“People like you, like me, have their lives completely turned upside down overnight with unprecedented violence”

Boris Czerny teaches Russian at the University of Caen. This professor is deeply attached to Ukraine both by his family and by his friends, whom he eagerly awaits news. A man who was afraid, but also angry, not with the Russian people, but with the Kremlin.

Boris Czerny hung up. And words, as if overwhelmed by emotion, struggle to find their way with this professor from the University of Caen. On the other end of the line, his friend gave him the latest news. She and her husband are fleeing on foot from the Russian forces that have occupied Ukraine for several days and are trying to reach Poland. How is he? “The question doesn’t make much sense to him.“, explains the academic, “In a very short time he had to give up everything in Kiev. There are bombings. He can’t tell where he is because he might be in danger. 16 children died under the bombs where it was found. He is also angry because he is Belarusian and there are planes leaving from Belarus. He wants Belarusians to stand up. He is tired. She is in some kind of house with her husband for now. She didn’t want to give more information. They are people whose lives were turned upside down overnight, just like you and me. Unprecedented severity.

Boris Czerny watches the journey of several of his friends in Ukraine on a daily basis, his stomach writhing with anguish, an agony that becomes sharper when his calls are ignored because there is no net. As soon as we get to safety with the Polish Red Cross, “we either pick it up or send money via Western Union and they come.“, promises the teacher.

Meanwhile, he continues to communicate. at any cost. “He also says that he is very impressed with the unity of the world in the face of aggression. They are aware of all the displays of solidarity and all the phone calls he has received and all the Ukrainians have received. Ukrainians get messages and phone calls from people who know them a little bit like that. We often wonder how we can behave, a question that challenges and often worries me. There are little gestures, that’s all. You don’t need to be a hero, get a gun. Small gestures are important.

The city of Grenoble is indicated as his birthplace in Boris Czerny’s passport. Boris Czerny is French. But he also lived In Ukraine, Russia, Belarus. “i travel a lot‘ he explains with a smile. The taste and roots of travel are deeply rooted in the east.’My father is Ukrainian. When I go to Ukraine, the looks of people, the way they speak, all these echo in me, echo in my body, in my head. There are special connections there, connections beyond logic, sexual, cultural connections, connections with cooking, smells, colors as well. it all looks so familiar to me“, recognizes the professor who teaches Russian at the University of Caen. Before adding: “Either way, you shouldn’t have selective pain.

The academic learned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine through a phone call at midnight. “I was surprised and at the same time it didn’t surprise me that much. Again, if we are reasonable, if we take the time, Putin has been explaining this for a very long time. He’s recruiting 150,000 men at the border. Not for looks, not for training. This is a perfectly logical sequence. If we get into Putin’s logic.

For this country he loved and his friends, bewilderment was followed by fear. But it’s also a feeling of anger. “Families, due to history, are mixed, triple, with parents who are simultaneously Belarusian, Ukrainian, Russian. Who has no family in Ukraine while living in Russia? Who has no family in Russia while living in Ukraine? They are mixed families. There is no hate between these people“, says Boris Czerny, whose mother is Belarusian. “Something completely made up, completely provoked by the propagandists on TV. These people have blood on their hands. Putin’s talk of genocide against Russians in Donbass is heresy, it is a lie. To say this is murder, to justify murder.

There’s no way he can blame the Russian people. “Russian is something that vibrates in me. I learned Russian with great love, like playing a violin. A culture I love: I think in Russian, I dream in Russian, I make it a second part of me.“, says Boris Czerny, “And when I see how these people are trampled on, humiliated, caricatured, run by completely irresponsible people, I am frankly angry.

Last weekend, this lover of Russian culture heard voices rising against NATO at the demonstrations.. “Putin took over Crimea, there was no NATO. Putin took over the Donbass republics, there was no NATO. NATO is not a hot topic for now” sweeps the teacher, “The news is to help people who are suffering precisely because of other well-defined and determined people.“And to encourage individuals to contact the Red Cross and call university rectors Pause”Organization that funds the admission of professors, teachers, and doctoral students who have fled countries where they are persecuted.

The academic accuses the media of paying Russian power: “Iukraine is the centerpiece of television propaganda and the official press, i.e. nazis, fascists, dwarves, drug addicts, morons, etc. It is the constant, daily target of so-called attacks. And praise the courage of those who dare to oppose this war in the streets. “These people are admirable. They are arrested and beaten. They have facial recognition camera systems when they are not arrested at the time of the demonstration and are arrested when they return home. They are real heroes. They are admirable people. i find them beautiful

Salute their courage rather than lecturing on it. “You can’t ask people to be heroes when we’re not heroes. What does it mean to be a hero in France today? Mobilize all buses, go to the Polish border, enter Ukraine and say stop? Why do we expect other people to be heroes when we have a hard time being ourselves? No, you shouldn’t judge these people. This is so hard.

Courage is not lacking in the face of the bombs and tanks of the Russian army. “The resistance in Ukraine is magnificent. We get excited when we look at it from France, but there are many people who died.“, stresses Boris Czerny.”With the occupation of Donbass, there is a long war in Ukraine“, reminds the teacher, “Many young men went through their lessons, so they prepared. There is also the mentality. There is a mentality that resists us, there is a mentality of beating and fighting. After all, we don’t have much to lose. Putin thought that Ukraine was divided into east on one side and west on the other. The impact of his attack created a very strong type of symbiosis in the population.

But Boris Czerny is careful not to count on a bright future. “You shouldn’t make your dreams come true.“There is no question that evokes a third world war, believes the teacher specializing in the Holocaust -”Past events help to understand current events but parallels seem like a mistake to me, making parallels leads to simplifications, instrumentalizing simplifications that Putin uses exactly.“- but the nuclear threat posed by the Kremlin ruler this weekend should not be taken lightly.”In this unexpected escalation of events and violence, I think we can expect the worst. he is (Vladimir Poutine) has the ability to move. And we mustn’t forget one thing: He’s a man who, up until now, almost always does what he says. And tell me what you did.

For Boris Czerny, time is not for foresight.If you want democracy and freedom, as in Ukraine with all its flaws, choose a side. A brand new country needed time to restructure itself. Bulgaria needed time, but they got there. in Romania. These are countries that start from far away. We could walk and chat in Ukraine. I just want to get back to this. Expectations may only be to be able to meet my friends there and share a nice meal with them.