Aid to the

How russians hijacked a Ukrainian rally in Chicago

On 24 February, large-scale rallies in support of Ukraine were held around the world. In particular, a rally was held in Chicago, USA, with the participation of some Russians who had moved to the USA from Russia and even became the heroes in a publication of the American newspaper Chicago Tribune. The Ukrainian community expressed outrage over this.

On February 24, as countries marked the anniversary of the second year of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, rallies in solidarity with Ukraine swept across the world. According to the Ukrainian World Congress, in total — 1,023 rallies were held, spanning 746 cities across 69 countries — an absolute record of support. 

In Chicago, USA, the Ukrainian community organized its own demo. Amidst a sea of blue and yellow flags, thousands rallied for Ukraine in the city streets. However, within the crowd stood a handful of russians who had turned their heels on their homeland. So, what do you think happened? They became the heroes of a news story by journalists from the American newspaper Chicago Tribune, who were reporting directly from the scene.

This incident captured the attention of Ukrainian writer Mariana Sokha, who now resides in Chicago. 

“It makes you want to bang your head against the wall. Ukrainians organize a rally in Chicago, and thousands attend. Yet, guess what? A few rashans are depicted as the biggest protesters and the main heroes in the Chicago Tribune article. How long must we put up with this?” Sokha expressed her outrage.  

In particular, the article highlighted individuals like 28-year-old max fedoseev, who was born and resided in the so-called russia. When his country unleashed a war against Ukraine, he “risked his life by protesting against the war and was arrested several times for taking part in peaceful demonstrations”. Well, at least that’s how he tells his story. 

Fearing reprisals for opposing the authoritarian regime of president (read: dictator) vladimir putin, he fled to the United States, was granted asylum and settled in Chicago in August 2022. Now safe and free, he allegedly continues to speak out against the war — American journalists continue to glorify Fedoseev. 

Another “hero figure” praised in the article was oleg klimenchiuk, who fled St. Petersburg a year and a half ago.  “I was very scared to counter the propaganda in my country…” oleg told the journalists during the rally. 

The article attempts to arouse tears and sympathy from the readers: “their cause continues despite the recent loss of russian opposition leader alexei navalny.” 

To further illustrate this statement, the article features “the co-organizer of the rally, 42-year-old Elena Kaspirovich, originally from Omsk,” brandishing a portrait of navalny with the inscription: “He didn’t die — he was killed”. 

That’s right — she’s primarily concerned about navalny’s fate, and not the thousands of Ukrainians tortured and killed by russians. 

Why is this not okay?

Some may argue that having russians engaged in peaceful activism is preferable to seeing them with weapons. Perhaps it is so. While there’s room for debate on this matter, we say that the true benefit of “good russians” is uncertain, while the harm they cause is evident.  

They brazenly usurp the voices of Ukrainians who have a lot to say and have firsthand experiences of russian crimes. Many of these Ukrainians fled not just to evade arrest, but to escape real threats posed by russian missiles and torture chambers. Most of these refugees are women with children, while their husbands remain at home to resist russia’s genocidal aims.  

Meanwhile, these same “good russians” opt for the safety of America rather than challenging the authoritarian regime within their own country. Oh yes! It’s undoubtedly more comfortable to spend half an hour waving placards than to risk your lives fighting daily. 

Now, as being russian becomes increasingly stigmatized, they seek to get involved in (pro) Ukrainian movements in every way possible. Additionally, they still believe in a democratic future for russia and don’t want to see it collapse small logo

фактчекерка на всі крильця
Halyna Dolynna
Halyna Dolynna
editor of the English texts
01 / 01