(interviews from DW.com, 2/24/2022.)

In an interview with DW, Ukrainian artists such as Oksana Lyniv and Andrei Kurkov call on the West to take more decisive action against Russia.

Conductor Oksana Lyniv is very worried about her homeland

Anger, sadness and indignation at the inaction of world politics — these are the feelings that have been dominating the Ukrainian cultural scene. Now, Ukrainian artists are fearing for their families and friends, and whether they will be able to continue pursuing their beloved professions. Identifying the Russian state as an aggressor, their wave of anger can hardly be contained. DW spoke with some of them the day before the attacks on February 24, 2022.

Oksana Lyniv, conductor: ‘The world has seen Putin’s Russia’s true face’

“At last, Putin’s true intentions lie clear and open,” says Oksana Lyniv. “He wants to destroy an independent state, a nation with its own culture, its own alphabet, its own language and history, its own artists, its own identity. Our development as a European state, for which we have worked for 30 years since independence and which has exacted a high price with the Maidan, is in acute danger.

Now, the world has seen Putin’s Russia’s true face, which is unfortunately far from the self-declared ideal image as a country of art and humanism. At the beginning of the development was the annexation of Crimea, which was condemned all over the world. Now, Putin has targeted all of Ukraine. In the decades of his rule, the dictator has built a police state in Russia. But in Ukraine, such a thing would not work, Ukrainians firmly reject impunity!

All those who still lulled themselves in post-Soviet memories and raved about the ‘brother nation’ have now received a decisive wake-up call. A true brother does not come to you with a gun and lie in wait at your door — only a murderer does that. Now is the time for the whole world to prove what the lessons of two world wars are worth to them in order to prevent a bloody battle in the middle of Europe.”

Poet, translator, festival organizer -— but above all citizen: Serhij Zhadan

Serhij Zhadan, poet and writer: ‘We are citizens first and foremost’

“Today, we are first and foremost citizens, not artists. This is a fact always during a war. We are one country and one nation, we support our army, all my colleagues go to the front as volunteers. But we understand very well that the current situation is a transitional situation; it can also change from one day to the next. Of course, we all hope that this war will not spread further — to Kharkiv or Kyiv. While I am glad that some Russian artists have taken a clear position, their voices have no chance of being heard. I have many longtime friends, including artists and writers who actually believe that Ukraine wants to attack Russia and the like — that’s where the Putin propaganda has already had its effect.”

Filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa sees the situation as “chronically dramatic”

Sergei Loznitsa, filmmaker: ‘Unfortunately, history repeats itself’

“For eight years, the Russian Federation has waged war against Ukraine. For eight years, Western Europe tried to ignore this war, continued to cooperate with and support the aggressor. Now, we are all reaping the fruits of this ‘far-sighted’ pacification policy. Russian power bodies have wiped their feet on all peace efforts and moved on. If there is no tough reaction from the EU and NATO countries now, it will end badly for everyone. Unfortunately, history repeats itself, and unfortunately, no one learns from it.”

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