Monday, March 14, 2022

Stop the War in Ukraine: How We Can Help Ukrainians and Things to Know about Russians


Hello my dear friends and readers,

Never in my life could I imagine that the reason and circumstances I write in my peaceful creative blog will be WAR. Not war in the past (in which many of the older generation of my own family members fought, were wounded or killed), but the war here and now. Let alone, the war my beloved home country started against our brothers and sisters (we were raised to think of each other as brotherly people) in Ukraine. And the first thing that I want to say on my blog is:


As an empath and highly sensitive person, I literally feel like am right there, with the Ukrainians who fight for their homeland, who have to hide in shelters (usually, basements of their own tall apartment buildings), see their cities and towns being destroyed, run as far as they can and try to save the lives of their children, parents, spouses and pets. I also feel like I am right there with those Russians who are absolutely against the horrible Putin regime and the war he started on our behalf. I have NEVER voted for Putin! And millions of Russians who are able to think and whose spirit is aware, have NEVER voted for Putin. He is NOT our President! Yet the official version is that the majority of the Russian population support Putin. 

My heart hasn't stopped crying since February 24th, when we woke up to the unthinkable news - Russian army invaded Ukraine. But my mind has never been as clear as it is all this time, for almost 3 weeks now. In this post, I am going to write about two things that I believe are the most important right now. First, the ways each of us can help Ukrainians right now. Second, the political regime in Russia and why Russian citizens cannot stop Putin.


I know my readers. You are intelligent, sensitive, heartfelt women and independent thinkers. I am sure that you follow the news and see with your eyes the tragedy that has been a part of every Ukrainian, a citizen of the country with 44 mln population, the second largest country in Europe right after the European part of Russia. I believe there is no need to sum it up for you. I simply want to sum up some of the ways each of us can help. Of course, if you are in Europe, you know that over 2.5 mln refugees (BBC data) are being assisted by regular citizens as well as governments. A lot of my Russian and Ukrainian friends who live in European countries and the US either send financial help (Justin and I are not rich, but we do it practically on daily basis since February 24th) or provide with information, housing, translating and of course just the bare minimum such as clothes, food, and all the necessities. Yes, even though there is governmental help, they are not able to help every single refugee - since people escape with absolutely nothing but the clothes they wear. Please consider donating to the wide variety of funds, from personal fundraisers (such as my good friend Irina) to organizations. Below is a list of some of them.


My good old friend Irina who lives in the US was born in Kiev. Her husband and she still have friends and family in Ukraine. Irina started her own fundraiser and helps Ukrainian women with children to start their new life in Europe:

At this point, she is very close to her goal of $10,000. 
Here are some updates from Irina:

March 8, 2022by Irina FedorchukOrganizer
Here is a photo of the family we were able to help. They were greeted by my coworker in Warsaw who helped them find a temporary place.
The mom - Oksana -started work today as a family doctor.
These are real people who just need a little boost.

March 10, 2022by Irina FedorchukOrganizer
Olga and her family needed some help paying for their temporary place in Lublin. They just needed a place to stay for a few weeks and breathe: regroup and decide what to do next.
Olga is a licensed psychologist and has been a Red Cross volunteer since 2015. She is a certified instructor in first aid psychosocial support .
They arrived in Poland on March 6th, and on March 8th Olga already signed up to volunteer with the local chapter of the Red Cross and Psychology Association.

Other fundraisers: 

The fundraiser founded by the Russian intelligencia, including such legendary people as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Boris Akunin.

Info from their page:

  • $50 can provide 10 warm, cozy blankets to children affected by conflict
  • $100 helps supply a month’s worth of nutritious food to a family in crisis
  • $175 can provide five families with emergency shelter materials

Some of these are well known humanitarian organizations, others are less so, but they came recommended by my trusty Ukrainian friends.


Please consider writing to your representatives and President Biden, as well as signing the petitions. I asked my friends, US citizens born in Ukraine, just last night, what are right now the most important questions to rise, and here are a couple for your consideration:


While there is ongoing tragedy happening before the eyes of the world in the Ukraine, there is another more hidden tragedy happening in Russia. As you might know the last couple of weeks, my home country received the highest number of sanctions known in the history of the world (5,500). People who will suffer the most from them aren't personally Putin or his corrupted government, but the 144 mln regular people, such as my own family, friends, former coworkers, classmates, and neighbors. I left Russia exactly 20 years ago this March. I built my life here in America and became a US citizen, but a half of my heart is always there - in Russia. Russia is beautiful. I love my people, culture and language (as you know very well, Russian language is not only my passion, but my profession). And it hurts like hell to see what has been happening in my country for all these years. 

The corrupted government lead by Mad Vlad (I refuse to call this person Russian President) has been telling people for whom they are supposed to care, "Just wait a little more. It's just tough times" for 22 years straight. By letting oligarchs and regular businessmen earn their money, without holding them accountable for paying proper taxes, they bought their loyalty. The majority of the population live in poverty. The older generation who grew up in the USSR with a completely different set of economical rules and expectations, simply couldn't adapt to the new economy. Free media which started developing in Russia in the 1990s, after the collapse of the USSR, was forcibly closed in the last couple of weeks. Though the process started much earlier, when Alexei Navalny, the only opposition to Putin, was poisoned and almost killed, then after a rehabilitation in Germany came back to Moscow to continue his anti-corruption and anti-Putin work, was arrested right in the airport and sent to prison over a year ago. Navalny is in a "general regime colony" (working prison) still, and under yet another prosecution for crimes he never committed - Putin is making sure that he will never come out of it. At this point, all Russian democratic media (TV and radio stations, journalists and bloggers) are officially labeled "foreign agents" and in danger of being arrested at any time. Many of them escaped the country and continue working from abroad.

My grandfather Prokopii Shadrin, the World War II veteran, was heavily wounded and was sent home just a few months before the war ended. He was never able to overcome the shock and horror he had experienced, became an alcoholic and later killed himself. Many millions were killed or injured both physically and mentally during the war, defending their country.

My grandfather Alexei Lialin was the kindest man I knew. He was never able to fight in  World War II defending Russia - Stalin arrested him twice and kept him in the labor camp for years as an "enemy of the folk", the label which only after Stalin died people were able to officially remove. He also wasn't able to overcome the horrors he lived through during his years in GULAG and became an alcoholic. Many millions were killed or injured both physically and mentally in Stalin's GULAG.

I just recently wrote about my grandfathers on my IG and FB (links above). They represent millions with crumbled lives, and they are the generation who raised my parents. And my parents are the generation that raised mine - 40-to 50 year old Russians. The history of my country is not a happy one. Of course, what part of history in any country is nice and happy, you might say - and I agree with you, humankind has done a tremendous amount of cruel, unhuman mistakes. But particularly in Russia, there is over a 100 years history of revolution, civil war, and World Wars I and II, Stalin's genocide and repression against his own folk, lies and repressions of the late Soviet period, a short breath of fresh air during the 1990s (on the background of poverty and crimes at the same time), and then - yes, Putin. The 22 years of Putin. This is the last century of Russia in a nutshell.

Unfortunately, most people in Russia (perhaps, not only in Russia) choose to believe lies. It is easier to think that someone knows better - so "they" are responsible for everything, not "us", we are just "little people". My decision to leave Russia was not a political one, but it definitely was affected by the difference in mentality of a huge part of Russians with whom I have very little in common. I love thinking for myself. I believe that EVERYTHING is my responsibility. And when I say that Russia does not equal Putin, I still say that all of us are responsible for everything that is done on the behalf of Russia, even those of us who disagree. The grief, guilt and shame millions of Russians feel seem bottomless. We understand that neither ourselves, nor our children will be able to atone for this guilt. Do you know what we hear from the part of Russians who I call "citizens of Putin"? That we are NOT Russians. That we support Nazis. I personally heard it for expressing my civil position.

The word "war" is forbidden in Russia. Yet, still many people try to protest in Russia. They go outside and protest against the war. But even if you display just an empty white page, or just stars or pictures instead of words, you get arrested and tortured by the cruel state police. You can't say anything in Russia without risking your life and freedom. You can get 15 years in colony for saying that you disagree with your government. 

People in Russia have no access to free media, or even Facebook and Instagram - all are blocked in Russia now. Some are leaving the country in a hurry as the iron curtain is closing right behind their feet. The economical sanctions which the Western world put on Russia will soon destroy the lives of millions - those who support Putin and those who don't. Combined with our compassion to people of Ukraine and our own grief, guilt and shame we are going through, Russia as we knew it does not exist any longer. And it is a national tragedy we all pay for, both innocent and not so innocent. In one night, we all became criminals for the rest of the world.

I know that one day, this cruel regime will fall. I know that one day, millions of Russians will regret their own blindness. But at this point, we all are hostage of Putin. The only news that people hear in Russia, is the official propaganda. Which tells people that there are Nazis in Ukraine who kill their own citizens, and so if we don't want them to come to Russia to kill us, we have to stop them. People believe this. If you doubt that it's possible to do it with millions of people, think of what was happening in Nazi Germany not that long ago. Read what Goebbels said about fear. Then maybe you will understand what's happening in Russia a little better.


  1. could´t have said it better.
    as an east german i´m closer to the history and present of russia then i would like....
    you know it already - no need to explain.
    but i did encounter a lot of naivity or just ignorance when meeting common US-americans. world war II is *rosie the riveter* posters and the iron curtain and its fall, the decay of the USSR and the dramatic changes in eastern europe are all but bohemian villages to most of them. and i do understand it - it is on the other side of the world - very far away.
    very good and neccessary post - my friend!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Beate! I know there are many people who care and are aware, such as yourself. And especially in Europe. I'm happy if my post can help to raise the awareness.

  2. As a highly sensitive person, I can hardly bear reading or watching the news which is truly horrifying in every way, and I can only understand too well that it must be even more heart-wrenching for you. I agree with Beate that your post is a very necessary one, as I'm sure the general public - for want of a better word - has no idea of the extent of the tragedy which is happening, not just to the Ukrainian people but to you and your fellow Russians, let alone about the historic background. And I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like to live in a country in which free thought is being repressed at all cost. I'm not very good at expressing my thoughts in such matters, but I do know that fear is the source of so much evil.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Ann! I totally understand, the news are unbearable these days, and we certainly need to limit reading/watching news simply for our mental health. To tell the truth, I've never written anything in my life about politics. I am not an expert, I just write from my heart.

  3. Thank you for writing from your heart, Natalia. I am like Anne and Beate. I'm unable to follow the news as the heartache it causes me is debilitating to the point of hopelessness and inertia. I am able to read some news and follow what I can. I truly value your perspective on how to think, how to help and how to pray. I live in Canada and I am not politically inclined either but the ongoing conversations and battles between lost freedoms and government mandates are daunting and confusing. I will be contributing to your friend's fundraising and even though my ability to make a difference is small, it feels like a tiny drop of healing is applied to my heart with each dollar. I know it's not about me. May God comfort and bless your hurting heart and may God help us all. xo karen

    1. Thank you for your heartfelt comment, Karen! I agree with you that when we help others, we at the same time heal ourselves. It is ultimately, I believe, because this is our common wound, and some feel the truth of it deeper than others. Ultimately, we are one. Every dollar matters, there is no little help. I know that Irina has reached the declared goal, but the fundraiser is still open to donations, and she keeps updating about more families who benefit from it. I am deeply thankful for your contribution!

  4. Thank you, dear Natalia, for writing such an exact report about the cruelest thing ever, the war. There are lots of people doing their best and even more for Ukraine and its people. We have installed school classes already and learning groups for German language as fast as possible, invited people to live in our homes or newly prepared flats. I think most people try to help in different ways. But I myself do hope that none will forget Russian mothers crieing about their death sons, who didn t know where they were sent to go to. I will never blame Russian people for doing that harm to Ukraine. Its a total inhuman desaster! Love to you and the family! Sunni

    1. Dear Sunni, thank you so much for your sincere response! It always touches me deeply to see how empathic people get in times like these. It seems the whole world is putting together the efforts to help Ukrainians. There are many kind people in the world! And thank you for your thoughts about Russians who suffer as well. The government is cruel and inhuman, and while there are many brain-washed citizens, there are also many of us who are against this regime. Only it isn't as easy when you live under tyranny! That's what many Westerners don't understand about Russia simply because they've always lived in democratic world. We are grieving about Ukraine and our own lost country at the same time...

    2. I am with ou in each word! Heartbreaking, all this! Love! Sunni