Yesterday, Boris and I talked about the current war situation. I am so desperate that everybody (meaning – all countries) says they are standing with Ukraine and for Ukraine, and at the same time, barely doing anything. All this is multiplied by the natural gas situation and calls for “peace first.” And I was so mad about these statements from Russian officials about the Odesa port: yes, that was us, and we are going to continue. And yes, we are committed to the grain agreements, but we will still shell the port and fire at the ships and the warehouses, and we do not care a bit about the UN Secretary and anybody else.
We talked about why it all happens and whether the gas dependency is the only reason. Boris said that yes, but also, there are other things which we do not see and the politicians can’t talk about, like there is a constant string pulling by the spies on both sides. He mentioned a couple of episodes from the Soviet Union times spy wars, which he knew from his father. The moral of these stories is that there are likely other reasons why the Western countries are not pushing hard enough.
And back to the gas supply. Just to think that Russia receives at least the same amount of money for gas from the Western countries as these countries use to support Ukraine… I can’t wrap my head around this, and when I think about it, I feel helpless and hopeless. Every morning, I wake up with the hope that a miracle happened, and every day, I repeat the words of one of my Ukrainian friends: this day will come, just not as soon as both you and I would like it to come…
In the past couple of days, my optimism about the development at the war front started to return partially because there was some good news, partially because I could see some panic in the ranks of pro-war bloggers.
At the same time, I was deeply saddened by some conversations I had with my Russian friends. All of them are against the war. All of them say that they feel endless shame and disgust with the actions of the Russian government and pain a sorrow for the sufferings of the people of Ukraine.
But that’s where the similarities end. The are two ways they think about “how this can end.” One – Russia will become a complete outcast in the world, a country completely isolated from civilization, and will stay like this for long, maybe forever. And another way – Russia will be destroyed and disappear from the earth’s surface, “and we deserve it.”
s I mentioned before, I firmly believe that only the defeat in this war might give Russia a chance to come back as a new country, a defeat as profound as Nazi Germany in WWII. But with my friends, such a defeat is either a tragedy or “it won’t be enough, it won’t change the people.
Both make me sad, and I do not know what to do with it…
Although I didn’t see that many refugees on a trip this time, the sense of a more massive war approaching is here. And t does not really matter whether you are now in Europe or anywhere else. Each day, the news from the front leaves me paralyzed with horror, and every day, my mind is running circles asking – why, why, why there is so little help?! I said it already multiple times, and I can repeat it again: if Russia continues pressing the Ukrainian forces out of their territory, if Russia is left victorious, it won’t stop there! There is no hope for Ukraine; there is no hope for the world; there is no hope for Russia’s rebirth as a different kind of state if this won’t be stopped.
My mood regarding the war is going up and down. I was excited yesterday when several western leaders arrived in Kyiv and made all their announcements. Today, I hear the comments that “we need to think about our future relationships with Russia, after the regime in Russia changes.” First, this regime must change, and I don’t believe it will change unless Russia is defeated. I hope that everybody understands that…
I can’t think without horror about the war, about what’s happening right now. I was never so pessimistic about it since the very first days. I am so angry about ammunitions not coming to Ukraine, the US not accepting refugees, and all these talks that “the peace should be achieved at all costs.”
It’s so simple. I do not understand how those who suggest “peace in exchange for territory” do not realize that this won’t bring peace. That if Russia gains just any territory as a result of this war, that would be a signal that “it can be done.” That Russia won’t stop. Estonia and Lithuania, and other parts of Ukraine will be the next targets.
Why did nobody learn any lessons from WWII? Why does nobody see parallels? Rhetorical questions.
I do not understand what exactly “nobody wants a massive war” means. There is a massive war, and there will be a massive war. The only question is whether it will be initiated by the Western countries or by Russia. I hate to put it this way, but that’s what I think.
Although due to the current situation, the whole world knows what May 9 means to Russians in most countries the calendar is marked with another holiday – Europe Day.
Europe Day held on 9 May every year celebrates peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historic Schuman Declaration that set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable.
The Schuman Declaration or Schuman Plan was a proposal by the French foreign minister, Robert Schuman, made on 9 May 1950. It proposed placing French and West German production of coal and steel under a single authority that would later be opened to other European countries. The ultimate goal was to pacify relations, between France and West Germany in particular, through gradual political integration, which would be achieved by creating common interests. Schuman said that “the coming together of the countries of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany…the solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible.”
It is so sad to see today, that his hopes didn’t materialize and that the opposite happen, in the most unthinkable way! I hold a strong hope, however, that this time, the European countries won’t stop in the middle of the way and will make sure that nothing like this will ever happen again.
On our first day in Vilnius, we visited the Gediminas Castle Tower. Gediminas was a Great Duke of Lithuania who founded this political entity and wastly expanded its territory, founded Vilnius, and established strong relationships with many European monarchs. The Gediminas Tower is probably the best city viewpoint and a part of the Vilnius National Museum.
From the moment we landed at vilnius Airport, we realized who personally Lithuania takes the war in Ukraine. We hardly saw a Lithuanina flag without Ukrainian flag by it’s side, and lots of Ukrainian flags solo. There are lots of Ukrainian refugees in the city, I mention it know because there was a large group in the Gediminas Tower when we visited. As everywhere, they are mostly women with children. When we bought the tickets to the museum, we could choose a visitor sticker either of Lithuania red color, or yellow and blue.
Interestingly, the current exhibit in the Gediminas Toweris very timely – it is dedicated to the Baltic Way – see the photos below.
Our local Greenview Art Gallery opened a benefit exhibit featuring the works of Ukrainian artist Anatoliy Khmara with all proceeds going to support Ukraine. Khmara came to the US on a special visa for persons with Exceptional Abilities over 20 years ago. Many of his relatives are still in Ukraine, and the exhibit opens with their portraits.
He paints magical landscapes and blooming flowers, but I was immediately drawn to his Chicago pictures. The picture of Montrose Harbor made in the most unusual colors caught my attention.
It did not fit either in my budget, or on my wall, but I could not take my eyes off it. When Khmara asked me which picture I liked, I pointed to this picture but added that I can’t afford it either way. He said that he should have smaller prints of it, but Igor and I told him we had already gone through the bin and didn’t find any. Then he asked one of the staff to check in the back because he remembered he had a smaller print. She fetched one but said it was marked as sold. But, she added, we can other another one. Khmara said – why, we can give her that one, and order an additional print for that other customer :). I could not say “no.”
My “war budget” for April was long gone, but the staff offered to pay in installments, which I gladly accepted.