"Tomorrow they won't like me and my children - and they'll justify our destruction."

Photo from the personal archive of the heroine."Let the angel save Lidochka from troubles, diseases and harm

This letter was sent to our editorial office by Julia from Tomsk. She wrote this text on January 24, 11 months after the war began. Yulia is half-Ukrainian and is also a mother of many children. She experiences what is happening in Ukraine as a personal tragedy, applying to herself the losses of Ukrainian mothers and widows. Despite her approval of the war around her, Yulia's loss of companionship and depression only strengthen her opposition to Russian aggression with each passing day.    

– Today is eleven months of war. Eleven months of pain and my personal hell.

Who am I? I am a woman experiencing the inevitable mid-life crisis, an independent mother of several minor children. I have a full-time higher education. And I don't seem to have a homeland.

I am a tree without roots, a man in search of happiness and the meaning of life.  A hybrid of Ukrainians, Poles and Russians with a beautiful Russian surname, whose profession is inextricably linked with such a beloved Russian language.

Looking at me, you would never know that I am Ukrainian unless I say so myself. In my childhood, there were often Ukrainian words and songs at home, because my ancestors were from Ukraine, even though I was born in one of the Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. I do not know my great-grandfathers, I do not know where they are buried. Such was life in the former Soviet Union, for which many people are nostalgic. By the way, I caught the break-up of the USSR when I was in Ukraine, in a children's camp. It is ironic...

Photo from the personal archive of the heroine."Let the angel save Lidochka from troubles, diseases and harm

Where was I for eight years before the war started? I was working hard, getting an education, raising children. Honestly, I didn't care about politics until 2018 , and I proudly wrote on social media that I was apolitical. I was only interested in the news of the city where I lived. In 2014, I was indifferent to the news about the annexation of Crimea, and I did not follow the news about the clashes in Donbas or the Minsk agreements. It was outside my inner circle. Then my position gradually began to change, I began to look at the world more broadly, became interested in history and politics, and in 2021 my views could be called liberal.

About a month before that date, I distinctly sensed that something terrible was coming. Talking about it with a friend, when she asked me if there would be a war, I answered affirmatively. The reason was the video of several of my acquaintances, who had witnessed the transportation of heavy military equipment. This had never been seen before, and I had no doubts that this was not preparation for army exercises. I did not sleep well.

On the night of February 15-16, when the supposed date of the invasion of Ukraine was called, I could not sleep. The war had not started, and I was relieved for a week. I was reposting Vanya Noise's song "The Hundred Years War," and I could physically feel the catastrophe coming - my muscles were breaking (coincidentally, I met the war sick with coronavirus, as broken and weak as possible).

Photo from the personal archive of the heroine."Let the angel save Lidochka from troubles, diseases and harm
On the night of February 24, after suffering from a high fever, I fell asleep in the morning, woke up, opened the news, and saw the airfield in Ivano-Frankivsk, the city where my Ukrainian grandfather was born, on fire... And something broke inside me.

I cried like a baby cries, I had no strength to restrain myself. I started reading my acquaintances' chats about the inevitability of war and the rightness of Putin's actions. I realised that I wouldn't be able to communicate with these people anymore. I began to break off contact.

I went to my father and told him that a war began between Russia and Ukraine. He didn't understand the meaning of what I said due to his mental illness, said: "So what, it's far away from us." I was even happy about it.

The next few months of my life can be described as a constant scrolling of the news feed, lots of tears, pain and disappointment in people I turned out not to know at all. Cutting ties with friends and even close relatives, learning the stories of people affected by the war.

There are two young female widows in Instagram, which is banned by the Russian authorities – Olga Beryoska and Anastasia Savelyeva.After reading  their stories of widowhood my attitude  

For me as a mother, this war is counted down by the Ukrainian children who died: the 4-year-old boy who drowned during an evacuation, the three-month-old baby who died in Odessa with her mother and grandmother at Easter, the boy who was shot in the car while trying to get to a safe area, the four-year-old Lisa who was killed by shell fragments in Vinnitsa, the newborn boy who died in November when a maternity hospital in Zaporozhye was shelled, the children who died in Dnipro on January 14, 2023. I look at my children, marvel at the miracle of life and their development - and am horrified at the amount of grief and evil that Russia has brought to Ukraine.

My heartache turns to tears, to grimaces of pain that hurt my facial muscles, and for a while I feel better. But only temporarily. Sometimes I want to wake up and think that I'm just dreaming about all these horrors. Although I already quietly look at the pictures in the telegram feeds of the bodies of dead military men who have undergone the process of decomposition, it is still unbearable to look at the bodies of dead people in civilian clothes.

Photo from the personal archive of the heroine."Let the angel save Lidochka from troubles, diseases and harm
I stayed in Russia. Where I was born, they don't expect me. They won't accept me in Ukraine. I am embraced by strangers here, and a atranger there. My social circle currently consists of five people with whom I can be myself without fear of expressing my opinion. It somehow keeps me afloat, makes me realise that I am not alone.

In recent months I don't want to wake up to this world, I don't want to be among people collecting money for weapons to kill Ukrainians. After all, in seeking to destroy Ukrainians, these people are seeking to destroy a part of the nation's genetic code that is present in me. And this is genocide. So, there is a possibility that by killing "Ukronazis," tomorrow they may not like me and my children, and they will also justify our destruction.

I explain to my children that Ukrainians were among their ancestors, so I ask them not to get their hands dirty drawing postcards for Russian soldiers, collecting funds to make trench candles, etc. I showed my children pictures of dead Ukrainian children, their actually grief-stricken parents. It was hard and traumatic, but it's more honest than smiling at your child telling you how he wrote a letter to the soldiers in the war.

I would like to write that I have hope, but I guess there is no hope anymore.          

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