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Bardin: Today a great many of people in Russia are seized with depression – our nearest neighbor suddenly has become an enemy

Garry Bardin
Garry Bardin
Photo: okolo.me

Director-animator Harry Bardin in an exclusive interview to the publication “GORDON” told why spectators came short of hopes, what perturbs him in the policy of the West in relation to Ukraine and what his Russian colleagues by art will be ashamed for.

- Garry Yakovlevich, do you agree that in Russia Ukraine is perceived as “the ugly duckling”? The Russian government is afraid very much that our country will turn into a beautiful swan and fly from the “poultry yard”…

- Propaganda did its part. Lived-lived together and suddenly you turned out to be “fascists”, “banderovtsy”. I was on Maidan in January and I didn’t see any “banderovtsy” there. I saw a humble tent of the “Right Sector” with their attributes and nothing else. Faces mainly were distinct, clever, and sometimes even intelligent. These people stood on Maidan for the protection of their human dignity.

- Right this thing the Russian government cannot forgive Ukraine – dignity.

- It’s hard to understand to me. I am a Kievan, my sister lives in Kiev, I have no disagreements with her, we see, as the saying goes, eye to eye. My parents, grandmother are buried at Kiev cemetery. But because of political differences such line of demarcation goes through lots of families and the nearest people are at enmity. Television that does it unkind deed, helps in this well.

- They say, in Russia children playing war cry: “Guys, save yourself, Ukrainians attack!” And in our yards boys heated with dispute call each other “Putin”. But their parents, the former citizens of the common country USSR, grew on the same books, cartoons – including yours. And now a lot of them look at one another through arms sight. Where in the world did malice, hatred, aggression come from? In fact we were not taught this…

- Yes, I hoped for my spectators, but it turned that they…

- …let you down?

- It was very painful.

- At the recent football match “Russia-Moldova” the Moscow fans raised above the stadium tribune photos of the bandits of “Novorussia” – Girkin and Bezler, under whose belt were thousands of crucified and killed people, wrote under them: “Pride of nation”. And nation accepted this, and nobody demanded to take posters away…

- It is yet more proof that we have enough underwits who don’t want to know their history. But there are those who came to the March of Piece to support Ukraine on September 21. Just that day I flied from Kiev and couldn’t be on that meeting, but my son was, and he was gladdened by a great number of not dumbed down people. People felt to be citizens, not population, and it’s great.

- Once Russians and Ukrainians had a common foe – fascist Germany. And now Russia extending borders of the Russian world differs from Germany only in the scope of conquest. At least yet. Does the Russian authority respect its citizens for whose sake it endeavors so much?

- Gathering of the Russian lands and extending of the Russian world divide people into “clear” and “not clear” – in fact in Russia people of different nationalities live who with such policy inevitably feel like second quality. And as to the policy in relation to Ukraine short time ago in the history there was an example of Scotland that wanted to separate from the United Kingdom and went to this by civilized way. They failed with the separation but the idea to assert their autonomy with lethal force crossed nobody’s mind. We live not in the Middle Ages but in the 21st century.

- It depends, in “Novorussia”, for example, time goes back, not ahead. Today well-known signs of the Soviet way of life come back there – such as, for example, block-long lines in which people stand under numbers written on palms, grocery allowance, wage-leveling and even work for dinner. Does Russia set up a retro experiment on the occupied territories? But it can return to it like a boomerang …

- I heard that among the leaders of “Novorussia” there are former communists. They are going to build socialism. Once within the bounds of particular country we failed in this. Well then let them try to repeat the same in the bounds of the particular republic, if succeed…

- You often go round the West. How do they treat now the Russian-Ukrainian war? Is this topic still alarm the Europeans? Or time takes it course and alarm interest to it dies out?

- I tell them: “Guys, you’ve lost interest to us”. Once in the forefront of Perestroika there was agiotage – how in the country of bears and Matryoshkas the democracy suddenly woke up! Now the West takes up pragmatic, wait-and-see position. Because of oil and gas they don’t afford themselves to give a piece of their mind. But there is obviously self-interest, and this perturbs me very much.

- Self-interest at best makes lots in Russia to be silent as well, and at worse – to sign letters in support of Putin’s policy in relation to Ukraine. Do your colleagues by art, for example, understand that they demean themselves, or do this consciously considering them to be real patriots?

- I don’t begin upon judging these people. But often creative teams fed from the state budget stand for them. They are afraid to lose their places, possibility to work and survive, and their arms are screwed. Though afterwards they will be ashamed.

- Does unreal word of animation help to escape the reality?

- Unfortunately not. There was a time when I closed the door of my studio and escaped the reality but now I don’t succeed in this. If you don’t go to politics, then politics comes to you. It comes through doors, penetrates though holes and it becomes impossible not to think about what is happening. Today a great many of people in Russia are seized with depression. We turned out to be in situation to which we were not ready – our nearest neighbor suddenly has become an enemy.

 

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