The last two days were packed with events and emotions, and it feels crucial for me to record as much as I can, just for myself, to remember these days.
Before the world collapsed into the war, we made plans with Lena for her to visit this weekend and see this Orchid show in the Botanic Garden. On Thursday, Lena called me in tears, telling me about her relatives in the city of Sumy on the Russian/Ukrainian border. The city was shelled, explicitly targeting the infrastructure, the heating system, electric stations, and the railway station. She said she did not want to come. I told her that I understood, but if she changed her mind, we could also go to the rally on Sunday. On Friday, she texted me that she would come.
Saturday was a mixture of enjoying the Botanic Garden and the nice weather, listening to the horror stories from Sumy, laughing at the gypsies who stole a tank from the Russian Army, exchanging ideas about Lena’s own family’s potential escape from Russia, and making posters for the rally.
I still can’t understand what should have been done to people for them to be able to drop the bombs on their neighbors, and I can’t stand that there is absolutely nothing I can do. Lena and I talked about Russians who somehow still believe that “only Russia is right and the rest of the world is not.” Lena could not understand how anybody seeing that literally, the whole world is saying one thing, and Russia is saying something else, won’t have doubts. And then, I saw a blog post on Russian social media, which explained it to me as clear as possible. It went something like that:
When it all started, I was worried and concerned and felt shame and everything, but it started to change. Look, how come all these Western countries united their forces and issued all these sanctions so fast and in unison? That means that they planned it! And now all these sanctions, which target the ordinary people, as if we could have a voice in anything! That means that the West is indeed at war with Russia, which means that we had to fight this war! And because of this war, Russians are united more than ever!
I can’t even count the number of wrongs here, but this helps explain “how could they.”
Seeing Lena not crying, but being angry and energetic, was one relief. Another big one was that Boris finally got out of Russia back to Finland. After weeks of hesitation, he finally decided to make “a big leap,” but the timing was not the best, and then I spent days worrying that he won’t be able to return before Russia closed its borders entirely. Everybody is trying to escape as it was after the October Revolution. The trains are full, the airline tickets are impossible to get, and whatever is left costs twenty times more than a week ago. On top of it, these are the last couple of days of Russian credits cards being serviced.
For me, it meant that I had to execute some surgical operations with mom’s finances and then run around the city getting as much cash as I could get.
And then, there was a rally. I will try to write a separate post about it tomorrow because it is getting late, and I need to start sleeping again.
I will just say one thing here. Never before did I attend a rally with so much grief being in the air. My sorrow for the suffering people grew even more, and so did a feeling of helplessness. This feeling became more specific: whatever I could do to help should have been done earlier. And whatever I am trying to do now looks at most like the attempts of the whites to join the BML rallies – whites were firmly and politely or not – being ushered out.