Your leader is massacring Ukrainians.
By choosing to invade their country he has given license to kill innocent people.
Men, women and children.
Your country was not being threatened but your leader, who does as he pleases because few object, came up with the idea that he was being threatened and so he thought he must give the order to kill Ukrainians.
He could do so because most Russians have been silenced.
Silenced by fear.
All of us pay a price when we allow others to intimidate us.
That is why it is so important to respect free speech. To hold free elections.
But year after year of your leader being in power – since 1999 – the Russian majority has chosen to be quiet.
And now all of us pay the price. Not just you but Ukrainians and the rest of the world.
You are not alone in your passivity.
In China, a section of the country has cheered on the invaders, celebrating the killing of Ukrainians by your leader.
They too, like you, have yielded to fear for they have neither free speech nor free elections, but they cheer on invading Russian troops in the belief that by doing so they get to turn fear into courage.
Ukrainians know better. They know their freedom has a price. And in refusing to be governed by Moscow – refusing to have to answer to your boss – have put up an heroic resistance against a superior army and vowed not to yield.
Their president, Volodymyr Zelensky has been leading the effort. If he were ever to doubt that he had the strength to do so, he need only look to his grandfather who was a soldier in the Russian Army in World War II.
Ukrainians’ valor has marked this moment in history and the nation has become the pride of our world.
Because the murderous invasion of Ukraine has not gone according to plan and their people are fighting back, now your leader speaks of setting your nuclear forces in high alert.
But the West will not be intimidated. We will not stop sending arms to the Ukrainian resistance and one day they will be proud NATO members.
The pain inflicted by your leader will not be forgotten.
I know there is a core of dissenters in your country. That men and women with enormous courage have chosen to defy your leader and have suffered or have been killed or exiled because of it.
But the number of dissenters must grow. The protests have to increase.
The abuses of a man who does not listen to his people must be challenged.
For a nation to thrive there must be an open dialogue with its leaders.
You need to fight to have that dialogue.
Look at Germany. Until a day ago it was unwilling to send arms to Ukraine. But protests mounted and they have now changed course. They have committed to aid brave Ukraine.
That dialogue has died in Russia and so your leader is free to do as he wishes.
Dear Russians, you could have that dialogue, too, but you must demand it.
So why don’t you stand up and joins us?
We welcome your contributions to humanity’s grand project – men and women’s eternal struggle to have a voice of their own and live with dignity.
Oscar Valdes. Oscarvaldes.net anchor.fm, buzzsprout, medium.com, apple and google podcasts.