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The Russian army under Vladimir Putin’s command is waging a brutal war against independent Ukraine. The Ukrainian army’s resistance is brave and strong. The worldwide support for the Ukrainian cause is unprecedented.

But there’s one more thing to do.

Skip Putin. Talk to Russians.

Russians are still hesitant about protesting against this malicious war. Many are afraid of repressions. Many live in an information bubble and believe the toxic state propaganda.

But millions and millions of people around the world have other, personal connections with Russia.

Work. Business. Love. Scientific collaboration. Art. Religion. All sorts of things.

This is a powerful force.

Use these connections.

Skip Putin. Talk to Russians.

Email them.

Message them.

Text them.

Explain your grief. Your concern. Your outrage.

Be as personal as possible.

Be emotional but reserved.

Be persistent.

Explain the simplest things if necessary. Russia is an aggressor. Ukraine is defending itself.

Explain the sanctions. The scale of aggression. The criminality of Russia’s actions.

Explain why the whole world is on the Ukrainian side.

Why the skies are closed.

Why economic ties have been cut.

But do not cut your own personal ties. Use them.

Write to the businessman you trade with. Write to the state officials. To the men in power. To the military. To politicians of any sort. Every single Russian you know.

This isn’t propaganda or diplomacy.

It’s an urgent, basic need for truth.

For the Russians to protest against the war.

In the name of peace, we need to do it immediately:

#SkipPutinTalkToRussians

Spread this message.

Urge others.

Let’s do it now.


The identity of the persons behind the text is known to the editors.

This essay was originally published in Eurozine.

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