I am a Russophile.
I’ve wanted to travel Russia since I was 15 years old and read Notes From Underground. After discovering Dostoevsky’s novella, I quickly devoured Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamozov. I read Anna Karenina over Christmas break one year—barely putting it down to eat. I love Turgenev and Bulgakov and Gogol. I wrote my senior thesis on Anton Chekhov’s work and wrote a play inspired by what I learned from his style.
I love the music of Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich. I listen to the Marche Slave on repeat sometimes, rising and falling with its repeating musical phrases and melodic interludes.
I love Russian culture.
But it’s a hard time to be a Russophile right now.
I won’t mince words: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is abhorrent and despicable. What Vladimir Putin has done with the backing of his elites is completely unforgivable.
I speak now directly to the Russian people whose soul I respect and deeply admire.
- You are being lied to by your leaders and your media about this war.
- Your troops have been misled to commit atrocities against your brothers and sisters in Ukraine.
- The “west” does not want to destroy Russia. Many of us love Russia and the Russian people.
- Nothing that the west does or tries will stop Putin’s war of choice. Only you, the Russian people, have the power to end this war.
- If you fail to stop Putin and end this war, I fear for the permanent damage to your soul and your reputation throughout the world. No longer will you be the brave people who fought back Hitler’s armies for years. Instead you will be accomplices to the murder and reckless bloodshed that Putin has unleashed on your brothers and sisters in Ukraine.
- Please, we beg you, put an end to this war.
Please do not make it harder for us to continue to love Russia and its wonderful people. You are better than this war. Please put an end to it immediately.
I will end with a quote from Leo Tolstoy:
War is so unjust and ugly that all who wage it must try to stifle the voice of conscience within themselves.Leo Tolstoy