As Russia mobilises untrained civilians to prop up the war in Ukraine, a Singaporean living in Moscow ponders its futility and the growing dissonance of being in a country stuck between peace and conflict.
I struggle to put into words exactly how I am feeling, to express precisely the thoughts that are running through my head, like unstoppable runners going on until their legs atrophy from the very thing they are cursed to do for the rest of their lives. We are running, back and forth, not knowing what lies ahead. There is a thought in my mind, and then it disappears. I forget about, for a moment, this war, and all that it means.
“There is no war ongoing between Russia and Ukraine, but the special military operation is evolving successfully.” Such was the response by the Russian Embassy in Singapore to an interview by The Straits Times of Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs.
This coincided with an estimate of as many as 25,000 military deaths since Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, moved to “denazify” and “demilitarise” Ukraine on February 24th, this year. The official death toll from the Russian Defence Ministry stands at 5,937. Despite these casualties, Russia’s occupation of approximately 20 percent of Ukraine, and the recent decision for “partial” mobilisation, one cannot call it a “war”. Instead, according to the Kremlin, it is a “special military operation”. Calling it otherwise risks one being fined up to 1.5m rubles (S$36,000) and a prison sentence of up to 15 years for spreading “fake news”.
For subscribers only
Subscribe now to read this post and also gain access to Jom’s full library of content.
Iceland and Singapore, two nations separated by climate, geography, history. Photographs help bring back memories across these oceans, to bridge that divide—a diminishing iceberg, a towering mountain, the babbling of a brook. But photos don't only look backwards. They look forward, too.
Leaving the bubble of modernity for the “Land of the Long White Cloud”, Unsu Lee attempts to find his way back into the expansive, healing arms of Mother Earth, where he might metamorphose from ‘hungry, capitalist caterpillar’ into net producer, and to finally recognise his place on this planet.
Sign up to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date with Jom’s essays, events and start-up journey.
Processing your application
Please check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription
There was an error sending the email
Thank you for your paid subscription to Jom.
Please click on the link sent to your e-mail to login to your account.
You’ve successfully subscribed to Jom
Welcome back! You’ve successfully signed in.
Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Your link has expired
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.