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A statement by pre-eminent Contemporary Russian writer, Ludmila Ulitskaya

March 02, 2022 IN WIP
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A statement by pre-eminent Contemporary Russian writer, Ludmila Ulitskaya published in Novaya Gazeta and translated by PEN member Subhash Jaireth.

On February 24, 2022, the war began. I believed that my generation, born during World War II, was lucky, and we would live without war until death, which, as promised in The Gospel, would be ‘peaceful, painless and shameless.’ No. It looks like it won’t happen. And it is not known what the events of this dramatic day would bring. The madness of one man and his loyal accomplices controls the fate of our country.

One can only speculate about what will be written about it in the history books fifty years from now.

Pain, fear, shame – this is what I feel today.

Pain – because the war strikes all the living – grass and trees, animals and their offspring, people and their children.

Fear – because there is a general biological instinct to preserve one’s own life and the life of our children.

Shame – because it’s clear that the leadership of our country bears the responsibility of creating this situation, fraught with great misery for all of us.

Responsibility for what is happening today will be shared by us all, who are living through these dramatic events, and who failed to foresee and stop them. It is necessary to stop the war that is flaring up every minute and resist the propaganda-lies fed to us by our media.

24 февраля 2022 года началась война. Я считала, что моему поколению, родившему во время Второй мировой войны, повезло, и мы проживем без войны до смерти, которая будет, как обещано в Евангелии, «мирной, безболезненной и непостыдной». Нет. Похоже, не получится. И неизвестно, во что все события этого драматического дня выльются. Безумие одного человека и преданных ему подсобников руководит судьбой страны.

Можно только делать догадки о том, что будет написано об этом в учебниках истории через пятьдесят лет.

Боль, страх, стыд — вот чувства сегодняшнего дня.

Боль — потому что война бьет по живому — по траве и деревьям, по животным и их потомству, по людям и их детям.

Страх — потому что есть общебиологический инстинкт, направленный на сохранение собственной жизни и жизни потомства.

Стыд — потому что очевидна ответственность руководства нашей страны в создании этой чреватой великими бедствиями для всего человечества ситуации.

Ответственность за происходящее сегодня разделим и все мы, современники этих драматических событий, не сумевшие их предвидеть и остановить. Необходимо остановить ежеминутно разгорающуюся войну и противостоять пропагандистской лжи, которая изливается на наше население всеми средствами массовой информации.


Ludmila Ulitskaya was born in 1943 in the Urals. After the graduation from Moscow University with a Degree of Master in Biology, she worked in the Institute of Genetics as a scientist. Shortly before perestroika (1979/1982) she became Repertory Director of the Hebrew Theatre of Moscow, and a scriptwriter.

She is the author of many novels and novellas including Medea and Her Children, Kukotsky Case, Sincerely Yours, Shurik, Daniel Stein, Interpreter, Imago / The Big Green Tent, and Yakov´s Ladder, of several collections of short stories, of tales for children, and of six plays staged by a theaters in Russia and Europe.

Ludmila Ulitskaya is one of the most profound and far-reaching writers of the contemporary Russian literature, and one of the most published modern Russian authors abroad.

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