Zelensky's emotional appeal to Russians

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Zelensky's emotional appeal to Russians (2022)
by Volodymyr Zelensky
3902416Zelensky's emotional appeal to Russians2022Volodymyr Zelensky

Today I initiated a phone call with the president of the Russian Federation. The result was silence. Though the silence should be in Donbass. That’s why I want to address today the people of Russia. I am addressing you not as a president, I am addressing you as a citizen of Ukraine. More than 2,000 km of the common border is dividing us. Along this border your troops are stationed, almost 200,000 soldiers, thousands of military vehicles. Your leaders approved them to make a step forward, to the territory of another country. And this step can be the beginning of a big war on European continent.

The whole world is talking about what can happen any day now. A reason can appear at any moment. Any provocation. Any spark. A spark that has the potential of burning everything down. You are told that this flame will bring freedom to the people of Ukraine. But the people of Ukraine are already free. They remember their past, and are building their own future. They are building it, not destroying it, as you are told every day on TV. Ukraine in your news and Ukraine in reality are two completely different countries. The most important difference is that ours is real.

You are being told that we are Nazis. But how can a nation be called Nazi after sacrificing more than 8 million lives to eradicate Nazism? How can I be a Nazi, when my grandfather survived the whole war as part of the Soviet infantry, and died a colonel in an independent Ukraine? You are told that we hate Russian culture. But how can a culture be hated? Any culture? Neighbours are always enriching each other culturally. Yet, that does not make them one entity, and does not separate people into "us" and "them". We are different, but that is not a reason to be enemies. We want to build our own history. Peacefully. Calmly. Truthfully.

You are told that I am ordering to attack Donbas. To shoot. To bomb without question. Although there are questions: to shoot whom? To bomb what? Donetsk? Where I have been dozens of times? Where I have seen their faces and eyes? Artema? Where I've walked with friends before? Donbass Arena? Where I have been rooted with the locals for our boys during the Euros? Shcherbakova Park? Where we drank together after our team lost? Luhansk? The home of my best friend's mum? The place where is father is buried? Note that I am now speaking in Russian, yet no one in Russia understands what these names, streets, and events mean. This is all foreign to you. Unknown. This is our land. This is our history. What are you going to fight for? And against whom?

Many of you have visited Ukraine before. Many of you have relatives in Ukraine. Some of you studied in our universities. Befriended Ukrainians. You know our character, you know our people, you know our principles. You know what we cherish the most. Look inside you, listen to the voice of reason, of common sense. Hear our voices. The people of Ukraine want peace. Ukrainian authorities want peace. We want it, and we make it. We do everything in our power.

We are not alone. It's true, Ukraine is supported by many countries. Why? Because we are not talking about "peace at any cost". We are talking about peace, and about principles, justice. About everyone's right to define their own future, of safety, and everyone's right to live without threat. All of this is important to us. All of this is important for peace. I know this is also important for you.

We know for sure that we don’t need the war. Not a Cold War, not a hot war. Not a hybrid one. But if we’ll be attacked by the enemy troops, if they try to take our country away from us, our freedom, our lives, the lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. Not attack, but defend ourselves. And when you will be attacking us, you will see our faces, not our backs, but our faces.

The war is a big disaster, and this disaster has a high price. With every meaning of this word. People lose money, reputation, quality of life, they lose freedom. But the main thing is that people lose their loved ones, they lose themselves. A lot of things are always lacking in war. But what is in abundance is pain, dirt, blood, and death. Thousands, tens of thousands of deaths.

They told you that Ukraine is posing a threat to Russia. It was not the case in the past, not in the present, it’s not going to be in the future. You are demanding security guarantees from NATO, but we also demand security guarantees. Security for Ukraine from you, from Russia and other guarantees of the Budapest memorandum.

Today, we are not part of random security alliances. The security of Ukraine is tied to the security of our neighbours. That is why we are now talking about the security of all Europe. But our main goal is peace in Ukraine and the safety of our people, Ukrainians. For that we are ready to have talks with anybody, including you, in any format, on any platform. The war will deprive guarantees from everybody — nobody will have guarantees of security anymore. Who will suffer the most from it? The people. Who doesn’t want it the most? The people! Who can stop it? The people. But are there those people among you? I am sure. Public figures, journalists, musicians, actors, athletes, scientists, doctors, bloggers, stand-ups. TikTokers, and more. Ordinary people. Ordinary, simple people. Men, women, old, young, fathers, and most importantly – mothers. Just as much as the people in Ukraine, no matter how much they try to convince you of the opposite.

I know that they won’t show my address on Russian TV, but Russian people have to see it. They need to know the truth, and the truth is that it is time to stop now, before it is too late. And if the Russian leaders don’t want to sit with us behind the table for the sake of peace, maybe they will sit behind the table with you. Do Russians want the war? I would like to know the answer. But the answer depends only on you, citizens of the Russian Federation.

Thank you.

This work is released under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, which allows free use, distribution, and creation of derivatives, so long as the license is unchanged and clearly noted, and the original author is attributed.

Public domainPublic domainfalsefalse