A new, democratic Russia is impossible without a change of national mindset – and an acknowledgment of national guilt
Bombed-out Ukrainian cities and the corpses of children are not shown on Russian TV. Brave young people in Russia who protest against the war are being beaten up and arrested, while most people remain silent – there are no mass protests, no strikes. It hurts to see that many of my fellow citizens support the war against Ukraine: they put the Z on their windows at home and on their cars.
Russian television now repeatedly shows an interview with the famous actor Sergei Bodrov, a cult figure in Russia. “During a war one cannot speak poorly of one’s own,” he says. “Even if they’re wrong. Even if your country is wrong during the war, you shouldn’t talk poorly about it.” And that’s what people do, willing to support “their own” even if they are shooting at Ukrainians.
Mikhail Shishkin is a novelist, and the only author to have won the Russian Booker, Russian National Bestseller and Big Book prizes