Young Russians Tell Ukrainians ‘Please, Don’t Hate Us’ After Putin Invasion – World News

Gabriel Gavin, a British journalist based in Moscow, said the vast majority of Russians he knew were shocked and embarrassed by what was happening in Ukraine after Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion.

Russian police arrest a protester during a rally against the entry of troops into Ukraine
Russian police arrest a protester during a rally against the entry of troops into Ukraine

Few were as surprised as ordinary Russians by Moscow’s sudden invasion of its former Soviet neighbor Ukraine.

For weeks, people here in Russia believed what their government was telling them – that leaked battle plans and war warnings were “incited” by Western intelligence agencies. .

But on Thursday, the country woke up to the news that Russian tanks were rolling on the border.

The vast majority of Russians I know are shocked and embarrassed by what is happening. Although most are not shouting their protest in the streets, behind closed doors they are railing against their president.

No one believes that Vladimir Putin’s premise for war – that Ukraine committed genocide against the ethnic Russian people. Nor do they share the leader’s obsession with their former Soviet compatriots.

Gabriel Gavin is a British journalist based in Moscow

Young people either quite like Ukraine or don’t have strong feelings about it, and older people see Ukrainians as one – virtual countrymen, not people they have any desire to conquer.

It is the young people who have led a flurry of tweets and Instagram stories since the invasion, apologizing to the people of Ukraine for their government’s actions.

“Please, don’t hate us,” Dara Nikolaevna wrote in one. “We are the hostages of this bastard – we would never choose war.”

For days, the hashtag #NoToWar went viral on Twitter in Russian, with one user saying: “I’m Russian. I fear what our president does. All my dreams about life vanished as the war escalated.”

Some brave Russians are raising their voices in the streets.

Police officers arrest a protester during a protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in Moscow


AFP via Getty Images)

Massive protests broke out in Putin’s hometown of St Petersburg, where crowds of young people shouted “no war” in front of barricades of riot police.

Others have taken to central Moscow to demand peace, knowing they will likely be detained under the country’s Covid laws – which allow nightclubs to pack revelers but ban protests outside of the country. God.

A Russian friend, with family in Ukraine, texted me saying: “My relatives in Chernihiv have written to me about the shelling and bombing near them. How should I feel? I’m thinking of going out to protest. I will support my family as much as I can.”

Young people do not support Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine



Many are also fearful, especially in Moscow, which thrives on cash from abroad. Cutting its businesses off from investment and trade could mean many closing for profit.

In a country where bread lines are still a living memory, the Kremlin’s greatest achievement is ending economic turmoil. Until now.

Dima, an employee of a bank affected by the first round of Western sanctions, told me: “I don’t know if this means I will lose my job. The future has suddenly become very uncertain for so many people like me. ”

Another young Russian, Kirill, considers the decision to send troops a “disaster, crime, tragedy”, and says he feels “desperate” and wants to do whatever it takes to move abroad. He added: “It will be extremely painful to leave – my parents and friends are all here. But I don’t see any other option for me.”

An injured woman stands outside a hospital after a bombing in the town of Chuguiv, eastern Ukraine


AFP via Getty Images)

Young Russians will be hardest hit by Britain’s ban on all UK flights from their country, and moves to prevent them from receiving EU visas. Some found that their parents, who were less preoccupied with traveling or studying abroad and were less inclined to take to social media to seek out their news, were less sympathetic.

A student at the prestigious diplomat training institute in Moscow told me: “I can’t believe it, but my dad thinks Putin is right. I can’t even talk to him at the moment.”

Many elders still oppose the war, but argue that NATO started it by refusing to rule out stationing troops in Ukraine.

Putin himself is unlikely to hear many objections from the people.

Pro-Ukrainian protesters stand across from Downing Street in London


Matthew Chattle / REX / Shutterstock)

For more than a year now, he has been confined in effective isolation, scaring Covid, while the rest of the country returns to normal.

He insisted visiting world leaders would take a Covid test with a laboratory of his choice and if they refused – as was the case with French President Emmanuel Macron – he would make them sit at the other end of the table. a meter long table.

Many in Moscow feel Putin has lost touch with what they want – and possibly even with reality.

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