Some neighbor comes and starts dictating his terms
Julia is a chiropractor and mother of three children. She believes that the war was made possible because you think that it doesn't affect you. Because you are all convinced that nothing depends on you personally and your vote means nothing. We agree with Julia. And what about you?
Tell us about yourself.
- My name is Julia, I am a chiropractor and I have a private practice. That's what my whole life is about. I also have three children, so in my spare time I am a single mom of three children.
How did you find out about the war in Ukraine?
- I got a message from a friend of mine, he telegraphed me that we had attacked Ukraine after all. He's a Belarusian, and he had been watching the pulling of equipment for many, many weeks. He was talking about how it looked like there was going to be a war, and I couldn't believe it, I thought, "What nonsense, this is the 21st century, it can't be." And then I woke up and read that a war had started, and I just couldn't believe it. He was sending me links, different news. I don't know, it was just shock and tears. I took it as a personal tragedy.
Do you know anyone who supports the war?
- In my line of work I have daily contact with a very large number of people. And in those days I had an inner need to find a response at least from my clients. I wanted to hear from them that they were also against it, but I met mostly with approval. The basic position of clients, acquaintances, friends: it doesn't concern us, they deserve it, the clichéd phrases about eight years, "we don't know everything", "everything is not so unequivocal". And very, very rarely have I encountered any judgment or words about how this is unacceptable.
Why is it important for you to support Ukraine?
- I just put myself in the place of the Ukrainians: people lived in their own state, they sincerely loved it, you can see this in their behavior, in their posts on social networks, in their videos, in their appeals to Russian citizens in the first weeks, and then some neighbor comes and starts to dictate his terms. This is a situation of complete injustice. We seem to be conquering outer space, flying to Mars, but some of our conflicts are resolved not through dialogue or diplomacy, but simply through force.
Was there any threat to Russia?
- This is where the line from the band "Porn Movies" comes to my mind: "There is no excuse or reason for war." I think so. I can't justify it. I justify, for example, some of the things Ukrainians are doing now, because they are defending their land, they are defending their homes, their families on their land. I can't give excuses for our soldiers, especially when you watch videos, listen to stories of eyewitnesses, friends who are now on the other side.
Do you have relatives in Ukraine?
- I have a sister who lives there. We haven't seen each other for a long time, but she lives in Kherson. Her presence in our family chat room is a rock of discord. Because she talked about what Russian soldiers were doing. I'm even afraid to tell my relatives some things now, because I'm afraid of how it might turn out for me. And she tried to tell our group, but unfortunately, only three people in the family understood what she was trying to say. And the bulk of it was the older generation who lived with television. And there was a debate: "Let's exclude her from the group, because she's telling us these things.
Have you thought about leaving Russia?
- Oh yes, of course. That was probably my first thought when this flywheel began to gain momentum. The same TV that I don't watch, like all normal people do, but for clients it goes in the background while I'm working. And I'm scared, not nationally, I'm just scared to stay among people who approve of it. I've also been pushed to these thoughts by the very sensational lessons in schools that are trying to get this stuff out to kids. I have a good trusting relationship with my children and we have discussed the position that they are being taught at school. That's why I want to go to a place where there's no imposition.
Do you feel guilty about what is happening?
- There is guilt. Communicating with every Ukrainian, for example, on Telegram, I don't know what to say. I want to support them, to say that I am with them. Recently I chatted with one person who said, "I can't believe that a person from the Russian Federation would say such things. I thought you were all for war." When I was planning my departure, I was talking to agencies that employ medics, and one employee told me sincerely, "It's not time for you to leave yet, at least to our country." It was about Poland. Because there was too much negativity, and patients simply refused Russian medics.
How has life changed since February 24?
- My psychological state changed more, because at first there was unacceptance, disbelief. For a week there were tears, which were very difficult to stop.
What are you afraid of?
- I must already be afraid of nuclear weapons, because if you watch the video bloggers, there's a lot of reporting over the last week about what to do if there's a nuclear strike, how to save yourself. And it suggests that it's inevitable, at least locally somewhere. I am afraid of the fact that it will spread to our territories, because if it happens on our territories it will make our people even more angry, and they will justify their aggression with it.
Why was war possible?
- It's people. People who think it doesn't affect me. People who think that nothing in this country depends on them. People who think that their vote won't change anything, that their opinion won't change anything. People who just don't want to sit down and consider all sides of the conflict and draw the right conclusions. I think that's the point.