Espreso. Global

Moral impotence. How "good Russians" appropriate suffering of Ukrainian refugees

21 April, 2023 Friday

Russian fugitives and accomplices of Putin's system are trying to pretend to be martyrs in need. Who should be sympathized with more than the millions of Ukrainian refugees who have lost their homes and relatives because of Russia


So, Russian photographer Sergei Ponomarev took a series of portraits of "good Russians" in London for the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2023 photo contest, some of which are cynically publicized on the telethon. 

In the photos, Chulpan Khamatova, Ilya Azar, Mikhail Zygar, Vladislav Surkov's favorite Kirill Serebrennikov and other characters try to pretend to be incredibly suffering and play up their longing for Mother Russia. The emigrants in the magnificent apartments pose with the objects they were the first to throw into their backpacks. Frying pans, greasy teddy bears and badminton rackets. I was especially impressed by a lady with an empty plate, who was trying to paint her face with incredible longing.

This is how the project is described by the photographer who is ashamed to identify himself as a Russian in the photo contest, so posed as a Turk:  

"They publicly condemned the war, and their voices are crucial. A new generation of Russian exiles is scattered across Europe and the post-Soviet republics, hoping to return home soon. The project is a series of portraits of Russian emigrants surrounded by personal belongings they have taken from home." 

This is what refined greed and theft looks like. The Ruscist photographer stole the idea for the project from the Instagram page of a Ukrainian photographer who tells the stories of Ukrainian refugees in Germany.

The substitution was simply brilliant. After all, the Ukrainians from Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Irpin were not taking with them junk or badminton rackets. They were taking their children, pets, and documents because of Russian missiles and 500 kilogram bombs. A few women took only perfume out of all the things, because it had sentimental value - it was given to them by their husbands who stayed behind to defend their homes. It is a reminder of status, peace and a piece of luxury from a past life that was wiped out by the Russian occupation. 

What is wrong with the "good Russians" and their sad faces that evoke not so much pity as a desire to launch a nice left hook? 

Each of these characters is an absolutely squeamish creature who has been doing just fine during the 23 years of Putin's rule. They took Gazprom's money, they shied away from holding serious rallies, and they were happy to serve the pillars of Putin's regime. 

Kirill Serebrennikov did not hesitate to take money from Surkov, who issued policy articles to resolve the Ukrainian issue once and for all. Last year, this “director” was slobbering in Europe about how "Russian culture has always been against war. And that Europeans need to help not only Ukrainians, but also the families of the occupiers who refused to kill and rob their neighbors. “

Here is a direct quote from Serebrennikov in an interview with foreign journalists: 

"It is very important to help all the victims and to help those who were deployed to war and whose families no longer have any income. Artists should help these people, and I am doing it myself." 

Yes, that's right - it's obvious that Europeans should now feel sorry for the fugitive who legalized terror and genocide with his name.

Or another famous friend with a sad face, Chulpan Khamatova. In 2012, she was Putin's confidant in the presidential election, and she advertised United Russia. She also publicly admitted that she didn't care about the occupation of Donbas and Crimea in 2014, because she compromised with herself and trusted Putin. Wasn't it the same Khamatova who later enjoyed playing the role of Dr. Lisa, an outright monster who abducted more than 500 children from Donbas orphanages? In fact, it was a test case for how to kidnap Ukrainian children and erase their identity. Now it is being brilliantly realized by the new Putinist Maria Belova-Lvova. 

Are we supposed to feel sorry for Misha Fishman, an employee of the glamorous propaganda dump Dozhd (TV Rain) with a badminton racket? It was this person who made a victorious report on the occasion of the annexation of Crimea to Russia and did not hide his joy over it. Why are you so sad today, Misha? No one is going to give you any money.

All these homo sapiens are like flatworms looking for a new host after the last one has died. They are like bovine tapeworms looking for a new stomach. With such a spineless and cynical intellectual grief-elite, it is not surprising why Russians in their twenties have a goal in life of dying and rotting in a ditch near Bakhmut. 

As a journalist, I have seen a lot of sincere, true grief in the eyes of Ukrainians whose lives were shattered by the war. Who waded with a child on their back through the cold water of the Irpin River. Who crawled under fire to our front line. Who slept in a cellar with their young children next to the covered bodies of those who could not bear the pain. 

Yesterday, I interviewed a woman who lost her legs to enemy shelling. She is extremely strong and her six-year-old son knows what happened to his mother. Tears filled her eyes only once when she admitted that her husband had been missing for three months. But very quickly she wiped her tears, smiled and said, "We have to kill them. It’s either them or us.” I looked at her back as she was leaving and stood there amazed by this encounter. There was no suffering there, just pure cold steel. 

So the next time one of the glamorous Russian liberals wants to take a pathetic selfie against the backdrop of the genocide of Ukrainians, we need to remind them of one thing. 

Comrades, you shouldn’t sit in London with sour faces in the hope of returning home victorious. You need to do something of your own to prevent your home from becoming the total cloaca of Prigozhin and Putin.

It is your voices that are "decisive" in this matter. You have been silent for decades, and this is the logical result. You have chosen the path of silent impotence, hoping that Ukrainians will defeat Putin and everything will be great - power will come to you on its own. But this is not how it works. And I am proud to say: we despise you all. 

Enjoy your frying pans if you have zero human dignity. 

Bad Russians steal them from the homes of tortured Ukrainians. Good Russians take them to pass themselves off as a refugee in more need than those from Ukraine. This has been a good test to show that the voice behind the curb is exactly the same. And we need to cancel it forever. 

About the author: Maryna Danyliuk-Yarmolayeva is a journalist, writer for Espreso TV, and project editor at

The editorial staff do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

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