Friday, March 18, 2022

Kate Hawkesby: I hope more Russians see Putin's lies for what they are


I hold out hope that media reports that Russia’s ugly war could be over in about 10 days prove true. 

I also hold out hope that claims peace talks are working, prove to be true. Because even if this does wrap up after a month, which in the grand scheme of wars seems a relatively short time, it has nonetheless been utterly heart breaking, painful and abhorrent to watch. And that’s part of the problem, we’ve seen it all unfold in front of us for the past 3 weeks like a horror show we just can’t switch off. 

It feels as though condemnation of Putin is everywhere around us here – yet it’s actually not. 

I posted something on Instagram about the war being hard to watch and I was staggered to get responses from Russians living in New Zealand, saying, ‘what war?, it’s not a war, you are misinformed.’ 

I had up until then assumed this brainwashing was restricted to inside Russia only, but a Russian friend of mine here said there are Russians, who despite being here, still tap into only Russian news sources and still believe Putin’s lies. 

My friend, who arrived here 5 years ago with her family – largely to escape this very outcome and afraid of raising her small family under a control freak like Putin, says she is sad, but not surprised, that Russians still defend him. She said you have to have lived in Russia to understand just how powerful the messaging is. She was telling me she has family still back there, and like many Russians, friends in Ukraine too.  

When Putin first invaded Ukraine she immediately rang her family in Russia. Her grandmother couldn’t work out why she was crying down the phone. ‘Why are you being so dramatic?’ her Grandma asked her. ‘Why are you crying? What war? There is no war. Putin’s saving Ukraine’. She rang other family members as the war raged on longer than a week and urged them to leave Russia as quickly as possible, but again the family members were confident they would be fine. They said they’d wait and see what happens.  

My friend urged them not to wait but to take their money out while they still could and flee. They didn’t listen and just a matter of days later they were unable to access any money and were left trying to sell the family car just to get enough money to leave. 

She had a friend who went out to protest against the invasion and got beaten up by Russian riot police and arrested. Her family was gathering just their passports and a small bag each after that and leaving everything else behind so they could flee. 

She also has friends in Ukraine, living in their basement - she asked them if she could send them money but they said it’s pointless we can’t access it, so she asked what was it that she could provide? They replied - prayers. 

It’s just so heart breaking to imagine being amidst this isn’t it? My friend says although this war may well be short, it will take 2 or 3 generations to work through the damage and the trauma of it. And I don’t doubt that.  

So I’m hopeful all attempts to end it come to some kind of fruition soon and that those still blinkered by Putin’s lies, wake up. 

Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.


DeeM said...

How terrible for you Kate that you feel unable to switch off your live internet feed and be subjected to all the trauma that is the war in Ukraine.
It's quite simple really - just hit the OFF button.

Your blog does come across as the typical privileged, affluent Westerner being put off their trim latte and gluten-free muffin by something nasty on their iPhone which doesn't directly affect you but you can't resist telling everyone how it's impacting on your life.

As for your Russian friends, who left the "control-freak Putin" to come to New Zealand only to be governed by the control-freak Ardern - they have my sympathy.
And the Russian anti-war protesters being attacked by riot police. Reminds me of a recent protest in NZ!
And brainwashing in Russia. Nothing like that happens here does it? Well, there is our new history curriculum brainwashing...and the Treaty Partnership brainwashing....and the He Puapua brainwashing, to mention a few.

You do seem to be cocooned in your comfortable bubble unable to see the disturbing similarities between Russia and NZ. That doesn't surprise me though. It's typical of nearly all "journalists" these days.

Phil said...

My children have just left school but during the course of their schooling they had significant teaching about New Zealand history and Maori history. For the PM to get up yesterday and say NZ is the only country that doesn't teach about its own history is an absolute lie. The media are going to gloss over everything that is about to happen. The public are not going to hear much about 3 Waters.