ruining and defecating Z-zombies who have placed themselves as outcasts without even understanding that because they are unable to grasp the concept. Such is the Kremlin force. Shameful, despicable, criminal. Many thousands of such products of humanoids. Catastrophic result of the twenty years of the regressive development of a huge country in which the young generation of the people of 20-something years, those in that savage-like army of looters, still believe that life is conducted with someone’s permission only. 

Day 54: April 18, 2022, Monday

WAR HYSTERIA IN RUSSIA 

Inna Rogatchi (C). New Caprichos I. 2022.

A true-life story from a doctor from St Petersburg who works at ambulance service there. 

A few days ago they got an emergency call from a woman who was terrified: “ My son has been attacked and severely beaten by Ukrainians. He lays unconscious on the roof ( of our building). Ukrainian attackers are still there. It is extremely dangerous to reach the roof. Please help!”

The ambulance went to the woman’s address immediately, along with the police patrol. When they arrived at the place, they found nobody on the roof. Calling the woman’s son’s mobile which she had provided, the police found him safe and sound on his working place where he had been since the morning. Nothing ever happened to him. 

The agitated woman was sitting in her apartment alone in front of the working TV set. The doctors from the ambulance and the policemen ( yes, they too) glanced each towards the others, sighed simultaneously, and left the apartment. 

‘Did you treat that woman with anything to calm her down?” – my friend asked the doctor who told the fresh story. – “We tried , but she did not want a thing. She was all absorbed by what she was hearing and seeing on her TV screen. It was actually pretty freaky frightening”, – the experienced Russian ambulance doctor said. – “The truth is that we are preparing for more calls like that”. 

The Mean War gets nasty towards Russia’s own population, as well. 

They are about to enter the most peaceful – supposedly – and enlightened – supposedly – time in their calendar, the Orthodox Easter. They are preparing for that. For example, by baking a very appealing special Orthodox Easter cake, called kulich, as this one on the photo sent by my friend. The photo was taken this morning at the bakery of the Russian city of Kurgan in the Urals. What’s more, those Z-kuliches in the bakery are almost twice cheaper than the ones which are next to them with traditional Easter decoration. What shrewd marketing this bakery has.

The point is that it would be bought, brought to the church, blessed there, brought back to homes, and consumed as the sacred part of the Easter celebration starting there in four days. Z-Easter in Z-country with Z-church, and Z-television and Z-media driving their own citizen Z-crazy.  If Hollywood would need an extra pair of script-writing hands for the most absurd and black movies of the third class, and below, they know where to call. Straight to the Kremlin. 

Day 53: April 17, 2022, Sunday

‘The GLOBAL WAR FOR SURVIVING’: The FUTURE OF RUSSIA  

Inna Rogatchi (C). Grey-Zone. War Pictures. 2022.

If one has the nerve to watch a wild military propaganda which is produced and broadcast non-stop by all Russian TV channels and many other media-outlets, one would wonder how people are surviving and keeping their psychological balance in such an electrified, arrogant information environment. This is not to mention the share of truth and objectivity in this hot propaganda avalanche which is zero. This is also not to mention the period of time during which this massive brain-washing is undertaken in Russia which is at least eight years by now.  To think about it, it is a massive brain-damaging offensive against its own population, to start with, in progress. 

I know many people who have not watched Russian television for decades. It became even a certain mark among the liberal intellectuals there, to make the point, emphatically, not to watch it, in a way of a passive defiance. I also have some friends, former colleagues, and brilliant, sharp journalists who are suffering by watching it, professionally,  for being able to educate many others who have no such nerve and determination, and to keep their analyses sharp and updated. One of them just mentioned that after a couple of weeks observing the official Russian TV channels, he had to resort to the dictionary to check how the word ‘tram’ should be written correctly’.

It is true. The problem with the quality of the experts on Russian TV is beyond criticism. As it is the problem with the quality of many important areas of life there, from their army to their decision-making expertise. It is obvious and looming large. Russia has become pathetic in many respects, in front of the world. There were extremely popular writers in the Soviet Union, extremely sharp, often prophetic, highly intellectual, the symbol of our generation, the Strugatsky brothers, both of them extremely knowledgeable people, one was specialist in Japanese language and culture and another was astronomer and physicist. Their canonical books are a unique sample of philosophical science-fiction. But in fact, everything they wrote in the form of science fiction in the Soviet Union, was a sheer truth.  We all knew it. And a warning. Perhaps, that warning should be taken more seriously by a larger number of people living in Russia. 

There is one key-phrase from  a large Strugatsky-wisdom depositary which was very popular in the late Soviet Union: “ Where greyishness ( mediocrity – IR) prevails, power always will be grabbed by the black forces”.  This is literally what is going on in Russia today. 

I am positive that as acid and not easily surprised Strugatsky brothers were, they would be astounded by the degree of greyishness which prevails in many spheres of life in Russia today, and which gets yet more promoted in a defiance mode by the authorities charged by their own war-mongering. 

Unlike in many other countries, a very large part of the Russian population is not internet-savvy, and thus TV is still a main source for information for millions there. For weeks after the beginning of the Mean War, there was virtually no other content on all Russian TV channels than cloned  talk shows with barrages of lies, insults, and war-mongering. Now, some patriotic series have appeared, also cloned, but talk-shows still prevail largely. 

The degree of the hatred instigated by the Russian authorities and media is getting higher with every day of the Mean War. It is not only propaganda. It is the functioning of the society on its many levels: legislators, top officials, heads of practically all organisations there, many officially ‘approved’ journalists, media and public persons, experts , or ‘experts’, even sport commentators, and a certain chank of performing arts representatives, all of them switched into the war-mongering mode and are publicly loud about it. 

Just one sample. My suffering from his difficult mission to monitor the official Russian TV propaganda shows, a top journalist colleague has sent me this quote from the recent TV show on the main Russia’s channel: “Everybody must understand that we would need to have a mobilisation, because the global war for survival is ahead of us. The war for annihilation of all our enemies. And our authorities’ only aim now, as our only aim, is to explain it and to make sure that all Russian people would understand this heroic image of our future: the global war for survival”. This was pronounced with a great aplomble by a Russian nationalist writer Prilepin at the The Time Will Show tv-panel on the TV1 Russia, the prime Russian TV channel, on April 14th, 2022. And of course, he was enthusiastically supported in this outright war-mongering by the other presented there, including quite active nationalistic legislator Tolstoy, MP Morozov, etc. 

Basically, what is done and is in the process there is not only a shameless denial and distortion of truth, but it is escalated militarisation of consciousness among the Russian people and throughout Russian society. And this is dangerous and alarming not for Ukraine only, but for any neighbouring, or not  even necessarily neighbouring countries. For all those whom Russian officialdom and their ready media servants would regard as their enemies. Or ‘not-friendly’ countries, as they have officially listed 48 Western democracies into their ‘beloved enemies’ list. 

 Day 52: April 16, 2022, Saturday 

GREETINGS FROM A HALF OF CENTURY BACK

Amazing story of the Soviet cartoon made in 1973

Inna Rogatchi (C). Vision I. 2022.

At that time, I stopped to watch those stupid and heavily ideologised cartoons which were produced by tons in the blossom of the Brezhnev era. So, I registered the title, Treasures of the Sank Ships, but I never watched that 16-minutes Soviet cartoon made in 1973. Until today. 

Why did I do it? Because, believe or not, it was forbidden by the Russian authorities now, 50 years after its release. How come? The cartoon is full of pioneers, some of their brothers from Africa who were supposed to fight for their liberation from awful capitalists and imperialists, Soviet scientists, Soviet pioneer summer camp, even the Soviet campaign for collecting utilised metal by pupils in schools, our regular compulsory activity. I hated it. Just because it was compulsory. And so idiotic. As if utilised metal could not be collected in an efficient organised way, not by the children at those senseless exercises. 

Anyway. The similarly senseless propaganda cartoon produced in 1973 now is a hit, as it always happened at the moment of censorship. The thing is that several symbols which now seem to be highly -charged for Russian authorities, are featured in the old cartoon. The name of the Soviet marine scientists’ underwater research module in the film is Neptun, the same as the name of the Ukrainian missiles which had successfully hit the sunken Russian Moskva flagship recently. Next, Soviet pioneers in the cartoon sitting inside the module, all of the sudden find some old sunken ship – in the Black Sea, what a horror! What’s more, that sunken ship has a huge Z letter as its name – can you imagine? It is Z29, and the sunken ship is the Nazi ship who sunk in the Black Sea during the WWII, as it is featured in the Soviet cartoon. More, some awful torpedo all of the sudden gets alive and animated from the remnants of the Nazi Z29 ship. It is marked with swastika, and it  attacks small but brave Neptun module in which three pioneers are hiding in a terror. Moreover, the whole story – the Soviet pioneer summer camp, the scientific lab, everything – is unfolding in beautiful Crimea, with unmistaken landmarks of the island. Last, but not the least, for some phenomenally intriguing reason, 50 years back the artists who were working on the The Treasures of the Sunken Ships very Soviet propaganda cartoon, decided to use a lot of blue and yellow colour all over the film and its landscapes. 

As hilarious as it is, the 50-year old Soviet film, absolutely not interesting until a couple of days ago, now has become incredibly symbolic, and not for the Russian side. And it has been cancelled now. You can access the link to the cartoon outside Russia, but inside the country, at the site where it is supposed to be and where it was, at their main and famous Sojuzmultfilm company which was an exclusive producer of cartoons in the USSR, the access to the film does not work any longer. 

It is hilarious, indeed, but not surprising for a bit. But there is one thing which I cannot get from the moment I learned about this another North-Korean-like episode: who on earth there in the bodies who nowadays are taking care of ‘right films, right media’ and everything else  for Russia’s population, who did actually remember about existence of  that cartoon and all those things which what are  in it? It is beyond my capacity, I must admit. Naturally, the old Soviet cartoon has become a hit now in no time. Some people even started to mull about ‘predictions made in 1973’, half-seriously. The only thing in which I am sure now is that even under the sanctions and shrinking economy, there will be no jobless people in Russia, as there is such a massive amount of books, films, articles, etc. which has to be checked out now for all ‘wrong’ symbols in the light of the Mean War in Ukraine and accelerating North-Korean landscape in Russia. 

Day 51: April 15, 2022, Friday

AN IRONY OF HISTORY  

The story of the Russian military flagship

Inna Rogatchi (C). Blue Horizon I. 2021.

The Mean War has its mem, and this mem is a phrase. The phrase was the defiant reply of the Ukrainian marine border officer to the Russian military ship from where ‘the liberators’ demanded a small Ukrainian harrison to surrender. “Russian military ship, go to f-ck yourself’, firmly replied the officer, for what he was in a few weeks rewarded by the president Zelensky in his office with a medal, well worth of. That phrase has become the leitmotif of the admirable Ukrainian resistance.

That phrase has also become the leitmotif of the attitude towards ‘the liberators’ in general, not only in Ukraine, but world-wide, twice so among Russian speakers whenever they live. Another day, I saw a poster with this phrase at a market in Vilnius, and a couple of weeks ago all over Warsaw. 

There is a thing with this simple phrase. It loses a half of its strength in translation. Russian curse slang known as ‘mat’ is a poem of its own, so to say. It originated from tatar and other languages from a Turk linguistic group at the time when Russia was occupied by the Mongol horde, and has enroothed in Russian lingo-life from that time. It is extremely powerful. To give you an idea, what we know as ‘f-ck’ from a myriad of Hollywood movies, among many other things, is a very pale and semi-automatic version of the key-phrase of the Mean War said by the marine border officer on the day one of it. Said in Russian, the phrase is a sort of nuclear ‘get lost’. It says it all. It is absolutely definite. 

As it happened, the Russian military ship which had been sent to ‘go f-ck itself’ was the flagship of the Russian Black Sea navy fleet prophetically called Moskva. As it also happened it was built back in mid-1980s at the ship construction plant in Nikolayev which is now known as Mykolayiv, the city in Ukraine which is bombed and attacked by ‘the liberators’  mercilessly for many days and weeks now. 

As we also know, in seven week time after the prophetic suggestion by the Ukrainian marine border officer, on April 13th, 2022, flagship Moskva was successfully hit by the Ukrainian missiles, and in 22 hours, on April 14th, 2022, it sank. As many people noted, ‘Moskva flagship did follow the order ‘to go to f-ck itself’ dutifully’ .  It was well prepared and well executed for a serious and not simple military operation by the Ukrainian army. 

History knows a lot of ironic smirks, especially in wars. But such precise hits, metaphorically as well, are rarely to be observed. 

Russian authorities did not inform their country’s people of the catastrophe with their flagship for several days. When they did, the reason was given as ‘catched fire’ , without any details at all. Nobody knows from official sources what has happened with the flagship’s crew of 510 marines. Many non-Russian and unofficial Russian sources indicate possible very serious losses. There are no comments, no statements, no analyses, no information. The reality in Russia today with regard to the loss of the flagship, symbol of the fleet –  and of this Mean War, as it happened,  – to the possible loss of many lives,  is exactly as the one in North Korea.  Somehow, they are able to astound the world almost daily. 

Mikhail Gorbachev has said in connection with the Mean War: “Previously, Putin did make me feel ashamed for the Russian people. Now, I am ashamed of myself’. Being said by that person, it actually says it all. 

Day 50: April 14, 2022, Thursday

MEANWHILE IN MOSCOW

A while ago, on March 28th, I wrote about well-known Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov who in his 84 years had to flee Kyiv in the midst of the Mean War and who lives in Berlin temporarily now. Silvestrov is a big master beloved by many musicians world-wide. In Moscow, there was a particular concert on April 13, 2022. Great Russian pianist Alexey Ljubimov played Silvestrov and Schubert in a two-part concert at the Rassvet ( Dawn) hall. The first part of the concert in which Silverstrov’s cycle of songs on the poetry of the great Russian poets was performed, went without any trouble. The second part of the concert in which Ljubimov played Schubert looked like a scene from a Hollywood movie about Russia, always pathetic, unrealistic and hilariously inadequate. 

Two policemen appeared in the music hall full of people, marched straight to the scene where the great pianist was playing Schubert, positioned themselves next to him – like in the photo here – and started to declare:” Ladies and gents, please leave the premises. We have got information that the place is mined. We need to check the premises. Please leave”. Ljubimov played interrupting during all this, including police shouts. Policemen repeat: “ Public, leave the premises now!”. Ljubimov plays. Public sits in their seats firmly, only everyone with a phone in hand filming a memorable scene frantically. 

Alexey Ljubimov, in full composure, played the Schubert piece to the end. Only after that he rose from a concert chair, to the incredible applause by the enthusiastic public. There is an one-minute video about it which tells a lot.

This video, the great 77-year old Alexey Ljubimov whom I always liked a lot, as a musician and as a person, free and above all idiocies of whatever regime it was in that country, and his public, is a prize for us during these bleak days. ‘So now they have mined Schubert’ – people in the audience were reporting to their friends. –  ‘They ( the police) were late to come to spoil the first part of the concert in which Ljubimov played Silvestrov. So we were privileged to listen to that great music with fantastic interpretation. But Schubert was punished, in the end”. The interrupted concert was not allowed to continue. Nobody was surprised. And this ovation to the great Alexey Ljubimov with two pathetic policemen next to him on the stage, sends to us uplifting feelings from Moscow, as a matter of fact. Nobody in Hollywood would ever be able to invent anything like that. 

WEEK 7: April 7 – April 13, 2022

Week 7 Summary: PERSONAL LOSSES, PERSONAL GRATIFICATIONS  

Inna Rogatchi ©. Memory Landscape II. Memory Landscapes. 2020.

With a war, one’s relationships get defined. It is expected. In the case of the Mean War, it actually is a clear-cut. The positions and dispositions are very clear here. When so much evil is demonstrated by the side of a brutal and unprovoked aggressor, there is little doubt where moral inclinations of normal people go. 

If it goes to the side of the aggressor, it says about the person  who is sympathising with evil,  everything I need to know about him or her.  

I am  deeply grateful to the Creator for the grace bestowed upon us,  with most of our friends being on the right side. This moral solidarity and understanding gives one strength to live and work in the time when your mind is up round o’clock, when you are permanently nervous waiting for the news, when you are expecting the worst, and when some cherished parts of your life have been brutally destroyed, annihilated.  

This re-defining of relationships is a vast phenomenon of the Mean War,  specifically so because the human inter-weaving between people in Russia and Ukraine is massive. But there are also other kinds of this re-defining of relationships that goes rather international. It concerns colleagues  and partners in various countries, and it goes from the IT sector to arts, from science and medicine to culture, from space programs to universities worldwide. 

As lucky as I consider that my husband and I are with regard to our circle of friends and colleagues with this important regard, important because it defines not only your personal inter-actions, but often what you do, how, and with whom, there happened some exceptions, as well. 

Among those exceptions, there is one known enough actor in Russia with whom we worked together and were good friends. He opted for  an ostrich position, knowing for himself that it is wrong, and pathetically resorting to finding some sort of humour in the things which are happening but absolutely now important. He refuses to bring out the only important theme which overwhelms our all’ lives. He ignores it, instead coming with some very pale effort ‘to keep calm and be funny’. He is  driven by the fear not to lose his roles in those rubbish ‘historical’ series that Russia produces non-stop, with steady marks of helpless provinciality. I think he is driven by fear in general, too. It is useless to discuss with this kind of selfish cowards the matter of the life and death of others. 

There is also a rather famous writer, granddaughter of a recognised master of literature, with a complicated story of his life in the maze of political loyalties throughout the dramatic early XXth century. She is a good writer, a masterful one. And an absolutely immoral human being. Even prevailing the reputation of her twisty grandfather. She is not twisty. To the contrary, she is decisively and organically for herself steady in her tractor-like navigation through the minefield of the current Russia’s public opinion landscape. We became friends in the late 1980s when we both were enjoying the fresh air of the moment, when everything that has been forbidden for our parents during all their lives, was permitted to us, and when that huge stiff country opened suddenly. What my former friend writer demonstrates now, in the midst of the Mean War, is extraordinary boorishness of self-acclaimed superiority regarding her country, her nation, her-beloved-self, and unmasked contempt for the others. She is so obvious  in her complete inhumanity that it feels as an insult to one’s intelligence to get into any dialogue with this kind of creature.  And I do not feel sorry for a moment for off-loading this monstrous character from my circle of people. 

Among more serious losses, there is an elderly man, once a legendary Soviet investigator , a rare, honest and professional one, who was instrumental in many difficult, dangerous, unpopular and extremely important cases there, such as discovering incredible swindling inside the top of the Russian Orthodox Church,  sheer feudal system with all its crimes that blossomed for decades in Uzbekistan, and many other top cases of the corrupted late Soviet reality. He never was afraid, and his contribution into the positive development of his country is very significant. Now, he stunned me with pedalling the arguments in favour of explaining what he called as “the road to the events today” during the years from 2014 onward, with ‘all those unspoken crimes against the people in Donbass ( under the Russian zone)”.  He is not a cowardly actor, he is not a spoiled writer. I have known him for decades as an honest man, professional investigator. What went wrong in his case? As an elderly and not that advanced internet person, he probably fell victim to that mighty Russian propaganda machine. I have no other explanation.  I feel sorry to lose that person. A sad example of how blindness makes people stupid, in front of your eyes. 

But if it is possible, in the case of those dependable of massive Russian lying propaganda, to find at least very weak, but still reasons for basically good people not to see the Mean War clearly , for what it is, in my opinion, it is simply impossible to give this benefit of slight explanation regarding those in the West who are having all access to the existing mass of information from Ukraine, are eager to pervert the black-in-white picture. Because wars are always in black and white, despite any wishes and efforts to make it grey and deceptive. 

First I was stunned to find the fine Italian musician, a very able and well known violinist from Venice, to express her public contempt towards Ukraine and Ukrainian victims of the Mean War. ‘Well, Ukraine is not the only  war in the world, you know, – she declares. – What about Yemen?” Yes, exactly, what about Yemen at this very hour? 

The other one from Italy, a senior cultural official, allows herself to lament about ‘atrocities from the both sides’, and  ‘much fake news about the alleged crimes in Ukraine’, the last argument being too popular in Italy, notably and unfortunately.  In the case of this official, her true European Communist essence which was sleeping for years being largely unpopular and counter-productive in her work, now manifests itself in stupid unjust arrogance. I never knew about her political beliefs as we never discussed it. It was irrelevant to our joint projects. Now all those good former projects are in the past, and some new ones in the bin.  Neither I, nor none of our organisations would be ever able to cooperate with anyone like this. 

 Among my writing colleagues in many countries, there is only one case when the person with whom I was previously working , but stopped that cooperation over four years ago, did disgrace herself and her publication by publishing an outright piece of Russian propaganda barely disguised as someone’s ‘opinion’.  My personal previous relationships with the editor who oversaw the publication, both professional and personal ones, has pushed me emotionally in this case. I was in torment, protesting vigorously, demanding to take the insulting piece off, successfully. I was deeply taken by this screaming injustice and so blatant manipulation. But then I realise that the experienced editor’s distancing herself from good versus evil, her utter indifference has made me absolutely aloof towards her and her outlet. Media is such a sphere of life that once it shames itself , the damage is hardly cuperable. It also contributes directly to a thing called reputation. Simple. 

Against those handful disappointments and a couple of personal losses, which are perfectly bearable, I am so very grateful to those of our friends, and even not that close friends, some acquaintances who did put so much of their own heart into helping the Ukrainian people that their actions, their attitude, their intentions has brought so much of unexpected warmth and goodness into rather bleaky almost 50 days of the Mean War. 

There is one Italian well-known journalist who lives with his teenage son, just two of them, not living a luxurious life at all. But they were fighting for the honour to host the family from Ukraine, and when one of the families was allocated to live with them, how much of preparation went on, how nervous both papa and son were to meet the family which fled the war, how happy they both are because of the fact that they are helping those people. I always liked this journalist and his writings, but now I simply adore him as a human being who brings up his son in such a right way. 

There is a great couple of our dear friends, also from Rome, the leaders of the large and important national institution there. Not only were they organising the evacuation of the people from Ukraine, but since the beginning  of the war, they were heavily involved into the implementation of unique measures of coordination of real actions of acceptance of the refugees from Ukraine by Italian national medical and emergency situations authorities. It is a huge and very uneasy work, and it was done successfully. I feel so grateful and so proud of our dear friends who conceived it, elaborated the entire mechanism, and implemented it. 

There are endless cases of the applied compassion towards the people from Ukraine by our friends and colleagues in so many countries, in Finland, Lithuania, Poland, the UK, in the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, in many other countries. Our friends are hosting refugees, organising the aid, contributing. They are not indifferent. They are active and compassionate. They are kind and understanding. They are just and generous. Our friends in and from Russia are strong to stay with their back straight and their position against the Mean War being articulated and clear. We are proud of them. 

On the balance, there are incomparably more  personal gratifications in the midst of the Mean War for me than sad or outrageous personal losses. I consider myself lucky, indeed. 

 Day 49: April 13, 2022, Wednesday

AIRPORT IN MY CITY

Inna Rogatchi ©. Memory Awakened I. War Pictures. 2022.

On the first day of the war, our close friend from Ukraine, practically a family member who found herself in another part of the world, called me to say that additionally to all the horror of the war, she is thousands miles from home, without a clear prospect to reach there. I was terrified. She was composed. The first thing we spoke about was the airport in her city which is also my city. The airport was bombed in the first hours of the Mean War, along with 11 more airports of a critical importance in Ukraine. 

Almost 50 days, almost two months passed since our conversation on the first day of the Mean War. My friend is not at home yet. She made it halfway, and is in Europe now. At least that. 

But a few days ago, after six weeks of total destruction that Russia brought to Ukraine, they have decided to bomb that airport in my city again, to shell it to the ground. And everything that is nearby. Those strategists.

From a prospect of a single human being, what they’ve bombed and destroyed, is a lot, apart of infrastructure. I cannot count how many times we were getting in and out of that very airport in Dnipro, to visit, to spend time in our native place, to say hello and to say goodbye. Goodbye, not farewell. When you frequently, during many years and decades, get to a certain place, the entrance locally marks your belonging, doesn’t it? And when that ‘certain place’ is your native city, that belonging is organic. 

Places and people have mutual dependability, I believe. Not to mention our transportation hubs which are filled with our emotions.  One’s parents, who are not alive for so many years, went to this place to greet you and to send you off. One’s friends who are so close that they were always there with you upon your arrival and when you were leaving. Years and years of meetings, hugs, departures, kisses, smiles, tears, bits of one’s life. Tiny, special, precious. This is what destruction is about. Not physical buildings, but human emotions and memories connected to it. 

Those who are giving the orders and fulfilling them in that totally irrational country are not privy to such sentiments. We are seeing their qualities , human and intellectual ones, and their skills, military and diplomatic ones  in all the shine of their deadly mediocrity. In their stunning stupidity, they would never get that their brutal destruction evokes the best in people whom they attack. It evokes true patriotism, true stoicism, true intention to help the people next to you by anything you can. This war is lost because it is inhuman. It was lost even before it started. Because moral dwarfs never win wars.  

The landscape which one could see from a plane’s window approaching my city is not extraordinary. There are vast fields and many farms around. As far as it stays in my mind, there is also a lot of sun in the area, most of the year. Human mind is not a fast machine, sometimes. It struggles with facts, at moments like that. It will take some time before it would seem natural for me that we won’t be able to come to my city by air. Previously unremarkable landscape, sunny and calm,  as if fixed in the air, as it is in my memory. It is a soothing image, and now a symbol of comfort and warmth. This is something that no putins, nor armies of putinoids are able to destroy.  

 Day 48: April 12, 2022, Tuesday

GHETTO TODAY. RUSSIA’S MADE

It is bordering on impossible. Completely impossible. But we saw it with our own eyes, the place, the people, all in detail. 

Facts only: there is a small village about a hundred kilometres from Kyiv, called Yahidne, Berries-place if translated. It is a small place, 0,3 square kilometres only, and  people live there compactly. 399 of them, this is the number of Yahidne’s residents. Or it was. 

When ‘the liberators’ came to the village, it was easy for them to collect all its residents, 360 people at the same place. Handy. After the three days of the presence in Yahidne, ‘the liberators’ ordered all residents in the school’s basement. Elderly, young, small, babies, everyone. There were about 50 children there, including babies of a month and six weeks old. 

They all were living sitting, and some standing. There was from 0,5 to 1,5, metres of living space per person. I saw it on the screen. 

There was no electricity, no light, no ventilation. There were no toilets. People were using baskets for the purposes. 

I saw a decent 60-year old man who said that for 25 nights he was sleeping standing next to the Swedish wall in the basement, tightening himself to the wall by his own scarf, blue & yellow, as it happened. The man tried to contain himself while telling about his and his people’s ordeal to the Western media. 

Because of this round-o’clock sitting, many people suffered serious swelling, to the dangerous degree. Their ration was controlled all the time. 

Elderly people started to lose their mind first, and to die next. Twelve people died during those 25 days of ordeal. First the people in the basement could not bury them. They were not allowed to do it. So children had to live next to the corpses for days.

While those savages kept 360 people in the cramped conditions round o’clock, ‘the liberators’ enjoyed a massive, total loot of the village. As we know by now, it is their main activities in Ukraine, apart of murder. 

All this was happening for about a month, for 25 days and nights. 

What does it remind you of? I research the Holocaust and post-Holocaust for over thirty years. My reaction was immediate: we saw the ghetto in front of us, in all and every way. To put people together in impossible living conditions, to ration them in food, drink, medicine and everything else, to deprive them from light, electricity, fresh air and normal breathing. As if by the Holocaust text-book, in its ghetto part.  

What had to happen to human beings in Russia to make them anti-human? To make their army the gang? We all are seeing the results of that process which was overseen both inside and outside of Russia. 

Yahidne was a lovely village. People from Chernihiv, which is nearby, loved to come there for their summer vacations. Now this place would be known as one of the ghettos of the XXI century , imposed by Russia in Ukraine. 

As for my part, I still need some time to absorb everything which unfolds daily in the Mean War. To understand that this is for real.  That all these screaming war crimes are allowed to happen. And to go on. The continuation of the daily horror in Ukraine is the worst part of the Mean War.

Day 47: April 11, 2022, Monday

ELENA OSIPOVA,  The HONORARY CITIZEN OF   MILAN

Inna Rogatchi ©. Memory Awakened I. War Pictures. 2022.

On April 7th, 2022, at its meeting, the City Council of Milan unanimously voted to recognize Mrs Yelena Osipova, the Russian citizen and native of St Petersburg, as an Honourable Citizen of the City of Milan. 

I wrote about this very special woman in the first days of the Mean War, on Day 8th, March 3d, 2022, when she, 77-year old artist, survivor of the Siege of Leningrad, bravely went with herself-drawn large posters to protest the Mean War in the St Petersburg down-town. 

Mrs Osipova was arrested promptly, then released. After which, the inhabitants of St Petersburg are seeing her regularly with new war-protesting large posters which she creates and carries on to her individual protests. These posters are confiscated by the police every single time, but a 77-year artist draws them anew. And goes to her protests in the most visible places of St Petersburg regularly, all this period of the shameful Mean War.

As stated in the decision of the City Council of Milan, “the conferral of honorary citizenship on Yelena Osipova represents a strong sign of solidarity and closeness of the City of Milan to a woman who is a symbol of Russian citizens who are fighting against the war in Ukraine for peace”.

Intelligent, thoughtful representative of the best part of the Russian intelligentsia, Mrs Osipova might be glad to learn that in the whole modern history of Milan, she is only 12th personality on whom this honour has been bestowed, at least during the past 50 years. Among that noble dozen of people from all around the world, there are Charlie Chaplin who was proclaimed the Honorary Citizen of Milan in 1972, the Czech leader Alexander Dubcek who resisted the Soviet invasion to Prague ( he was made a honorary citizen in 1988), Dalai Lama who has become a honorary Milanese as recently, as in 2016. But most of all, the heart of the 77-year old artist who is known for many people in St Petersburg as ‘our conscience’, would resonate with the fact that another Russian person who is recognised as a Honorary Citizen of Milan is Academician Andrey Sakharov who had received the honour back in 1980. I knew Sakharov’s wife and widow late Elena Bonner quite well, and I can tell that from the prospect of honesty, devotion, decency and that incredible quiet courage, the parallel between two Russian Honorary citizens of Milan, Academician Andrey Sakharov and artist Yelena Osipova is absolutely justified. I am very glad that the Council of the City of Milan conceived the idea and voted for that, recognising the power of human decency and  courage exemplified in the 77-year old woman from St Petersburg. Vivat, dear Mrs Yelena. We love you. April 7th is my birthday. This year, the decision by the City Council of Milan was the best birthday present I’ve got. 

Day 46: April 10, 2022, Sunday

TARGET: CIVILIANS AT THE RAILWAY STATION. KRAMATORSK

So, there is an overcrowded railway station in Kramatorsk in Ukraine, a very important industrial centre, with 150 000 population, 30% of which are Russian-speaking. The city itself is 250 – 300 km from the Russian border, in different directions. 

On that April morning of April 8th, 2022,  four thousand people gathered there, refugees. People were prompted by the local administration to leave immediately, due to the imminent danger of ‘the liberators’ attack on the Luhansk region. 

At 7.30 in the morning, those four thousand civilians, with many children among them, were hit by the Russian missile attack. The interception of the Russian army internal exchange tells how satisfied they were about the precision of the strike. “Tochnoje popadanie,  the hit is precise in Russian, is heard clearly. 

So they are satisfied, on their own record, for hitting the condensed gathering of several thousands of civilians who were in the process of evacuation. Their hit resulted with 52 dead people, seven of whom were children,  and over 300 wounded. 

In the horror after the morning strike in Kramatorsk, up to 40 local doctors were operating on those who were wounded in the Russian premeditated strike. The tough female surgeon, absorbed in her non-stop work, could not speak on the TV camera. ‘As far as I am focused on my work, I am OK, – she explained, trying to control her sobs.  – Otherwise, I am not, sorry’. 

We should stop to ask ourselves: who should be a person who gives and those who carry on such anti-human orders? We know who they are, we are seeing them in action daily. Savages who act consciously, and according to their plan, causing as much damage, pain and horror as they could. In their world, it is stimulating development, to cause damage and horror, to kneel and to frighten. To annihilate. We do know whom they belong to, to which forces. They are proud to belong to the forces of evil? No surprise on that. We should be proud to keep them as far from the human world as possible, in contempt, weakened, and defeated. It is not only about Kramators, Bucha, Borodjanka, Mariupol and many other places in Ukraine where those savage ‘liberators’ brought unspeakable horror and committed numerous war crimes. It is about us, all of us. Everyone of us. It is about good against evil. The endless story. And now it is our turn to defend decency against barbarians of our days . 

Missile attacks. Two missiles. For Children, the customary slogan of the savages.

Day 45: April 9, 2022, Saturday

CANNED FOOD FLOWERS ON THE GRAVE 

Ukrainian boy visiting the grave of his mother, with canned food instead of flowers. Europe, 2022.

There is another chilling photo from Ukraine, from tortured Bucha. A six-year old boy visits the grave of his mom who is buried just next to their home in once idyllic Kyiv suburb. I saw the pictures of Bucha before the Mean War. Lovely place. It was. Nice, nit, appealing. 

We all saw what it has become after the savages’ crimes there. Those who are lucky to have their own graves are buried in courtyards. And now we see the visitors to those graves. As that six-year old boy who comes alone to visit the grave of his mom. He brings his flowers to the grave, which are cans of preserves. Two cans and a small package of apple juice which he most likely got from the official delegations’ visits to Bucha after the massacre. 

Do you know why this boy brought these ‘flowers’ to his mom’s grave? Because she died of hunger. In the centre of Europe, in the XXI century. 

I am repeatedly self-protesting because of ongoing usage of this ‘centre-of-Europe-XXI-century’ mantra, but at the same time, I know that we must to repeat it, day and night, until the meaning of it, the screaming meaning of it, would be comprehended to the point of adequate reaction which will efficiently refute the Mean War and those who conduct it.  

Looking at those canned flowers on the grave in a courtyard, brought by a six-year child to his mom, to whom, in her grave, he gave his own small package of apple juice, I wonder: what for we needed the previous twenty centuries, really? What for?.. 

Day 44: April 8, 2022, Friday

SILENT PEOPLE. SILENT CHILDREN

Inna Rogatchi ©. Dialogue. War Pictures. Ukraine. 2022.

We expect children to be talkative, funny, chirping,  laughing. Childhood is associated with sound. Well, not anymore as a general phenomena. Because, a new phenomena appeared as a result of the Mean War. Silent children. It is almost impossible to bear. Just yesterday, a photo of an incredibly sad boy, of approximately 7 years old was posted on social media, with a devastating simple note: ‘Please, this boy was found ( near Zaporizhzha). He does not speak. At all. Please, perhaps somebody knows him to tell us anything about him’.  A little boy’s eyes are fixed and down. Does not matter what we do, around and in connection with him, and in general too, he lives in his own world, being absorbed by what he saw and went through. 

We do not know his name, his age, his address. People who are with him now, and who very kindly care  about him do not know anything about his family and where they live. The boy was just found. 

The same happened a week ago in Switzerland, in a village between Bern and Zurich where locals, being moved by the efforts of the woman who lives there and who is originally from Ukraine,  have opened their homes to some of the refugees. Some of them were seriously traumatised, I was told by a friend who lives in Switzerland. There are two teenage girls who both were raped by ‘the liberators’ , and who does not eat, does not speak, and does not interact with anyone around them in that nice Swiss village. ‘People’s hearts are broken over those two girls who are living here being virtually a shadow. It is extremely difficult to see something like that. The girls do not react even to professional psychologists who are trying to work with them. They are living somewhere else” – my friend mentioned painfully. “ Or not living”, – I said. 

My husband was told by our close friends in Dnipro, Ukraine about masses of the people from Donbass region who managed to get to Dnipro as the place of evacuation from the front-line. Our friends are in charge of organising the relief for those people. They are working 24/7. “We have noticed deafening silence among those people who came ( here). They all are so impossibly silent. Men, women, children, elderly, of any age. They do not demand a thing, not even asking for anything. They come and go, appear and disappear, all in this marked silence. It is heart-breakening, I have to tell you’ – our experienced and tough friend told Michael.

There are so many silent people now around us. Silenced by their sorrow. Silenced by their grief. Silences by their horror. The screaming silence of the Mean War.  

Day 43: April 7, 2022, Thursday

A BOY IN A RED COAT

Three weeks ago, on March 15th, 2022,  the photo of this lovely boy appeared on social media. Friends of his parents tried to reach out in an effort to find Sacha Zdanovich, 4 years old. I wrote about Sacha too, on March 22nd, 2022, when covering the phenomena of the Lost Children in the Mean War.

 ‘The boy is dressed as in this photo’, it was written. He is in a red coat, perhaps, somebody did see him. His coat is so bright. 

Sacha’s coat was bright. It is not anymore. Not after his family madly looked for him all this time. Sacha’s red coat’s colour waded in the cold water in which the body of this beautiful little boy was drowned  and stayed there for a month or so. 

Sacha’s grandma, 60-years old, was drowned together with the boy and their two dogs when a water vehicle in which the civilian refugees were trying to escape from Kyiv via the waters of the huge Kyiv reservoir, was hit by ‘the liberators’ fire, and the vehicle capsided. Grandma covered  little Sacha by her body when the fire started, as did so many parents and grandparents during this Mean War. 

The body of Sacha’s grandmother was found a week or so after the fatal attack, on March 11th, but the little boy in a bright red coat was not to be found anywhere all this time. Until yesterday. 

These tragic red coats of children in various wars. It gets into our consciousness to stay there. 

But little Sacha Zdanovich had big eyes, and such pleasant features of his nice face of just a four-year old child whose life was brutally, senselessly taken from him by savages who are let to murder children, elderly and civilians for over six weeks by now. Incomprehensible.  

WEEK 6: March 31 – April 6, 2022

Summary of the Week 6: WITNESSING AND OPPOSING EVIL

Inna Rogatchi ©. Devilspiel II. 2020.

Anyone who is aware with a minimal security-related knowledge, realised that with his trip to Bucha, president Zelensky risked a lot.  It may look danger-free when Volodymyr Zelensky was walking through devastated landscape in Bucha, but it was not. Not for a bit. The president of Ukraine was not able to leave the place where he has been confined in Kyiv for 40 days and nights, due to security concerns. We know that he is a top-target for ‘the liberators’ and their sickly anti-human leadership. He knows it too. But he just cannot allow himself not to visit the place of horror, the place of suffering, the place of hideous crime so near his country’s capital. Because he is a decent and dignified human being. Because he lives this Mean War with his attacked people, not above them. 

So, Volodymyr Zelensky goes on the ground in Bucha, with his close assistance, and with his good security detail. We saw his face there in Bucha. We saw the moments when this 44-year man who lives 40 most difficult, highly tragic days of his and his country’s life, could barely compose himself. Those are precious moments, to me. Because if we would not see emotions on the face of anyone who is on the ground there in Bucha, I would not regard this person as a human. We saw the clenched jaws and eyes full of pain and fury of Victor Klitschko, Kyiv’s governor, who was visiting  Bucha a day prior president Zelensky’s visit. Those are expected reactions of good people. 

We also saw how president Zelensky and his team  were treating local people in Bucha, how much much needed goods, water, juices, food they  have brought with them. How it all was very well organised, very human-like, very friendly and warm. And – importantly – how low-profiled the episodes of distributing provisions were handled by the Zelensky’s team. In a very tactful, no PR-oriented way. Nothing of the sort at all.  Chapeau to the thoughtfulness and attitude on those small, but not small at all things, to the president and his team. 

We also saw how local people in Bucha were looking at Volodymyr Zelensky.  It was for real. It was a vivid expression of the moments of light prevailing over darkness. 

A few hours after visiting Bucha, probably, the most horrific afternoon in his entire life, so far, presiden Zelensky stated that the meeting with the Russian president ‘could possibly not have a place’. I understand him 101%. He is absolutely right. And it will be only for the better, if he could keep this just and justified attitude. Was it possible for any of the Allies to meet with Adolf in the midst of the war and discuss anything with him? No, it was not. There are boundages. Those butchers, at all levels of their irrational hierarchy, excluded themselves from the relations with normal people and countries.  

The next day after his visit to Bucha, president Zelensky spoke to the UN Security Council. His speech can be seen in full, and it is worth it. 

The President of Ukraine spoke to the UN Security Council practically immediately after witnessing evil in Bucha. There is one thing when you are getting information, even of the best quality and even in a real-time mode, and it is completely different when you see it with your own eyes, on the ground. Simply because a different group of organs works bringing the knowledge into your brain. In some lucky cases, as Volodymyr Zelensky is, heart, too. There is a special quality of people which is emphasised in the Torah and the Talmud – ‘those wise in heart’. He is from that category. 

After witnessing evil, president Zelensky addressed the UN Security Council which some of us find nowadays as limbo-body being wrapped  into a heavy tissue of bitter irony. Or, without metaphors, being effectively paralysed. What on earth that country-aggressor that commits unspeakable war crimes is doing on the UN Security Council? To say that it is a joke is not funny. It is a mockery. 

The same country-aggressor would block any move by the UN International Crime Court, so processes like the one which has been conducted against those who committed war crimes during the Balkan war in the 1990s, won’t be possible. There should be no illusions about this. 

President Zelensky is absolutely right in his addressing the UN Security Council: ‘a veto right ( referring to the Russia’s privilege among the five principals , so to say, at the Security Council) is not the right to cause death’, ‘there were no existing crimes which were not committed in Ukraine during the 40 days of the aggression’,  ‘the most terrible thing in this war is that there is a premeditated extermination of  people of a sovereign country’. As president Zelensky said, ‘Bucha is just one case of many similar ones in other places of Ukraine’. 

And indeed, “if article one of the UN bye-law, is violated in such a devastating way, what far the rest of the bye-law is needed for?”. 

The UN bye-law, and its structure was written back in 1945.  As the League of Nations has been dissolved, the UN can and should be reformed due to the similar tectonic changes in the system of the world’s security. This country shall not enjoy status of a privy state, the member of the Security Council, due to their actions. It is absurd. If they would, the rest of the world would encourage and institutionalise evil. But the essential meaning of human life is  not only to witness evil, but to resist it. To fight it. To overcome it. 

Day 42: April 6, Wednesday

LOOTING-AT-LARGE

Inna Rogatchi ©. Cold Winds I. 2022. War Pictures.

I am receiving various material regarding the Mean War, first-hand reports and information, round o’clock, daily, for six weeks by now. 

One is supposed to get used to at least some features of the war, especially when the war gets extended. Perhaps, I also managed to tune myself in the mode of a receiver, suppressing the emotional reactions as much as possible, otherwise, it would not be possible to do what I am busy with these days, to collect the material, to analyse the Mean War phenomena and features, to extract people’s psychological threats under such tragic circumstances. Sometimes, my self-defence falls, sometimes it happens spectacularly, as after Bucha and with several more episodes or features of the Mean War.  But I am determined to work productively. I know that this kind of work has meaning and is historically important. 

So among the materials I got yesterday, there was a dry list. A full name, postal address in Russia, a telephone in Russia of the postal package’s receiver, description of goods sent via post, and number of kilos of the packages. The list was made in the Belorussian postal office in the place quite near Chernobyl and Pripjat from the Ukrainian side. Actually, Mozyr is where that postal office is located. It is the first city which appears on your way when you drive from Ukraine from Chernobyl, the way in which ‘the liberators’ troops were retreating recently. 

The postal office camera also monitored ‘the liberators’ who queued there with their multiplied packages to be sent to their homes. Greetings from the front, so to say. The surveillance record is three hours long. It all is there.  

The go-called soldiers and so-called looters were sending their loot to home. The packages vary between 30 and 450 kilos. In the descriptions, there are ‘televisors, kitchen supplies, machines for home, clothes, carpets, furniture, conditioners, instruments, accumulators, spare parts, fishing equipment’, as is written in the postal documentation. It is all looted by the Russian army’s thugs in Ukraine. 

Most of the senders from that Mozyr post office sent their packages to Rubzovsk, a mid-size city in Altai, Siberia. The rest of them have sent their loot to nearby places in Siberia as well. 

It was only one group of about 20 thugs and looters whose action was documented. There are much, much more facts about an unprecedented giant loot which the Russian so-called army commits in Ukraine today. 

People from Belarus are reporting frequently about ‘columns of huge heavy military trucks reaching Belarus from Ukraine from tons and tons of all kinds of loot’, from jewellery to carpets, computers, tv sets, clothes, just anything. There is not one, but many spontaneously set markets in many places in Belarus where all this loot is traded. Daily. Many days by now. 

I have got the first-hand information from a person whose family member entered Bucha with the Ukrainian forces on the first day of them taking back control over the tortured town. According to that eye-witness, ‘all apartments in Bucha were bulgared. All of them. Every single one. All were looted”. 

And I will remember a half of a sentence uttered by the president Zelensky about the women who were shot by the animals in the Russian military uniform after they were thrown the hearing off them, in the way of barbarians who they are. 

There are also interceptions of ‘the liberators’ telephone talks with their families back in Russia. In some of those conversations, one hears instigation by their mothers and wives ‘to take everything from them’. One can also hear an amazement by ‘the liberators’ on ‘ how come those in Ukraine live so well’. 

There is a giant-loot, a non-stop loot, an instigated, uncontrolled, total loot which is committed by those in Russian military uniform in Ukraine for almost six weeks by now. 

The scale of this mega-loot by the Russian army in Ukraine, the way in which it is carried on, the totality of it shows that in contrast with their futile dreams about world domination, in fact, they are just low despicable thugs. 

Day 41: April 5, Tuesday

‘TATTOOS’ ON THE CHILDREN’S BACKS 

There is a new habit among Ukrainian parents currently, among those who are living in the areas of the country which are prone to ‘the liberators’ attacks. Ukrainian parents are writing on their kids’ backs their names, the date of a child’s birth, and the contact phones of the parents or family members. The thinking behind its necessity is that in the case parents would be murdered, the child could be found and identified. We have known about many cases by now when a child was saved in ‘the liberators’ attack because an adult who was next to a child, a father or mother, did cover it by his or her body. 

 This new habit is massive in Ukraine nowadays. Just who would have thought about it just a couple of months ago? 

They are writing in a Latin script. They would not come to think about doing it yet a couple of months ago, because their own Ukrainian language uses a cyrillic alphabet, similarly to the Russian and Belarussian ones. But now, the young parents in Ukraine deliberately use a latin alphabet, in the circumstances in which they anticipate their possible murder by the Russian so-called army, in fact, the quasi-gang of murderers. 

Little Vira from the photo on my poster is just 2 years and 4 month old. She starts her life with the experience of being ‘tattooed’ by her mom amidst the bombing and deliberate killing of civilians. Her mom is not alone in doing these precautions. People under extreme circumstances are learning very fast. There are very many families in Ukraine today who have to  ‘tattoo’ their kids, in order for them not to be lost. 

How difficult it is to be self-contained while learning about such phenomena of sorrow which the Mean War brings daily.  

Day 40: April 4, Monday

The ART OF DIGGING 

Due to the shockwave caused in the world by ‘the liberators’  massacre in Bucha, there is one fact which somehow escaped the close public attention which it deserved. According to the Western official military sources, starting from February 1st, 2022, a new, specific intense training has been introduced among the troops. The subject? Digging. 

Why should a matter of  digging be trained in a specific way, and intensely so? Because they started to train the mass of 150-plus troops which they accumulated in the proximity to the Ukraine border, a special kind of digging. They were training their troops to dig  trenches for mass graves to accommodate up to 1000 corpses, the Western military sources have reported recently. The training started three and half weeks before Russia’s ‘special operation’. We saw some results of that recent rapid digging training recently in Bucha. We should be prepared to see it also in the other Ukrainian places, quite possibly. 

If the army decides to train its troops, in advance of an imminent ‘operation’,  to dig mass graves, what does it tell about that army? Its commanders, so to say? Its officers? Those with strips and shoulders who are supervising it all from Moscow? Those without strips and shoulders who are benefiting their army’s advances? Advances in digging and filling mass graves. What does it tell about the army’s objectives in the planned actions, at the stage of planning, let alone the implementation which we all saw with unspeakable horror? 

All the atrocities which the world has seen in Ukraine are beyond comparison. And you know why? Because of the simple fact that these atrocities had already happened, during WWII and during the War in the Balkans. It has happened. It has been punished though inadequately and far from fully. It has been condemned. It has been researched. It is massively aggravated in the public conscience. Somewhere, perhaps, but obviously not in Russia. 

I am researching the Holocaust and post-Holocaust for several decades, non-stop. You cannot research the Holocaust from a distance. This kind of a distant research will be incomplete. You have to be at the place which you research, otherwise, it will be a shallow repetition of the facts you won’t be able to comprehend. I saw many different places connected to the Holocaust.  Extermination camps, concentration camps, cities, villages, forests, ravines. Rationally, extermination camps are encompassing your mind in a storm,  in a process of your brain’s desperate effort to comprehend the scale, methodical approach and sometimes that sick tidiness of the implementation of the operation, so to say. Emotionally, however, it is ravines and forests, an open spaces of genocide which brings your heart on its edge. Here, on the distance of a stretched hand, just under your foot, you are experiencing the horror of the crimes committed at the spot there. That horror stays there. It goes nowhere. Does not matter how many years and decades gone. For those who doubt it, an excursion to the Lithuanian Paneria forest is recommended. This forest is full of trenches there, big and small, the trenches are all over there. Those trenches were mass graves of the Holocaust. 

And now, we have these trenches in Ukraine, just nearby Kyiv. And most likely in some other places, as the training manual for that huge gang of trench-digging specialists was renewed in the beginning of February this year, prior to their march to Ukraine. Everybody involved in the crime of Bucha and alike, should be brought to justice. Every single one of them. 

Day 39: April 3, Sunday

BUCHA. BUCHA. BUCHA.

So you are awakening on Sunday morning. The morning is sunny. The birds are chirping in an exalted way of a spring. You are reaching for the news, as you do for 39 days and nights of the Mean War, and the sun in your window is gone, along with the birds and their happy chirping. 

You are seeing the photos from the town near Kyiv whose name will become a symbol of a terrible catastrophe, the one of the screaming notes in that horrendous ongoing cacophony of the Mean War. Bucha. 

Bucha. Bucha. Bucha. 

You see the bodies on the streets, every few metres, among a lot of litter around. Men. Of different ages. In a range between 18 and 60. Their hands tight behind their backs. They are killed from a very close range. Executed. In a rush spree of the leaving troops of monsters calling themselves ‘liberators’. 

Adult, experienced men were refusing to believe that the massacre in Bucha was conducted  by a regular army. They were thinking that it had been done by a special Russian Einsatzkommandos. But no, we are told by the official sources now. It was done by those who were on the ground and were leaving in a rush. 

The photos are coming. There are women, naked, with plastic sacks over them. Those naked bodies were put on fire. What is left is covered by plastic. 

You see the photo of a man who was tortured and left to die in a sewerage hatchway.

There are photos of the mass grave containing 280 people at least. Civilians. Nobody buried them. Just thrown hundreds of bodies in the sand. Grey sand. With a lot of browned red all around. Here you see a head. In another place, a hand. In the third place you see somebody’s hair. 

Here you see the family. On my poster, there is a family. Mother, father, son, and other members. I know who they were and I know the story behind the murdering them. But the most important thing is that they were people. Human beings. Unlike the monsters who did commit this screaming crime. 

In Bucha, and in many places where the monsters had retreated, they raped very many women, from very young ones, till quite old. It was the hellish, non-stop rape all over those places. 

The world has awakened this Sunday to the terrible reality of Bucha crime. There is no sun for me today despite the weather. And there is no spring either. But the nightmare is that there are and will be more than one Bucha in this extraordinarily cruel, meaningless, barbarian Mean War. 

When on the earth the world, those who are in the position and on duty, will react to this as hideous escalating crimes should be reacted to? 

Day 38: April 2, Saturday

SHAVED WOMEN

There has been a lucky day for Ukraine. On the day, the country was greeting their captured back, in an exchange with the aggressors. We know that the matter of exchange of prisoners has become one of the top priorities for the president Zelensky’s administration from the day one of the war. This leader values human life as we all are seeing for over five weeks of the Mean War. 

The aggressors are not easy to carry on the exchanges with. That we know as well, also from the history of that country, both past and relatively recent one. We were told that despite all efforts of the Ukrainian side to carry on the exchanges of POWs from the start of the Mean War, the Russian side was all the time insisting on ‘equality’ of the personnel to be exchanged.  ‘But where on earth would we get over ten mayors of the Russian cities to exchange them for our 11 mayors which they are keeping in captivity till now?” – president Zelensky exclaimed in one of his recent interviews. Indeed. 

The smile on the face of the Ukrainian vice-PM Iryna Vereshchuk in this photo is justified. In this photo, she who works round o’clock on the most grim matters for so long, meets with the second group of Ukrainians POWs who came home in the second exchange with the aggressor. 86 people were exchanged by each side in this recent second exchange of the POWs. The first one was an exchange of 10 personnel from each side. 

Don’t you worry about anything in this photo where people are smiling? I do. A lot. All females in this photo are shaved. Do you think they did it by themselves? They did not. I have checked. Some of the women in this photo are elderly, meaning that they were members of the territorial volunteer brigades, not regular army personnel. 

What are we expected to say about those ‘liberators’ of Ukraine who shave women they took captives ? Trying to keep calm, we can only refer to the known historical precedents. There are two in the XX century: women who were pushed to the gas chambers by the Nazis, they were millions; and women who were publicly shamed in France for collaboration with the Nazis just after the WWII, those were approximately 20 000. Whose step these Russians who did it to the captive women from their neighbouring country were following? Does it matter? They are marking themselves with indelible marks of manifested barbarism. This is a new material from the XXI century for historians. 

Day 37: April 1, Friday

UKRAINIAN LOCAL LEADERS,  and the IMAGE OF RESILIENCE

Inna Rogatchi ©. Song for Ukraine 2022. Exclusive Art Poster. 100 x 100 cm. 2022. Donated by the artist to the state of Ukraine for public purposes in support of the people of Ukraine.  

Ones of the indisputable heroes of the Mean War are mayors of many Ukrainian cities and governors of many places in Ukraine. Some of them have become not only  very popular public figures, they were popular before, but true leaders, and true heroes. And dignified human beings, most importantly. 

Klitschko brothers, mayor of Kyiv Vitaly and his brother Volodymyr who came to fight with his brother shoulder to shoulder literary, not only doing their job in a great way, in extreme danger, non-stop, for 37 days and nights of the Mean War, but they also have capacity for empathy towards the people around them, and in such physically mighty hands as the box champion brothers possess, it has become their mightiest weapon. One should see and hear how, in which way the Mayor of Kyiv speaks with the people of his city. Tired people, people under fire, under bombs, under round-o-clock shelling. What are the mayor’s intonations, what is his voice. What are his words. This way a well-bred son speaks to his parents, and to his family. The moments of mortal danger provide the most exact litmus test for many qualities. Mayor Klitschko is not only a great sample of fearless resistance against mean hyenas ( this term comes from Moscow, actually, it is how a normal people there attests nowadays ‘the liberators’ and those who support them). He also cares. He does. And people in his big city, the capital of their country, in the city where over 3 million people left under the Russian  bombing, knows that their mayor cares about them. There is nothing more important for the morale of the people under attack than to be sure that they are cared for by their leaders. 

There is also the governor of the Mykolaiv region Vitaly Kim, another hero. Smart, young, resilient, always with a good, but measured pinch of humour which does help people to bear unbearable. Always in his position, day and night, brave, mobile, determined. The people of Mykolaiv and the rest of Ukraine started to call him ‘our Swarzenegger’, and with a good reason. So popular governor Kim has become that ‘the liberators’ conducted a precision attack on his very office a few days back. The explosion went off at 8.30 am , the very moment when the governor’s office started their working day. The damage is colossal. They were getting people out from the ruins of the administration building for four days. They excavated 35 corpses. Vitaly Kim stopped short of his customary slightly joking tone these days, naturally, but he did not stop short neither of his commitments, or determination. His composure and resilience is the best support of the people of Mykolaiv who are under merciless attacks by ‘the liberators’. Kim literally  charges them with the energy to withstand. 

There are many more figures of the local leaders in Ukraine today who are conducting their extremely dire mission whole-heartedly, including the leaders of Kharkiv, Mariupol, Odessa, and many other big cities, towns, villages. 

I do not know anyone like the Klitschko brothers, or Kim among the local leadership of the country which being three times bigger in population has decided to attack its neighbour for no reason, but evil. Pure, premeditated evil. The country whose leaders and whose military has sinked it as a whole to the first ring of the seventh  circle of Dante’s Inferno.  For good. 

Here is my special poster in which I visualised Ukraine as an acrostic. Creating it, I was thinking of those leaders which Ukraine is lucky to have, and whose energy and  determination will get the people of Ukraine to their victory.  I donated the image to the state of Ukraine for public purposes, and dedicated it to the people of Ukraine who fight for their country and for their families. They will win. People always win over the monsters. 

Day 36: March 31, Thursday

CHERNOBYL: MACABRE UNPRECEDENTED

Inna Rogatchi(C). Chernobyl Zone 2022. War Pictures. 2022.

The Russian ‘liberators’ entered the territory of the Chernobyl nuclear station on the first day of their Mean War against Ukraine, on February 24th, 2022. As a matter of fact, this scenario was known to the Western special agencies, and the Ukrainian leadership was warned about it, as we are learning now. It is the shortest way to Kyiv, the Ukraine’s capital, from the Belorussian border. And there also was such a mad trick in the tactical geniuses who has planned ‘the special operation of the liberation of Ukraine’ as a nuclear facility, with a ticking bombing of a tactical nuclear attack. Or an accident. Or ‘an accident’. 

We know the chilling details of ‘the liberators’ take-over of Chernobyl. We know the dreadful, inimaginable situation with people there taken and kept hostages for three weeks non-stop. I wrote about it at the time, in the entry Chernobyl 2.0 on March 9, 2022 in my Diary of the Mean War. 

Now, with ‘the liberators’ being pushed away from Chernobyl, we know more details from the Ukrainian authorities of their behaviour at the nuclear facility. These details surfaced at the time and in connection with an urgent visit to the place for in-site assessment of the director of the IAEA Rafael Grossi. These unbelievable-but-true facts should be recorded, registered and taken very seriously, given the fact of the nuclear materials in hands of these new-time’ pathetic, but very dangerous made-in-Russia ‘robocopes’. 

So, we learn that Russian tanks were moving towards the Chernobyl station site at a high speed, causing huge clouds of heavy and extremely dangerous radioactive dust from the zone which is categorically forbidden for any use, not to mention a military activity. They were warned by the Ukrainian side, but ignored the warning, of course. Their soldiers were without any protective gear at all, even a minimal one. What for? After raising huge clouds of heavily radioactive dust up in the air  – with their own cities being just a 30 km distance, who cares? – their soldiers were commanded by their officers to dig trenches into the 5-km, the most dangerous zone in the whole Chernobyl area, which is not in any use for 36 years by now, from April 1986, and still be extremely dangerous. ‘The liberator soldiers spent quite a while in those trenches.  Naturally, they all were exposed and over-exposed to the radiation in no time. 

As a whole, they were acting in and around the Chernobyl zone as nothing ever happened there, and as they had no idea which kind of place it was. The most unbelievable thing is that this supposition turned out to be true. This information came from Belorussians, not from Ukrainians. The Belorussian media, in a complete astonishment, has reported that after the seizure of the Chernobyl plant, the people from the Ukrainian shift who were taken hostages, and the Russian soldiers who took them hostages and who were guarding them, had had to work together, nearby. So they spoke. And Ukrainian staff of the Chernobyl station have learned from their Russian ‘liberators’ that those who never had heard about the explosion in 1986, and had no clue about what had happened in Chernobyl.  This kind of robocopes. Of a third, or worse, sorts of robocopes. The same as their commanders. Who might remember about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster but did not care about it, and their own soldiers, for a bit. What on earth are we expecting them to care about in general? 

The quality of education. The way of thinking. The level of planning. The way of execution. The damage caused. Barbarians of the XXI centuries. Nothing more. But nothing less. 

Kaddish in the Opera: Odessa 2022 – Essay

The essay was published at Le Tribune Juive ( Paris, France) and The Times of Israel.

Odessa is a very special place not in Ukraine, not in the South-Eastern Europe. In the world. It is a unique universe. There are many books, and some movies depicting it, but none of it is not enough. Nothing is encompassing. In my modest view, it is easier and certainly quicker to describe and present New York and Paris than Odessa. Maybe, I am subjective. A large part of my immediate family is from Odessa, and I am lovingly proud of it. 

It is a warm, chic in its own way and hilariously funny, in its absolutely unique way, rich culturally, colourful, extremely potential, talented, very human, with all our shortcomings seen always through that one and only prism of a suburb irony which is first of all a self-irony, place of immense inner freedom and followed awesome tolerance which has been inherited there from the times of introducing the place as the porto-franco zone in the Russian Empire, the only one, and actually solely because of it. It is the place of great culture and architecture which has suffered a lot, and a lot, and a lot in various periods, but always tried to smile.  

I always remember the scene which was imprinted in my head from the late 1990s. I was  walking through rather sad and severely impoverished Odessa visiting the city’s places special for my family. All of the sudden, among that rather drub landscape, both literally and metaphorically, I heard the singing of a rare beauty. First, I thought that I was mistaken. The singing was too good. Superb opera voice. Superb masterly performance. I stopped under the rain on the main Odessa boulevard, Primorsky boulevard, close to the sea and the monument of the Duc, as the Duc de Richelieu is known there in the city which he has made that unique place on the earth, and tried to find the source of that heavenly-like singing looking to all sides from my wet umbrella. 

Soon, I saw the woman who was staying there in the middle of the boulevard under the cold autumn rain, without an umbrella, and singing one opera aria after another, with a very tired mid-aged face. Very very tired face. More than twenty years passed from that meeting, but for some reason, I do remember that woman’s coat of an uninteresting olive colour. How come? She had very little money in front of her, and it was clear that she was staying there singing for a long while. I became paralysed. I came closer. I wanted to do everything for that woman, but I was cautious not to interrupt her. So we stand nearby. She stayed  singing  heavenly, in Italian, wet, without an umbrella.  I stayed fully numbed, under an umbrella, waiting for her to have a pause. 

She stopped after some while, as she noticed me. I approached, trying to formulate in my head the most delicate way of speaking with her. Without letting me open my mouth, the woman said very simply: “ I am working there – nodding to the side of the world-famous Odessa opera house. – Sorry, I was. Now I am ‘working’ here’. She tried to smile. I tried not to cry. I invited the Odessa Opera soloist to come with me to my hotel which was very near, to get dry and to have some rest. I was already planning how I will invite her to the late lunch and will give her my room to relax a bit. She thanked me but nodded in a rejecting gesture. “No, thank you. I am OK. Honestly. And I will be going home soon, anyway, on the tram’. We both looked at the Odessa tram moving nearby. I asked her again. She nodded negatively again, smiling, This time, without effort, with a very nice, relieving smile. Of course, I gave her all the money which was in my purse. Valentina, it was the singer’s name, as she introduced herself, thank me and said that now, really, she can return home at once. Believe it or not, the rain stopped. We laughed together, and departed. I remember her and her singing ever since. 

Twenty-three years later, the Odessa Opera Orchestra  lives through the war, the Mean War. To mark the first month of the Mean War, the Odessa Opera Orchestra created a very memorable performance. It can be watched here.  

Unlike many musical renditions, which  are perfectly audible, this one is necessary to watch. The people from the Odessa Opera Orchestra took their live performance dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust in January 2020, and combined the record with the current pictures of the Mean War. The outcome is very powerful, with amazing harmony between the terrible current  visual with highly dramatic music by a highly dramatic composer created in 1991. Everyone participated in this heart-wrenching experience created by the Odessa Opera House musicians and directors of the video, the composer, and the conductor of the orchestra deserves a closer look. It is incredible how so many different dramas have amalgamated into the one shown in the video from the Odessa Opera House and dedicated to the memory of the victims of the first month of the Mean War. 

Back in January 2020, commemorating the International Holocaust Memorial Day, the Odessa Opera Orchestra played parts of the Mieczyslaw Weinberg Symphony No. 21, namely Kaddish. Weinberg composed the 21st from his 26 symphonies in 1991, five years before his death. For some reason, this very symphony is regarded among contemporary musicians as the one of the most enigmatic works of Weinberg. 

The Symphony No. 21 and in particular its part called Kaddish, is great, heart and mind haunting music by the composer with a truly tragic destiny.

Mieczyslaw Weinberg was known in the Soviet Union as Moisei Samuilovich Vainberg. He spent there all his life after he managed to get there running from the Nazis being just 20 year old, just him alone from all his family. All his life was the chain of incredible coincidences which of course were nothing of the sort. 

He was a musical prodigy from Warsaw, his family did not manage to get out of occupied Poland in the autumn  1939. His parents and younger sister perished in the ghetto there in Poland. 20-year old Mechek, as Mojse Wainberg was known to his friends, miraculously managed to get to Minsk, graduated from conservatory there a day before it was still possible to be evacuated from there, and he found himself in Tashkent where he became a close, a life-long friend of Dmitry Shostakovich. He moved to Moscow in the middle of the war, and since then was living and composing there, becoming the author of music of such legendary anti-war movie as The Cranes Are Flying which was the first Soviet film ever that received the Golden Palm Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. 

His first wife whom he met and married in evacuation in Tashkent was nobody else but Natalia Vovci, the daughter of the great Soviet Yiddish actor Solomon Michoels who was viciously murdered on the Stalin’s order in the most resonated crime of the regime soon after the WWII. Vainberg himself was arrested in the anti-Semitic Stalin’s purge in the early 1950s, and only Stalin’s death in March 1953 released him from the Gulag. 

Stalin’s death, which was a real gift of life to the millions in the USSR, has also saved my husband who was born in Gulag as well, and was just a two month old baby when it happened. Thanks to the happy fact of the deceased monster, Michael’s father was released from Gulag eventually, and the family was able to move to a less deadly place than the Valley of Death where my husband was born, to Kazakhstan. Michael’s father with tuberculosis contracted in the Gulag, died very prematurely, being only 39.

Michael Rogatchi (C). Kaddish. Oil on canvas. 1993.

Metsek Weinberg, as the composer  insisted to be called because ‘this is how my name was written in my birth certificate and how people knew me in Poland’ survived his short imprisonment in the Gulag better, but still always did bear its indelible marks, both in extra- and introvert ways. The genius was thoughtful and very shy. 

Samuil Vainberg, as we know the composer’s name back in the USSR, was very productive, but virtually unknown behind the Iron Curtain. He has become not just known, but phenomenally popular in the mid 2000s, after the international premiere of his now famous The Passenger opera in Poland. Poor Metsek never knew the success his name and legacy enjoys now. 

His enigmatic Symphony No 21 is dedicated to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto. Meaning : to his family, his both parents and little sister Esther. The Kaddish part of the symphony is extremely dramatic, but at the same time is contained. Those who would watch the video, would see that. It speaks straight to one’s soul. 

Musicians’ faces on this video are also very telling. Rarely one can see so many emotions and such dedication among the experienced orchestra members. But Odessa is Odessa, and everything is special about this place. 

The orchestra of Odessa Opera House is led at this performance by Hobart Earle, the conductor of American origin who was born in Venezuela and who studied in Vienna. His case is also very special. Hobart Earle came to Odessa by chance , being a 31-year old fine musician and singer working in Vienna. Earle fell in love with Odessa and its Opera House ( which is legendary, indeed), and started to work there as musician director and conductor for the $ 50 a month salary. 

It is Hobart Earle who did make the orchestra fit, its instruments as it should have been, its sound of a world class. He cared about the musicians, and he brought the orchestra to the world. Hobart Earle deserves serious recognition for his dedication and the results of it. 

I do not believe in coincidences. Hobart Earle decided to work and live in Odessa and to lead its Opera House Orchestra in the year in which Miezyslaw Weinberg created his Symphony No 21 with its Kaddish. In January 2020, Odessa Opera Orchestra performed this Kaddish under the baton of Hobart Earle and with incredible, personal dedication by them all in the memory of the victims of Holocaust. The Shoah in Odessa was horrendous. 

Just one year on, in the midst of the terrible Mean War, the Orchestra created a special video interacting their performance of Weinberg’s Kaddish with the war pictures of the day, dedicating this special musical video to the victims of the first month of the war against their country in 2022. 

As far as I can judge, Metchek Weinberg, as well as his most important friend and inspiration figure Dmitry Shostakovich would not be able to comprehend the reason for the re-dedication of his Kaddish piece. It is still hardly comprehensible for many of us. 

But the fact is that in March 2022, Weinberg’s Kaddish sounds in Odessa in memory of our contemporaries in Ukraine today. After this Mean War will end, this video will stay as one of the most tangible, tragic commemorations of so many afflicted souls. So many. 

Victor, Go Visit Your Embankment in Budapest – Essay

The Essay was published in the FlipBoard, the Newsletter of the Council of Europe, The Times of Israel

Inna Rogatchi (C). Greetings from the Past.

We are privileged to see the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky daily, with various speeches and addresses. Ukraine as a country is truly lucky to have such an energetic young man as its leader at this direst hour. One needs quite a strength to be able to act in such a rhythm for more than a month non-stop. But the Zelensky’s addressing the Council of Europe was something special among many of his various speeches. 

With dubbing in English, you can watch and hear it here.  The President of Ukraine in that particular speech was having all the heads of the European states sitting around that huge oval table, in front of him. He chose to address them not in the capacity of a collective leadership of Europe, but individually. It was the right approach. Because being addressed individually, they were still facing each other around that huge table. So, Zelensky was speaking to them in the way a kindergarten teacher speaks to the senior group of children. Composed, without a slight hint of a hysteric, but knowing, naming and addressing  the faults of each of the children in front of a teacher. 

Such a pedagogical method does exist. I am referring to that, as my mom was a legendary teacher in Ukraine for over 40 years of an extraordinary career there. She never did raise her voice to any of her pupils for all these years, always spoke with them or their parents individually, in order not to humiliate any of them. Until the point when a child continued to misbehave despite many attempts to correct his behaviour. To speak about a pupil’s incurable behaviour in front of a class was, according to my mom, the last resort. Often, it worked. 

In the Volodymyr Zelensky’s family, there are two generations of teachers,  his father is a university senior teacher, and his paternal grandmother was a highly appreciated teacher as well.  So, he knows something about pedagogics, it seems. 

In his interaction with the leaders of Europe, Volodymyr Zelensky decided to make very clear and public who from the European countries are with Ukraine and support her, and who is in the middle, and who is not. He started with praise of Lithuania, and his face, generally concerned, was enlightened, with a good reason. He was happy and grateful to Latvia and Estonia, to Poland and Finland, to Czech Republic and Slovakia, to Italy and Slovenia. He turned personally to the President of France Macron with yet another effort to convince him to be more articulate in the position of his country, as he was towards the Netherlands. There were countries towards which the President of Ukraine was both diplomatic and clear which is also an interesting expression of his youth dream to become a diplomat – “Luxembourg, we understand each other, Portugal, almost there, Spain, we hope  you will be fully with us soon.” 

After that detailed round touching ground with every single head of a state around the huge table, just two countries left. Those for which Volodymyr Zelensky prepared his most serious addressing. Germany and Hungary. With Germany, there was nothing unexpected in what the majority of people in Europe, including the majority of Germany itself,  think about their just impossibly weak position and policy in that deadly Mean War. No rationale can justify this kind of behaviour by the country which has caused such an unspeakable tragedy for so many hundreds of million of people in the XX century, twice so. 

And today, on the 31st day of the Mean War, I have at least 31 times asked myself: where on earth is Madame Merkel? She made a generalised one-phrase statement on the second day of the invasion, after which she disappeared from the horizon as if she never was there. I find her public absence appalling, to stay on a diplomatic tune. 

But – Hungary. When speaking about that country’s position in the tragedy unfolding in the centre of Europe, just on and next the Ukrainian border , the personality of President Zelensky has become open, and his appeal to Victor ( Orban) was powerful, engaging and very honest. Not often in politics, we are witnessing this kind of honesty, this kind of personal involvement, and this kind of open nerve. Victor had no chance against humanity and justice brought by the President of Ukraine to the table of the Council of Europe. 

Volodymyr Zelensky spoke about beautiful Budapest. Very beautiful city indeed. About special Hungarian people. Very true. It spoke to our hearts as well, with my husband’s ancestry right from the Pest bank of the Danube river, from the family of the noble Jewish military and engineers. So, we understood and knew what Volodymyr Zelensky was talking about while praising Budapest and its people. He was sincere. 

And then he remembered about the place in that beautiful city which shocks anyone who was there ever once. Especially if one visits there for the first time. The President of Ukraine was telling the prime-minister of Ukraine how he  visited the Budapest embankment with his family. “With my family – repeated it twice, emphatically. – With-my-family-I-was-there!”  Those shoes at the Budapest embankment, they chills one’s heart for once and for good. Those bronze shoes. That incredible, one in the world memorial to the victims of the Holocaust in Budapest who were thrown into the Danube from that very embankment , many of the alive, in one of the horrendous crimes of the Holocaust committed by the Nazis together with their Hungarian collaborators. Not for once. Repeatedly so. Such was the fashion of that crime which was committed in Budapest repeatedly from November 1944 through January 1945, with up to 15 thousand people murdered in this way. 

As president Zelensky was speaking about the one of the kind of the Shoes Memorial on the Danube river, he became really emotional. And I was proud of him. His personal, human engagement into the horror of our both people and its memory, has become the strongest reasoning in appealing to organically pro-Moscow  Orban, and it brought it to a different level altogether. It was not about gas, not about tanks. It was about human lives. And in the way Zelensky spoke about it, one cannot fake it. 

“Victor, do visit your embankment in Budapest again. And think about what kind of destiny can fall upon your people again’. Not only was it the best possible reasoning in the Ukrainian leader’s effort to bring at least some justice in international politics, with regard to Hungary. And actually, anyone else’s position in the current Mean War. It was also the most human, powerful, strong message that one can produce in the midst of irrational vicious aggression allowed to go on in the centre of Europe for over a month. 

Whatever will happen as the Mean War is still going on, Volodymyr Zelensky did show many admirable qualities, defined, in my opinion, by his own personal humanity. 16 years of Madame Merkel in power has been nullified by her appalling silence during the first month of the Mean War. 14 years of Victor Orban experience as the strong man of Hungary has been publicly put in question thanks to very timely reminding about it to all of us by the inexperienced politician and young enough 44- year old man who leads Ukraine today. 

The whole Europe has been divided anew, because of the European countries’ individual reaction towards the Mean War and their response to it, as it has been vividly and very convincingly illustrated for us all by President Zelensky. This division goes through the most important of lines, through the line of morale. And it will get into the history book exactly as portrayed by the President Zelensky at the recent meeting of the Council of Europe, on March 25th, 2022. 

Go visit your embankment in Budapest, Victor. And Angela, whichever monument you, Madame Merkel, would prefer to visit. Your country happens to have too many of them. And all those who need any additional convincing, practically all European countries have places of conscience-refreshing visits. It might be useful.

WEEK 5: March 24 -March 30, 2022

Summary of the Week 5: A CATASTROPHE AND A TRAGEDY

Inna Rogatchi (C). Sketch of Rain II. 2022.

Usually, there are a few categories of people who are occupied by the difference in semantics amidst their daily life. A writing folks, of course, then professional historians, and philosophers, always. For example, what constitutes a catastrophe, and what constitutes a tragedy?  But sometimes, there are moments which compulses practically every thinking and feeling human being to stop for a while, to think, to compare, and to make his or her conclusion. As it is now, because of the Mean War. 

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has made his concern on this topic public recently, in his interview to four Russian journalists, most of them being outside their country. The interview is long, one hour and 32 minutes in its published version, and in fact, is longer, as I was privileged to know.  Zelensky speaks there in his native language which is a colossal factor because he speaks and thinks naturally, organically there.  His interlocutors also speak and think in an organic way. The whole conversation is special and seemingly and understandably very important for both the interviewers, the leading men of free-thinking media in Russia who had to leave the country under the circumstances, and for the president of Ukraine, not only because of a direct possibility to address the Russian audience. Those who are interested in hearing what he has to say do it in any language provided. But mainly because of a rare for him nowadays opportunity to express himself freely, organically, in the natural for him way. This factor is impossible to overrate. 

There are many things to be said about this rarely open conversation. But summarising the fifth week of the Mean War which turned to show not only Russia’s wickedness, but Russia’s weakness,  I would like to emphasise the difference between a catastrophe and tragedy which was brought as a very important matter by President Zelensky during this fifth week of the Mean War. 

“ We are living through a tragedy here in our country” – president of Ukraine said. – “Believe me, we are not showing all the footage from our destroyed to the ground cities and towns and villages. We are not showing it because it is impossible to show, for the sake of our Ukrainian population, for our people here in Ukraine. We cannot do it. It is that horrendous”.  Russia as a state, its leadership and its military has caused a tragedy for Ukraine and its people. 

But there is yet another dimension originated by the Mean War. And the President of Ukraine had the intelligence and vision to note it and to speak about it publicly. 

“What has happened during just one month, would not be repaired in generations. It is not just a military conflict. Everything is much more serious, far reaching, and worse. For just one month, this war has brought a global, fundamental schism between our two people, the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia. This is a fundamental, huge, painful problem. Which will be going nowhere”. 

And if the Russian invasion and the character of the occupation which Zelensky characterised as ‘the worse one then it was during the WWII here, on our territory’, brought a terrible tragedy for Ukraine, the schism which it brought in between two neighbouring nations, he qualified as a catastrophe. 

“The Russian authorities have invoked a catastrophe upon their own people, it is obvious and it will continue for a long while” – said president Zelensky. But not only that. “What has happened now between Russian and Ukrainian people is more than tragic. I can tell you that not only dreadful decisions of the Russia’s leadership, not only horrendous actions of the Russian army, but very importantly, unwillingness of the large part of the Russian society to find out the truth, to succumb to an information bombardment of their official media, that indifference of the large part of the Russian public has become the most terrible disappointment here in Ukraine, not only my personal, but also of our people. This deep, shocked disappointment was transformed into hatred, as concerning, as it is. But this is reality. I can tell you that the adult population of Ukraine won’t be able to forget or forgive the crimes of the Russian side during their aggression on our land.  Simply won’t be able to. We only can think with this regard on the generation of our children and grandchildren and hope for the best. Without much assurance, I must admit”. 

Never before in my life, in the life of the grandchildren of the generation of WWII, the semantic differences were so graphic. And so irrefutable. 

Day 35: March 30, Wednesday

KADDISH IN THE OPERA: ODESSA

Michael Rogatchi (C). Kaddish. Oil on canvas. 1993.

Odessa is a very special place not in Ukraine, not in the South-Eastern Europe. In the world. It is a unique universe. There are many books, and some movies depicting it, but none of it is not enough. Nothing is encompassing. In my modest view, it is easier and certainly quicker to describe and present New York and Paris than Odessa. Maybe, I am subjective. A large part of my immediate family is from Odessa, and I am lovingly proud of it. 

It is a warm, chic in its own way and hilariously funny, in its absolutely unique way, rich culturally, colourful, extremely potential, talented, very human, with all our shortcomings seen always through that one and only prism of a suburb irony which is first of all a self-irony, place of immense inner freedom and followed awesome tolerance which has been inherited there from the times of introducing the place as the porto-franco zone in the Russian Empire, the only one, and actually solely because of it. It is the place of great culture and architecture which has suffered a lot, and a lot, and a lot in various periods, but always tried to smile.  

I always remember the scene which was imprinted in my head from the late 1990s. I was  walking through rather sad and severely impoverished Odessa visiting the city’s places special for my family. All of the sudden, among that rather drubby landscape, both literally and metaphorically, I heard the singing of a rare beauty. First, I thought that I was mistaken. The singing was too good. Superb opera voice. Superb masterly performance. I stopped under the rain on the main Odessa boulevard, Primorsky boulevard, close to the sea and the monument of the Duc, as the Duc de Richelieu is known there in the city which he has made that unique place on the earth, and tried to find the source of that heavenly-like singing looking to all sides from my wet umbrella. 

Soon, I saw the woman who was staying there in the middle of the boulevard under the cold autumn rain, without an umbrella, and singing one opera aria after another, with a very tired mid-aged face. Very very tired face. More than twenty years passed from that meeting, but for some reason, I do remember that woman’s coat of an uninteresting olive colour. How come? She had very little money in front of her, and it was clear that she was staying there singing for a long while. I became paralysed. I came closer. I wanted to do everything for that woman, but I was cautious not to interrupt her. So we stand nearby. She stayed  singing  heavenly, in Italian, wet, without an umbrella.  I stayed fully numbed, under an umbrella, waiting for her to have a pause. 

She stopped after some while, as she noticed me. I approached, trying to formulate in my head the most delicate way of speaking with her. Without letting me open my mouth, the woman said very simply: “ I am working there – nodding to the side of the world-famous Odessa opera house. – Sorry, I was. Now I am ‘working’ here’. She tried to smile. I tried not to cry. I invited the Odessa Opera soloist to come with me to my hotel which was very near, to get dry and to have some rest. I was already planning how I will invite her to the late lunch and will give her my room to relax a bit. She thanked me but nodded in a rejecting gesture. “No, thank you. I am OK. Honestly. And I will be going home soon, anyway, on the tram’. We both looked at the Odessa tram moving nearby. I asked her again. She nodded negatively again, smiling, This time, without effort, with a very nice, relieving smile. Of course, I gave her all the money which was in my purse. Valentina, it was the singer’s name, as she introduced herself, thank me and said that now, really, she can return home at once. Believe it or not, the rain stopped. We laughed together, and departed. I remember her and her singing ever since. 

Twenty three years later, the Odessa Opera Orchestra  lives through the war, the Mean War. To mark the first month of the Mean War, the Odessa Opera Orchestra created a very memorable performance. It can be watched here.

Unlike many musical renditions, which  are perfectly audible, this one is necessary to watch. The people from the Odessa Opera Orchestra took their live performance dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust in January 2020, and combined the record with the current pictures of the Mean War. The outcome is very powerful, with amazing harmony between the terrible current  visual with highly dramatic music by a highly dramatic composer created in 1991. Everyone participated in this heart-wrenching experience created by the Odessa Opera House musicians and directors of the video, the composer, and the conductor of the orchestra deserves a closer look. It is incredible how so many different dramas have amalgamated into the one shown in the video from the Odessa Opera House and dedicated to the memory of the victims of the first month of the Mean War. 

Back in January 2020, commemorating the International Holocaust Memorial Day, the Odessa Opera Orchestra played parts of the Mieczyslaw Weinberg Symphony No. 21, namely Kaddish. Weinberg composed the 21st from his 26 symphonies in 1991, five years before his death. For some reason, this very symphony is regarded among contemporary musicians as the one of the most enigmatic works of Weinberg. 

 The Symphony No. 21 and in particular its part called Kaddish, is great, heart and mind haunting music by the composer with a truly tragic destiny.

Mieczyslaw Weinberg was known in the Soviet Union as Moisei Samuilovich Vainberg. He spent there all his life after he managed to get there running from the Nazis being just 20 year old, just him alone from all his family. All his life was the chain of incredible coincidences which of course were nothing of the sort. 

He was a musical prodigy from Warsaw, his family did not manage to get out of occupied Poland in the autumn  1939. His parents and younger sister perished in the ghetto there in Poland. 20-year old Mechek, as Mojse Wainberg was known to his friends, miraculously managed to get to Minsk, graduated from conservatory there a day before it was still possible to be evacuated from there, and he found himself in Tashkent where he became a close, a life-long friend of Dmitry Shostakovich. He moved to Moscow in the middle of the war, and since then was living and composing there, becoming the author of music of such legendary anti-war movie as The Cranes Are Flying which was the first Soviet film ever that received the Golden Palm Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. 

His first wife whom he met and married in evacuation in Tashkent was nobody else but Natalia Vovci, the daughter of the great Soviet Yiddish actor Solomon Michoels who was viciously murdered on the Stalin’s order in the most resonated crime of the regime soon after the WWII. Vainberg himself was arrested in the anti-Semitic Stalin’s purge in the early 1950s, and only Stalin’s death in March 1953 released him from the Gulag. 

Stalin’s death, which was a real gift of life to the millions in the USSR, has also saved my husband who was born in Gulag as well, and was just a two month old baby when it happened. Thanks to the happy fact of the deceased monster, Michael’s father was released from Gulag eventually, and the family was able to move to a less deadly place than the Valley of Death where my husband was born, to Kazakhstan. Michael’s father with tuberculosis contracted in the Gulag, died very prematurely, being only 39. 

Metsek Weinberg, as the composer  insisted to be called because ‘this is how my name was written in my birth certificate and how people knew me in Poland’ survived his short imprisonment in the Gulag better, but still always did bear its indelible marks, both in extra- and introvertive ways. The genius was thoughtful and very shy. 

Samuil Vainberg, as we know the composer’s name back in the USSR, was very productive, but virtually unknown behind the Iron Curtain. He has become not just known, but phenomenally popular in the mid 2000s, after the international premiere of his now famous The Passenger opera in Poland. Poor Metsek never knew the success his name and legacy enjoys now. 

His enigmatic Symphony No 21 is dedicated to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto. Meaning : to his family, his both parents and little sister Esther. The Kaddish part of the symphony is extremely dramatic, but at the same time is contained. Those who would watch the video, would see that. It speaks straight to one’s soul. 

Musicians’ faces on this video are also very telling. Rarely one can see so many emotions and such dedication among the experienced orchestra members. But Odessa is Odessa, and everything is special about this place. 

The orchestra of Odessa Opera House is led at this performance by Hobart Earle, the conductor of American origin who was born in Venezuela and who studied in Vienna. His case is also very special. Hobart Earle came to Odessa by chance , being a 31-year old fine musician and singer working in Vienna. Earle fell in love with Odessa and its Opera House ( which is legendary, indeed), and started to work there as musician director and conductor for the $ 50 a month salary. 

It is Hobart Earle who did make the orchestra fit, its instruments as it should have been, its sound of a world class. He cared about the musicians, and he brought the orchestra to the world. Hobart Earle deserves serious recognition for his dedication and the results of it. 

I do not believe in coincidences. Hobart Earle decided to work and live in Odessa and to lead its Opera House Orchestra in the year in which Miezyslaw Weinberg created his Symphony No 21 with its Kaddish. In January 2020, Odessa Opera Orchestra performed this Kaddish under the baton of Hobart Earle and with incredible, personal dedication by them all in the memory of the victims of Holocaust. The Shoah in Odessa was horrendous. 

Just one year on, in the midst of the terrible Mean War, the Orchestra created a special video interacting their performance of Weinberg’s Kaddish with the war pictures of the day, dedicating this special musical video to the victims of the first month of the war against their country in 2022. 

As far as I can judge, Metchek Weinberg, as well as his most important friend and inspiration figure Dmitry Shostakovich would not be able to comprehend the reason for the re-dedication of his Kaddish piece. It is still hardly comprehensible for many of us. 

But the fact is that in March 2022, Weinberg’s Kaddish sounds in Odessa in memory of our contemporaries in Ukraine today. After this Mean War will end, this video will stay as one of the most tangible, tragic commemorations of so many afflicted souls. So many. 

Day 34: March 29, Tuesday

PARENTS AS HOSTAGES

Inna Rogatchi(C). Waltz in Yellow. Tunes About Ukraine. 2022.

Every day of the Mean War brings something hardly believable. We have learned, in a real-time mode, about the trend of abductions carried on by ‘the liberators’ in Ukraine. Not as a separate case, but as a trend, in fact, as a method of war applied by the Russian army consistently. We know about fourteen mayors of Ukrainian cities who were abducted and moved away by ‘the liberators’. We also know that 

at least two of them are confirmed dead. This means murdered. Mayors are civilians, and have an extra responsibility at the time of  war for providing and maintaining a full spectrum of life supporting services and materials for their civilian population. The Ukrainian authority does not know, cannot find out as of today, about the destiny of a dozen of their abducted mayors. To which legal authority should they appeal? To the UN? The Hague International Court of Justice which has no jurisdiction over any Russian official whatsoever?  The International Criminal Court, which is in the same legal position? Just wonder. 

But today, we have learned something new on the theme of an abduction during the Mean War.

There is a town of Primorsk near Zaporizzha, a nice resort town, with just over 12 000 people living there. The town’s history goes back to the Napoleon invasion of Russia, and it also has to do with a legendary Duc de Richeliue,  the Frenchman who made Odessa a pearl of the Black Sea. But who cares in that army of Z-liberators? So Primorsk resort town has a mayor, until recently. 

We were informed that after entering the town as occupiers, ‘the liberators’ were looking for the mayor of Primorsk, Alexander Koshalevich. They were looking for him specifically. The mayor is popular and engaging. When they were unable to find the mayor, they arrested his father. Simple. And working. 

Mayor Koshalevich, who seemingly has a clear understanding about life, unlike the humanoids who occupied his town, decided to give in and to release his father. After the swap and release of the Mayor’s father, ‘the liberators’ moved Alexander Koshalevich towards Berdjansk which is nearby and which they control currently. 

The locals are terrified. And everyone who learns about this, too. Ironically, Alexander Koshalevich is a member of the Opposition Platform party which has been pro-Russian all the time. But some of its members, as the Mayor of Primorsk, dared to believe that they are citizens of a sovereign country. 

The lessons of the war are always painful. The lessons of the Mean War 2022 are barely believable. It is an ongoing surrealist show at large. 

 Day 33: March 28, Monday

 MUSIC  & ITS PEOPLE

Maestro Evgeny Kissin is a world star of piano. Plus a very interesting composer. Plus a very good poet in Yiddish, the language which he learned to the degree to become a poet of it, out of his tender and deep love to his grandparents. Plus a courageous defender of democracy and humanity always ready to give and to participate in meaningful concerts-actions in support of the victims of unjust repressions and cruelty. Plus generous supporter of former Soviet dissidents who were selflessly fighting for justice all their noble lives. 

Zhenja, as maestro Kissin is known in his family and among his friends, is also a dear friend of ours. We have known him since he was a seven-year old prodigy, and we have been closely friendly for the last decade. We love Zhenija and his family. Love never looks for an explanation. But one can add some rationale to one’s love, and in the case of Kissin, we are proud of the human stand of our friend. 

Maestro Kissin made his statement, his The Note of Protest against the Mean War on the day when it was started, on February 24th, 2022. Here is the link to the statement.

Evgeny with his wife and friends participated in the public protests in Prague against the Mean War there. 

On Sunday, March 28th, 2022, Maestro Kissin played at the special event, solidarity with Ukraine musical fundraiser organised by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Walter Steinmeir. It was a very special event indeed. A part of the great orchestra of the Berlin Philharmonic was playing at the President of Germany residency together with Maestro Kissin and the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov. 

Naturally, during the last 43 years of knowing the great pianist and following his concerts in many places world-wide, from St Petersburg to New York, we have heard him playing thousands of times. It was always great – and this is undeniable the mark of genius in this simple fact. But never have I heard among those thousands of times Evgeny Kissin playing in the way in which he did while performing the movements from Shostakovich’s Piano Trio 2. That piece was composed by Shostakovich in Leningrad in 1944, just after the siege of the city. Shostakovich composed that deeply painful great music in memory of his close friend  composer Ivan Sollertisky who died in evacuation at the midst of the war at the age of 41. 

That rendition was a very rare moment in meloman’s life when you are privileged to hear, to witness a phenomenon when a musician’s soul is shared with an instrument on which he performs, thus making his instrument personified and literally speaking to us. Here is the link to that very special, very thoughtful, very moving concert.

In the audience at the German President’s residency, in the first row, was sitting a man. He was dressed not up to the protocol. It was 84-year old well-known composer from Ukraine Valentin Silvestrov. His music for the great films of famous movie director Kira Muratova is the serious part of the fame of these movies. His Silent Songs is a modern classic. Mr Silvestrov in his age had to run from his home, very reluctantly, as we know. He was on the road for three days and nights, and  arrived in Berlin with just one suitcase. The suitcase was full of sheet notes with his music. Nothing else.

Maestro Silvestrov approached the grand-piano in the presidential residence hall in his casual great sweater instead of a concert dress, sat in his understated manner, and started to play. For some reason, I could not turn my eyes from his glasses which an 84-year refugee composer placed on the instrument. These glasses were so helpless. Silvestrov’s music was so gentle. We, the musicians, the public, all tried not to cry, the same as the composer, who was moved by everything which cannot be expressed by words, but can be by music.

Returning to our dear friend, Maestro Evgeny Kissin, his concert in solidarity with Ukraine, Kissin and Friends for Ukraine, with participation of the great modern musicians, such as  violinist Gidon Kremer, cellists David Geringas and  Giedre Dirvanauskaite, will  happen at the famed Tonhalle in Dusseldorf on Saturday, April 2nd, 2022.

The same Shostakovich’s Piano Trio 2 which Kissin played with an open heart at the Presidential residence on Sunday March 27th, 2022, will be the focus of the Kissin & Friends for Ukraine concert, according to the organisers. And the piece by Ukrainian composer Valentin Silverstrov, his Concert for Solo Violin, will be played at the concert by great musician and great man with a big heart, Gidon Kremer. 

Who said that muses are silent when canons speak? I always found this truism very shallow. Of course, muses can speak at such time, and they are – when they are tuned by the heart of a fair people.

Day 32: March 27, Sunday

FUEL-CIDE

Inna Rogatchi (C). The Essence of Darkness. War Pictures. 2022.

The aggressor in the Mean War does not spare their missiles to fly from the Black Sea all the way to Lviv to bomb it. Our friends in the middle of Ukraine are also telling us regularly about constant sirens warning people to get into the shelters as those missiles fired by ‘the liberators’ from their ships in the Black Sea are getting into  the various places inside the territory of Ukraine which are very far from the current warfront. Initially, people under the attack in Ukraine did not understand the purpose of those far-range missile attacks. Now we do. Their target? Fuel storages. In Sumy, Rivno, Lviv, and many other places, the fuel storages has become the targets for the massive and intensifying  ‘liberating’ bombing.  

The phenomena has escalated against the news about the critical situation with regard to fuel resources of Ukraine, with some of them currently having fuel storage enough for several weeks only. 

Additionally, at the time of the start of the sowing campaign in the country which under normal circumstances exports between 12 and 17% of various grain crops in the world , such attacks are focused and predominated. What planned killing of the future harvest 2022 has to do with ‘demilitarisation’ of Ukraine declared as the main purpose of the Mean War? Yes, I know how highly declarative this question is. 

When missiles hit such targets as fuel storage, especially big ones, the fires caused are of such scale that despite all the effort, they cannot be extinguished for many days, and sometime, more, as we are seeing it in Ukraine these days. 

To purportedly hit fuel storages, including the places which are off military zone, in the country many places of which civilian population suffers from a siege, with heat, water and electricity cut off, to endanger the existing catastrophic situation further on, is intentional and conscious, planned barbarian way of conduct. No surprise though, but all this should be registered and reacted upon. 

There is an essential teaching in world philosophy and mysticism in the form of a question: “What is the essence of darkness? – Light”. Too bad that the basics of civilization are seemingly not taught at the military academies of the huge country of self-proclaimed Z-liberators.

Day 31: March 26, 2022, Saturday

VICTOR, VISIT YOUR EMBANKMENT IN BUDAPEST

NEW DIVISION OF EUROPE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE EMBANKMENT IN BUDAPEST

Inna Rogatchi (C). Danube Perspective I. 2016.

 We are privileged to see the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky daily, with various speeches and addresses. Ukraine as a country is truly lucky to have such an energetic young man as its leader at this direst hour. One needs quite a strength to be able to act in such a rhythm for more than a month non-stop. But the Zelensky’s addressing the Council of Europe was something special among many of his various speeches. 

With dubbing in English, you can watch and hear it here.  The President of Ukraine in that particular speech was having all the heads of the European states sitting around that huge oval table, in front of him. He chose to address them not in the capacity of a collective leadership of Europe, but individually. It was the right approach. Because being addressed individually, they were still facing each other around that huge table. So, Zelensky was speaking to them in the way a kindergarten teacher speaks to the senior group of children. Composed, without a slight hint of a hysteric, but knowing, naming and addressing  the faults of each of the children in front of a teacher. 

Such a pedagogical method does exist. I am referring to that, as my mom was a legendary teacher in Ukraine for over 40 years of an extraordinary career there. She never did raise her voice to any of her pupils for all these years, always spoke with them or their parents individually, in order not to humiliate any of them. Until the point when a child continued to misbehave despite many attempts to correct his behaviour. To speak about a pupil’s incurable behaviour in front of a class was, according to my mom, the last resort. Often, it worked. 

In the Volodymyr Zelensky’s family, there are two generations of teachers,  his father is a university senior teacher, and his paternal grandmother was a highly appreciated teacher as well.  So, he knows something about pedagogics, it seems. 

In his interaction with the leaders of Europe, Volodymyr Zelensky decided to make very clear and public who from the European countries are with Ukraine and support her, and who is in the middle, and who is not. He started with praise of Lithuania, and his face, generally concerned, was enlightened, with a good reason. He was happy and grateful to Latvia and Estonia, to Poland and Finland, to Chezh Republic and Slovakia, to Italy and Slovenia. He turned personally to the President of France Macron with yet another effort to convince him to be more articulate in the position of his country, as he was towards the Netherlands. There were countries towards which the President of Ukraine was both diplomatic and clear which is also an interesting expression of his youth dream to become a diplomat – “Luxembourg, we understand each other, Portugal, almost there, Spain, we hope  you will be fully with us soon.” 

After that detailed round touching ground with every single head of a state around the huge table, just two countries left. Those for which Volodymyr Zelensky prepared his most serious addressing. Germany and Hungary. With Germany, there was nothing unexpected in what the majority of people in Europe, including the majority of Germany itself,  think about their just impossibly weak position and policy in that deadly Mean War. No rationale can justify this kind of behaviour by the country which has caused such an unspeakable tragedy for so many hundreds of million of people in the XX century, twice so. 

And today, on the 31st day of the Mean War, I have at least 31 times asked myself: where on earth is Madame Merkel? She made a generalised one-phrase statement on the second day of the invasion, after which she disappeared from the horizon as if she never was there. I find her public absence appalling, to stay on a diplomatic tune. 

But – Hungary. When speaking about that country’s position in the tragedy unfolding in the centre of Europe, just on and next the Ukrainian border , the personality of President Zelensky has become open, and his appeal to Victor ( Orban) was powerful, engaging and very honest. Not often in politics, we are witnessing this kind of honesty, this kind of personal involvement, and this kind of open nerve. Victor had no chance against humanity and justice brought by the President of Ukraine to the table of the Council of Europe. 

Volodymyr Zelensky spoke about beautiful Budapest. Very beautiful city indeed. About special Hungarian people. Very true. It spoke to our hearts as well, with my husband’s ancestry right from the Pest bank of the Danube river, from the family of the noble Jewish military and engineers. So, we understood and knew what Volodymyr Zelensky was talking about while praising Budapest and its people. He was sincere. 

And then he remembered about the place in that beautiful city which shocks anyone who was there ever once. Especially if one visits there for the first time. The President of Ukraine was telling the prime-minister of Hungary how he  visited the Budapest embankment with his family. “With my family – repeated it twice, emphatically. – With-my-family-I-was-there!”  Those shoes at the Budapest embankment, they chills one’s heart for once and for good. Those bronze shoes. That incredible, one in the world memorial to the victims of the Holocaust in Budapest who were throwned into the Danube from that very embankment , many of the alive, in one of the horrendous crimes of the Holocaust committed by the Nazis together with their Hungarian collaborators. Not for once. Repeatedly so. Such was the fashion of that crime which was committed in Budapest repeatedly from November 1944 through January 1945, with up to 15 thousand people murdered in this way. 

As president Zelensky was speaking about the one of the kind of the Shoes Memorial on the Danube river, he became really emotional. And I was proud of him. His personal, human engagement into the horror of our both people and its memory, has become the strongest reasoning in appealing to organically pro-Moscow  Orban, and it brought it to a different level altogether. It was not about gas, not about tanks. It was about human lives. And in the way Zelensky spoke about it, one cannot fake it. 

“Victor, do visit your embankment in Budapest again. And think about what kind of destiny can fall upon your people again’. Not only was it the best possible reasoning in the Ukrainian leader’s effort to bring at least some justice in international politics, with regard to Hungary. And actually, anyone else’s position in the current Mean War. It was also the most human, powerful, strong message that one can produce in the midst of irrational vicious aggression allowed to go on in the centre of Europe for over a month. 

Whatever will happen as the Mean War is still going on, Volodymyr Zelensky did show many admirable qualities, defined, in my opinion, by his own personal humanity. 16 years of Madame Merkel in power has been nullified by her appalling silence during the first month of the Mean War. 14 years of Victor Orban experience as the strong man of Hungary has been publicly put in question thanks to very timely reminding about it to all of us by the inexperienced politician and young enough 44- year old man who leads Ukraine today. 

The whole Europe has been divided anew, because of the European countries’ individual reaction towards the Mean War and their response to it, as it has been vividly and very convincingly illustrated for us all by President Zelensky. This division goes through the most important of lines, through the line of morale. And it will get into the history book exactly as portrayed by President Zelensky at the recent meeting of the Council of Europe, on March 25th, 2022. 

Go visit your embankment in Budapest, Victor. And Angela, whichever monument you, dear Madame Merkel, would prefer to visit. Your country happens to have too many of them. And all those who need any additional convincing, practically all European countries have places of conscience-refreshing visits. It might be useful.

Inna Rogatchi (C). Danube Step I. 2016.

Day 30: March 25, 2022, Friday

REPLACED CHILDREN

So, we know this boy by now, many of us, from Melbourne to Berlin. He goes alone, sobbing, with that plastic bag in his hand. He is stumbling. He is in agony, actually – which is obvious for anyone who saw the video. The boy is crossing the border. In the centre of Europe, in the XXI century. I am angry at myself for this cliche in my war diary, ‘Centre of Europe, the third decade of the XXI century’. But I am also defiant in reminding this fact in many of my observations of the Mean War. Until the moment when our all collective appaulment would transform into something more practical. 

According to UNICEF, the result of the first month of the Mean War, from February 24th through March 24th, 2022, resulted in the replacement of over four million three hundred thousand children in Ukraine. 4 300 000 replaced kids in one month. Two and half million of them were replaced within the border of Ukraine, with 1 800 000 children becoming refugees beyond the Ukrainian border. Can we, adults, really understand the meaning of this terrible maths?

The figure of 4 300 000 replaced children of Ukraine is compatible with only one period in human history, with the 1940s. 

Before the Mean War, Ukraine had  7, 500 000 children. After one month of the war, 4 300 000 of them were replaced. It is 57%. War figures must be precise. 

For those who understand Ukrainian and Russian, here is a priceless video made and published by Nastojashee Vremja decent media about some of these small and young Ukrainian refugees. Some of our friends have mentioned that to watch it is even more difficult than to see the reports of the shelling. I disagree. My husband has noticed for a while now, ever since we are seeing some of the Ukrainian children coming how different and good they are. It does tell about the country and its people. It always does. Please watch it.

Day 29: March 24, 2022, Thursday

GRAVES AT THE CHILDREN’s PLAYGROUNDS

When you do not see it, it gets into your mind, but because of human self-defence sub-conscious mechanisms, it stays compartmentalised. I mention this as an educated biologist and dedicated psycho-physiologist. When you see it, it gets into your conscience for good. If you have it. 

People, civilians, are murdered in the Mean War daily, for over a month by now. Because of continuing shelling, there is no possibility to bury them properly in many places of Ukraine. Lucky ones are buried in the courtyards of their houses, if their neighbours manage to do it. We have already seen large mass graves in Mariupol with many corpses of the murdered civilians placed there, in a horrendous videos and photos. 

The evidence of the crimes against humanity – because the crimes against civilian population are qualified by the international law as a crime against humanity  – are amassed daily. What a terrible catalogue. 

We have the evidence. We have those photos with corpses of the civilians laying on the grounds of Ukrainian cities, towns, villages, and roads. The most impossible is the photo of the fresh grave at the children’s playground, with a child playing so near to it. What else symbolises the vicious character of the Mean War  that any Kafka of his or her time can imagine? But the point is that we are seeing the document, it all is for real. 

And yet horrific is that the graves at the children’s playgrounds in Ukraine today are regarded as ‘a consoling’ feature  – due to the fact that so very many people who were murdered in the war, had no chance to be buried at all, even in a mass graves. This deprives me of sleep. 

Just yesterday, I saw the story about a very good Ukrainian doctor, well-known paediatrician from Kharkov, the head of the department of a hospital there, who saved during the 40 years of his career thousands children. He was proposed to be evacuated, but refused, because he knew that he was needed there. When he was murdered, there was no chance to bury him, his daughter has told to their friends. Now, that family has to live with it. Instead of burying their father, the doctor’s children are collecting any memories about him by anyone who would like to say a couple of words. That would be his memorial, the family says. 

I know personally about several other cases when family or friends cannot bury their loved ones murdered by ‘the liberators’. I cannot imagine how people who were attacked in this way, can live the rest of their lives. 

Graves in the children’s playgrounds, mass graves, no graves at all for hundreds of innocent people. I am at a loss that the sun rises from the east in the business as usual motto amidst this amok.  

Week 4: March 17 – March 23 , 2022

Summary of the Week IV: The Mean War: Chorus of Dissonances

Inna Rogatchi ©. Dissonance 2022. War Posters. 2022

As hard as it is to imagine, I am now summarising not the fourth day of the war, but its fourth week. This is in the circumstances when the conventional wisdom of modern warfare teaches in the military academies world-wide that a modern  international military conflict is an extremely expensive enterprise, and for that obvious reason, normally such conflicts are quite short, timing-wise. It is also obvious that terms ‘normal’ has zero effect in the current Russian top decision-making, both political and military ones, so normalities are not applicable there. 

What did the world see during the fourth week of the Mean War? We saw a continuing acceleration of a chorus of its dissonances. The Mean War screams its dissonances out, and being solely unjust in its origin, and barbarian in its conduct, it makes these dissonances as graphic, as none of us ever wanted to see it. 

There is expected dissonance between life and death. But this war is largely against civilians, and it is utterly indiscriminate. There is also natural, for a war, dissonance between light and darkness.  But so far, it also gets too far, with such recent exploits of the Russian thugs in military uniform as bombing of a psyhiatric ward in Mykolaiv, and setting a stable with horses inside on a fire, on purpose, with all horses dying there, both evil acts happened just yesterday.  

Many of us – and normal, good people in Russia  –  are suffering  a strong cognitive dissonance from day one of this barbaric ‘liberation’. I do believe that the people of an elder generations than mine, the generations of our parents and grandparents, those who were young adults and children during the WWII, would not be able to comprehend this Mean War for a bit.  Many of us are still struggling with comprehension of it, after four weeks of shelling.  Too many questions, two few answers, if any. 

There is a screaming dissonance between humanity and inhumanity. Ten million refugees during the first month of the war, with 3, 5 million of them beyond the Ukrainian border. With every single refugee, the suffering in this world adds. We have ten million sufferings added during just four weeks. And, in fact, much more – because those refugees have family members, friends who all are suffering with them. 

With everything we saw in a previous wars and military conflicts during the previous decades, when our own perception and senses work for an immediate, personal, the most authentic individual experience, both emotional and rational, only some scenes during the war in the former Yugoslavia can come to comparison with our daily observations during the last four weeks of our life, since when the reality in Europe has been changed in the most dramatic way. This Mean War is inhuman to the core. It was inhuman in its conception, and it is inhuman in its daily conduct. It is inhuman in all and every aspect of it: children, women, elderly, disabled, sick, weak, fragile, homeless, depraved of everything by crimes, lost, maimed, wounded, murdered. This register is filled daily. It is and it will be a big account to get accountable for. 

There is a dissonance between morality and amorality, with a capital M and A in the case of the Mean War. Children cancer patients in a bombed clinic. Maternity wards bombed. Elderly and disabled who were hardly movable and are left behind. There is also a shocking assemblage of genocides practiced daily for four weeks by now: genocide of the civil population, planned ecocide of the Ukrainian forest, catastrophic and often incuperable culture-cide, architecture-cide, medicide, the purposeful destruction of the medical system in Ukraine, urbanocide of the pictures of totally destroyed Ukrainian cities which are  comparable with the historical pictures of bombed by the Allies Dresden , and sometimes are worse than it, plus there are many cities destroyed totally. 

There is a dissonance between values, as well. It is painfully tangible and it is very worrisome. Whom we are dealing with? What are they for? We see what they are bringing with their tanks and bombs. We wonder: what are they defending? 

As president Zelensky said in his recent speech, made during this fourth week of the Mean War, in the Israel’s Knesset, : “The mediation can be between the states, not between good and evil”. Absolutely so.

Day 28: March 23, 2022, Wednesday

 NOBEL and NOBEL

Inna Rogatchi ©. Nobel and Nobel 2022. War Posters. 2022.

On the third day of this Mean War, judging on the behaviour, leadership, morale and attitude demonstrated by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, I have written and published internationally  that he should be regarded as the leading candidate for the Nobel Prize this year, 2022. This year in which he woke up to the sudden Mean War at 4 am, as from the WWII textbook, and started to lead the admirable resistance of his nation, his country and his people. 

I know the proceedings of the Nobel Committee well. I have participated in some nominations, and have first-hand experience of the process and its details. The Nobel Committee indeed has quite fixed time-framework for the nominations, and the rules are strict. 

But thirty eight first-echelon European politicians, including many former ministers for foreign affairs, some former prime-ministers, recent EU Commissioners, and many MEPs were believing that under such extraordinary circumstances as a war, the Nobel Committee would hear the reason. So they wrote a highly respectable letter to the Committee ( which copy I have as well) giving a compelling reason to the Committee to re-open the process for nomination, due to the extraordinary circumstances. The nomination was not only for one person, importantly. The nomination was for President Zelensky AND for the People of Ukraine. Just who could be more worthy for the Nobel Peace Prize 2022? It sounds like a grotesquely declarative question. To all of us. But not for the Nobel Committee. 

According to the rules, the nominations are closed by January 31st each year. There is a possibility for members of the Committee to nominate their candidate until February 28th. Ukraine was attacked, with the Mean War started on February 24th this year. The Letter to the Nobel Committee by the 38 leading European politicians was sent on March 11th. 

As we learned recently, the Norwegian Peace Institute responsible for the Nobel Peace Prize, decided not to make a minor and technical exemption which would allow the nomination of President Zelensky and the People of Ukraine for the Nobel Prize 2022. They probably think that nothing dramatic would happen if Zelensky would be nominated strictly within the regulations of the Committee the next year. But we’ve got the message. We all did. And if the officials of the Nobel Committee believe that the world did not notice their cold cowardness, they are mistaken. 

The day after this cold, distant, giving in decision, another decision was announced in Moscow. By the most recent Nobel Peace Laureate. The man who was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize last year, quite recently, actually, in October last year, the editor-in-chief of the Novaya Gazeta  Dmitry Muratov. 

I remember how happy we were upon hearing that news a few months ago. For a long time, the Nobel Peace Prize was not that well deserved. I have known Dmitry for over 25 years, and he is a real and steady good force in that society that suffers a catastrophic deficiency of morale and courage. 

So the next day after the telling negative decision of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, Dmitry Muratov decided to auction his golden Nobel Peace Prize Medal, with the proceeds to go to the Ukrainian refugees Foundation. Muratov’s golden Nobel Peace Prize 2021 medal is expected to be auctioned at one of the international auction houses. 

It is an unprecedented gesture, with regard to the Nobel Peace Prize medal. There were two cases of selling the Prize golden medals in the entire history of Nobel Prizes previously, both in the mid- 2010s, but those were not Nobel Peace Prizes, and the motivation and circumstances in  the both cases was entirely different, there were practical reasons for those sales. This time, with Dmitry Muratov’s decision to auction his golden medal in support of the Ukrainian refugees, the stiff decision of  the Nobel Institute not to allow the nomination of President Zelensky and the People of Ukraine for their withstanding the Mean War in the midst of it, comes to clearly highly critical and just limelight. There is a Nobel and Nobel. And there is Dmitry Muratov, the current Sakharov of Russia, whom that society does need screamingly.

Day 27: March 22, 2022, Tuesday

LOST CHILDREN

Inna Rogatchi(C). Lost Ones of the XXI Century. War Posters. 2022

On this collage on my poster  are only ten of hundreds if not thousands of children lost in the Mean War. There are so many groups and chats all over the internet created and maintained specifically for this purpose, to help parents, family members and children to find each other.  This poster I have created using the material dutifully spread by Diana Alperovich who is from Ukraine, living in NYC and whose heart is bleeding for her native country, as the hearts of many of us all over the world. Thank you Diana for your steady effort. It matters. Thank you to everyone who keeps these children-search groups and chats in Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, all over. 

Daily I am seeing these photos. Daily I am reading these appeals. Please help me to find our son. Please help us to find our daughter. Please, my family is lost. Please, the boy is left alone in the basement for two weeks, his parents were killed. Four years old, eight years old, five years old. My little boy was in touch the last time on March 2nd, at 11.54. My daughter was last in touch on March 3d. My children with their granny should be evacuated on March 9th. Please help find my children, 11 and 7 years old. Our son, 4 years old, is wearing a red coat. Maybe, someone saw him, the coat is so bright. G-d, those red coats of lost children. This girl searches for her family, she is in Hungary now. This girl is lost, perhaps someone knows her? Every single day. Mariupol, Kyiv, Sumy, Kherson, Melitopol, villages all over Ukraine. 

Writing about this ongoing Mean War, I cannot use ‘how on earth’ phrasing any longer, because it does not make sense. Because it is happening, in front of our eyes, every single day, for about a month now, and with a prospect for several more months, at least, of sorrow, tragedies and crimes. 

So, our civilised high-tech society can congratulate ourselves: we are having the phenomenon of the lost children due to the Mean War in the centre of Europe in the third decade of the XXI century. It seems that the third decades of the XX and XXI centuries differed in between largely by the factor of high-tech. Congratulations to us all. 

Day 26: March 21, 2022, Monday

 ABDUCTIONS

Inna Rogatchi (C). Map of Suffering. War Picture. 2022.

Abduction is a part of any criminal modus vivendi. Any mob-prosecutor or expert would tell you that. Abduction is also used at war, for military intelligence purposes, mainly, or for a capturing of a high-ranking military or political commander. This Mean War demonstrates to us the Russian military know-how: abductions of city mayors, town officials, and journalists. They are doing it routinely. By now, after the first 25 days of the Mean War, they have abducted two mayors of Ukrainian cities, several officials of the local administrations, and at least four journalists at the territories now controlled by this army of thugs. 

There is something utterly wrong with their intel for the Russians. Never in modern history, was their intel so poor or/and so poorly assessed. Many experts are amazed by this utter unprofessionalism. I think that in many cases, they simply did not bother to gather any intel regarding certain points, such as the local population’s attitude towards ‘the liberators’.  Otherwise, they would not be so stunned by seeing many people marching against them, in their full robocopy uniform and over-armed, without any arms in their hands but flags. The local people in Ukraine were marching against their ‘liberators’ every single time when the abductions had a place. Every single time. “The liberators’ were completely stunned, I saw all the videos. Every single time, too. They simply could not put in their poor brain-washed heads on how on earth this is possible. They would not go to protest if their mayor would be abducted, dead-sure. So, they genuinely do not know what to do with those people with flags screaming at them: “Release Our Mayor! Now!” They never saw anything like that. They are morally lost. It is obvious. Everyone is welcome to watch those videos that appear daily. 

One of the mayors was swapped by the Ukrainian leadership in exchange for nine Russian prisoners of war. It is not a bad ratio. The mayor speaks with the President Zelensky, both in Russian, by the way, because it is organic for the both, and nobody prevents it there, because such a ban is irrational. The mayor was thanking the president for ‘not abandoning’ him. The mayor is a young man and he has just received a very serious lesson in his life. Zelensky, who is young enough himself, was smiling so  warmly, so authentically. He says very simply to a young mayor: “Abandon? We would never do it. We never will”. He is happy. I was so glad to see him happy. He really deserves it, even if momentarily. He really does.

Day 25: March 20, 2022,  Sunday

The BRIDGE

The bridge between Ukraine and Romania, with toys collected and assorted there by the Romanian border police and volunteers for the Ukrainian refugee children. March 2022.

This is one of the most heart-rending pictures of the Mean War. The historical wooden bridge over Tisza river from Ukraine to Romania has been decorated with hundreds of toys by the local border police and volunteers. The toys have been placed nicely all the way so the Ukrainian refugee children would be able to pick them on the way from their home to the country of their refuge. 

They need a lot of toys on that bridge, as in many other places. As of March 20, 2022, according to the UN, over 1 500 000 children from Ukraine have become refugees. Meaning 55 children in a minute. And the stream flows on. 

This place is one of three places via which the sea of the Ukrainian refugees is crossing the border to Romania. It is Sighetu Marmatei region of Romania, the native place of the Elie Wisel family.  In this ongoing horror, as many, many others I am relieved to think that Elie does not see what is going on there. As do my parents and grandparents, some of my uncles, all of them from Ukraine. They would  not be able to grasp it. Their entire world would be ruined. 

Now it is ruined partially, inside us, witnessing the Mean War daily. But, with G-d’s help, beyond the limit of unbearable,  it also gives an additional strength, decisiveness, motivation and commitment to help the victims of the Mean War. It is not an easy task, saying it from the relief-ground, both personal and public. It brings some disappointments on the way, as well. Perhaps, inevitably so. Human nature has not changed or improved for a bit throughout its history. Not for a bit. But there is one thing which marks these days: willingness or to the contrary, preparedness or to the contrary, to help those who found themselves in an unspeakable horror of the Mean War, is the most correct litmus test not only for the momentarily reaction and response to the utter drama in Ukraine, but in general too. It is an educational thing to remember. Highly useful, for years ahead, if not for good. 

As we are collecting yet another patch of clothes, devices, and utensils to help the refugees from Ukraine which are already in Finland and which are expected to come soon, a six-year old son of our dear friends is busy and serious. He is sorting his own stuff out, in order to share his toys with children from Ukraine running from the war. We were thinking that little Onni, just a child, would sincerely share one or two of his toys. And we were happily anticipating it, because additionally to the help to those who are in an acute need, such things are instrumental for anyone, for any child while he is growing. Our friends’ son is a very smart kid, who loves to play with  his toys round o’clock, Well, this six-year old boy, solely by himself, decided to give to the children from Ukraine not one, and not two, but twelve of his toys, various cars, plush toys, soft toys, the other things. Onni means ‘happiness’ in Finnish. We always knew that our dear friends named their boy correctly. But today, we know it twice so.

Day 24: March 19, 2022

QUEUES

People murdered while queueing for bread in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, March 18, 2022. 

It was an hour before Shabbat when we were speaking on the phone with our dear friends in Ukraine, in our daily check on their life under fire there.  The longer this Mean War continues, the more we admire the strength of the people in Ukraine. We are lamenting, they are calming us down. Many of those who found themselves outside their country, are not lulled by their current safety, but willing to return with all their innermost, to be with their people at this hour. These are not suppositions, I am telling it with first-hand knowledge coming from my dear friends who are morally tortured by their current safety outside Ukraine and the most of all are willing to return to their country as soon, as possible. Under attack. It tells you about people. And it does tell you about this Mean War. 

So we are speaking with our dear friends from Ukraine an hour before Shabbat would start last Friday, when I am hearing: “Imagine, those thugs has murdered the queue of the people who were staying in line for bread.” – “When, how?” – it was all that I could say in disbelief and horror. – “Today, just now, in Chernihiv. There were some ten people queuing for bread in a residential quarter. There is no installation of any sort whatsoever. So they were simply fired at and killed. All of them”.  As most of the Ukrainians since the beginning of the Mean War, our friends are living with TV on 24/7, with all that news getting to them in real time. It is a special psychological trial which will have terrible long-term consequences for millions of people. But it would be appreciated later. Now everyone is concentrating on the war news. 

With the news about the killed bread queue were checked and corroborated, it turned out that there were thirteen people, civilians, no weapons around, queueing for bread in the residential quarter of predominantly Russian-speaking city of Chernigiv, the city with an ancient history starting from the 10th century, which for the long time was the second capital of Ukraine next to Kyiv. All those thirteen people who went to buy bread for their families were killed in a cold, cruel military crime against civilians, which according to the international law is qualified as a crime against humanity. The crimes against humanity have no period of limitation.  And people’s memory does not have it, either.

Day 23: March 18, 2022

 MEDICIDE

Inna Rogatchi (C). Ghosts I. War Pictures. 2022.

Humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine caused by the Mean War is of such scale that after three weeks of unfolding tragedy, many leaders of the international relief organisations felt that they should visit the ground in a sign of solidarity and concern. All of them made extremely worried first-hand statements. In any direction of life, the situation in Ukraine is catastrophic: food, life supplies, communications, you name it. But there is one sphere which is simply vital and which is damaged beyond repairable. And this sphere is medicine. 

Michael Ryan, the WHO Executive Director of the Health Emergency Programme, at the WHO weekly press briefing on March 16th, 2022, stated the following: “ In the course of the war in Ukraine, so far ( during the first three weeks of the war), we have registered verified at least 43 targeted attacks against medical establishments and medical personnel in Ukraine. The very system of health in Ukraine has become the target of the Russian army. Medical establishments and medicine as such has become a part of strategic and tactical war carried on by the Russian Federation. WHO must state that nowhere in the world, ever, we have not seen such a focused attack on the very system of health in any country’. 

Which means that the highest international medical authority which has quite courteous attitude towards Russia, lost its temper in the face of medicide which Russia purposefully conducts in Ukraine as a part of its Mean War. It is very rare when this kind of organisation as WHO allow themselves to take sides, and state such unprecedented facts. 

Please do pay attention to the head of the WHO Emergency words: nowhere in the world, ever, has this kind of focused annihilating attack on a country’s medicine been ever conducted.  

Those self-proclaimed ‘liberators’  methodically and perfectly consciously are  attacking hospitals, maternity wards, clinics, blood reserve stations. They are also firing and bombing doctors, nurses, all medical personnel. They are bombing pharmacies – there are far too many reports on bombed pharmacies with nothing left there and people who are on the ground in an extremely dire situation with regard to all kinds of medicine, which has a very far stretching effect on huge amount people under siege or under attacks. They are destroying medical storages, with the same purpose. 

I saw many photographs of maternity wards moved in the underground shelters. I was also told about several of them by our friends on the ground, people who were taking part in organising some kind of war shelters for the women expecting to give birth at any moment. Those are not just heart-wrenching, those are fully nightmare-like narratives. 

We also are in touch with our Italian friends, great people who had put aside everything in their busy lives, and rushed to Ukraine to help to evacuate the mortally ill children from the oncological clinic in Kiyv which has been bombed in the very beginning of the Mean War. They succeeded, thanks Heaven, but what can be more terrible than bombed oncological children’s clinic? They succeeded, but anyone with similar experience of a child suffering cancer, or any minimal knowledge, does understand what kind of trauma such attack, and following conditions has caused to a cancer-suffering child. Those children are extremely vulnerable, they can easily die because of the most innocent cold, due to their conditions and the medicine they are treated with. To bomb the children oncology clinic one – ones, actually – has to be a monster. As simple as that. 

The same monsters are decimating medical system in Ukraine in all possible directions of it, carrying on a medicide in Ukraine. The list for the Hague is filled in daily, but why on earth does the civilised world still observe this ongoing monstrosity without stopping it as it should?.. 

Day 22: March 17, 2022, Thursday

LEGITIMATE TARGETS

Inna Rogatchi (C). Broken Lives,. Ukraine.

 Daily, the world is shocked by the newsreels. Once we are shocked, it feels as if there is a limit. But the next day, we were shocked further on. Residential buildings, schools, kindergartens. Maternity hospital, children clinic, theatre. As if destruction of airfields, railways, roads, industrial infrastructure is ‘understandable’ by the logic of a war, making it a legitimate target, so to say. But in fact it is not. Because this war is a sheer unprovoked aggression, and because it is conducted in a barbarian way, not professionally, not discriminately, completely to the opposite. 

But bombed and destroyed industrial objects and airfields are not discussed widely now, because we are living through a daily intensifying shock of bombing and destroyment of the civilian objects in Ukraine, hospitals, clinics, theares, culture centres, even swimming pools. 

All those civilian subjects are bombed not exactly randomly. Most of them host underground shelters. The network of those Soviet-period shelters has been very wide in Ukraine. With the beginning of the Mean War, the first thing that has been done with regard to all those existing and abandoned shelters, was to clean and prepare it for use. 

Our friends in Ukraine have told us about it, as many of them have participated in that largely volunteer work. So now, the ready for use and in use solid Soviet-period shelters are under many residential buildings in Ukraine, and as well as under theatres, culture centres, hospitals, swimming pools, cinemas, etc. There were strict rules for the existence of fully prepared shelters in the USSR, and in Ukraine, in its industrial cities, that rule was applied in full. We used to laugh about it in our youth while in Ukraine. Now we are praying for it, from afar. 

 One should not be that naive to believe that all those daily annihilations of the civil objects, as we are witnessing in a full horror , are random clumsiness of that idiotic army of thugs. There has been several independent verified reports that the aggressor in the Mean War bombs the objects not because they dislike Ukrainian theatre or are irritated by Ukrainian swimming pool, but because there are shelters underground of those building. They also have trained military personnel on the ground to correlate the shelling. 

In the beginning of the Mean War, there have been reports about a special phenomenon: influx of rented apartments in Kyiv and other big cities some while before ‘the liberation’ started. In a period from one to three weeks prior to the start of the Russian massive assault, the quantity of such short-term rentals went substantially higher than usual. Apartments were rented by men predominantly. With those people looking, speaking and behaving quite similarly to the local population, it would be easy for them to operate on the ground correcting the fire from there. And this is what they do. 

Those who are giving the orders in that military gang, do not care about people in the shelters. If there are no people there, fine, if there are, the order still goes on.  It is the very shelter that makes a civilian building the legit target for the army conducting the Mean War. They believe that they should destroy the shelter, aiming  two objectives in one bullet: to destroy a possibility to cover in the cities, for now and for possible next stage of the conflict, and to send a powerful message of fear. 

Their decision-making is graphically self-relieving. And the message that they are sending is of Australian boomerang character: it returns and hits back. And there will be no shelter to take cover.

A Tale of Besieged Cities – Essay

The Essay was published at The Times of Israel and The JerUSAlem Connection Report, Washington,D.C.

Inna Rogatchi (C). Asphyxiation. 2022.

We are seeing it in front of us daily. For the twenty days by now. Beautiful, full of life, cities of Ukraine, one after another are not only bombed, shelled, destroyed, but also sieged. The self-proclaimed ‘liberators’ methodically apply the same tactics as attacking Ukrainian densely populated large cities: they cut off gas, heating, electricity, water supplies, communications, and intentionally impose food and medicine shortages on the places of living of hundreds of thousands of human beings. The key-word here is ‘intentionally’. 

Another day, I saw a video from another Russian state TV repulsive talk-show. It is repulsive in general, but now it is more repulsive. My dear friend, an international guru in the history of music, sent it to me, shocked by what he saw. I was not shocked for a bit, but it was very telling indeed. There, a well-known pianist from Russia Boris Berezovsky, who performs largely internationally, and who lived in London permanently for two decades, sits next to the Russian senior military in full uniform, and gently suggesting, with brotherly referring to their professional skills against his pure amateurish understanding due to his humanitarian occupation, to conduct the siege of Kyiv more decisively: to cut the city off completely, to cut off all their vital communications there so the Kyiv civilian population “would leave the city on their own. Can it be done? It should,” the Moscow virtuoso is suggesting softly with his face beaming of self-appreciation, to the senior military officer next to him. The officer, after a telling pause, turns toward the fat formless pianist with a rather stoned face, saying: “But-we-can-not-make-a-human-catastrophe-by-our-own-hands- there.”. The mug of the pianist did not show anything, anything at all except continuing fixated self-adulation. 

The pictures from Mariupol, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Sumy, many other cities of Ukraine where the aggressor not only bombed to the ground but also besieged, are terrifying us daily. It continues. It is totally, completely, premeditatedly inhuman. For the country which has the siege of Leningrad as a part of its recent history is unpardonable under any circumstances. My maternal great-uncle, legendary doctor Falk Moiseevich Chigrinsky, led the children’s hospital in Leningrad for tuberculosis. He, as all his family, were from Ukraine, from the city known now as Dnipro. With the siege of Leningrad worsening, he and his doctor wife Nina moved with all heavily ill children to Zelenogorsk in the Leningrad suburb. Saving the ill children, they were unable to evacuate their own only son Mika, my uncle. 

Mika, 6 year old at the time, was taken by a sheer miracle to the literally last transport evacuating people from besieged Leningrad. He did not see his parents well until the end of the war. As it happened, he saw only his mother then. 

His parents, my great-uncle and his wife, were saving the sick of tuberculosis children heroically, giving them their own scarce food, and conducting daily exploits with efforts to obtain medicine for them, and some kind of vitamins, as collecting birch liquid in the forest for the children at expense of their scarce sleep. They saved all of the children. But Falk Chigrinsky, the heroic head of the Leningrad children tuberculous  hospital, died at the age of 51, of a heart-attack on the evening of the May 9th, 1945, in St Petersburg,  during the  victory firework. So I thought all my life. 

Until a couple of months ago when I’ve learned from my cousin who lives in Australia, and whose entire family is from Odessa, that the death of our heroic doctor Falk from a heart-attack in an emotional outburst at the end of the Second World War, was ‘the most guarded secret in our family’, according to my cousin. In fact, her mom who is the favourite niece of my late grandmother, who is alive and with whom I have a blessing to speak, did share with my cousin and me this so tightly kept secret. “ Yes, indeed, our Falk died on the evening of May 9th, 1945. Yes, it happened during the victory fireworks in Leningrad. But it was not a heart-attack. He was attacked from behind by one of the adult patients of the hospital, with a huge wooden log. The patient just smashed and crushed Falk’s skull with a terrible blow”, my aunt tells me from Australia, sighing. 

The patient was declared crazy on the spot. There was no investigation ever. “It was impossible to tarnish the reputation of the hospital, especially at the sacred moment of the victory”, the family was told. 

I am speechless. Cannot come to terms with that still. All the years after that awful payment for all Falk and Nina’s sacrifices and saving of all sick children saved from the besieged Leningrad, my family who knew – my great-grandfather, his wife, many of their siblings, all of them from Ukraine, my grandmother, her sister, my grandfather, my mom, my dad,  all adults in our family, lived all their difficult enough lives with that awful knowledge about murdering of their pride, their beloved Falk, the great doctor and humanist Falk Chigrinsky on the night of the victory day, May 9, 1945, in Leningrad, from behind, smashing the heroic doctor’s skull. I do not know how much time it will take for me to absorb it to some degree. So far, I have failed repeatedly. 

And a couple of more thoughts on the theme of besieged cities. The Siege of Leningrad, which is customary in Russia to write as the Siege, with a capital S, the unspeakable tragedy of that in so many details, should teach people and society a couple of things regarding compassion and humanity, shouldn’t it? Why did it not happen? – many people are asking themselves today, justly so. There are many reasons for that.

Just a few observations, some of them of a personal experience: the museum in Leningrad has collected an incredible , priceless archive about the period of Siege immediately after the war. At least two times after that, that priceless archive was destroyed, with many unique documents, evidence, and artefacts simply thrown away. 

The barbarians of the Soviet authorities always terrified me. I always knew that such policy, cruel, shortsighted, and inhuman policy will have terrible consequences. Now we are seeing it, partially. 

I also was very concerned about the way in which the idea about the much needed new Museum of the Siege of Leningrad was implemented in recent years in St Petersburg.  In fact, the authorities have aborted the idea which was supported by the St Petersburg population overwhelmingly. Aborted. They decided that there is no need for such a museum today. No need. It is telling, isn’t it? More than we would like to know, actually. 

One more recent observation with regard to the Siege of Leningrad, from the ground. As it is known, Russia’s boss is propagating emphatically his personal connection to the tragedy of the Siege. It is a sacred matter. More sacred than it is sacred for anyone mortal, in their interpretation. So, this year, a couple of months ago, on the day of the ending of the Siege of Leningrad, the boss went to commemorate the date to St Petersburg personally. Fair enough. 

There he is marching alone with his heavy security detail around, all the way in the memorial Piskarev cemetery, a very sober place for many. 

The next day, we got the information and the photos of the picture which was not shown by the Russian official media. As  it happened, the day of the ending of the Siege of Leningrad is a sacred day for many people there, especially of the elder generations. They also came to the Piskarev memorial with their flowers in hand. It was very cold on that day in St Petersburg, in the middle of January. All those people, many of them elderly and frail, were kept by a heavy guard, behind the cemetery gate – for hours in the freezing cold. Until the boss would not march conducting his own personal commemoration alone, by himself exclusively. The only person grieving the Siege of his city. Just one more telling detail about the matter of sieges. 

As we speak, the priceless historical archives located in the city of Kharkiv have been burned to ashes completely, in a vandalism which prompted many international historians to lament ‘a total disaster for the historical research and its outcome’ for good.

The essence of a siege is that it is not just cuts off,  suffocates, annihilates. It brings insuperable losses. It changes history. It inflicts qualitative changes at many levels simultaneously: life directly, nutrition, medical and water-deficiency  suffering, freezing, moral humiliation, dehumanisation. First and foremost, dehumanisation – as big specialist and enthusiast of a siege application Boris Berezovsky who for some reason occupies himself with piano rendering, knows even better than some of the senior Russian military. What do they think the world would take them for, after ongoing sieges of the Ukrainian cities? We will take them strictly following their own implications: as a repulsive sadists who know how to torture pianos, as well. 

Week 3: March 10 – March 16, 2022

Summary of Week III of the Mean War: March 10 – March 16, 2022

MIGHTY PARIAH AND DIGNIFIED VICTIM

Can anyone get used to war? If one can, there is something wrong with that person. After three weeks of cruel, unprovoked chain of military crimes and crimes against humanity committed daily in the centre of Europe, all transmitted to us in real-time, the one of the conclusions of this ongoing force-major is that a normal human being just cannot get used to it. The first three weeks of the Mean War as this war is going to be written in history books, resulted in over three million refugees from attacked Ukraine, with the capacity of bordering countries doing their best in accommodating the victims of the war rapidly coming to the edge, especially in Poland. The other extremely worrisome standing-by issue is the extreme vulnerability of the nuclear stations in Ukraine, two of them already under control of the aggressor, with daily critical situations there. This is the issue for all of us in Europe, at the very least. Just yesterday, Ukrainian MP Sergey Vlasenko speaking from Kiev, very convincingly, was appealing to the world for an emergency introducing the safe corridors from the skies over the nuclear installations in Ukraine and also over the agreed humanitarian corridors.  Legislators in Kyiv, the Ukraine government see what is going on internationally as the response to Russia’s aggression. They realised by now that there will be no closure of skies ( as it had had the place in former Yugoslavia and in the Middle East recently enough). They appeal to the world now bringing on the table option two for general, not just Ukrainian, security: closure of the skies over the nuclear installations and the agreed humanitarian corridors. They demonstrate understanding , the real application of the known formula qualifying politics as ‘an art of possible’, being in extremely difficult situation.  And us, the world outside the zone of the terrible war in the centre of Europe?  

What we all see after the three weeks of the Mean War is a mighty pariah and dignified victim. It is a dramatic confrontation. It is unnecessary confrontation as this war was completely unnecessary and as it is completely unjustifiable and unjust. The degree of cruelty and inhumanity that Russia decided to demonstrate to the world is stunning. And it will mark the history of that country forever. 

Day 21: March 16, 2022, Wednesday

ECOCIDE a la Russe 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Desolation. War Pictures. 2022.

There is a document that surfaced from the heights of Russia’s power. It is a request from the defence minister to the president. The document has a registering number and the date, March 4th, 2022. The request concerns forest. The forest at the territory which the minister calls ‘the territory of defence’. The minister faced a problem. He writes to his boss that the Russian Federation has no legal procedures regulating ‘usage of forest in the interests of defence’.  Therefore, the minister requests from the country’s supreme commander-in-chief the following: “I ask you to issue the permission for both total and selective deforestation of  any intensity and of any age, regardless of the land plots’ ownership and regardless of the category of land in question”.  This document tells in black on white that the Russian army is planning, and possibly already in the process of total deforestation of Ukraine. Defence minister wrote in his request to the boss that the unused by the Russian army wood would be sold for the money to be used by the army. Naturally.  He also explains that going by the book, the process of authorised selective deforestation takes 10 months. And they are in a hurry, of course. There is also a nice autograph, for those collecting, of the boss over the document. It reads  ‘Soglasen’ ( agree), with expressive, well-practised signature and the date, not so well practised, and showing something of not that brilliant student. The date is March 6, 2022. People asking questions: why was the Russian minister of defence in the middle of such an extremely busy total military assault preoccupied with Ukrainian forest? The answer to be found in recent comments of the ongoing ‘special operation’ by senior Russian officials. A few days ago, some of them expressed the concerns that ‘although we all are hoping for a quick resolution of the hot phase of the current situation, we have to realise that the potential of the other side ( Ukraine) for a low-key resistance is quite high, and it could be quite prolonged’. ‘Low-key resistance’ means anti-Russian resistance of both military and population both in the cities and in the forest. We are seeing what they are doing with Ukrainian cities. They are shelling them to the ground. And now, the document resurfaced from Moscow, tells us what will happen with the forest in Ukraine. And why. If they would be allowed to do it, the damage to nature and the change of the climate in Ukraine will be of a catastrophic proportion. It  is called ecocide. 

Day 20: March 15, 2022, Tuesday

BESIEGED CITIES 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Monologue I. 2022.

We are seeing it in front of us daily. For the twenty days by now. Beautiful, full of life, cities of Ukraine, one after another are not only bombed, shelled, destroyed, but also sieged. The self-proclaimed ‘liberators’ methodically apply the same tactics as attacking Ukrainian densely populated large cities: they cut off gas, heating, electricity, water supplies, communications, and intentionally impose food and medicine shortages on the places of living of hundreds of thousands of human beings. The key-word here is ‘intentionally’. Another day, I saw a video from another Russian state TV repulsive talk-show. It is repulsive in general and always, but now it is repulsive thrice so. My dear friend, an international guru in the history of music, sent it to me, shocked by what he saw there. I was not shocked for a bit, but it was very telling indeed. There, a well-known pianist from Russia Boris Berezovsky, who performs largely internationally, and who lived in London permanently for two decades, stays next to the Russian senior military in full uniform, and gently suggesting , with brotherly referring to their professional skills against his pure amateurish understanding due to his humanitarian occupation, to conduct the siege of Kyiv more decisively: to cut the city off completely, to cut off all their vital communications there so the Kyiv civilian population ‘would live the city on their own. Can it be done? It should ‘ – Moscow virtuoso is suggesting softly with his face beaming of self-appreciation, to the senior military officer next to him. The officer, after a telling pause, turns toward the fat formless pianist with a rather stoned face,  saying:“But-we-can-not-make-a-human-catastrophy-by-our-own-hands- there”. The mug of the pianist did not show anything, anything at all except continuing fixated self-adulation. 

The pictures from Mariupol, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Sumy, many other cities of Ukraine where the aggressor not only bombed to the ground but also besieged, are terrifying us daily. It continues. It is totally, completely, premeditatedly inhuman. For the country which has the siege of Leningrad as a part of its recent history is unpardonable under any circumstances. My maternal great-uncle, legendary doctor Falk Moiseevich Chigrinsky, led the children’s hospital in Leningrad for tuberculosis children. He, as all his family, was from Ukraine, from the city known now as Dnipro. With the siege of Leningrad worsening, he and his doctor wife  Nina moved with all heavily ill children to Zelenogorsk in the Leningrad suburb. Saving the ill children, they were unable to evacuate their own only son Pasha, my uncle. Pasha, 6 year old at the time, was taken by a sheer miracle to the literally last transport evacuating people from besieged Leningrad. He did not see his parents well until the end of the war. As it happened, he saw only his mother then. His parents, my great-uncle and his wife, were saving the sick of tuberculosis children heroically, giving them their own scarce food, and conducting daily exploits with efforts to obtain medicine for them, and some kind of vitamins, as collecting birch liquid in the forest for the children at expense of their scarce sleep. They saved all of the children. But Falk Chigrinsky, the heroic head of the Leningrad children tuberculous  hospital, died at the age of 51, of a heart-attack on the evening of the May 9th, 1945, in St Petersburg,  during the  victory firework. So I thought all my life. Until a couple of months ago when I’ve learned from my cousin who lives in Australia, and whose entire family is from Odessa, that the death of our heroic doctor Falk from a heart-attack in an emotional outburst at the end of the Second World War, was ‘the most guarded secret in our family’, according to my cousin. In fact, her mom who is the favourite niece of my late grandmother, who is alive and with whom I have a blessing to speak, did share with my cousin and me this so tightly kept secret. “ Yes, indeed, our Falk died on the evening of May 9th, 1945. Yes, it happened during the victory fireworks in Leningrad. But it was not a heart-attack. He was attacked from behind by one of the adult patients of the hospital, with a huge wooden log. The patient just smashed and crushed Falk’s skull with a terrible blow”, my aunt tells me from Australia, sighing. The patient was declared crazy on the spot. There was no investigation ever. “It was impossible to tarnish the reputation of the hospital, especially at the sacred moment of the victory”, the family was told. I am speechless. Cannot come to terms with that still. All the years after that awful payment for all Falk and Nina’s sacrifices and saving of all sick children saved from the besieged Leningrad, my family who knew – my great-grandfather, his wife, many of their siblings, all of them from Ukraine, my grandmother, her sister, my grandfather, my mom, my dad,  all adults in our family, lived all their difficult enough lives with that awful knowledge about murdering of their pride, their beloved Falk, the great doctor and humanist Falk Chigrinsky on the night of the victory day, May 9, 1945, in Leningrad, from behind, smashing the heroic doctor’s skull. I do not know how much time it will take for me to absorb it to some degree. So far, I have failed repeatedly. 

And a couple of more thoughts on the theme of besieged cities. The Siege of Leningrad, which is customary in Russia to write as the Siege, with a capital S, the unspeakable tragedy of that in so many details, should teach people and society a couple of things regarding compassion and humanity, shouldn’t it? Why did it not happen? – many people are asking themselves today, justly so. There are many reasons for that. Just a few observations, some of them of a personal experience: the museum in Leningrad has collected an incredible , priceless archive about the period of Siege immediately after the war. At least two times after that, that priceless archive was destroyed, with many unique documents, evidence, and artefacts simply thrown away. The barbarians of the Soviet authorities always terrified me. I always knew that such policy, cruel, shortsighted, and inhuman policy will have terrible consequences. Now we are seeing it, partially.

 I also was very concerned about the way in which the idea about the much needed new Museum of the Siege of Leningrad was implemented in recent years in St Petersburg.  In fact, the authorities have aborted the idea which was supported by the St Petersburg population overwhelmingly. Aborted. They decided that there is no need for such a museum today. No need. It is telling, isn’t it? More than we would like to know, actually. 

And one more recent observation with regard to the Siege of Leningrad, from the ground. As it is known, Russia’s boss is propagating emphatically his personal connection to the tragedy of the Siege. It is a sacred matter. More sacred than it is sacred for anyone mortal, in their interpretation. So, this year, a couple of months ago, on the day of the ending of the Siege of Leningrad, the boss went to commemorate the date to St Petersburg personally. Fair enough. There he is marching alone with his heavy security detail around, all the way in the memorial Piskarev cemetery, a very sober place for many. The next day, we got the information and the photos of the picture which was not shown by the Russian official media. As  it happened, the day of the ending of the Siege of Leningrad is a sacred day for many people there, especially of the elder generations. They also came to the Piskarev memorial with their flowers in hand. It was very cold on that day in St Petersburg, in the middle of January. All those people, many of them elderly and frail, were kept by a heavy guard, behind the cemetery gate – for hours in the freezing cold. Until the boss would not march conducting his own personal commemoration alone, by himself exclusively. The only person grieving the Siege of his city. Just one more telling detail about the matter of sieges. 

As we speak, the priceless historical archives located in the city of Kharkiv have been burned to ashes completely, in a vandalism which prompted many international historians to lament ‘a total disaster for the historical research and its outcome’ for good.

The essence of a siege is that it is not just cuts off,  suffocates, annihilates. It brings insuperable losses. It changes history. It inflicts qualitative changes at many levels simultaneously: life directly, nutrition, medical and water-deficiency  suffering, freezing, moral humiliation, dehumanisation. First and foremost, dehumanisation – as big specialist and enthusiast of a siege application Boris Berezovsky who for some reason occupies himself with piano rendering, knows even better than some of the senior Russian military. What do they think the world would take them for, after ongoing sieges of the Ukrainian cities? We will take them strictly following their own implications: as a repulsive sadists who know how to torture pianos, as well. 

Day 19: March 14, 2022, Monday

MASS GRAVES

Total horror produced this and similar pictures depicting mass graves in Ukraine, one more terrible phenomenon of this mean war. In Mariupol alone, about 1600 civilians were murdered in merciless shelling. Under the two-weeks’ siege, without electricity, water, food, heating, there is no other possibility to bury the murdered civilians than the one shown in this picture. There are also grim videos of the process. 

In the city of Nikolayev, the corpses are in such a quantity that there is no space for them in the local morgue ( and Nikolayev is not a small city) and the piles of corpses are laying in the morgue’s yard and around it, for days.  

And the situation in Nikolayev, a big industrial city with over 1 million population there has become endangered severely from today on, in a scenario resembling the tragedy of Mariupol. 

XXI century. Centre of Europe. 45-million country under the severe undiscriminating annihilating attack of 145-million country is left alone, to bury hundreds of its civilians in mass graves. 

What Kafka?.. 

Day 18 – 2: March 13, 2022, Sunday 

DISPATCH FROM MOSCOW: “BUT, UNFORTUNATELY, THERE WERE NO  CHILDREN THERE”

Inna Rogatchi (C). The End of Humanity. War Pictures. 2022.

On this, one should be dry.  Our friend from Russia has sent us today the article from the Russian official Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper. The article is about boosting morale of the Chechen special division dispatched to Ukraine and their ultimately important purpose – ‘to take Kyiv’. There is also a video which has been circulated today by the Operative Dispatches Telegram channel in Russia, with Telegram code number 30653. In the video, a 8-strong group of special Chechen division stands around the Chechen leader visiting them in Ivankovo village, which is 7 km from Kyiv. The Moskovsky Komsomolets writes that next to Chechen leader on the video is  his Alfa veteran Russian head of the Chechen Special Forces who is known to be in Ukraine for two weeks by now. The video is 45 seconds long.  On the second part of it, starting from 0.21,  the head of the Special Forces, in a soft voice, completely calmly, reports to the leader: “The task on that orphanage was completed. The strategy that you have suggested to us, worked out 100%. We did not bother with the clean-up of that village. We did not encircle it from the flanges, nor were we busy with reconnaissance there. In a brazen way, at full speed we approached that orphanage. [ Sighs]. We blocked it quickly, and went inside. [Short pause]. But, unfortunately, there were no children there’. The end of the video. 

The end. 

And thanks to them for educating us on the current quality of that military force. 

Day 18: March 13, 2022, Sunday

The GENOCIDE OF CULTURE

Inna Rogatchi (C). Ukraine Culture Ruined. March 2022. War Posters. 2022.

We are living through the 18th day of the mean war against Ukraine. 44 million people, 41, 5 now after 2, 5 million refugees left, are living through it literally. Many of us who are watching  itin despair and anger, passively. But as passive smoking damages one’s lungs, a passive observation of mean war damages one’s soul for those who are not indifferent. Elisha Wiesel, the son of Elie Wiesel, has noticed recently that he is terrified to think of what his father would think and tell about this ongoing slaughter. People working with Rabbi Sacks are saying the same. I think I know what both our dearest friends and role-model figures for decades, great Elie and great Rabbi Jonathan would say. They, in general very warm and kind men, would be stern. When humanity is attacked, the towering humanitarians are becoming the soldiers of civilization. 

During the eighteen days of the mean war, the aggressor has destroyed so many objects of Ukraine’s cultural heritage that this purposeful shelling can be qualified as the genocide of culture. In dominantly Russian speaking Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, beautiful, well developed and rich with cultural and architectural gems, not of Ukraine only, but of an European calibre, university, libraries, museums, and culturally  important buildings are totally destroyed. In Chernigiv, an ancient, important cultural city with very rich history, and also quite Russian-speaking, the Museum of Antiquities, which is absolutely important, has been raised to the ground. 25 paintings of Ukrainian well-known artist Primaichenko stored in the historical museum  near Kyiv have been burned, simply. Historical buildings, many beautifully restored, in all attacked cities of Ukraine, have been destroyed completely. Such ‘military objects’, by the Russian army standards, as museums, libraries, schools, universities, cinemas, are not anymore all together in all attacked cities. People in Odessa, the pearl of Ukraine, are working hard and frantically trying to protect their world-famous statues. The same as people in Lviv are doing with their superbly rich historical cultural heritage important for Europe and the world. Many of the destroyed buildings were cultural objects protected by UNESCO. Hello, UNESCO.  There are at least several churches, of the same denomination that prevails in Russia, Orthodox, have been attacked and destroyed. Another visibly ‘military targets’ by the views of the Russian army. The attacked part of Ukraine is nothing more than rubble. The architectural damage is total. The conduct of this war is barbarian, literally so. What is the aggressor aiming to achieve in this cultural genocide? It is conducted in the neighbouring country, with many people speaking the same language, with many other people speaking close Slavonic language. It is conducted in the country with long Slavonic tradition and heritage which was – until now – the part of Slavnic history and culture. Not anymore. Forever. But those criminals who are giving such orders and those morons who fulfil it, are seemingly willingly to ignore it. They are knowingly obliterating both the material culture of their neighbour Ukraine, and its cultural heritage. This is intentional cultural genocide. 

Day 17: March 12, 2022, Saturday

LIES

Inna Rogatchi (C). Skies Dialogues. Challenge I. 2021.

During military conflicts, the value of correct information is a top priority. During the mean, unprovoked wars, cruel premeditated aggressions objectivity is vital. But it would be never understood by those for whom lying is natural. There are many kinds of lies, many of which are used during wars: strategic, tactical, smaller or bigger, lie for outmanoeuvring an enemy, lie for boosting spirit. Operational lies, intelligence lies. And a queen of lies, propaganda. There is not without  reason that the first draconian measures against freedom of speech in the country-aggressor were taken immediately and against the media. It worked, to a large extent. For analysts, it is important to always see the news and coverage of a conflict by both sides. Well, it has to be said that it gets progressively impossible to read the Russian media, except literally a couple of those who try to preserve dignity. Even supposed to be neutral ones with a previous bearable reputation, are lying stunningly. Balck is white, and white is black. No other options. They do not even realise how utterly stupid they now look, in this doomed exercise, because the whole world is able to see satellite pictures. I am not that naive to speak about shame. This category is not in use in this mean war. Not by the decision-makers, nor by the legislators, and certainly not by the 99% of their officially accepted media. Shame is a luxury for all those individuals, their organisations, and their outlets. Compassion is another luxury. Mercy is luxury. Decency is luxury for the officialdom of the aggressor. We all are witnessing it, we all are realising it. How utterly stupid one should be for not realising that the world sees the unfolding mean war projected not by their manipulated media, but by satellite pictures that relays to us what is going on in real-time. To live in a bubble is comfy, possibly, but how defective it is. 

When I grew up in the country called USSR, the first awakening came to me when I was a teenager. And I remember that very moment all my life. Nobody taught me that, nobody told me anything specific, or anything at all. I have not read any forbidden literature yet, although a close friend of my mom was producing ‘samizdat’ tirelessly, and soon I will join her by typing Mandelstam and other forbidden writers on my mom’s typewriter, her most precious possession. Our other precious possession for all the family were books. That’s it. I have not heard much of the BBC and Voice of America transmissions yet, although my parents, especially my father, were clinging to the jammed transmissions in our old radio often. But he did it usually in the night, on purpose. I took Soviet history text-books in school with a good pinch of scepticism, as some of my school-mates did, simply because of conventional wisdom. But one afternoon, I remember it absolutely vividly so many decades later now, I stopped in the middle of my home-work, and started to think: “But it is a lie what is written here, in this text-book”. And then, on the spot, many samples of outright lies started to pop up in my teen-age head: the lies printed in the newspapers, transmitted via radio and tv, the lies which were so obvious even to a teenager in a sharpest possible contrast between the realities of life and stupid agressive propaganda we all were wrapped into day and night, years on. In a paradoxical way, as it happens often, that blatant propaganda did open my, and so many other eyes, to the injustices of the totalitarian system. The system which we started to doubt first and to despise next. 

And now, after 31 years of post-totalitarian Russia, I cannot see the official media of that country again. Its outright lies are not just shameless. It is despicable. They are building the new Iron Wall around their country again, by themselves and enthusiastically so. Following their choice, let them have it. And stay behind it.  

Day 16: March 11, 2022, Friday

The  SPECIAL FORCE OF SHABBAT AND THE PARADOX OF CONVICTION

Inna Rogatchi (C). Expectation I. 2022.

I woke up this night not at my usual time.  I woke in subconscious self-defence, not willing to continue to watch my dream. In the dream, some strangers, mid-aged men, were working quite clumsily, trying to fix something in their own way, destroying in the process a big old good tree. The tree meant nothing to them, and they were genuinely surprised by my husband’s and my negative reaction, and did not understand what we were complaining about. But the damage was done. The half of the tree was gone, being chopped by those people whom nobody invited to that work, in the first place. I woke up knowing that something was wrong at the place of ongoing war. I glanced at the clock. It did show 5.40 am. Two hours later, I learned that my native city was bombed at 5.26 am. 

So you woke up to learn that the city where you have been born was bombed. The city where you grew up, where your family lived in generations. The city where you went to a school, to the university. Where you have been formed. The place where the circle of your family’s friends and your first friends are from. So your personal landscape of memory gets bombed as well. 

I know that many people in the world have experienced it, sadly, dramatically and tragically, because of different circumstances. I am a historian who deals with the Second World War, Holocaust and post-Holocaust for over thirty years. I am a foreign policy adviser who is professionally busy with modern history and conflict resolutions for several decades, as well. To be able to work on these topics, one has to build an inside protection wall, and we all are doing it in our individual way, but all my colleagues would recognise what I am talking about. 

Still, when it comes to witnessing , even from a distance, a bombing of the craddle of one’s life, these walls crumbles in no time. I do not wish to experience anything like that to anyone. 

And in a surprising move, the conviction of an ultimate victory over this evil, this modern-day Amalek, has become my dominating feeling on the day of the bombing of the city of my family. When it comes to the worst, the best is born inside adequate people. For two weeks, I was anxious, nervous, perplexed, often unable to comprehend this mean war. Out of all adjectives, I do believe that first and foremost of it, it is mean. After two weeks of a daily crimes we all are witnessing, on the morning of bombing of my city, I has become calm, collected and determined. I know by all my innermost that the light will prevail this darkness. That good will beat this evil. That attacked ones and us all who are supporting them will win the stupid, unable bandits who destroys life with no reason. I am positive about an ultimate victory over these forces of darkness. Russia will get its Versaille, as Germany did a century ago. 

I cannot agree more with President Zelensky who spoke about the same thing in the beginning of the war that shocked the world. We all were not quite getting where his defiance was coming from with his country being in such a disadvantageous military position. I saw that he was sincere and meant what he was saying. He has had too little time in politics to pretend so blatantly. But I did not get the source of his defiance. Now I know. And I am proud of this 44-year old Jewish man who found himself as the leader of the 45-million country under brutal massive attack, and who found in himself the best of our people. I am grateful to all the people next to the president of Ukraine who are helping him and who are withstanding the barbarians together and well very indeed.  In front of our all eyes,  the whole country is fighting and holding bravery and with admirable commitment. 

There cannot be more graphic contrast between defenders and aggressors who are really laughable. That so much praised, so much talked-about ‘super-force’ after two weeks of unbelievably clumsy military exercises had had to reduce themselves to the need of ‘inviting’ ( frantically recruiting, in fact) thousands war mercenaries from Syria and Central African Republic ( my favourite) to fight in Ukraine for them. I do not remember when I laughed since the beginning of the mean war. But upon hearing the news about the African and Syrian mercenaries to be urgently dispatched by Mosvow to fight Ukrainians, I did. Thank you, geniuses. They so much resemble those ignorant, uneducated, clumsy mid-age men who destroyed half of the wonderful tree in my dream last night. But: my husband in that dream did save half of the tree, threw away those idiots whom nobody asked to come in the first place, and, most importantly, the root of the tree was left undamaged. We’ve checked. 

Shabbat Shalom. 

Day 15: March 10, 2022, Thursday

MURDERED FAMILIES

[ I wanted to post the photo depicting entire murdered family near Kyiv, but the picture was too much for Facebook and it was censored. It went ‘against the FB community standards’, you see. I am sorry that such a gruesome photo exists, but the fact is that it reflects committed crime. ]With my life-long experience in journalism, I do believe that there are such moments when publishing the near-extreme images of the crucial events is justified. 

As the war against Ukraine escalates, cruelty accelerates. To the degree that we are now seeing not a separate case of an unspeakable tragedy of killing an entire family, but the phenomenon, the tendency of it. How about such a ‘trend of special military operation’, in the XXI century? Pictured on the photo was the family from Irpen near Kyiv. They relocated there in 2014 from Donetsk. 43-year old mother Olga, 18-year old son who has just started his first year at the university, and 8-year old daughter were trying to escape in their car in effort to join the so-called humanitarian corridor. With them were Olga’s parents, with her mother suffering the Altzeimer. They were assisted by the great man from the church who has returned to Kyiv to help people to be evacuated after sending his own family to safety. He could have stayed there with his family being safe. But he returned. At a certain point of the family’s way, it was impossible to continue to drive. They had to walk. And were all killed by the beasts who were sent with their super-’special operation’ of wide undiscriminating shooting of civilian targets in a neighbouring country.  The father of the family went to care of his mother who got covid and was seriously ill. He went back to Donetsk in mid-February. Then he could not return to his family. He learned about their deaths from social media when he recognised the family’s suitcase on one of the photos posted there. In order to get back to bury his entire family, he actually went to Russia, flew to Kaliningrad which is the Russian territory next to Lithuania, crossed the border with Poland from there and got back to Irpen near Kyiv in the devastating mournful  journey which took him four days and nights. After which he still is waiting to get all necessary papers for the burial of his wife, son and daughter because people who are issuing these papers are overloaded with the necessity of doing it. They are working round o’clock, the morgues are overloaded with the corpses, and around the morgues the relatives are waiting in patient horror for their turn to get the papers for burial. The husband of Tatyana, Sergey Perebyinis, has been looking at those black bags on the floor with his family inside, for a couple of days already, as I understood.

Two days ago, another family has been murdered in Sumy, also the place where that the so-called humanitarian corridor  was announced – father, mother, grand-mother Pryimenko and three boys, 16-years old Artem, and two of his younger brothers, Egor and Kirill, all were hit in their house.

In the beginning of March, yet another entire family of Fedko was murdered in Kherson while ‘the liberators’ from a normal life were seizing the control over the city – young mother with two children of six years girl and just 6- weeks boy, and both of her parents.

There are countless cases of children murdered along with fathers, or mothers, or grandparents when adults were covering their kids by their bodies.

We saw the bombed children hospital and maternity hospital in Mariupol yesterday night. Some of us also saw yesterday that lonely small boy in a blue overcoat, not older than five who was moving on the refugees road, alone, stumbling, frightened, and sobbing. We are seeing another horror daily. We are registering. We will certainly remember, I do hope. But when will these crimes be stopped? When entire families will stop to be murdered, whipped from life and earth, without even a possibility for a proper burial? Just when?