More Russians every day disdain and demonstrate against the Putin regime. But few in positions of power will rock the boat in his autocratic police state and do anything about it. One Russian fled abroad in hopes of better times down the road. But Andrei Loshak may have to wait a while. Amy Kellogg of FNC talked to him.
#Anonymous applauds the thousands of people in #Russia and around the world who continue to stand up to Putin’s oppression in defiance of his apparatus of repression. We recognise this war is not the will of the #Russian people but tyranny of their corrupted government #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/axV3QKPHCU
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Kellogg: “At the beginning, the graffiti used to say ‘F— Russia’ or ‘F— Putin,’ but now it says ‘F— Russians.’ It’s unpleasant, of course,” Russian journalist Andrei Loshak says.
He is one of the thousands of Russians who fled to neighboring Georgia in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine and around the time that Russia criminalized independent war reporting.
Graffiti aside, Loshak says he is fond of Georgia and relishes that, from there, he can say and write what he chooses. He tries to be philosophical about all the inconveniences associated with fleeing one’s country in a heartbeat and having credit cards that are pretty much useless anywhere outside of Russia and the reality that he won’t be able to go home anytime soon. The bigger issue, he says, is the incredible malaise about the war and what it is doing to his world, his cousins, his neighbors.
“My soul aches a lot. It aches for Ukraine. It is not a foreign country, not an abstract Syria, which is also terrible,” Loshak says. “War is terrible. But Ukraine is also my native country, my native land. My father was born in Kharkiv, and my grandfather was born in Odesa. As a child, I spent every summer in Odesa. All of this is sheer pain.”
“I haven’t watched a single TV series or movie since the war began, although I used to watch a lot. And when my Netflix account was shut down because I could no longer pay for it, I didn’t even notice,” Loshak said. “Thousands of people have written to me that they have the same condition. You open up Telegram feeds in the morning, and you’re immersed in this hell, and you can’t stop.”
“He never seemed kind to me,” Loshak says of Putin. “I actively disliked him from 1999, even though I was 26 at the time and wasn’t interested in politics. But I felt something immediately in my bones … his background, the way he looked, the KGB.
“When the terrorist attacks began, on the wave of which he started the second Chechen war, intuitively I got the feeling this was a very dirty game. And from that moment, I had the feeling he was quite a bloody man,” Loshak says.
Loshak believes Russia “lives in the head of an elderly KGB officer with outdated ideas about the world, his complexes and so on … the whole country finds itself in this kind of insane matrix.”
Asked what Russians can do to change things, Loshak said, “I don’t have an answer right now. I can’t say, ‘Guys, come out to rallies’ because it makes no sense now.” Not now, not for the foreseeable future, unless some devious general wants a promotion to president.