Inna Rogatchi
War & Humanity Special Project

Year 2022: Ukrainian Perspective. Beyond the Rubicon

Inna Rogatchi@ The Birth of Storm. Abstract Visions in Blue & Yellow series. 2022.
Inna Rogatchi (C). The Birth of Storm. Blue & Yellow series. 2022.

 The essence of this unimaginable, ongoing for 10 months, almost a year, unprovoked aggression of Russia against Ukraine, the aggression conducted in the most cruel way is that the crimes against humanity are accepted as a norm by the decision-makers, military, and a vast part of the society of the country for which GULAG is a norm. Period. 

Screaming, catastrophic moral defeat of Russia in the Mean War is a graphic illustration of what happens when a daft second-class tyranny is trying to assert their non-existing rights by cruelty and barbarity. 

Beyond the Rubicon: the Mean War, started in 2022 and commanded our lives for almost all of the year, has made its victim Ukraine strong and compassionate, while its originator, aggressor Russia, a despicable arrogant loser. In generations to come. 

Inna Rogatchi@ The Birth of Storm. Abstract Visions in Blue & Yellow series. 2022.

Pictures in the Freezing Darkness

It is easy to understand – because it is easy to feel. Anyone who yet needs to be convinced in literal, physical terms is welcome to conduct a rapid test of living in darkness in the winter: switch off your electricity, heating, water supply, do not use your WC. Then try to cook something using any other way than electric supply. Let us know how long you would sustain the test for surviving in a freezing darkness with enough psychological and physiological comfort to feel normal. 

Ukraine from the space. December 2022. Picture taken by NASA. Courtesy (C) NASA.

Specialists in experimental physiology have established a long time ago that a human being starts to feel a serious discomfort exactly after one minute in darkness – this is without freezing.  With the addition of a cold, it is most likely 30 seconds. Varlam Shalamov, the most honest writer who experienced  GULAG for a full 17 years, stated out of his own and thousands of his co-prisoners’ experience that freezing is worse than hunger. Human beings just do not survive it. The thugs who run that massive country of ill-everything in generations, know a lot of things about GULAG. The legacy of GULAG regarding everything, from massive meanness in total informing to methodical annihilation of millions human beings in a horrendous spectrum of methods, is still present widely in that country, even due to objective chronological reasons. 

This legacy is a core part of the foundations of thinking for both the decision-makers in current Russia and those who carry their orders in the Mean War. There is nothing good in the Gulag legacy, not a bit, not a crumb. It is only bottomless cruelty, meanness, and viciousness. Recently, the American reporter based in Kyiv, with rounded eyes of a good person who got into perpetual trouble, informed his watchers that “You know, people here call Russians ‘animals’. Only that’. The reporter was both impressed and surprised, and he was a bit emotional reporting on his discovery. He is  young and he was not used to anything like that. But anyone with an experience of life in that country is not surprised by this just qualification. Our families lived through GULAG, very many of us literally so. We do know about the capacities of the representatives of that country to freeze people to death first-hand. They have a rich experience of it. Now again, as we all saw and are seeing it, they have no trouble whatsoever to repeat it. It is normal for them – and here is the root of the problem with the Mean War. And with this country.

Very conservative UN data on civilian casualties in Ukraine. December 2022.

The essence of this unimaginable ongoing for ten months, almost a year, unprovoked aggression of Russia against Ukraine, the aggression conducted in the most cruel way is that the crimes against humanity are accepted as a norm by the decision-makers, military, and a vast part of the society of the country for which GULAG is a norm. Period. 

So we all are seeing futuristic pictures of darkened Ukrainian cities. It evokes a futuristic impression because it is vast and really is not quite imaginable in real life, only in sci-fi catastrophe blockbusters.  But in the year 2022, it became  real. People are there, in that total darkness. Children. Elderly. Sick. Just born ones. Dying ones. Pregnant women. Breast-feeding women. Frightened kids. Pensioners. Teachers who are teaching the kids online from the street, during a day-light, in the winter.  I saw it with my own eyes. Doctors who are still operating in pitch-dark operation rooms. These photos made head-lines internationally. 

Concert in Kyiv during the black-out. November 2022. Free Internet Archive (C).

Millions of people who are violently deprived of basic human rights for life, health, food and warmth with no reason whatsoever, in a massive ongoing  crime against humanity regarding the civil population, tolerated in the centre of Europe. Again. 

There are two levels of inhumanity applied by their vicious neighbours in the intentionally frozen and black-out Ukraine, macro and micro ones.  At macro level, the targeted ruining of the Ukrainian infrastructure hits villages, towns, cities, small and big ones, aiming to make the country dysfunctional, and yet more importantly from the point of view of geniuses in the Russian Highest Command, to break Ukrainian people psychologically. They will never succeed. Because of one simple reason: they always , organically, think  and act in a mirror-image way. This is a core characteristic of their psyche, both collective and individual. This mirror-image thinking extrapolates their own understanding, beliefs, fears, delights, attitude to life onto their opponents, targets, and basically, anyone else. Such a motto is based solidly on their absolute inability to respect others. As a matter of principle. As a way of life. 

That’s why they are losing spectacularly, albeit causing awful damage and inflicting horrendous misfortunes. That’s why they are prone to lose, militarily, politically, and in public opinion world-wide. 

Doctors operating in Ukraine during the blackout. November 2022. Free Internet Archive (C).

Stalin underestimated Finns and Finland. Brezhnev underestimated Afghans and Americans. Putin underestimated Ukraine and the people of Ukraine. In order not to underestimate, one has to be able to estimate, even if for strategic reasons. But in the country where all professional high military command has been executed summarily before and after the Second World War, the military science, as well as their spectacularly  dummy ideology  is based  on that one and only tool they are practising in and out  in life, that ‘mirror-image’ -everything. They are doomed, if just because of that dead-end way of thinking, in big and small alike.  

And then, there is a micro-level of the impact of the Russian methodical attack on the energy infrastructure of Ukraine in the winter specifically, an individual level. Speaking with close friends in Ukraine, people who have been part of our family for three generations, we’ve been getting into this kind of a dialogue: “ Is not it not too late? Aren’t you resting already? -I’m asked late in the evening. – “ No-no, – I rush with an assuring response, –  we are watching the football ( the recent World Cup  game it was ).   – ‘Lucky you’ – says my friend simply, with no-fuss, and my heart sank again, as it does every time we are speaking with them, which is a few times a week, and once again, as every single time in those conversation, I am biting my tongue , too late as it goes, for inadvertently reminding to our stoic friends who are heroically and calmly sustaining their big family, of a normality of life which they do not know for good ten months by now. 

They are living without electricity and everything depending on it for 12 hours daily, for a long time by now. And this is not yet the worst situation in Ukraine, as we know. But this rhythm of depravity is devastating. And there are millions of human beings who have been put under these inhuman trials by the Kremlin thugs and all those who are acting in the Russian war-machinery. 

I am thinking about our friends, the family of four generations, daily, permanently. As I am thinking about so many other people whom we know in Ukraine personally, hundreds of them, each individually, with their families and friends whom we know too. Friends, acquaintances, friends of friends. Colleagues, old and new ones. I am thinking about the families of our numerous friends who are from Ukraine. It is a small army of such families. Wonderful, talented, soulful people whose children and grandchildren are in a non-stop ten-month torment all over the world, including Russia. The torment which would never end, actually.

Small girl brought to a car service in Kyiv to be connected to electricity vital for her breathing. November 2022. Free Internet Archive (C).

I am thinking about many other people in Ukraine, whom we do not know personally, people who are attacked and ambushed in the most cruel way – and who sustain and hold on. I am thinking about all those people whom we are helping in the different places of Ukraine, with new ones added all the time, to the best we can from the day one of the Mean War, and will do it as long as they need it. 

I am proud and deeply touched that the country of my and my husband’s families, the country in which I was born and raised, resists evil so determinedly, with such resilience, ability, understanding, calmness, rationality and – class. There is something in Ukrainians’ determination to defend themselves and to prevail against evil that Russians are missing utterly. And that’s why they are doomed, too.  It is a truism that a military victory starts from the hearts which refuse to faint, but it is unique to observe it in a real-time battle against darkness, the battle which is so close to us, literally too. 

Zelensky’s Formula of Dignity

President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the White House and the US Congress at the end of December 2022 has become one of the mightiest highlights of the ten-month saga of Ukraine standing  off to evil. 

Yes, the visit was very well, precisely, planned. Yes, it was very well, clean-cut, executed. Yes, it resulted in powerful aid needed badly by the country under merciless and very long attacks. 

But what was the best part of the brave Ukrainian leader’s visit? The evocation of the best in so many people. Humanity which was shining in his hosts, and in all those who celebrated that exceptional deed. This visit made us better. More humane, warmer, more understanding, more appreciative  – and more determined. 

Hosting president Zelensky who flew all the way to Washington D.C. straight from a extremely dangerous front-line in Bakhmut, being with him, attending his address to the US Congress, following it all from the TV screens all over the world, made all of us better, made all of us who support Ukraine, more assured in righteousness of our own position and deeds, made all of us belonging to the right side. And belonging to the right side  at the pivotal moments of history is the backbone both in an individual life, and also in the course of civilisation. 

I personally would be ever grateful to the US President Biden for evoking the Chanukah theme in his speech at the two presidents’ press-conference at the White House, which happened on the fourth day of the Jewish Feast of Light. It was done delicately, not intrusively, gently, and laconic, but right to the point. Yes, indeed, as, according to the postulate of Judaism,  there are 36 righteous people in every generation, there are also the Maccabeans in every generation. The existence of 36 righteous people who could happen to be in completely different parts of the world is the main condition of the world’s existence in every generation, according to Judaism’s core concept. This means that those 36 righteous individuals ( with some of them could easily not be aware of such status of their personas) provides the quantity of morality necessary to maintain the course of life in every given  generation.  

It is the same with those people in various generations throughout human history who have the level of bravery and determination which is comparable with the Maccabeans’ level. Those people in every generation are providing that critical level of determination and resilience which is required, in a balance between good and evil, for good to prevail. 

President Zelensky is definitely one of those present-day Maccabeans. He leads his country and symbolises his  nation which fights so bravely and so determinedly. 

President Biden’s fine overtone regarding Chanukkah in his speech greeting president Zelensky at the White House was absolutely spot-on, and thus it will go down to history as one of his personal and the US foreign policy’s finest moments. 

When president Zelensky in his simple, short and sincere speech at the US Congress came towards the end of it, he changed. During the previous 25 minutes, he did put a lot of effort to keep on the taken mode, being interrupted 17 times by standing ovation from the Congress, practically after each next phrase of his. Then the audience understood that the speech was over and was about to erupt for a prolonged ovation. But Volodymyr Zelensky wanted to finish. He insisted.

President Zelensky addressing the US Congress. December 21, 2022. (C) IR

The finish was a standard for the US podiums “God Bless the United States of America” and some other important for the president’s blessings over his people and his country. But this time and in his case, there was nothing standard for the president of Ukraine. Zelensky meant it. He meant it in the way a very few people do it nowadays. Some due to the long experience, some due to a certain-degree of routine. But president Zelensky does  not belong to those groups. His blessings were full of real feelings. I understand him. With the history of his country’s 10-month incredible struggle against that ruthless mammoth of dark forces, one is compelled to thank G-d genuinely for all the support He provided to Ukraine and its incredible President. 

President Zelensky, after being confided in his enforced office back home for ten months, with exception of his very brave and always meaningful and timely regular visits to the most crucial places of the battles, is the leader whose life is in a very high danger, day and night, continuously. Still, he went all that very long way to Washington D.C. to demonstrate to the world, not just to the US, that ‘Ukraine is alive and kicking’, in his words. 

In his precisely thought of, crystal-clear formulated address, he made a very good point about the principal necessity ‘to defeat the Kremlin in the minds of Russian people’.  I do agree with president Zelensky. It seems that this very aspect of the Mean War which is threatening to expand beyond Ukraine’s border, G-d forbid, the mental disposition of a vast majority of the 145-million aggressor-country, may be underestimated.  But Zelensky and his people see and understand it very well. 

During that historical visit, at his press-conference at the White House, Volodymyr Zelensky was also speaking about children. This is not the first time that he does it. Being remarkably in control of himself for all this time, he is always  getting quite emotional in respect of children. Actually, the theme of children is the only theme which overwhelms this very brave man.  Because he cares. Because he is a good person. Because this theme has not let him sleep for ten months by now. 

Following president Zelensky’s handling of the situation in a tragic for his country’s circumstances for the ten months of the Mean War daily,  and observing his historical visit to the US capital in December 2022 in detail, I elaborated the Zelensky Formula of Dignity : Humanity, Courage, and Determination. In this order. It all  results in the Strength the world is admiring him for. 

No wonder that some of the good people from Russia who were following the Zelensky’s visit to the US, said publicly: “What a pity that he is not our president!”  Their reaction is only natural. But the quantity of the people in and from Russia who are thinking this way is far from reaching the critically sufficient level required for a healthy society. And this is a fundamental problem of that country.  

Engineering of Evil: Russian Society Today and Tomorrow

The transformation of the Russian society during and due their Mean War is the subject of its own, so vast it is. And so rich in new material, so to say, with daily additions of unbelievable new phenomena, events, news, development appearing there daily. I’ve spent enough time on that during the first six months of the Mean War when I was daily, weekly and monthly occupied with nothing else but this ugly transformation. Some of my analyses  can be found at my Mean War 2022 project

When self-destructive change within that society happened, I concentrated more on  the various art & culture charitable projects related to providing relief to Ukraine and its people, including my Abstract Visions In Blue & Yellow Special Charitable Art Collection, a special international project. 

Still, the speedily accelerated moral plunge of society in Russia to unfathomable lows is an extremely disturbing aspect of their war against Ukraine.  To me, it is a formatting aspect of that society today, and most likely, tomorrow. The factor which not only formats the views and behaviour of people from it today, but which most certainly will lay the  ground for the formatting of the views, convictions, outlook of the world, behaviour and choices of the next generations of Russians. It does not promise anything good there. To the contrary. 

Importantly, this dangerous process is unfolding while many best people of Russia have been arrested and put behind bars for very long terms of imprisonment in simply phantasmagorical cases, very much reminiscent of the 1930s, with their unbelievable accusations of the people who the Stalin regime was whipping off.  

I am getting the news about a very rapid deterioration of Russian society daily, and it would be abusive for my readers to bother them with all of it. So I picked up here the things which did affect me the most, so far. 

Now, towards the end of a year, they are thriving in Russia with many regular and new award ceremonies, with most decent of them being cancelled, expectedly. But one of them was shocking. It was the feast of knowledge, the annual , for the second year introduced award for the best educational projects. It was held in Moscow. 

Many of my friends from Russia, mostly emigrated ones, were looking at those photos from the ceremony, as I was, in total disbelief. We were seeing in front of us the scene from the Cabaret movie, with glitzing uber decorum of Berlin in 1935, with giant Z symbols all over the huge stage, trying to come to terms that it is not a movie, but reality in front of us. The atmosphere at the ceremony was in complete accord with that bombastically Berlin-1935 decorum, with the same intonations, same proclamations, same attitude. Only the language was different. But it was the only difference. 

Russian National Educational Achievement Award 2022 ceremony. Moscow. December 2022. Free Internet Library (C)

It is not only that  frightening ‘package’ of the event that impressed us all heavily, but the meaning of it. On that cold, frightening, completely totalitarian Z-spirited stage in Moscow, in December 2022, they were awarding people for ‘the best educational projects’. This kind of Z-education. This kind of Z-atmosphere. This kind of Z-standard in Moscow nowadays. This kind of Z-signal for at least the near future of that country from its capital. This is what they are funding now, Z-style, Z-understanding, Z-approach, Z-life. What could be more frightening? I do not know. I still am under the massive impression, I still am struggling to believe that it was Moscow in 2022, not Berlin in 1935.

I do not think that I would ever forget it. Because we know in all chilling detail how it did develop in Berlin after 1935. They know about it in Russia as well. But they opted for their Z-enlightenment, so to say. Nobody forced them to do it. But from now on, they are forcing their youngsters to live accordingly.  

And in this context, there should be no surprise that the monument to Stalin appeared in the large Russian city of Naberezhnye Chelny, on Volga, in mid-Russia, not just anywhere there, but in the school yard. The monument is done in the way that nice chap Stalin in his french is sitting on the bench, half of which is empty and inviting a passerby to sit next to the dedushka. The passersby there  are predominantly children from a nearby school. How very thoughtful of those who planned and executed the great idea. This is once again about that GULAG legacy in Russia today. 

Recently erected monument to Stalin in the court yard of a school in Russia. Winter 2022. Free Internet Archive (C)

Another shocking reality for me in present-day Russia are multiple scenes in its leading bookstores. They have a maniacal practice of declaring the next portion of ‘foreign agents’, a new form of ‘the enemy of the people’ weekly, on Fridays. There is a certain official in charge with it there, in the rank of a deputy minister of justice, of course. He is very diligent, and fully following the terrible legacy of the Stalin’s chief prosecutor Vyshinsky who sent for death millions of innocent people, many of them, cynically and openly  by ‘indications’, as he used to say, this present-day official stamps his Friday lists of Russia’s new ‘enemies of people’, ‘foreign agents’ who might be ‘under the wrong influence’ , this is an official classification, with a phantasmagorical  efficiency. Many of those ‘foreign agents’ are writers and journalists, as current Russian officialdom energetically ‘clears’ their Z-house of any ‘wrong influence’. 

So, in the bookstores in the down-town Moscow, people are seeing the shelves filled with strangely looking subjects. Those are ugly looking maps made from a dark-brown cardboard. Full shelves of such ugly maps. From the shelves, one sees nothing, rows of low quality dark maps. If one gets close and takes some of the maps in hand, one sees on a map’s front an ugly produced and written on stickers with the surname of the writer, the title of his book inside the map, and the price. Plus a huge sign “ THE FOREIGN AGENT” on the sticker. 

Scene from the bookshelves in the central bookstore in Moscow. Winter 2022. Free Internet Archive (C)

In some other big and once good bookstores, they did not bother with those maps. They just put the books into a black garbage packages. For real. 

Scene from the bookshelves in Moscow bookstore. Winter 2022. Free Internet Archive (C)

There are no such scenes in the Cabaret, or any other films of the period of the mid 1930s to mid 1940s, so I do not know what these reality scenes can be compared with and referred to.  In Germany and Germany occupied countries, the books of ‘the wrong’ authors were simply burned. It takes a lot of strength to share with my readers that practically all of my intellectual friends who are the same shocked as I am by these new Z-landscapes in once thriving and rich bookstores in Russia are expecting the fires soon. It is beyond my imagination. 

Those people are not far from reality, actually. Recently, there has been produced a three-page list of 52 books to be ‘eliminated and destroyed’ as it is prescribed by the order from just one library in Russia. The purge started in the wake of a recently adopted law on the new policies against ‘the gay propaganda’ as they call it. Among those books which were regarded now as ‘wrong ones’ in pioneering the purge library, there are some novels of foreign writers, but there are also two volumes of the  lectures on sexology by the legendary professor Igor Kon, the giant of Soviet psychology and sociology. I studied his books and lectures. In the USSR.  He was permitted there. Not anymore. Professor Kon has been dead for more than ten years by now. In the widely-spread sad motto of the day, I am soberly relieved of this fact, in front of this ongoing bacchanalia of sheer idiocy. 

How one eliminates ‘ wrong’ books? “ – one of my friends, a professor of literature asked, rhetorically. – ‘We all know the answer. And expecting fires any time soon’. I am trying to wake up from this nightmare repeatedly, only to remind myself that it is reality, the fact which my innermost self refuses to accept. Just like Remarque, Thomas Mann, Arnold Zweig and so many other intellectuals and writers were doing 90 years, almost a century ago. 

The similarity of this desperate phenomenon , the utter feeling of disbelief, the discord between all this way that the civilisation has come through during the last century and which is all but almost nullified in the centre of Europe is a heavy toll. Daily, minute-wise. All the time. 

Very similar situation to the world of Russian education projects and their book-market is everywhere in intellectual and social spheres there, concerning the most important sectors of culture, arts, education, intellectual development, science, performing arts, theatre, cinema, television,  music, museums and galleries, everything which forms a human being and influences him or her. Today,  censorship with a big C has been introduced in a Bolshevik way,  robustly, stupidly and arrogantly. There is an ongoing daily process of cleansing with a big C. There is thriving madly Cancelling with a big C. All that – in the shadow of Z. 

In the establishments of performing arts, only permitted figures are allowed. Permitted are those who supported the Mean War publicly, or who at least behaved and are silent. I know many cases when our  acquaintances, great Russian musicians with huge audiences,  were cancelled without any explanation on the eve of their planned concerts. I know very many cases when the entire program of many leading performance arts establishments has been cleansed off for the same reason all over Russia. 

The theatre which is close to us and which we know well, having so many friends and colleagues there is under the similar attack. A macabre-like phenomenon has been spread widely all over Russian theatre –  the names of ‘a wrong’ directors and set-designers have been simply whipped off the performances’ posters and programs in a massive demonstration of Berlin in the 1930s-like attack on humanity in the present Russia. So you are going to the theatre – and they do keep some performances for a while – and are seeing the poster and have in front of you a program in which it is printed, for example: ‘ A.P. Tcehov, Cherry Garden. Director – [nobody], an empty space, the rest of those who created the performance are all mentioned.  This has been happening all over the country for a while now.

And it accelerates. At the end of December, the one of the best and most important theatres in Siberia had to purge both its international star director and his father who led the theatre for the past quarter of a century  and made it world renowned – without a word of an explanation. Because there is none of a reasonable explanation except that those father and son are not welcome in their fatherland any longer. Gone, with no wind. Cancelled. A couple of days after it, the director of the most internationally famous theatre in Moscow who worked there for more than a decade, was informed, in the same, without reasoning, manner,  that her contract was terminated. Cancellations are running in a snowball motion all over culture institutions in Russia. 

Before this, many most talented theatrical directors , especially from the Moscow theatres either left on their own in an articulated disagreement and unwillingness to be associated with Russia any longer, or were made to go. ‘What will happen with our theatre?’ – professionals are exclaiming in a quiet despair. Quiet is a key-word here. Despair has become a routine by now among the people with conscience in or from Russia.  

The situation in Russian cinema is quite similar. Both cinema and TV in Russia always were regarded as an important ideological tool, so the current plague of blatant Z-censorship applies to cleansing festivals, premieres, all possible events where ‘the wrong’ directors and actors might appear, with planning only permitted ones for anything new. Permitted plots, permitted interpretations, permitted actors and directors. 

The ideological watch-out in present-day Russia gets to a ridiculous degree: in many schools, teachers have been ordered to check personally the lists of music to be performed at the classes’ New Year disco parties. To help the task, the teachers were given a prepared list with ‘un-recommended’ musicians. Those lists are long ones, I saw them. ‘Un-recommended’ are those popular musicians, rappers including, who did not support the Mean War in any way: emigrated, criticised it publicly, or refused to take part in a North-Korean style public hysterical shows of support of Z-War. All of them, no matter how popular they were or still are in their country, are black-listed now, up to the discos at the school parties, not to speak the radio, TV, concerts, etc. 

 The same situation is all over the visual arts in Russia, especially in the state museums. There has been a special committee created which is ‘watching over’ their activities, exhibitions, plans, and cooperation in order to keep it ‘correct’, according to the state-lines.  The pressure over the people working in the state-funded cultural establishments there is 24/7. Very recently I was talking with a person in one of these positions who did tell me that they are  carefully watching out not only the products of their activities, but literally every word pronounced or published on social media in their personal capacity as well.  “ People can lose their job, or even worse, over just one phrase formulated without precautions”, – he told me. – “We are living in an ongoing nightmare, exactly as people did in 1937’. 

In the Soviet Union, there were the KGB staffers working at all big post-offices. Their job was to open every single letter coming to the USSR from and to abroad carefully, over a steam, to keep the envelope as if intact,  to read it, to examine the letter physically, as well,   if there would not be any secretly passed information in imaginable different forms of microchips or alike, and if the letter is harmless from the KGB point of view, to seal it back and to send it forward to the recipient. 

Now the same giant, and utterly senseless job, but in a far large volume, is done by myriads of Russian officials who are tasked to check everything on social media with finding ‘wrong’ views, ‘wrong’ phrases, ‘wrong’ statements, just anything which in the minds of their primitive masters indicate disagreement and critique of the Z-world and its regime. As arrogant as they like to look, the Russian officialdom once again champions nonsense, to put it diplomatically.  

The same processes are unfolding all over Russian science and academia. For several months by now, the pioneering Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has been targeted almost daily with vicious  public, utterly stupid attacks by several ultra-patriotic Russian media outlets, and some others, milder ones, but now demonstratively pro-Kremlin. Reading the accelerating accusations is nothing short of reading a very grotesque script of a C-class movie trying to portray a XVI century Moscow under Ivan Terrible and his ever-eager boss of butcher militia, Maljuta Skuratov. Except it is all for real, six centuries later. 

Still, all these signs signalling of current ongoing rapid degradation of culture, science, freedom and common sense  in Russia seems to be a children’s jokes in comparison with what is to expect there in a near future, thank to those activists who took care on ‘the right way’ of an education in a huge country of 145 millions, with quite sizeable part of children and youth there. 

At one of the their high-profile state award ceremony towards the end of year 2022, the special award was given to the group of educators from the Ministry of Education who introduced a new subject to Russian schools, in a total motion, ‘Conversations About Things Important”, with corresponding program, materials and text-books ready. Those text-books will teach now all Russian children from the V grade forward such matters as their country’s military campaign ( as they call their Mean War) in Ukraine, and the related matters: international sanctions against their motherland, wrongness of the Western values, the enemies of Russia world-wide, and so on. 

Similar subjects have already been introduced to all Russian universities, in special mandatory courses with over 150 hours each. Plus mandatory in the schools new weekly Lessons of Patriotism. That all means that a system of total ideological indoctrination has been elaborated in Russia and it has already started to be applied there. So the next generation of the Russians, those who are now from 10 years old onward, will be formed in the way of stupid, lying, primitive, provincial uber-propaganda regarding ‘awful West and its awful values’, totally distorted picture of Ukraine and its people, and false narrative of the Russia’s own history. Thus, the next generations of Russians are promised to be a pleasure to deal with. 

This all is engineering of evil, in big and small. And it would have the same consequences as the Stalin and post-Stalin Soviet regimes had on its people. With substantial difference: people in the Soviet Union, after the Bolshevik revolution, solely due to the bloodiest terror imaginable, were victims of inhuman totalitarianism. That totalitarianism ended 30 years ago – before plunging into its own caricature. 

In one of my books, Shattered Generation: The Ten Commandments in the USSR  ( 1991) analysing the result of those 74 years of Soviet totalitarianism in the formation of a human psyche, people’s mentality, behaviour, points of view, outlook of the world, psychology, I wrote that in my view, two generations would be needed for the people from and in the former Soviet Union to overcome those destructive, pressurising factors and to live normal, free, adequate life. While writing that, I opted for two generations in order to be on the safe side. I sincerely did hope that one generation would be enough. Now, thirty years on, a bit over that one generation mark, it turned out that not only it was not enough for return to normality and ability to enjoy freedom organically, but it took practically no time for a huge number of people in a super-sized country to jump back to the time of absurdity. It really is hard for me to understand how on earth people can enjoy anti-freedom and super-lies to the degree that they accept it as a natural environment. 

The devil is in the details, as we all know it. Just one small of those details: Russian TV audiences were not interested in the recent football World Cup, as it happened. The objective data did show a serious drop of those who watched it there. Being surprised, an official pool was conducted to find the reason. They found two of them: absence of the Russian national team at the mundial, and – occupation of the TV audience with the Russian TV talk shows, those insane programs which a normal human being would be able to watch up to between 10 and 20 seconds. But they are watched in Russia today in a drug-consumption way, seemingly.

And then, that awful, anti-human, dirty Christmas TV advertisement broadcast by official Russian TV channels, typically and characteristically, tweeted proudly on the official Twitter account of the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs. I personally do not recall when the Soviet and post-Soviet propaganda was so repulsive and so low. It is like sickness of the mind has become a new normality in the official narrative of the state.  These symptoms are telling. 

Russian official TV Christmas greetings to Europe. December 2022. Free Internet Archive (C)

The engineering of evil is going all in that weird place in a full swing. And the world should be ready for the results of this process. 

Year 2022: Beyond the Rubicon

Annual summarising of a year turned to be a painful process with regard to 2022, in Europe in particular. It  is the case for the entire population of viciously attacked Ukraine, for anyone who is connected with Ukraine, and those people can be found all over the world. I know that there is also the case for the people with conscience in Russia, many of whom are telling about 2022 as about ‘the worst year’  in their lives. I just am deeply sad that there obviously are not enough such people for reaching the critical mass necessary for the society as a whole to be morally healthy and humane. Honestly, I am stunned by such a degree of short-sighted self-delusioning , from one side, and that deafening indifference, that stunning absence of normal, natural human reactions and impulses in the face of horrific crimes against humanity in a bordering country among the vast part of the present Russian society, from another side. 

With no compassion, there is no hope. Because the forces of goodness have no room for work, putting it metaphorically. And during the long period of the ten months out of twelve of them in 2022, we have not seen much compassion among the huge Russian population towards their brutally, cruelly, undeservingly, unreasonably victimised neighbours three times smaller in the size of the population. 

The Russian leadership did succeed however, in the Ukrainian people’s unity and  in the world’s prevailing solidarity with them. They also succeeded in igniting the Ukrainian people’s attachment to their attacked land and their country. By its senseless Mean War, the Kremlin, totally contrary to their plans and expectations, did hugely enforce Ukrainian national pride and Ukrainian people’s acute and deep feelings of self-identity. Not to speak about the language and the things related. This is what happens when a daft second-class tyranny is trying to assert their non-existing rights by cruelty and barbarity. 

My husband, observing the horrors of the Mean War daily during almost the entire year 2022, said that ‘the children of Ukraine, those who lived through such a horror and who also saw how people there are helping each other, will rise up into a special generation. It would be the generation of strong people with enforced morale, who went through horror, torment, and terrible trials, and who hold on, and overcome it. These people would be really something special”

I cannot agree more with my husband. We both from the bottoms of our hearts would very much prefer that the generation of young Ukrainians would not pay such a terrible price for the  admirable qualities of their moulding characters, and that the time of their and all Ukrainian people’s torment will come to its end as soon as possible. Many of us are doing everything one can to help them to overcome evil. And they will.  

The ending year 2022 was the most tragic , graphically and literally tragic one in the lives of millions of people in and from Ukraine, and for so many others, especially those connected with Ukraine in various ways, people in so many countries. The year in which the evil decided to attack, and did it on so many levels. This attack has created a new balance between good and evil, thus creating not even a new picture, but entirely a new quality of reality. This quality is objective and thus is seen and is realised by the world whatever official Moscow is delusioning itself and its few North-Korean and Iranian partners with, in their pathetic, badly formulated obscure nonsense. 

The qualitative change in the international affairs started and defined by the Mean War resulted in the fact of the year 2022 itself as the Rubicon of our time. Never again, the relations between Ukraine and its neighbour Russia would be the same as it used to be for centuries prior to the Mean War. Never again, the attitude towards aggressor Russia in the world would be like it used to be before February 24th, 2022. Never again, the quality of society inside Russia would be as it used to be prior to the insane but stubborn brutality of their country in that unprovoked aggression. 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Towards the Sun. Abstract Pictures in Blue & Yellow. 2022.

There are things in life which are not amenable by any treaties. They originated in the people’s souls and have their own strength and vitality. They are non-erasable from people’s both individual and collective memories. Those things actually drive lives, sometimes in generations. 

The Mean War, started in 2022 and commanded our lives for almost all of the year, has made its victim Ukraine strong and compassionate, while its originator, aggressor Russia, a despicable arrogant loser. In generations to come.

About the Author
Inna Rogatchi is author of War & Humanity special project originated in the aftermath of the October 7th, 2023 massacre in Israel. Inna is internationally acclaimed public figure, writer, scholar, artist, art curator and film-maker, the author of widely prized film on Simon Wiesenthal: The Lessons of Survival and other important documentaries on modern history. She is an expert on public diplomacy and was a long-term international affairs adviser for the Members of the European Parliament. She lectures on the topics of international politics and public diplomacy widely. Her professional trade-mark is inter-weave of history, arts, culture and mentality. She is the author of the concept of the Outreach to Humanity cultural and educational projects conducted internationally by The Rogatchi Foundation of which Inna is the co-founder and President. She is also the author of Culture for Humanity concept of The Rogatchi Foundation global initiative that aims to provide psychological comfort to wide audiences by the means of high-class arts and culture in challenging times. Inna is the wife of the world renowned artist Michael Rogatchi. Her family is related to the famous Rose-Mahler musical dynasty. Together with her husband, Inna is a founding member of Music, Art and Memory international cultural educational and commemorative initiative with a multiply projects in several countries. Her professional interests are focused on Jewish heritage, arts and culture, history, Holocaust and post-Holocaust. She is author of several projects on artistic and intellectual studies on various aspect of the Torah and Jewish spiritual heritage. She is twice laureate of the Italian Il Volo di Pegaso Italian National Art, Literature and Music Award, the Patmos Solidarity Award, and the New York Jewish Children's Museum Award for Outstanding Contribution into the Arts and Culture (together with her husband). Inna Rogatchi was the member of the Board of the Finnish National Holocaust Remembrance Association and is member of the International Advisory Board of The Rumbula Memorial Project ( USA). Her art can be seen at Silver Strings: Inna Rogatchi Art site -
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