These are the rules of any discussion about the Russian war against Ukraine.

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by Sonia Kagna

Many of us are used to a nuanced understanding of a multi-layered cultural situation.

Here we have the nuanced cultural situation, but we also have a moral overlay over it. Russian propaganda uses complexity of culture as one of its tools, “не всё так однозначно” (everything is not univocal, everything is not so simple) is an exploitative twist on post-modern philosophy that defines morals as a relative product of culture, and therefore blurs sharp edges of a dilemma between good and evil.

Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” became a good metaphor for many Ukrainians largely because of its decisive division between Good and Evil: Russia became Mordor, and Russian soldiers became orcs.

To have any productive dialogue in a group that includes Ukrainians, the other participants need to figuratively sign the pledge that they unequivocally condemn Russia in its war against Ukraine and label it as evil.

They also need to condemn every single Russian soldier and civilian who participated in this war supporting it in any way or form, they are evil, period.

Black and white, no shades of grey. This is how it is going to be for everyone, especially for people of Russian decent and for Russian citizens for years and years to come. At the start of every discussion and conversation.

It would be not pleasant and not nice for many people, but it is a disclaimer for the foreseeable future. No excuses will be accepted by Ukrainians.

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