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Summary of the Week IV of the Mean War: March 17 – March 23, 2022

This article is a part of an Urgent Appeal for Ukraine by the Rogatchi Foundation.

The Mean War: Chorus of Dissonances

Inna Rogatchi ©. Dissonance 2022. War Posters. 2022

As hard as it is to imagine, I am now summarising not the fourth day of the war, but its fourth week. This is in the circumstances when the conventional wisdom of modern warfare teaches in the military academies world-wide that a modern  international military conflict is an extremely expensive enterprise, and for that obvious reason, normally such conflicts are quite short, timing-wise. It is also obvious that terms ‘normal’ has zero effect in the current Russian top decision-making, both political and military ones, so normalities are not applicable there. 

What did the world see during the fourth week of the Mean War? We saw a continuing acceleration of a chorus of its dissonances. The Mean War screams its dissonances out, and being solely unjust in its origin, and barbarian in its conduct, it makes these dissonances as graphic, as none of us ever wanted to see it. 

There is expected dissonance between life and death. But this war is largely against civilians, and it is utterly indiscriminate. There is also natural, for a war, dissonance between light and darkness.  But so far, it also gets too far, with such recent exploits of the Russian thugs in military uniform as bombing of a psyhiatric ward in Mykolaiv, and setting a stable with horses inside on a fire, on purpose, with all horses dying there, both evil acts happened just yesterday.  

Many of us – and normal, good people in Russia  –  are suffering  a strong cognitive dissonance from day one of this barbaric ‘liberation’. I do believe that the people of an elder generations than mine, the generations of our parents and grandparents, those who were young adults and children during the WWII, would not be able to comprehend this Mean War for a bit.  Many of us are still struggling with comprehension of it, after four weeks of shelling.  Too many questions, two few answers, if any. 

There is a screaming dissonance between humanity and inhumanity. Ten million refugees during the first month of the war, with 3, 5 million of them beyond the Ukrainian border. With every single refugee, the suffering in this world adds. We have ten million sufferings added during just four weeks. And, in fact, much more – because those refugees have family members, friends who all are suffering with them. 

With everything we saw in a previous wars and military conflicts during the previous decades, when our own perception and senses work for an immediate, personal, the most authentic individual experience, both emotional and rational, only some scenes during the war in the former Yugoslavia can come to comparison with our daily observations during the last four weeks of our life, since when the reality in Europe has been changed in the most dramatic way. This Mean War is inhuman to the core. It was inhuman in its conception, and it is inhuman in its daily conduct. It is inhuman in all and every aspect of it: children, women, elderly, disabled, sick, weak, fragile, homeless, depraved of everything by crimes, lost, maimed, wounded, murdered. This register is filled daily. It is and it will be a big account to get accountable for. 

There is a dissonance between morality and amorality, with a capital M and A in the case of the Mean War. Children cancer patients in a bombed clinic. Maternity wards bombed. Elderly and disabled who were hardly movable and are left behind. There is also a shocking assemblage of genocides practiced daily for four weeks by now: genocide of the civil population, planned ecocide of the Ukrainian forest, catastrophic and often incuperable culture-cide, architecture-cide, medicide, the purposeful destruction of the medical system in Ukraine, urbanocide of the pictures of totally destroyed Ukrainian cities which are  comparable with the historical pictures of bombed by the Allies Dresden , and sometimes are worse than it, plus there are many cities destroyed totally. 

There is a dissonance between values, as well. It is painfully tangible and it is very worrisome. Whom we are dealing with? What are they for? We see what they are bringing with their tanks and bombs. We wonder: what are they defending? 

As president Zelensky said in his recent speech, made during this fourth week of the Mean War, in the Israel’s Knesset, : “The mediation can be between the states, not between good and evil”. Absolutely so. 

Day 28: March 23, 2022, Wednesday


Inna Rogatchi ©. Nobel and Nobel 2022. War Posters. 2022. 

On the third day of this Mean War, judging on the behaviour, leadership, morale and attitude demonstrated by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, I have written and published internationally  that he should be regarded as the leading candidate for the Nobel Prize this year, 2022. This year in which he woke up to the sudden Mean War at 4 am, as from the WWII textbook, and started to lead the admirable resistance of his nation, his country and his people. 

I know the proceedings of the Nobel Committee well. I have participated in some nominations, and have first-hand experience of the process and its details. The Nobel Committee indeed has quite fixed time-framework for the nominations, and the rules are strict. 

But thirty eight first-echelon European politicians, including many former ministers for foreign affairs, some former prime-ministers, recent EU Commissioners, and many MEPs were believing that under such extraordinary circumstances as a war, the Nobel Committee would hear the reason. So they wrote a highly respectable letter to the Committee ( which copy I have as well) giving a compelling reason to the Committee to re-open the process for nomination, due to the extraordinary circumstances. The nomination was not only for one person, importantly. The nomination was for President Zelensky AND for the People of Ukraine. Just who could be more worthy for the Nobel Peace Prize 2022? It sounds like a grotesquely declarative question. To all of us. But not for the Nobel Committee. 

According to the rules, the nominations are closed by January 31st each year. There is a possibility for members of the Committee to nominate their candidate until February 28th. Ukraine was attacked, with the Mean War started on February 24th this year. The Letter to the Nobel Committee by the 38 leading European politicians was sent on March 11th. 

As we learned recently, the Norwegian Peace Institute responsible for the Nobel Peace Prize, decided not to make a minor and technical exemption which would allow the nomination of President Zelensky and the People of Ukraine for the Nobel Prize 2022. They probably think that nothing dramatic would happen if Zelensky would be nominated strictly within the regulations of the Committee the next year. But we’ve got the message. We all did. And if the officials of the Nobel Committee believe that the world did not notice their cold cowardness, they are mistaken. 

The day after this cold, distant, giving in decision, another decision was announced in Moscow. By the most recent Nobel Peace Laureate. The man who was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize last year, quite recently, actually, in October last year, the editor-in-chief of the Novaya Gazeta  Dmitry Muratov. 

I remember how happy we were upon hearing that news a few months ago. For a long time, the Nobel Peace Prize was not that well deserved. I have known Dmitry for over 25 years, and he is a real and steady good force in that society that suffers a catastrophic deficiency of morale and courage. 

So the next day after the telling negative decision of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, Dmitry Muratov decided to auction his golden Nobel Peace Prize Medal, with the proceeds to go to the Ukrainian refugees Foundation. Muratov’s golden Nobel Peace Prize 2021 medal is expected to be auctioned at one of the international auction houses. 

It is an unprecedented gesture, with regard to the Nobel Peace Prize medal. There were two cases of selling the Prize golden medals in the entire history of Nobel Prizes previously, both in the mid- 2010s, but those were not Nobel Peace Prizes, and the motivation and circumstances in  the both cases was entirely different, there were practical reasons for those sales. This time, with Dmitry Muratov’s decision to auction his golden medal in support of the Ukrainian refugees, the stiff decision of  the Nobel Institute not to allow the nomination of President Zelensky and the People of Ukraine for their withstanding the Mean War in the midst of it, comes to clearly highly critical and just limelight. There is a Nobel and Nobel. And there is Dmitry Muratov, the current Sakharov of Russia, whom that society does need screamingly. 

Day 27: March 22, 2022, Tuesday


Inna Rogatchi  ©. LOST ONES OF THE XXI CENTURY. War Posters. 2022. 

On this collage on my poster  are only ten of hundreds if not thousands of children lost in the Mean War. There are so many groups and chats all over the internet created and maintained specifically for this purpose, to help parents, family members and children to find each other.  This poster I have created using the material dutifully spread by Diana Alperovich who is from Ukraine, living in NYC and whose heart is bleeding for her native country, as the hearts of many of us all over the world. Thank you Diana for your steady effort. It matters. Thank you to everyone who keeps these children-search groups and chats in Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, all over. 

Daily I am seeing these photos. Daily I am reading these appeals. Please help me to find our son. Please help us to find our daughter. Please, my family is lost. Please, the boy is left alone in the basement for two weeks, his parents were killed. Four years old, eight years old, five years old. My little boy was in touch the last time on March 2nd, at 11.54. My daughter was last in touch on March 3d. My children with their granny should be evacuated on March 9th. Please help find my children, 11 and 7 years old. Our son, 4 years old, is wearing a red coat. Maybe, someone saw him, the coat is so bright. G-d, those red coats of lost children. This girl searches for her family, she is in Hungary now. This girl is lost, perhaps someone knows her? Every single day. Mariupol, Kyiv, Sumy, Kherson, Melitopol, villages all over Ukraine. 

Writing about this ongoing Mean War, I cannot use ‘how on earth’ phrasing any longer, because it does not make sense. Because it is happening, in front of our eyes, every single day, for about a month now, and with a prospect for several more months, at least, of sorrow, tragedies and crimes. 

So, our civilised high-tech society can congratulate ourselves: we are having the phenomenon of the lost children due to the Mean War in the centre of Europe in the third decade of the XXI century. It seems that the third decades of the XX and XXI centuries differed in between largely by the factor of high-tech. Congratulations to us all.  

Day 26: March 21, 2022, Monday


Inna Rogatchi ©. Map of Suffering.  War Pictures. 2022. 

Abduction is a part of any criminal modus vivendi. Any mob-prosecutor or expert would tell you that. Abduction is also used at war, for military intelligence purposes, mainly, or for a capturing of a high-ranking military or political commander. This Mean War demonstrates to us the Russian military know-how: abductions of city mayors, town officials, and journalists. They are doing it routinely. By now, after the first 25 days of the Mean War, they have abducted two mayors of Ukrainian cities, several officials of the local administrations, and at least four journalists at the territories now controlled by this army of thugs. 

There is something utterly wrong with their intel for the Russians. Never in modern history, was their intel so poor or/and so poorly assessed. Many experts are amazed by this utter unprofessionalism. I think that in many cases, they simply did not bother to gather any intel regarding certain points, such as the local population’s attitude towards ‘the liberators’.  Otherwise, they would not be so stunned by seeing many people marching against them, in their full robocopy uniform and over-armed, without any arms in their hands but flags. The local people in Ukraine were marching against their ‘liberators’ every single time when the abductions had a place. Every single time. “The liberators’ were completely stunned, I saw all the videos. Every single time, too. They simply could not put in their poor brain-washed heads on how on earth this is possible. They would not go to protest if their mayor would be abducted, dead-sure. So, they genuinely do not know what to do with those people with flags screaming at them: “Release Our Mayor! Now!” They never saw anything like that. They are morally lost. It is obvious. Everyone is welcome to watch those videos that appear daily. 

One of the mayors was swapped by the Ukrainian leadership in exchange for nine Russian prisoners of war. It is not a bad ratio. The mayor speaks with the President Zelensky, both in Russian, by the way, because it is organic for the both, and nobody prevents it there, because such a ban is irrational. The mayor was thanking the president for ‘not abandoning’ him. The mayor is a young man and he has just received a very serious lesson in his life. Zelensky, who is young enough himself, was smiling so  warmly, so authentically. He says very simply to a young mayor: “Abandon? We would never do it. We never will”. He is happy. I was so glad to see him happy. He really deserves it, even if momentarily. He really does.

Day 25: March 20, 2022,  Sunday


The bridge between Ukraine and Romania, with toys collected and assorted there by the Romanian border police and volunteers for the Ukrainian refugee children. March 2022. 

This is one of the most heart-rending pictures of the Mean War. The historical wooden bridge over Tisza river from Ukraine to Romania has been decorated with hundreds of toys by the local border police and volunteers. The toys have been placed nicely all the way so the Ukrainian refugee children would be able to pick them on the way from their home to the country of their refuge. 

They need a lot of toys on that bridge, as in many other places. As of March 20, 2022, according to the UN, over 1 500 000 children from Ukraine have become refugees. Meaning 55 children in a minute. And the stream flows on. 

This place is one of three places via which the sea of the Ukrainian refugees is crossing the border to Romania. It is Sighetu Marmatei region of Romania, the native place of the Elie Wisel family.  In this ongoing horror, as many, many others I am relieved to think that Elie does not see what is going on there. As do my parents and grandparents, some of my uncles, all of them from Ukraine. They would  not be able to grasp it. Their entire world would be ruined. 

Now it is ruined partially, inside us, witnessing the Mean War daily. But, with G-d’s help, beyond the limit of unbearable,  it also gives an additional strength, decisiveness, motivation and commitment to help the victims of the Mean War. It is not an easy task, saying it from the relief-ground, both personal and public. It brings some disappointments on the way, as well. Perhaps, inevitably so. Human nature has not changed or improved for a bit throughout its history. Not for a bit. But there is one thing which marks these days: willingness or to the contrary, preparedness or to the contrary, to help those who found themselves in an unspeakable horror of the Mean War, is the most correct litmus test not only for the momentarily reaction and response to the utter drama in Ukraine, but in general too. It is an educational thing to remember. Highly useful, for years ahead, if not for good. 

As we are collecting yet another patch of clothes, devices, and utensils to help the refugees from Ukraine which are already in Finland and which are expected to come soon, a six-year old son of our dear friends is busy and serious. He is sorting his own stuff out, in order to share his toys with children from Ukraine running from the war. We were thinking that little Onni, just a child, would sincerely share one or two of his toys. And we were happily anticipating it, because additionally to the help to those who are in an acute need, such things are instrumental for anyone, for any child while he is growing. Our friends’ son is a very smart kid, who loves to play with  his toys round o’clock, Well, this six-year old boy, solely by himself, decided to give to the children from Ukraine not one, and not two, but twelve of his toys, various cars, plush toys, soft toys, the other things. Onni means ‘happiness’ in Finnish. We always knew that our dear friends named their boy correctly. But today, we know it twice so. 

Day 24: March 19, 2022


People murdered while queueing for bread in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, March 18, 2022. 

Inna Rogatchi ©. Sea of Sorrow. War Pictures. 2022. 

It was an hour before Shabbat when we were speaking on the phone with our dear friends in Ukraine, in our daily check on their life under fire there.  The longer this Mean War continues, the more we admire the strength of the people in Ukraine. We are lamenting, they are calming us down. Many of those who found themselves outside their country, are not lulled by their current safety, but willing to return with all their innermost, to be with their people at this hour. These are not suppositions, I am telling it with first-hand knowledge coming from my dear friends who are morally tortured by their current safety outside Ukraine and the most of all are willing to return to their country as soon, as possible. Under attack. It tells you about people. And it does tell you about this Mean War. 

So we are speaking with our dear friends from Ukraine an hour before Shabbat would start last Friday, when I am hearing: “Imagine, those thugs has murdered the queue of the people who were staying in line for bread.” – “When, how?” – it was all that I could say in disbelief and horror. – “Today, just now, in Chernihiv. There were some ten people queuing for bread in a residential quarter. There is no installation of any sort whatsoever. So they were simply fired at and killed. All of them”.  As most of the Ukrainians since the beginning of the Mean War, our friends are living with TV on 24/7, with all that news getting to them in real time. It is a special psychological trial which will have terrible long-term consequences for millions of people. But it would be appreciated later. Now everyone is concentrating on the war news. 

With the news about the killed bread queue were checked and corroborated, it turned out that there were thirteen people, civilians, no weapons around, queueing for bread in the residential quarter of predominantly Russian-speaking city of Chernigiv, the city with an ancient history starting from the 10th century, which for the long time was the second capital of Ukraine next to Kyiv. All those thirteen people who went to buy bread for their families were killed in a cold, cruel military crime against civilians, which according to the international law is qualified as a crime against humanity. The crimes against humanity have no period of limitation.  And people’s memory does not have it, either. 

Day 23: March 18, 2022


Inna Rogatchi ©. Ghosts I. 2021. 

Humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine caused by the Mean War is of such scale that after three weeks of unfolding tragedy, many leaders of the international relief organisations felt that they should visit the ground in a sign of solidarity and concern. All of them made extremely worried first-hand statements. In any direction of life, the situation in Ukraine is catastrophic: food, life supplies, communications, you name it. But there is one sphere which is simply vital and which is damaged beyond repairable. And this sphere is medicine. 

Michael Ryan, the WHO Executive Director of the Health Emergency Programme, at the WHO weekly press briefing on March 16th, 2022, stated the following: “ In the course of the war in Ukraine, so far ( during the first three weeks of the war), we have registered verified at least 43 targeted attacks against medical establishments and medical personnel in Ukraine. The very system of health in Ukraine has become the target of the Russian army. Medical establishments and medicine as such has become a part of strategic and tactical war carried on by the Russian Federation. WHO must state that nowhere in the world, ever, we have not seen such a focused attack on the very system of health in any country’. 

Which means that the highest international medical authority which has quite courteous attitude towards Russia, lost its temper in the face of medicide which Russia purposefully conducts in Ukraine as a part of its Mean War. It is very rare when this kind of organisation as WHO allow themselves to take sides, and state such unprecedented facts. 

Please do pay attention to the head of the WHO Emergency words: nowhere in the world, ever, has this kind of focused annihilating attack on a country’s medicine been ever conducted.  

Those self-proclaimed ‘liberators’  methodically and perfectly consciously are  attacking hospitals, maternity wards, clinics, blood reserve stations. They are also firing and bombing doctors, nurses, all medical personnel. They are bombing pharmacies – there are far too many reports on bombed pharmacies with nothing left there and people who are on the ground in an extremely dire situation with regard to all kinds of medicine, which has a very far stretching effect on huge amount people under siege or under attacks. They are destroying medical storages, with the same purpose. 

I saw many photographs of maternity wards moved in the underground shelters. I was also told about several of them by our friends on the ground, people who were taking part in organising some kind of war shelters for the women expecting to give birth at any moment. Those are not just heart-wrenching, those are fully nightmare-like narratives. 

We also are in touch with our Italian friends, great people who had put aside everything in their busy lives, and rushed to Ukraine to help to evacuate the mortally ill children from the oncological clinic in Kiyv which has been bombed in the very beginning of the Mean War. They succeeded, thanks Heaven, but what can be more terrible than bombed oncological children’s clinic? They succeeded, but anyone with similar experience of a child suffering cancer, or any minimal knowledge, does understand what kind of trauma such attack, and following conditions has caused to a cancer-suffering child. Those children are extremely vulnerable, they can easily die because of the most innocent cold, due to their conditions and the medicine they are treated with. To bomb the children oncology clinic one – ones, actually – has to be a monster. As simple as that. 

The same monsters are decimating medical system in Ukraine in all possible directions of it, carrying on a medicide in Ukraine. The list for the Hague is filled in daily, but why on earth does the civilised world still observe this ongoing monstrosity without stopping it as it should?..  

Day 22: March 17, 2022, Thursday


Inna Rogatchi ©. Broken Lives. Ukraine. 

 Daily, the world is shocked by the newsreels. Once we are shocked, it feels as if there is a limit. But the next day, we were shocked further on. Residential buildings, schools, kindergartens. Maternity hospital, children clinic, theatre. As if destruction of airfields, railways, roads, industrial infrastructure is ‘understandable’ by the logic of a war, making it a legitimate target, so to say. But in fact it is not. Because this war is a sheer unprovoked aggression, and because it is conducted in a barbarian way, not professionally, not discriminately, completely to the opposite. 

But bombed and destroyed industrial objects and airfields are not discussed widely now, because we are living through a daily intensifying shock of bombing and destroyment of the civilian objects in Ukraine, hospitals, clinics, theares, culture centres, even swimming pools. 

All those civilian subjects are bombed not exactly randomly. Most of them host underground shelters. The network of those Soviet-period shelters has been very wide in Ukraine. With the beginning of the Mean War, the first thing that has been done with regard to all those existing and abandoned shelters, was to clean and prepare it for use. 

Our friends in Ukraine have told us about it, as many of them have participated in that largely volunteer work. So now, the ready for use and in use solid Soviet-period shelters are under many residential buildings in Ukraine, and as well as under theatres, culture centres, hospitals, swimming pools, cinemas, etc. There were strict rules for the existence of fully prepared shelters in the USSR, and in Ukraine, in its industrial cities, that rule was applied in full. We used to laugh about it in our youth while in Ukraine. Now we are praying for it, from afar. 

 One should not be that naive to believe that all those daily annihilations of the civil objects, as we are witnessing in a full horror , are random clumsiness of that idiotic army of thugs. There has been several independent verified reports that the aggressor in the Mean War bombs the objects not because they dislike Ukrainian theatre or are irritated by Ukrainian swimming pool, but because there are shelters underground of those building. They also have trained military personnel on the ground to correlate the shelling. 

In the beginning of the Mean War, there have been reports about a special phenomenon: influx of rented apartments in Kyiv and other big cities some while before ‘the liberation’ started. In a period from one to three weeks prior to the start of the Russian massive assault, the quantity of such short-term rentals went substantially higher than usual. Apartments were rented by men predominantly. With those people looking, speaking and behaving quite similarly to the local population, it would be easy for them to operate on the ground correcting the fire from there. And this is what they do. 

Those who are giving the orders in that military gang, do not care about people in the shelters. If there are no people there, fine, if there are, the order still goes on.  It is the very shelter that makes a civilian building the legit target for the army conducting the Mean War. They believe that they should destroy the shelter, aiming  two objectives in one bullet: to destroy a possibility to cover in the cities, for now and for possible next stage of the conflict, and to send a powerful message of fear. 

Their decision-making is graphically self-relieving. And the message that they are sending is of Australian boomerang character: it returns and hits back. And there will be no shelter to take cover.

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