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A personal story... We stand with Ukraine

Dear friends of Thematic,

I want to add some color into the coverage of the war in Ukraine.

I was born in Crimea to parents with mixed heritage. My dad is part-Ukrainian and part-German. My mum is part-Ukrainian and part-Russian.

I spent my summers with my grandparents in Kryvyi Rih, the same city where the president of Ukraine, Zelensky, was born. During the Chernobyl disaster, my uncle and his 3 kids from Kyiv spent time with us in Crimea and we often visited them. I decided to study in Kharkiv, and spent 2 years there. Here, I discovered my passion for Natural Language Processing, which became my career.

Both my parents and I left Ukraine a long time ago. Although my dad's only income comes from the remains of his business in Crimea, which has been occupied by Russia since 2014. I have friends and family in Kiev and Kharkiv. Over the past week, I've been glued to my phone hearing their stories.

"It's hell. I don't wish this on my worst enemy" said my friend. Shelter spaces were limited, so they hid in the bathroom of their apartment when Russian airplanes were bombing Kharkiv. 5 planes flew over them in one night.

"We are thinking of leaving, but it's too dangerous. Russians are using artillery on people on the streets." Forget their savings or belongings. "I just want my child to survive this."

I believe there is a way to stop this war, and I need your help. Please spread the word:

1. Be vocal about your support of Ukraine. 📣

Silence is an endorsement of Russia's actions.

2. Ask your employer to support Ukraine. 💙 💛

Use this easy, bare minimum guide:

Now, some might ask, 'why hurt the Russian people? It's all politics'. They didn't actually choose their leader. But Russia is not the first autocracy. And it won't be the first one to fall either. Individual actions can push Russia out of autocracy.

I believe the only way this war ends is if Russian citizens start a revolution and overthrow their government. It's not easy! Putin's regime has systematically "disappeared'' anyone who speaks up. Or, they were forced to leave the country. The censorship, the informants, the repressions of Stalin's time have returned. People are afraid. They got into this situation through years of inaction.

So, the more pressure the world puts on those who are wealthy, the more likely a revolution or a palace coup will happen. I believe that enough Russians are against this war. And together they can stop this war.

Here's the Navalny's committee's appeal to Russians:

Please spread the word, speak up, ask your company to take a stand, and talk to your Russian friends. Let's act together to stop this!

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