It’s 3AM of 4th of March, 2022, but it’s just “the eighth day” for Ukrainians. We don’t know what day it is any more because every day lasts at least ten lives.
I was in Kyiv a day before the war started. On Wednesday, I flew to Estonia for a regular business trip. I had only a small backpack and planned to return in a few days.
I’m safe, but everything that makes me me – is not. My nation, country, culture, language, self-identity, people I love and the very right of existence are under brutal attack. Being in safety while millions of Ukrainians are sleeping in the bomb shelters or fleeing is killing me. Why did I choose precisely this day for flight?
I practically can’t sleep or eat. I’m on the video online call with my girlfriend, who’s in the heart of Kyiv. I’m monitoring 24/7 non-stop all the sources of information, filtering out fakes, making sense of what’s really happening and where, helping others as much as I can with information and coordination.
All these days in Estonia, I feel like in the warm and caring hands that are holding me gently while I’m agonizing from helplessness and inability to defend my home.
I’ve never been trained for killing. In my teen years, the army was a joke – it was a place for those who weren’t smart enough to go to the university. Soldiers in our army mainly were doing cheap labor for corrupted high-ranking officials. At least that was a standard narrative. I didn’t qualify for the military by health anyway, but if I did, I’m not sure I would receive proper training on how to defend a country back then.
Our army is different from what it was 8 years ago now. We call them cyborgs.
I don’t know how to kill people. Or how to shoot anti-tank missiles. Or drive an armored vehicle. But I’m relatively good at learning new things.
I’m pledging to find my way to become useful to Ukrainian Army in the following decades. Whatever it takes. Most likely, it’ll be a cyber defense, but I also want to have confidence I can kill a fucking russian invader at my doorstep. I’m not a pro-gun person, but now the ‘before war’ part of life is over. I’ll train to use every kind of weapon I can possibly find.
I’ve passed through the initial stages of shock, fear, and anxiety as of today. I’ve restructured a mental map of reality. I’m becoming more and more numb to the images of destruction, death, corpses, blood, violence, and all the ugliness that comes with war. I feel guilty for not being traumatized for life by seeing all the horror firsthand as thousands of Ukrainians. I feel guilty that in ten years, I’ll be able to hear fireworks without triggering PTSD, while hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians never will. I didn’t choose it
From the first day, I’m trying to suppress the insufferable pain inside. Calm my hate towards russians and focus on helping others. I’m coordinating the evacuation of our Ukrainian figure skaters. Assisting others distracts from the emotional rollercoaster. Anxiety grows even when I take a quick nap, as I feel that I’m not helping at this moment.
Speaking of russians. Since the invasion of Crimea and Donbas, I have argued a lot about how important it is to distinguish russia-as-a-government from russia-as-people. I was wrong.
Russian government is ruled by this evil precisely because of who russian people are. Their individual choices led to this. It’s the nation of slaves. Even the smartest russians I know were surprising me from time to time with imperialist, sexist, racist narratives. Even in Gophers community. Once I’ve spent whole day arguing about the right of Belarus to be called as they want (Belarus not Belorussia) in the shownotes. Russian hosts were fighting over “we russians don’t care how they call themselves, we know better”. I quit Golangshow podcast after that back then. They will probably never realize how that seemingly small dispute is directly linked to the largest war in Europe since WWII.
This shit is deeply rooted in the russian language too. It’s subconscious. Their tsars had been killing and raping them for centuries, and it became a part of their cultural DNA, which they learned to love. They’ve never had democratic grassroots society mechanisms in their whole history. Learned helplessness. “We’re apolitical”. “It’s our government is bad; we are different”. “We’re for peace”.
Today is the second week of russian people trying to destroy Ukrainians. They kill. They burn. They shoot. They loot. They rape. They shell our cities with missiles. They drop bombs. They call us “nazis”. Most of the horrors of the war are not captured on smartphones cameras.
Many call russains to go out on the streets to protests and demonstrations. A demonstration is a form of a dialogue between society and government. But the truth is Russia had never have a dialog between society and government. Ever. It’s always been master-slave dynamics. You have to build basic democratic institutions first for demonstrations to work.
I hate russia, russians, russian culture and mythology, russian language especially. I’m a native speaker against my will. It’s not the language of great literature or culture, or science. It’s the language of war, death, destruction, lies and propaganda. I’m going to do whatever I can to forget it. This nation, this culture, and language are dead.
As I’m writing it, I watch a live stream of russians firing into the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhya. In real-time. Primitive monkeys with big guns and tanks firing at the nuclear plant. Even after eight days, it all feels surreal. I’d better stop now and go back to helping others to evacuate, finding transport and shelters in Europe.
There are no words that can describe the scale of the horror and ugliness of what russians are doing right now to my country.
There is no forgiveness for generations ahead.
They wanted Ukrainian land. Now they’ll become the land themselves.