Voices of Ukrainian women

Sophie Perrelet, Genevieve Piron, Jil Silbersteinauthors of the initiative “Russia-Ukraine Voices of civil society”, March 27, 2022


As the siege against information almost completely suffocates the Russian people, the first thing that is immediately posted on this protest channel is a video of pregnant women in Kherson having to give birth in the shelters. On the same channel we read:

March 2, 2022. “We have just received a call from Ukrainian women to Russian women. We are publishing it in its entirety. This letter will initiate a cycle of personal statements on this channel: #voix_des_ukrainiennes.

“Russian women. I speak only to you in my own name, for many of our sisters hate and despise you. They have every right to, for in the disturbing stream of news there are mixed scenes of Ukrainian civilian women stopping the enemy. military vehicles with their bare hands and shouting insults in the face of those on board, and by Russians fleeing for dozens as policemen. approaches (…) “.

March 3, 2022. Message from feminist activists from Mariupol: “No communication, no more electricity, no water, no heat. It again bombs very very heavily, residential areas, schools, hospitals. I try to send messages, I receive them in a piecemeal way. It’s fucking horror we’re scared.

March 4, 2022. The poet and activist Lena Samoilenko sent us a heartbreaking letter from Kiev. Feel free to share it, it’s the #Ukrainians’ #voice.

“Today, when two explosions sounded outside the window and all the books in my book barricade were shaking, I opened reflexively cat quarter. And no one had written anything there.
So I understood, “We are dead.” But simply without death.

Space is disarticulated and revealed the possibility that we do not exist.

But we still can not be. That’s why we’re here, in this house, on this cat. And war does not exist.

I once asked Ivan Marovic, the leader of the Serbian band otporhow he had undertaken to inspire and encourage people to protest when he knew they would be arrested, killed and possibly tortured.

In my own actions and shit, I did not need anyone. I did not want to endanger anyone. I decided on my own to stay in the Maidan. To film everything as close as possible. To work in hospitals. To stand on the barricades. I traveled alone in the Crimea in length and breadth, and only eight years ago I gathered a collection of Russian soldiers who had promised to kill me. I participated in the referendum in the Lugansk region 11 times to explain how much it was a joke. I decided to go on a hunger strike in support of political prisoners and held it for 51 days.

I walk the streets with an imaginary cobblestone every day.

I love the impossible.

I’m staying in Kiev.

Now you can see what they do at the residential area. They will kill me, my children and my parents today or tomorrow. At best the day after tomorrow. I think tomorrow.

And if we die during the bombings and shootings of 2022, us, peaceful inhabitants of a strong European capital with 1500 years of history, then it might not be worth living in a world where everything is possible (quote from my friend Sasha Andrusik) .

I do not seek to spare your or my life. I do not want any deaths, but I deliberately raise the tension in this text because it is no longer enough to say that we are not feeling well in a salad cart, that the fines are huge and that it is cold in the cells.

We have to write that it is the whole foot: the salad basket was full to bursting point, we took our neighborhood in the cell, they soon run out of prisons, see how our faces are glowing, how we do not care about all their shit. See when the light is approaching. The world is beautiful. We are amazing. There is no fate, no death, no helplessness. There is only resolution1.

Currently, my children have gastro. And threw up all over the sheets. Two puppies throwing up are already boring in themselves. Dozens of vomit-smelling sheets and a clogged drain … that means we can not wash much.

At night, children do not sleep and vomit. I’m trying to heal them and I can not help but think that tomorrow they will kill us. Or the day after tomorrow.

During the day I sit glued to hotlines and I read there:

“Request help at Mariupol, man and woman, 70 years old. She’s blind. Sugar. Need some water, drink and non-drink. And food. Maybe there’s someone over there who can help, they’re away. his name is Zhora and her name is Valya “.

“If someone asks for things to support hunger, what should one answer?”

“Boulevard des Marins, an apartment caught fire after a bomb attack. There are people in the apartment, they can not reach any service.”

“Lack of insulin, a person dies. Please, if you have anything in pharmacies, a warehouse or at home, please share (…)”

“I am 86 years old. I am in Kharkiv. Two days without electricity. I am starving …”

“Help, my daughter has leukoencephalopathy, if we stop treatment now, we will lose all opportunities to save her. How do I get out of the country?”

“I have to get eight people out of Buchi. Five kids. They’re in the basement. It’s unbearable.”

Then I take my guard in the basement. I play shit music for the kids, I play chess with them and dance (…). Then something explodes again at my window.

I’m calling my best friend who’s just left town. We video-smoke, and he tells me the darkest, most gruesome jokes about hands being ripped off at nail salons. Of peak shows a soldier’s cock ripped off being sent to Russian women. And we laugh. He said to me, “It seems to me that I will never see beauty again.” I answer: “Once we have won, they must ask that we do not move on”.

My husband is patrolling the neighborhood. He has no fighting experience. He is a poet, a queer and a transvestite. He has a fourth book, which was to be published in May, and which we had been working on the pictures for eight months. And now they’ll kill us tomorrow and this book, nobody wants to see it. It is called Hatewith reference to Forman’s musical.

I do not know what to tell you. Today it seems to me that for the first time I understood that they will kill us. Tomorrow I will write a long text about the victory and I will resume the hotline. Operator 946. I’m listening.

I listen to this deafness, this fear, this insensitivity, this powerlessness. I know you’re doing your best. Let’s just say I would be surprised if you can.

And it is true, I despise and pity all of you who do not even try.

Because silence and precautions will not save you ”.


1This passage speaks directly to Russian civilians to encourage them to demonstrate with greater determination as oppression grows.

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