My father passed away in the beginning of this year. It’s something you can never get prepared for. My mother lives alone in Saint Petersburg after being married to my father for 56 years. Extra tough for me after my recent move to California. What I felt that day and the amount of tears was incomparable to what I felt on the 24th of February, when Russia, the country where I was born and lived half of my life, invaded Ukraine. That day I had no words, only tears. This is so much bigger than a personal tragedy of losing a family member. This unexplainable act concerns all of us. Beautiful historic cities in Ukraine are being bombed, people are being killed, and they are hiding and fleeing in fear. And Russians did not ask for this, they are horrified. There are demonstrations on the streets across the whole country and people are raising their voices against the war, under the risk of ending up in prison. The day it started I had no words, only tears. But having no words is not an option. We all have words and we need to make ourselves heard. My 13-year old son who appears to be the only Russian in his school did an interview and spoke his mind for peace. My dear friend Ivetta is organising a concert in Stockholm for peace in Ukraine, with hundreds of people attending. I love Ukraine and Ukrainians, respect and cherish their traditions, and I am in tears every time I watch the news nowadays. Russians and Ukrainians have always been brothers; how do you turn brothers against each other?
My family always had a tradition – every new years eve, while the clock hits 12 times and crosses the midnight, we would write a wish on a small piece of paper for what we hope for the coming year. When I was little and had hard times putting down my wishes my parents always said – write “PEACE”, the word is short (“МИР” in Russian), easy to write and is the most important thing in life. Both my parents were born in 1941 – my mom under evacuation in Samara, and my father in Leningrad, where he got to experience the siege. True stories from that war told by my grandparents have always been with me, like a distant nightmare. No one could think that the evil social exercise will be repeated. I kept writing PEACE on my small piece of paper, every new years eve. This time, the paper will have to be a lot bigger and the voices a lot louder. Because every voice counts.