Russia to Putin: “No War!”


Russia’s unprovoked military campaign against its neighbor Ukraine has left many of us asking: What do the Russian people think of Vladimir Putin‘s infamous and deadly adventure? Are it’s cultural leaders speaking out?


One of them has made a powerful and courageous statement.

We’ve written before about Maria Stepanova, author of the acclaimed In Memory of Memory and one of Russia foremost poets and writers. She also has another hat: she is the founding editor of the crowd-funded Colta, a high-traffic Russian online journal that has been called the Russian equivalent of The New York Review of Books.

Here’s what it had to say this week in a front-page editorial about Russia’s attack on its Ukraine, titled simply “No War”:

This morning the Russian government launched a military operation on Ukrainian territory. This is an unbelievable step. In the 21st century, when the world has trended towards reducing violence, including in international relations, this decision throws our nation back to an archaic time, politically and culturally – not even back to the to the end of the twentieth century, but back to the first half, when war still seemed to be a way of solving international problems. Civilized people have always tried to oppose violence, in whatever form it may appear and to whomever it may be directed. COLTA.RU is a publication that deals primarily with cultural issues. But today we cannot got to work as usual, pretending that nothing happened. What is happening now will become and has already become a huge tragedy for millions of people.

Let’s hope Putin listens. The whole world is watching.

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