I Can’t Stop Thinking About It

That is – about people in Russia who are not just silent but actively and voluntarily support the aggression. And I know that those of my friends who stay sane amongst this insanity are as horrified as me, only, unlike me, they have to live to face this insanity every day.

And once again, I can’t stop thinking about where I would be if… I recall the conversations I had with my friends sometime in 1980 or 81. I think I already mentioned that, and I want to repeat it again: at that time, most of us didn’t have good feelings toward Jews who were emigrating. We thought that they were cowards and wanted the easy life, and didn’t think about the consequences of their departure for those who stayed (the latter was true).

I was in love with L. (he liked me but didn’t love me and gently tried to push me away), and his family obtained the vise and were getting ready to go to Israel. L. didn’t want to go. He was eighteen and told us he would rather stay and go to Afghanistan than join the Israeli army.

I clearly remember that that’s what he said, and that’s what we all thought, and we hated his parents for not understanding such an obvious thing.

What was I thinking? What all of us were thinking? When I shared these horrific memories with Boris, he said that at least the Soviets didn’t launch missiles against Afghans. OK, they used other weapons. But that’s why I kept thinking: what was wrong with me? And those few Russian people who understand – I really admire them because I have no idea how they managed to stay human, and I am afraid I would not measure up if I were there.

There are people who understand that standing for your country’s independence is not an act of war and that Russia initiated the war, not the other way around, but there are so few of them!

That Is My Alma Mater. That WAS.

I am shocked by this news. I guess I should not be shocked because Boris told me multiple times about the situation at our university. The one that used to be THE University.

Hopefully, my non-Russian-speaking friends will use Google translate to read the article above in its entirety, but to give a quick summary, it tells about the hackathon, which was organized by Wagner with the goal of finding solutions for drones without GPS. The first-place winners are the students of Saint Petersburg State University, who previously graduated from one of the top specialized high schools (fortunately not my school, but that’s not a consolation).

And they are saying that it was fun to participate because it was an interesting problem to work on and whatever else…

Again, not like something unexpected, but truly disgusting.

And Let This Stay Here As Well

Also, I wanted to embed Putin’s address to the Russian people just so that it would sit here and be a reminder, but I didn’t come right away with any video with English subtitles, so I am leaving this link here.

One more thing I want next year to happen: I want this one to be the last Putin New Year address!!!

…and also, I want to be able to have the tag “ukraine” without the tag “war”.

In The Shadow Of The War

I know that it’s wrong to have your phone on your nightstand and check what has happened while you are asleep the moment you wake up. It might be wrong, but that’s what I do. Before February 22, I first checked whether there was an email from Boris, and starting from February 22, it was the BBC notifications… Last morning, I almost cried when I saw the notification about yet another missile strike. And I said it out loud, although nobody could hear me: they will pay for it. We will make them pay.

As much as I liked the December 26 Time magazine issue, all the articles, and all the photos, and as much as Ukraine is in the news every day, it can’t change the fact that the situation at the front is horrific. Every morning, I wake up hoping for a miracle. And every morning, it’s another missile strike. A miracle can’t help, and I know it. And I know that anti-missile weapons won’t appear miraculously, and I know that the troops need to be trained. Still, every morning…

All I Want For Christmas…

I am getting more and more disappointed in Russian society. I can’t believe I am saying this. I always used to say that the country has potential and healthy forces. Whenever others told me that nothing good would ever come out of Russia, I would always argue and remind others how much society has changed in 1991/92. I still have a lot of newspaper clippings from that time. I remember how we were hungry but hopeful and open to new ideas. I remember how in 1996, none of us, recent arrivals to the US, planned to stay here forever. We talked about going back and bringing back with us all the knowledge, all the new ways of doing things that we learned. I thought … well, does it matter what I thought back then?! 

I am shocked to find an imperial mindset in many people I thought were completely normal, intelligent, and understanding. The most frustrating thing is that these people do not understand that they have this problem. The level of entitlement is skyrocketing. I am horrified that I never paid enough attention to that and never noticed the level of this ignorance in the people surrounding me. 

Last weekend, Anna and I talked a lot about that. (This recording of Chervona Kalina I posted a couple of days ago was made during our conversation – there was a lot of singing). For many years, I told Anna that most of the Russian political opposition is not that much better than Putin and that being against Putin is not enough to be a decent person. Now she said she realized that. The opposition is continuous frustration and disappointment. Why do they feel OK behaving like a Big Brother when they come to other countries? Why do they believe that opposing Putin entitles them to some special treatment? Anna told me that at the beginning of the war, she thought that although Ukrainians are wholly entitled to say as harsh words about Russians as they want, they are indeed too harsh. But now, she says, she has concluded that the Ukrainians were right from the beginning. And that’s how I feel, as well.┬á

I can’t believe that even now, many people who once again seemed to be completely normal complain about the inability to travel to Europe as if it’s the worst thing in the world.┬áThere are a few of my very long-time friends who are not like this, but so few!

As for us, we feel the weight of collective guilt, and it’s more than just a word for me. There were many facts that I chose to ignore, not pay attention to, and not analyze. I have already said multiple times that I am not sure where I would be if I didn’t immigrate. I was thinking about myself thirty years ago, and I can’t be certain I would be on the right side of history. That’s why the blame is on me, and I can’t imagine people going around with their holiday activities┬áwithout Ukraine in the background.┬á

I know that all I want for Christmas is a victory for Ukraine. Not peace, but victory. 

President Zelensky Addresses The US Congress

I know everybody saw it already, at least those who care. But I wanted to make sure that the full video stays here. The most important words from this speech – this is not charity. He said – it’s an investment, but I would make a stronger statement: this is not an investment in the future, it is today’s defense of democracy in the whole world. And for that, the world should be forever thankful for Ukraine.