Maria Yudina recalls the helplessness that, for years, her harangues and those of her family against Vladimir Putin deserved due to the tensions with Ukraine, long before the war broke out. “I used to go out on the streets when I was 14 years old – now he is 28 – because of the pressure against the Ukrainians. My father spent two years in jail for the same thing, ”she explains from her house in Valencia, where he has lived for 5 years. She is a soprano, gives singing lessons and speaks perfect Spanish. Her anger, like that of many Russian citizens, has multiplied these days, after Putin announced on Wednesday the mobilization of 300,000 reservists to support the military operations that he maintains in the neighboring country.
When the conflict enters its eighth month, Levante-EMV has spoken with various voices of Russian dissidence who live in the Valencian Community. In all cases, they left their country over the last decade, pushed by the growing siege of public freedoms that the Putin regime has imposed within the country’s walls. Now they are raging against the Russian president’s decision to prolong the conflict and expose more of his compatriots to the battlefield. “No one I know supports this war. Everyone says it’s a disaster, but many of my friends can’t leave because they don’t have the money to leave the country and change their lives. They do not speak English, or Spanish, or French, or German. They are trapped”, explains Maria Yudina, born in Nihzni Novgorod, to the west of the largest country in the world.
“My father and brother can be called among those 300,000 reservists. But my father has heart surgery, at 56 years old. If you are not officially registered due to disability, which in Russia is almost impossible if you do not pay for it, they force you to go if they call you”, affirms Yudina with a burning voice. The case of her family is that of many persecuted by censorship or detention in anti-war protests, but who can now be armed to kill their neighbors, their friends. “Imagine that my father, who demonstrated against the war, now has to go kill Ukrainians. Putin is a psychopath,” she adds. “Because he is a psychopath, he doesn’t want to lose. He will fight until the last drop of blood. He doesn’t care if he sends 300,000 to 500,000 Russians on the battlefield. It seems right to him to invade territories. He wants to take over the Ukraine at the cost of the shattered lives of Russians and Ukrainians. He is killing to kill,” she states.
Putin’s war propaganda is lying. The mobilization of 300,000 men is a lie. he needs more
From the neighborhood of Patraix in Valencia, Ivan Goroshilov talks about a concept which sounds like the World War II agenda in the history books. “Putin’s war propaganda is lying. The mobilization of 300,000 men is a lie. He needs more,” he explains. Goroshilov is a musician and, like Yudina, he has also been in Valencia for 5 uninterrupted years. “Another lie that he says is a partial mobilization. It will be complete. He was even calling out prisoners,” she adds.
Feelings of incomprehension and rage take over, too, Iván when he cites his family. “I have my brother and my mother there, who is Ukrainian. They are trying to get out. My brother is old enough to be called to the front row, but they have to go. Either you go to war or you go to jail and then to war. They all try to get out. Who supports the war? Those who lack education, because they believe the propaganda, which talks about Ukraine being shit, that it is a neo-Nazi country”, he explains. “War is meaningless. How do you attack another country that speaks the same language, that has the same religion? I believe that Putin has some divine idea, a desire to make history, to recover the Soviet Union, he explains. In the Valencian Community there are 22,264 residents of Russian nationality and 21,780 Ukrainian.