Statement made on 23rd May 2022
My name is Boris Bondarev, in the MFA of Russia since 2002, since 2019 until now - Counsellor of the Russian Mission to the UN Office at Geneva.
For twenty years of my diplomatic career I have seen different turns of our foreign policy, but never have I been so ashamed of my country as on February 24 of this year. The aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine, and in fact against the entire Western world, is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia, with a bold letter Z crossing our all hopes and prospects for a prosperous free society in our country.
Those who conceived this war want only one thing - to remain in power forever, live in pompous tasteless palaces, sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and cost to the entire Russian Navy, enjoying unlimited power and complete impunity. To achieve that they are willing to sacrifice as many lives as it takes. Thousands of Russians and Ukrainians have already died just for this.
I regret that over all these twenty years the level of lies and unprofessionalism in the work of the Foreign Ministry has been increasing all the time. However, in most recent years, this has become simply catastrophic. Instead of unbiased information, impartial analysis and sober forecasting, there are propaganda cliches in the spirit of Soviet newspapers of the 1930s. A system has been built that deceives itself.
Minister Lavrov is a good illustration of the degradation of this system. In 18 years, he went from a professional and educated intellectual, whom many my colleagues held in such high esteem, to a person who constantly broadcasts conflicting statements and threatens the world (that is, Russia too) with nuclear weapons!
Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy. It is all about warmongering, lies and hatred. It serves interests of few, the very few people thus contributing to further isolation and degradation of my country. Russia no longer has allies, and there is no one to blame but its reckless and ill-conceived policy.
I studied to be a diplomat and have been a diplomat for twenty years. The Ministry has become my home and family. But I simply cannot any longer share in this bloody, witless and absolutely needless ignominy.
The powerful speech by Zelenskiy on May 8th 2022
Here is a link to a video about the different Republics in the Russian Federation breaking away from it.
UN Security Council Session
Situation in Ukraine as of this morning (cut and paste)
The Kyiv Independent is reporting that the Security Service of Ukraine has intercepted phone calls that prove that Russian troops near Kharkiv were ordered to shoot at civilians, including children.
News yesterday that Russian forces had shot and killed 10 people who were standing to buy bread in Chernihiv and fired on a theatre in Mariupol in which civilians, including children were sheltering filled me with horror.
The TV editor in Russia who demonstrated against the war on TV had so much courage. Here is a clip about it.
The office of the UN high commissioner for human rights has documented, as of Tuesday, at least 170 people killed in the Kharkiv region - including five children.
From the Guardian newspaper:
Yesterday my brother and my mum managed to find a spot where they could find a connection to call us. They were risking their lives going outside but they know me and my dad are extremely worried about them. They were on the phone for four or five minutes. My brother was trying to be positive but I could hear in his voice that he's feeling desperate and they don't know how they're going to leave the city. It's been one week without enough food and water, without electricity, and without heating and it's hard because Mariupol is pretty cold.
I was born in Mariupol and I lived there for the last 10 years. In the last few years, our mayor made many changes; lots of areas have been rebuilt, and it has become a much more beautiful city. There was even a new shopping centre. And now everything is destroyed.
I can't imagine this is happening now. I feel this is surreal. I feel like I'm just dreaming and as I'm talking about it, my hands are shaking, it's so hard to process. Thankfully my dad, who's a ship engineer, was onboard when the war started. Now we're together in Germany where his company is based. Normally I'm studying in another country but I'm with him because he can't handle it. He's very emotional, he's crying every five minutes because his wife and son - my mum and brother - are in Mariupol.
My brother told us that a rocket had hit the neighbouring building to the underground car park he and my mum are living in. It's safer in the carpark than our apartment, which is on the 5th floor and is very dangerous because some of the buildings around it have been completely bombed. They're sleeping in the car, so they can keep a little bit warm and can charge their phone. There are around 10 or 12 people down there, and my brother told me that everyone is trying to help each other; if someone has spare food or water, they share it.
There is very little food and water now. I know my mum and my brother cooked a huge amount of porridge at the beginning, a week ago, when they still had electricity. They also filled the bath in the apartment with water. They did some shopping to stock up when the war started but it's never enough.
My mum told us, on the phone, that they've lost so much weight, she said it's because they're so stressed. She said: "Without food, that's fine, you know. We're not scared anymore, we're just tired, tired from this situation. There's no fear now, we kind of get used to all this, shooting - that's fine, bombing - that's fine." She said they're not craving food anymore, even though they're hungry. They're just so tired. They want to leave, they want to be safe.
I heard in news reports that a kid died of dehydration. I couldn't believe it was possible to die of dehydration in the city, in 2022. It's crazy, it's really crazy.
It made me and my dad feel a little bit happier yesterday because we heard their voices. They were trying so hard to be positive when they were talking to us. My brother said we have to be strong and we have to believe in them and in Mariupol and that they will win and they will survive. My mum said "Hope dies last" even when you're devastated and destroyed emotionally, you have to believe in the best.
Maternity hospital destroyed in Ukraine. Putin is a child-killer.
Music is an international language. Jazz, in particular, allows everyone to have their say and to be understood by everyone else, regardless of their race or nationality. Jazz is at its best when people listen to each other and contribute their own ideas to something which is a creation of all their efforts - a musical and emotional experience.
In short, jazz is about co-operation and co-operation is the opposite of conflict. If politicians from every country were jazz musicians we would live in a more peaceful and equitable world. Well, in theory, at least!
When a country resorts to violence and destruction, or even just the threat of unleashing such forces upon others, it is a sign of its own failure to resolve crises or to further its own ends in a more grown-up civilised manner. War now is nothing more than mass murder. The vast majority of people who die in wars are civilians, particularly the weak, the infirm, the elderly and the very young. War does not solve problems: it creates new ones.
As a musician who attempts to create new things, I firmly oppose mindless destruction, however glossy and glamorous the weapons of war may appear to others. As a human being who cherishes life, I deplore the killing and maiming of other human beings. And when it is done in my name by my own country, I utterly deplore it and will protest against it however I can.
I have been very lucky to have been able to travel widely and to have lived and worked with people from many other countries.
Co-operation with others from other backgrounds leads to a One World philosophy, which I passionately believe in. We have enough problems in combating global warming and other ecological disasters without wasting valuable resources in nationalistic behaviour at the expense of others.
For those who are interested, here are some links to some
worthwhile organisations, many of which have branches worldwide:
To find out the state of the world, there used to be a world clock from an website called Poodwaddle.com which showed many useful facts, but it seems to have disappeared. Keep an eye out in case it comes back.
War on Want
Campaign against the Arms Trade
World Development Movement
Friends of the Earth
The Carbon Neutral Company
Human Rights Watch
New Internationalist Magazine
Center for Alternative Technology
Stop the War Coalition
The Syria Campaign
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Medecin sans Frontieres
Lend with Care
Lend with care is an excellent scheme run by Care International. You can lend money to people in poor countries who need some investment in projects. When up and running, the money is paid back and you can choose to reinvest in something else or take the money.
Click here to read about six factors which have a detrimental effect upon the environment.
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