My Dear Friend!
You ask me how we (Ukraine and Russia) can come to peace. And when? Because all wars end up with peace! I can put it otherwise – with standstill.
It is the first and necessary step. Legal arrangements for peace agreement may be postponed for centuries. Russia, for example, doesn’t have a peace agreement with Japan till today. Several Arab counties don’t have peace agreements with Israel.
And the most important – peace in memory and peace in hearts.
It takes time and requires the generational shift. Also certain attempts to lay aside the past and look to the future.
You use as an example the Jews and the Germans after the Holocaust, Germany and Israel on the state level. Are they reconciled? Yes, they are. Not all of them though. My friend who lives in the USA has never visited Germany. When necessary, she would even make a detour to avoid stepping onto the German land.
And another side? My Austrian friend and translator once told me, “Don’t forget you are talking to children and grandchildren of the German fascists.”
My other friend who immigrated to Germany for some time worked at a construction site. It was wintertime. They were burning wood in a small stove. One of the German workers suddenly said, “Get me some jews.” He meant some wood. My friend asked him, “Why did you say that?” The worker said, “I don’t know. My grandpa used to say it this way. “
Let us remember what led to that not at all complete reconciliation! Defeat and occupation of Germany. Denazification. Admission of guilt for the Holocaust and responsibility for that. Reparation policy – payments to the victims of ghettoes and prisoners of the concentration camps. Commemoration programs like “stolpersteine” (stumbling stones) – brass plates inscribed with the names and life dates of victims of Nazi extermination or persecution. Not in the first place, but anyway. Germany did not preserve the occupied territories and even lost its own ones. There is no Danzig. There is Gdansk. There is no Königsberg. There is Kaliningrad.
Now let us try to apply the same scheme to the Russian-Ukrainian war…
Funny? Not at all. However, let us try… No. It is not going to happen.
Your country will never admit that its activity is aggression. It will never regard occupation as occupation and annexation as annexation. It won’t return Crimea. Won’t pay indemnities to the victims of the hybrid war. Captured Russians won’t reconstruct the Donetsk airport.
For the beginning – release political prisoners from Russian prisons. Sentsov, for instance.
We will continue this talk.