I stopped working in TV because I wanted to say no

Daria is 28. She graduated from VGIK as a director of non-fiction films and television. She worked in Moscow for four months at the state channel. That's where she caught the beginning of the "special military operation." "Politics took up 30% of the airtime before the events, but 70% after them... When they said there would be no war, we already knew everything". Half-Ukrainian, Daria wrote a post of support for the neighboring country on social media and then resigned from the channel. A new voice in the "Eyewitnesses 24/02/2022" project.

Tell us about yourself.

- I'm 28 years old, I graduated from VGIK as a director of non-fiction films and television. In fact, after gaining work experience, I would like to remove this prefix - "and television" - from there, but, unfortunately, it's unrealistic. I worked there for almost four months, not at a federal station, but at one of Moscow's leading channels. Before the latest events, politics was taking up about 30 percent of the airtime, I think, and then it started taking up 70 percent after that. I would not say there was any strict censorship, because all the airtime was made by producers, and I was a montage director. I was given the material and my job was to make it for the air.

How did you find out about the war in Ukraine?

- I learned, one might say, firsthand, since all the news passes through us. I had to edit the events that, roughly speaking, no one had written about back then. When they said there would be no war, we already knew everything. On February 16 I wrote my first post, and since I am half ethnic Ukrainian, I think I can afford to publish the flag of Ukraine and write words of support. It may have been a rash decision, but I realize now that I couldn't have done it any other way. Maybe someone will say that writing some posts and talking about it on the Internet while sitting at home is also some kind of strange and not logical, a little childish, infantile position, but considering that nowadays most people read posts on the Internet anyway, it is also a certain courage.

Your first thoughts and feelings?

- There are stages of acceptance of the situation, such as anger, bargaining, denial. I think I have passed through these stages, and the most important thing is that I realized that there are some events that you cannot influence in any way and that do not depend on you personally. You're actually a conduit, and there's nothing you can do about it. And I think I had a stage of denial when I stopped working there, because I wanted to do something myself, to say no. In fact, it was an act of protest.

Why do many people in Russia support the war?

- Unfortunately , we have the situation that the largest stratum of the population is likely to support, and support sincerely only because it is more convenient and familiar to them, for them it is easier. The people close to me in my circle are in solidarity with my opinion. I've probably been a bit lucky with this, because there have been no violent conflicts. If you consider my directing profession, I understand that as a person who has to show my opinion, I have to do it through the screen.

Do you have relatives in Ukraine?

- I am half ethnic Ukrainian, and I have relatives and friends who live there, and we haven't spoken to those acquaintances who were in the DNR and LNR for a very long time. I see that they have removed themselves from my friends, and I understand that it is probably easier for them.

What story from Ukraine shocked you?

- The last point was the story of Mariupol. When you see all these images, when you realize that the city has actually been destroyed, especially when you realize that this is all happening close by, that it takes plus or minus three hours to get there from our city, and that it is literally right next door to you...

Whose fault is it that the lives of millions are ruined?

- Now, it seems to me, there is no point in looking for someone to blame, because we all know this position very well. Every historical event has certain preconditions. The events that are taking place now would not have happened because of certain events that took place eight years ago. I think the main thing now is simply to understand where the truth is and where it is not.

Feeling guilty about what's going on?

- In Russian literature we have a very striking image of the "little man" concerning guilt and responsibility. That is, we are all a little bit of this "little man," on whom nothing depends, but he worries all the time and understands that the situation that happens around him is not controlled by him. I think that at this point it is a bit pathetic to take the blame for someone else or someone else's responsibility.

Participated in protests in Russia?

- I have a directing profession, and of course there are many of my colleagues whose opinions are more significant, more weighty, and who actively speak out for and against this issue. A director has to speak his mind on the screen. That is, if you care about something, you can make a film about it or a project about it.

Have you thought about leaving Russia?

- There were such thoughts, but the problem is this: now we are actually in the eighth wave of emigration, considering all the historical events of the last hundred years. With each wave of emigration, a huge stratum of intellectuals - people who could think and speak openly, who were not afraid to express their opinions - leaves the country. In fact, this was the reason for their departure. I was impressed by the stance taken by the poet Anna Akhmatova, who lived all her life in Russia, despite her own views. Someone has to stay, someone has to talk about what he sees around him.

What's wrong with Russia?

- To say that our country has some kind of special path that does not intersect or resonate with other countries is a bit irresponsible. Even the very same Russian culture has very many pillars that helped it develop. These pillars came from both Asian culture and European culture. That is, it is a kind of eclecticism, which in our country has already acquired its own special connotation.

What are you afraid of?

- I' m already tired of being afraid. You go over the edge at some point and realize that there's no point in thinking depressing thoughts about how bad things are, we're all going to die. You just realize that you have to move no matter what.

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