Ukraine, the Political and the Personal
A woman I’ve known quite well for years, who was born abroad, is half-Ukrainian and half-Russian. We have breakfast together often, almost every morning, and regularly talk over public affairs. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has us both deeply agitated, which is only to be expected – I suppose – since we’re married, and our children have both Ukrainian and Russian blood in their veins. This isn’t just a distant geopolitical crisis for us. It’s also a family matter.
There’s been a lot of analysis of the situation that explores the large historical factors that have led to the present moment. We’ll be bringing you some reports on them in coming days and weeks. But people often exaggerate these days large impersonal social factors, as if individuals hardly matter. Our family background has forced me to think again about more personal, more human elements that are much overlooked and yet are very much in play. Would any other Russian leader, to take the central case before us, have perpetrated this atrocity besides Vladimir Vladirimovich Putin?
Our family has long been very much alive to both historic realities and human factors often out of sight. Veronica was raised mostly Ukrainian but, as a professional iconographer, she has wide contacts among iconographers, theologians, and artists in many countries, including Russia. A prominent Russian iconographer has just sent out this statement signed by hundreds of cultural and political leaders in Russia:
Russia’s war against Ukraine is a SHAME.