There Was No Putin in Bucha, His Compatriots Were

Warning: the photos in this article depict death, gore, and slaughter.

When our capital, Kyiv, was plundered by the ancestors of Muscovites in 1169, the world kept silent because it was kind of normal back then. And who the hell will seriously perceive a couple of old scrolls now?

When the Muscovite Tsardom and later Russian Empire banned the Ukrainian language, education, books, and even songs throughout the 16–19th centuries and appropriated our cultural treasures — the world was silent since other empires (Hungarians, Poles, Austrians, to name a few) did the same.

When in 1932–1933, another Russian-led empire, a.k.a the Soviet Union, organized the Holodomor — an intentional genocide famine killing 4 or 5 million Ukrainians — the world kept silent because the Soviets bought off American reporters in Moscow to obscure the truth.

When in the 1930s, the Soviets killed or exiled 200+ writers, scientists, and actors — the blossom of the Ukrainian intellectual elite called the Executed Renaissance — the world didn’t even notice it behind the “iron wall.”

But now?!

In the twenty-f*cking-first century.

With all the internet, satellites, and media? When anyone can take a photo of what’s literally behind the window?!

Just how one dares to deny, or tolerate, or even justify a massacre?!

Bucha, Ukraine.

Some 15 kilometers from Kyiv. This city used to be a fabulous place to live, a lovely retreat near the capital…

Not anymore. Why? The “Russkiy Mir” came.

Now Bucha is a city of censored photos. Its horror is banned, blurred, erased from Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin.

Women raped by Russian soldiers in front of their crying children. For weeks. And then killed.

Naked bodies of young girls with torn vaginas and countless bruises. Left on the roads. Russians tried to burn them before fleeing.

Only in one basement, about 25 girls and women aged 14 to 24 were systematically raped by Russian soldiers. Nine of them are pregnant.

Whole families shot by Russian soldiers. Pets too.

Nazi swastikas burned or cut with knives on the bodies.

Lifeless bodies of men, some with their hands tied behind their backs. April 3, 2022. © Vadim Ghirda, AP
Bodies of killed civilians in the street. April 3, 2022. © Zohra Bensemra, Reuters.
A gravesite with a 13-meter-long trench near St. Andrew’s Church in Bucha. March 31, 2022. © Maxar Technologies via Reuters.

Bodies of executed peaceful citizens with hands tied behind their backs. Right in front of their homes.

According to the satellite photos analysis, many bodies have been lying on the ground for ten-to-twenty days.

Mass graves of civilians barely covered with ground.

Bagged bodies of massacred Bucha citizens in a mass grave excavated after the liberation of the town. April 3, 2022. © Narciso Contreras, AFP.
Killed civilians in the street. April 3, 2022. © Zohra Bensemra, Reuters.
Mass graves. April 3, 2022. © Zohra Bensemra, Reuters.

Plazma TVs, toasters, jewelry, microwave ovens, lingerie, and baby clothes from Bucha — sent by Russian soldiers to their approving families in Russia via Belarusian courier delivery.

Laptops, iPhones, carpets, washing machines, and cutlery — sold by Russian soldiers on loot markets in borderline Belarusian towns.

A crowd of Russian soldiers gathers at a courier delivery office in Mazyr, Belarus.

The same in Irpin and Hostomel. Over 400 murdered civilians have been found in Kyiv-area towns.

And what about the territories still occupied by the Russian army?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Bucha. April 4, 2022. © AFP

Someone, please, explain this to me.

Where are all the shrewd minds who always knew better what Ukraine should’ve done? There must be a logical reason, right?

Does it look like the Russian army is just trying to conquer Ukrainian natural resources? Or maybe, it looks like they are protecting “oppressed” Russian-speaking people abroad? Or it somehow helps fragile, endangered Russia defend itself from non-existent NATO military bases in Ukraine? Or is this, probably, a preventive strike on imaginary Ukrainian labs with biological or — according to another version — nuclear weapons?

No! This is all utter bullshit. But wait, there is an accurate word:


Ukrainians are guilty only of the fact they exist. We exist. I exist.

83% of Russians approve Putin’s actions as President (as of the end of March 2022).

81% support the war in Ukraine and, by extension, murder, rape, and looting. That’s 116 million people.

Some keep on saying:

  • “You should’ve surrendered to avoid all these deaths.”
  • “Just give them Donetsk and Luhansk.”
  • “Stop canceling the Russian culture; Pushkin has nothing to do with this.”

I have to say something to such people: Shut the f*ck up.

Before the invasion, the Russians introduced a state standard for mass graves construction. The graves of a size compatible with a nuclear war or pandemic. Their army took mobile crematoriums, thousands of corpse bags, and thousands of condoms and prepared lists of Ukrainian public figures. They came to kill, rape, and torture. They came to exterminate Ukrainians. Without resistance, “Bucha” would’ve been all over Ukraine already.

The Russian state standard for mass graves: created in September 2021, when Russia started concentrating troops on the border with Ukraine; came into force in February 2022, right before the full-scale invasion.

A humanlike horde of looters, murderers, and rapists, directed by Putin and supported by most Russians, commits mass war crimes in Ukraine. Right now. While I’m writing this worthless post.

What’s happening in Ukraine is the purest evil.

Not enigmatic Darth Vader destroying a planet in a matter of seconds. Not plastic Hollywood “bad guys” shooting at peasants, and the cameraman always blurs the part with ketchup-like blood and corpses so as not to disturb the audience too much.

The real evil is pointless, dirty, and smeared.

And so celebrated great Russian culture? Half-stolen from formerly occupied lands, half-imperialistic by spirit. It failed to educate an average Ivan from Samara and Piotr from Khabarovsk not to invade a sovereign state and not to commit war crimes. Why should one care about Tolstoy or Tchaikovsky when those who learned their art at school humiliate and kill unarmed peaceful citizens of another state?

Honestly, I have zero hope that explaining war atrocities to the people of Russia makes sense. They were deaf before, and they are deaf now. They’ll always pick just another shoddy explanation for why the terror was “unavoidable” or “required.” I’m writing this post for my German, French, Italian, Hungarian, Brazilian, American, Korean, Japanese, and many other Medium followers. There are over 13 thousand of you.

Doing business with Russia = financing war crimes.

Closing eyes to atrocities in Ukraine = approving Russian crimes.

Equally “supporting” Ukrainians and Russians = calling a rapist and a victim a “family.”

The terrorist state should be isolated. This is what any normal country does with its own rapists, robbers, and serial killers, doesn’t it? Norwegians didn’t try to convince racist and terrorist Anders Breivik that killing people was bad. Americans didn’t close their eyes to serial killer Ted Bundy hoping he would be fed up at some point and stop. Russian impunity only increases their appetites. What country will the world sacrifice next in an illusionary attempt to calm Putin and his wicked society? Poland? Maybe, Estonia? Latvia? Or, probably, Finland? If you think they want only Ukraine, try googling Russian-led wars and Russian war crimes.

Most of the world doesn’t speak Russian and listens to what Russia-backed foreign-language media broadcast. But through violent centuries-long Russification, Ukrainians had learned the language of our oppressor. And we know what they think firsthand. Here is just a couple of intercepted phone talks of Russian soldiers:

  • A soldier bragged that he and two others raped a 14-year-old girl.
  • Another soldier described how they killed and tried to eat an Alabai, a shepherd dog, just for fun.
  • They boasted of burning a stable with 30 live horses inside.

Russians endorse and encourage atrocities, for example, in a new article by their state information agency, RIA News:

“What Russia Should Do with Ukraine,” an article by the Russian Information Agency published on March 3, 2022, when the horror of the Bucha massacre was revealed.
“The Banderite leadership must be eliminated; it is impossible to re-educate it. The social “swamp,” which actively and passively supported it through action and inaction, must undergo the hardships of war and absorb this experience as a historical lesson and atonement for its guilt <…> “Denazification will also inevitably mean de-Ukrainianization — rejection of the large-scale artificial inflation of the ethnic component of the population’s self-identification on the territories of historical Malorossia (“Little Russia”) and Novorossia (“New Russia”), which the Soviet government began.”

On the day when the world saw terrifying pictures from Bucha, Russians in Germany organized (and the government allowed it) a car parade with loud music and Russian flags. Just imagine this. No guilt, no regret. Just a thousand people who enjoy all the benefits of living in the European Union, who own modern cars… and who want more blood of innocents.

Pathetic and shameful, Berlin.

Russians gather for a car parade in Berlin. April 4, 2022. © Carsten Koall, DPA

While the people of Bucha were slaughtered by Russians, the President of the most famous charitable organization, the Red Cross, flew to Moscow to discuss the creation of refugee camps in Russia with the Russian Foreign Minister. Do you think a raped, humiliated, and injured woman from Bucha would like to find shelter in Russian Rostov?

Peter Maurer, President of the charitable organization Red Cross, meets Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow. March 26, 2022. © Kirill Kudryavtsev, AFP

Here are some final facts for you:

86% of Russians don’t speak any foreign language.

72% don’t have travel documents to go abroad.

So, you might have never met an average Russian.

Putin, condemned by dozens of nations, governments, and international organizations, didn’t come to Bucha.

His compatriots did. And they see no reason to stop.

57-year-old Tetiana Nedashkivska mourns the death of her husband killed in Bucha. © Rodrigo Abd, AP, DPA



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Slava Shestopalov 🇺🇦

Slava Shestopalov 🇺🇦

#StandWithUkraine · Design manager, public speaker, weird travel blogger · medium.com/5-a-m