Back when I was a sociology student at Kyiv-Mohyla, I was stupidly, shamelessly enamoured with the collective western Left. I dreamed of a day when Ukrainian academia would have widespread and popular discussions about colonialism, privilege, and all of the -isms. I read essays
by prominent English-speaking activists and thought “oh, if only these brilliant people were to learn about Ukraine and its complicated past, about the discrimination we have faced throughout the centuries, about the genocides and revolutions. They would understand us. They would
probably share valuable experience or help us somehow lay down the theoretical groundwork that would explain all of the traumatic events we’ve witnessed and lived though.” I was… dazzlingly naive. And now, when my country is under attack from a literal kleptofascist empire that
openly declares it’s going to commit ethnic cleansing, when our children and women die in agony, and when our academics and queer activists, nihilists and journalists, writers and liberals, doctors, teachers, feminists and conservatives, Muslims and Jews, atheists and clergymen
are desperately fighting against a better-armed, bloodthirsty enemy intent on levelling our cities with the ground, burning our fields, raping us, killing us, blowing up our hospitals and destroying our monuments, I look at the abstract western Left (or, at least, its most vocal
part) and I see nothing but scorn in their eyes. Scorn, condescending, privileged carelessness. They preach equality and resistance to oppression and yet accuse people like myself (feminist queer women who’ve spent their lives striving for equal rights) of being Nazis because we
don’t want to kneel over and die in silence. They talk about the importance of representation and yet shut us up whenever we try and tell them about our experiences. They write books about us without turning to a single Ukrainian expert for guidance or information. They accuse
others of being privileged and lacking empathy, and yet can’t seem to grasp the concept that not being in an active war zone and not worrying about your loved ones dying at any given moment is, in fact, privilege. They claim that we do not deserve sympathy because we aren’t doing
enough for LGBTQ rights in this country — and then proceed to ignore the LGBTQ soldiers risking their lives on the frontlines. They spout careless, hurtful bullshit, quoting their out-of-touch idols who preach absolute pacifism only because it’s not their lives at stake.
I know not all western leftists are like this. Obviously not. I know many of them do sympathise with our plight, and I’m thankful for their support. But the ones who treat this invasion as an excuse to build long-winded theories about how NATO is some ever present universal evil,
or treat all of this as some sort of twisted ethics exercise, a trolly problem in which Ukrainians are the sacrificial savages who need to die quietly before real people start suffering from high gas prices or nuclear war… I’ll never forget those.
I am absolutely amazed and over the moon that this thread has gotten such a response! If you want to hear more from Ukrainian leftists who’ve had their world turned upside-down by the war, check out this opinion piece by @ahatanhel.

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More from @rynkrynk

Aug 13
Well, right now we’re under martial law because of the invasion, so the past six months have been a little, well, different for our society, and I definitely wouldn’t judge our overall progress by the current situation.
But, apart from that, I’d say the main issue is corruption left over from the late Soviet times and the 90s and 2000s. A lot (but, obviously, not all) of this corruption is quite low-scale and low-stakes, so I’d even say that a lot of foreigners (including, in fact, the very
international organisations which conduct research on the matter) overestimate the influence of corruption on Ukrainian politics and society in general. Because, to be honest, from what we’ve seen of German politics lately, I wouldn’t say they’re much better in this respect.
Read 7 tweets
Aug 12
Alright, I know this definitely won’t get the “but Maidan was a coup!” crowd to stop with that bs, but I do want to remind all of you fine people on twitter what life before Euromaidan was like. Yanukovych, the ex-president who fled the country after the revolution, had
been caught cheating in one of the previous presidential elections. His opponent, Victor Yushchenko, eventually won the re-election, but was mysteriously poisoned and almost died. He went from looking like this to this in a matter of weeks: Image
And Yushchenko wasn’t the only political figure of the pre-Maidan times who ended up with a suspicious substance in his food. Political assassinations were, well, pretty widespread, as were oddly timed suicides. Journalists occasionally got kidnapped or murdered. Here’s a famous
Read 5 tweets
Aug 11
I’m sorry, did Putin and his authoritarian regime spring out, fully formed and wielding unbreakable power, out of nowhere, way back in 1991? No. The reason why Putin grew into the monster he is now is that he was allowed to do so by every single Russian who chose to be apolitical
in exchange for a quiet and calm life. He slowly surrounded himself with yes-men and thugs of all calibres, slowly grew his influence and tightened the screws while the general public remained generally indifferent. When Ukrainian society fought against Yanukovych and his corrupt
cronies, pretty much every Russian person I know either pretended they didn’t know what was happening, or made fun of us for being майдауны (the best way I can translate this horrific and popular pun is “having Mai-Down’s syndrome. Yeah) or bemoaned the fact that Ukrainians were
Read 10 tweets
Aug 10
Alright, here’s an admittedly odd question for those of you who might have studied/majored in/taken a course in anything concerning modern Russian society/contemporary Russian culture: did your curriculum focus at on АУЕ (aka Russian prison culture) at all?
Because here’s the thing: I am convinced that people who have seen several memes about wolves doing push-ups and refusing to perform in the circus (memes about wolves are a big part of said subculture), and know a little about понятия (unwritten rules of conduct among criminals)
have a much better understanding of how modern Russian society works than people who’ve read Dostoyevsky cover to cover and have written essays about cancel culture coming for Russian ballet. Now, so far I can’t prove my theory, but I still wish more foreigners understood what
Read 5 tweets
Aug 10
If you follow a lot of Ukrainians, you might have noticed them using pictures of cotton flowers whenever a target in Russia gets hit. A lot of Ukrainians also have references to cotton in the user pictures and/or usernames. This is a reference to yet another great wartime meme!
You see, whenever the Ukrainian army hits a target close to or behind enemy lines (or, you know, whenever a careless Russian soldier decides to smoke near a large batch of explosives), the Russian media go out of their way to downplay the importance of what’s happening.
So instead of using the word “взрыв” (explosion) they tend to use softer euphemisms such as “хлопок” (small bang). Now, the funny thing about that word is that, depending on how you accentuate it, хлопок can mean both “small bang or clapping noise” and “cotton”. So Ukrainians
Read 5 tweets
Aug 9
If you feel like learning more about the incestual bond between Russian art and colonialism, and also about how the West often fails to notice said bond, read up on DAU. If you want the cliff notes version, here goes:
back in the 2010s, Russian director
Ilya Khrzhanovsky (with financial backing from some pretty shady Russian businessmen) set out to make his “most controversial and ambitious” (in his words — I’d call it “perverse and imperialist”) project — a biopic about the Soviet physicist
Lev Landau, nicknamed “Dau”. So, what was so ambitious (and perverse) about a biopic about a Soviet scientist? Well, DAU wasn’t just a movie. It was a huge multimedia project. Thanks to an insane amount of money from Russian businessman Serguei Adoniev, Khrzhanovsky managed to
Read 21 tweets

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