Is Donetsk Ukraine dangerous Any advice

Conflict between Ukraine and Russia: Everything is rotten about your goodwill

Why I do not sit on a podium with pro-Russian authors: I will not allow myself to be degraded to a show effect.

Tanks of the Donetsk People's Republic retreating from the front line. Photo: Reuters

A literature festival in Germany. On my agenda is a discussion with a Russian writer. A proponent of the secession of eastern Ukraine who, after his travels in Donbass, wrote pamphlets about the exploits of pro-Russian fighters and who condemned the Kiev junta.

I cancel and can't get rid of the thought that something is wrong here. How can it be that they don't understand how it is received, what it is? Why don't they understand that there isn't even a slight trace of any kind of communication possible here? Or is it not about understanding at all? Then what about? A show? A scandal? Audience success?

No question about it, discourses among like-minded people are not that exciting. Hardly any bare nerves, no hysterical screams, no slipping into private life. So everything is in the best order, from the point of view of an impartial Western intellectual, everyone has a right to their own truth, regardless of whose territory the fighting is taking place and who is the initiator of the fighting ...

But I'm not interested in this kind of tension. Neither does drifting into private life. Especially when it comes to war. Speak to people - living and dead people. Given that, I don't feel like being a part of the show for Western intellectuals. Those who endeavor to create a correct and objective impression, who, in their own opinion, justly give “both sides of the conflict” a say, who honestly assume that these two “sides” must be ready for a dialogue.

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Iron wall of geopolitics

Hardly anyone is interested in the fact that one occupant faces one another. Those are annoying details, nuances. All that matters is a positive attitude. Also in dealing with the occupant. And the easiest thing is to accept the invitation and hope that the "other side" is just as attuned to the positive. What remains is to listen to the arguments of the “other side” during a constructive conversation, which are based on historical conditionality and geopolitical logic, on concepts and strategies, on a feeling of revenge and indulgence.

And all of your words that revolve around your nearest and dearest, about the rooms where you grew up, about the air you breathe all your life - all of this is shattered on the ice-cold iron wall of geopolitics, on this “truth of others Page".

Because everything is correct. From the point of view of an impartial Western intellectual, everyone has their own truth, regardless of whose territory the fighting is taking place and who started the fighting, and regardless of whether the "other side" admits to participating in it in principle. And of course she does not admit this.

But on the contrary. She asserts that she has nothing to do with this war, and that allows her to make accusations, give advice, and patronize the unfortunates who still refuse to see that they are doomed to continue in frosty hugs persist in geopolitics. That is roughly my perception of such attempts to remain constructive at all costs.

Everything the same as before

“You intellectuals are obliged to provide an example of common sense in this war,” a colleague from Berlin told me. “You have to demonstrate goodwill and a willingness to compromise. You have to argue with opponents! ”-“ Wait a minute ”, I answer,“ but my opponents call me a fascist ”. - "That is unimportant, you are obliged to". - “Wait”, I say, “the thing is that I'm not a fascist”. - "That does not matter". She becomes impatient. “You understand that the discussions you are having here in Germany are a kind of masturbation. There are only Ukraine lovers. Who cares? "

That's right, I think, there's little tension involved - no fuss, no curses, no pyrotechnics. And the main thing is that nobody says to the other: fascist. The acquaintance speaks Russian well and is with many Russian authors, including those who call for an attack on Kharkiv and Kiev and advocate expanding the borders of their own country at the expense of the territories of the “other side”. She is interested in military conflicts, has already been to the Caucasus, and also wants to go to Donbass. No politics - professional curiosity. Another military conflict on the map of Europe, there were countless of them, countless will follow.

Nothing special, everything the same as before. All good. If it weren't for those on the ground who continue to refuse to be identified as one of the two parties in the so-called conflict. Who cannot speak calmly about this war. Calling to condemn aggression, annexation and occupation. Those who appeal to the feeling of justice, remember feelings at all. Who refuse to sit down and negotiate with the perpetrators.

Yes, these people cause problems. It is difficult to understand them, to accept their truth for your own. Sometimes I think that people only begin to believe in death when they are dying themselves. Only then does he sincerely, firmly and steadfastly believe in it. Not much longer, however.

Translated from the Ukrainian by Irina Serdyuk