The latest events in Ukraine brings back memories of my childhood.
From 1943 to 1948 there was a permanent exposition of the captured German weapons in Moscow’s Gorky Park. I lived across the street from the Park and this expo was the favorite playground of my boyhood. I could be one of the boys on this photograph.
There is no doubt that seeing the captured German weapons gave Russians the feeling of victory, of the humiliation of the enemy. That’s why children were encouraged to use those German tanks and guns as big toys.
This explains my shock when I learned that an exposition of captured Russian weapons was opened in Kiev. It was difficult to believe that Russian weapons became a symbol of the defeated enemy in Kiev, the original capital of ancient Russia, city equally dear to Russians and Ukrainians, two branches of the same ethnic tree.
The feeling of the undescribable paradox of the situation doesn’t leave me. The events of the last days, when Russian army took decisive part in the bloody Ukrainian battle, made the picture even more paradoxical. It was characterised best by a Russian solder, quoted by The Guardian: “You’re better clueless because the truth is horrible”.