"I'm not standing here because I'm against my country. I want my country to be free."
Svetlana Belso is a psychologist, 48 years old, and lives with her family in the suburbs of Copenhagen, Denmark. Like many Russians around the world, she attended an anti-war rally on February 24, the anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. We previously published Svetlana's story about how her 11-year-old daughter Anita wrote a letter to "Grandpa Putin." "Grandpa Putin, don't drop a nuclear bomb on us." Now Svetlana told about a rally against the war and in support of Ukraine.
I am standing in the center of Copenhagen, in the center of the capital of this wonderful country. Denmark was once a huge country. Now it is a small island on the world map. In the 17th century, Denmark lost the war and lost the territories that now belong to Sweden. Norway, part of Denmark, became an independent country in 1905. Iceland - in 1944.
These countries share a common history and language. They still understand each other without translation. The Norwegians and Danes call Sweden their big brother. Swedes and Danes call Norway their little brother. To bring up the idea that Denmark should annex "its" territories back to itself would be absurdity. It doesn't even occur to the locals.
Denmark is a country that has had an absolute monarchy for only 200 years in its thousand-year history. It is a country with stable democratic values, whose rulers have always been elected, and people's trust in government is deep, as is the government's respect for the people.
Today, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen stands in a modest coat and discreet hair on a small makeshift stage. No police, no guards, no cordons.
– You are fighting not only for your country," she says. - But for all of Europe. Not only for your freedom. But for our freedom. That's why we can't let you down. Words cannot describe what you are going through. But you must know, we see you. And we are with you. I began my speech with the dream of a young Ukrainian girl. A dream of a country where only birds fly in the sky, not rockets. This dream must not be in vain. It is our promise to you. As long as the flame of hope burns, Ukraine will endure. Peace will return. Freedom will win.
The yellow and blue flags were aflutter in the wind, along with the red ones with a white cross. I know that I am not standing here because I am against my country. I am against war and the killing of innocent people. I am against the forcible seizure of other people's territories.
I am standing here because I want my country to be free. Because I believe that Russia has a future. A future without dictators. A deserved democratic future for people with a broad, worn out with suffering Russian soul.
We just need to turn off the emitters, like in Strugatsky book.
I stand listening to voices singing in Danish a freedom song written during World War II.
"Here is your shield against violence, here is your sword:
Faith in life, faith in the value of man.
For the sake of our future
Seek and nurture.
Die if you must, but multiply and strengthen it."
I, a Russian, am standing in the old town square, at a rally in support of the Ukrainian people, and singing a song of freedom in Danish. An American friend of mine, a healer, said: It's time to stop thinking of ourselves as something separate. It's time to stop thinking in terms of "our own" and "others". It's time to start thinking in terms of Us.
We are all one. We are all children of one planet.
Victory to Ukraine! Freedom to Russia!