Boris Bondarev is the only Russian diplomat to resign in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which marks one year this week. In an interview with EFE, he asks the West to redouble military support for Ukraine to defeat the “criminal regime” of Vladimir Putin.
Bondarev, who is 42 years old and lives in Switzerland, tells in a telematic interview that he is fine and prefers not to talk about his safety or if he has received threats. “I’m too small a piece to be bothered by me,” he confides.
After 20 years as a diplomat, Bondarev resigned with a public letter last May while working at the Russian mission to the United Nations in Geneva.
In his resignation he criticized a “senseless” war, he was ashamed of his country and criticized that the Russian Foreign Ministry spread “lies, warmongering and hatred”.
passivity and loyalty
No other Russian diplomat followed suit, at least publicly. He is not disappointed because he knows the atmosphere of passivity and loyalty that he encourages.
”I can’t say I’m disappointed because I didn’t expect anything. I know my colleagues. If more people had spoken publicly, perhaps it would have been different. But if those people existed, it would be a different ministry and this war, possibly, would not have taken place ”, he affirms.
The same never believed that Putinwho he blames for the war, was to invade the Ukraine.
“I knew it was a corrupt regime, that they were thieves, but I never thought they would go from being thieves to murderers and war criminals,” he says.
Bondarev sums up the social contract in Putin’s Russia: if you avoid getting into politics and criticizing the government, you won’t have problems. In return, your life will remain more or less the same even during the war.
”In Moscow the shops are open, the restaurants are full. People are entertained. There is nothing to show that there is a war, ”she explains.
And adds: “Nobody cares what is happening in some remote and poorer parts of Russia, where more soldiers are recruited. And also it has no diffusion”.
This mentality of not interfering in what happens, except for an active minority, is a legacy of the Soviet past from which Putin benefits.
”Putin has taught people for 20 years that they should only take care of their own lives. And leave all the issues of the State to him ”, he indicates.
In this year of war, what has surprised him the most is the poor performance of the Russian Army, much more than he already suspected due to corruption.
”Corruption and incompetence are the central features of the Putin regime. So it shouldn’t surprise me,” he says.
There will only be peace without Putin
The former diplomat believes that “if you want peace, putin and his regime must be removed from the equation”.
Bondarev insists that Putin has nothing more to offer the Russian people and that all he is doing now is blaming so-called external enemies for the country’s ills and his own mistakes.
”It will always be a source of war, of aggression, of destabilization. AND if Putin is defeated and remains in power, he will take it as a personal insult and seek revenge”, he predicts.
”This war it’s your personal warbecause no one around him wanted this war. And they don’t want it now. They only follow it because it is not their responsibility to think and decide”, she affirms.
The dissident criticizes the countries that support Ukraine for not handing over the weapons that could give kyiv victory.
”Europe and the United States seem to not want Ukraine to win this war. It seems that they want to pressure Ukraine towards peace with Russia. As a formula to save face for Putin, ”she maintains.
For this reason, he asks to redouble the delivery of weapons to Ukraine, because a defeat of the Putin regime would also benefit Russia.
“I don’t know how many tanks Spain has, but if it has a hundred tanks, deliver them to Ukraine. It would be a great contribution to the security of the whole of Europe, ”he indicates.
He also reproaches the pacifist speeches that ask not to give military aid to kyiv: “War will not miraculously stop if weapons are not given. There will be, in any case, a Russian victory.”
According to Bondarev, this pacifist discourse, in addition to being paternalistic and arrogant, uses Ukraine’s sovereignty as a bargaining chip.
“The Ukrainian people should have the right to decide if they want peace or if they want to fight or take back all their territory,” he says.
”And these pacifists seem to say: we can divide Ukraine. Exchanging a part of Ukraine with Putin in exchange for something, as if they were not a free people but something inferior that can be sacrificed”, concludes the former diplomat.
(with information from EFE)
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