We can’t stop this war, started by our own government, but we can express our solidarity and support for Ukraine and all its people

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Working in human rights in Russia can give one a misleading sense of invincibility. Despite the dehumanising legislation and fact that the government sees enemies in its own citizens, human rights activists have learned to adapt and persevere. This is especially true for Russian LGBTQ+ activists, who grapple not only with legitimised state homophobia, but considerable social stigma. And yet nothing could have prepared us for what happened on the morning of 24 February, when our country invaded Ukraine.

Ironically, I had never felt more Russian than I did in that moment. The immediate reaction is to dissociate yourself from it. The government’s actions are appalling, violence is never the answer, and we, as the Russian people, obviously did not choose this. This is not our war. Right?

But it is impossible to escape the thought that, somehow, you have let the unforgivable happen right under your nose; that right now, on the other side of the Ukrainian border, people are fleeing their homes and fearing for their lives because of troops carrying your flag. The helplessness that comes with that realisation is too overwhelming to bear.

Read the whole opinion piece at opendemocracy.net

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