‘I grew up in a different Russia’ and feel deceived by Putin
I am a strong woman and cry very rarely. However, this morning the build-up of the shocking news of the last three weeks – the brutal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine – finally broke me down.
My deep pain and heartache for the thousands of innocent, murdered Ukrainian people brought a fountain of tears. I was overwhelmed by shock, horror and profound sadness and I let it all out.
I couldn’t stop crying and I was sobbing aloud, like a child.
I grew up in a different Russia, before Putin. I actually do feel like a deceived child whose clear principles of right and wrong were trampled into the mud by the boots of Russian soldiers.
Even though I am in Thailand, and so far away from the bombs, the rockets, the terror of massive explosions in all their random ferocity, I feel in the fibre of my being a sense of evil let loose in the world; an egomaniacal madman focused solely on his place in Russia’s bloody history.
My husband, Bill, came to me and hugged me tightly. He didn’t speak his usual calming phrase: “Everything will be all right, my cupcake.” He just put my head on his shoulder and patted gently. I felt the warmth of his arms and listened to his heartbeat.
For the last two years of the pandemic, I learnt to be even more grateful to have a wonderful family that supports, loves, and cares about me.
What I appreciate the most in the last three weeks is that my husband shares my values.
Bill understands my pain, has an interest and the patience to listen to my childhood stories for hours – my explanations about the collapse of the USSR and the historical never-ending confrontation between Russia and the rest of the world.
He is 100 per cent on my side. We are together, we are a team. We are much stronger when we are united.
Dear readers, I would like to try and explain some of the turmoil in Russia.
My closest friend lives abroad in Bali, and she is not speaking with her parents and brother in Russia any more.
Her family supports Putin and the war. Lena is on a different side.
She was trying to show them the real situation, sending them videos and photos of destroyed Ukrainian cities and villages. But they, like many other Russian people, are victims of hardcore propaganda. They think that the photos and videos are fake.
So, one day they sent her this cruel message: “Please don’t contact us. You are not with us any more, you are with Nato.”
They decided to treat her as if she is an enemy. Lena was crying and trying to plead with them: “I am your daughter! We are a family!”
Unfortunately, there was no place for her in their black and white world. For them it was “you are with us or against us”.
In Russia, the older generation was brainwashed by a massive TV campaign throughout the 20 years Putin has been in power.
He made those people, many poorly educated and who do not use the internet, believe that whatever he is doing is good for the country, and that he is always right.
Many families broke apart under this conflict between incessant state propaganda on Russian TV and the younger crowd that lives with social media.
In world view, Russia is still in the 1950s, with the majority glued to TV sets and with no choice of outside information whatsoever.
Will Lena's family reconcile? Time will tell. I hope with all my heart that they will.
Not since my grandparents’ generation has the line between good and evil, light and darkness been so clearly drawn.
We must stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine! An ocean separates us, culture and language separate us, but our love of freedom unites us for ever!
Nina London is a certified wellness coach, Qigong teacher and laughter leader. Her mission is to support and help cancer patients and survivors and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with Nina at www.ninalondon.com and follow her on Instagram @coachninalondon