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The war in Ukraine is not ‘a picnic’

I was shaken by the recent forum article titled The Fall of Moscow (March 12) by Vijai Maheshwari.

As a professor of political science with many friends in both Russia and Ukraine, I avidly read the article about the ways in which Russia and Russians are coping with the war. However, citing such sentences as “This war is a picnic, said a friend, compared to World War II, Afghanistan and the terror of Stalin’s purges and gulags in the 1930s,” is an insulting comparison.

I believe no one but the Ukrainians have the right to judge whether this war is “a picnic” or not. Perhaps we should be asking those who are hiding with their children in the underground, and the pregnant women fleeing destroyed maternity hospitals about whether this is a picnic.

Giving voice to Muscovites missing their Netflix series and Apple stores and those who can afford making lighthearted and disdainful comments about the war, without leaving space for the surely substantially different views held by its victims, is shameful.

Petr Kratochvíl
Senior researcher, Centre for European Politics, Institute of International Relations Prague
Prague, Czech Republic

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