Preconditions for a dialog with the Russian people

Mariam Naiem

I made this thread in Russian for Russian people, but many asked for a translation. So here is it: under what circumstances I am ready for a dialog with the Russian people 🧵…

I cannot imagine a situation in which I can forgive Russian society. However, I can imagine under what conditions I am ready to talk: when Russian opposition and liberals begin to publicly recognize the imperial nature of their country, culture, and society.

The imperialism which has seeped into all public institutions, into all minds. Which was glorified, cultivated, and did not undergo criticism and reflection. The citizens of Russia themselves are treating it positively.

No one revalues the work of Russian writers for their imperialism. Almost every classic of Russian literature has examples of a dismissive attitude towards other cultures. No one sees anything shameful in the position of the “elder” brother that has existed for centuries.

I didn't hear a word of recognition from any well-known Russian opposition figure or liberal that their country has been exploiting neighboring states as colonies for centuries. That this is not Putin, but the culture of Russia that has an aggressively expansive character.

I have not seen any such statements. Maybe I am foolish, but I still have hope. To be honest, you don't have a choice anyway. You will either understand it yourself or be “forced” to understand it by history.

Now is an excellent time to understand what is wrong with Russia, not create panel discussions about how Russian people are suffering at the moment. Your time for talking is over. Your voice has been heard for centuries. It's time for YOU to start listening and hearing.

It is easy to love the homeland of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Tchaikovsky. It is easy to renounce the country that caused Bucha, Grozny, the Holodomor, and Katyn. It is convenient. But true courage is to embrace your culture entirely, not when it's beneficial.

The yellow-blue emojis in the nickname are not enough for me. A call for peace is not enough for me. Shifting responsibility to Putin is not enough for me. Only a revision of the entire culture of Russia. Before then, no Navalny, no opposition figures, no liberals.

If such a Russian person who is ready for a new self-reflection appears, I wouldn't mind talking to them. But until then, your silence is recorded in history as a murder weapon.

So yes, I am ready to speak with a Russian person when they admit all the crimes of Russia, when they condemn the ongoing imperialism of their country. Not just the regime. I can talk to them but never forgive.