Tuesday, May 17, 2022

EDITORIAL: ‘Lake of blood’ protests war

The invasion of Russia into Ukraine is still happening — and Russian residents are now fighting back through protest. 

April 7, in Vilnius, Lithuania, a “lake of blood” has been created in front of the Russian embassy, to signify to Russian diplomats the bloody horror President Vladimir Putin has unleashed onto Ukraine. The protesters look to condemn Putin’s War, and highlight the victims of the mass genocide currently happening in Ukraine. 

In Latvia, the road where the Russian embassy is located was renamed the Street of Ukrainian Independence. The road in front of the embassy has also been painted in white lettering, and bears a huge message: ‘Putin, The Hague is waiting for you.’ 

The Hague is the seat of government of the Netherlands, and the home of the court and government. According to the Washington Post, March 22, “While it is difficult to imagine Russian President Vladimir Putin in the dock at The Hague, judgments against Russia could strengthen international solidarity with Ukraine, reinforce norms against aggressive expansionist warfare and make life more difficult in the long run for members of the Russian military and government.”

As such, for weeks, students and faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh, and people all over the world have been practicing this solidarity, including lighting lights of blue and yellow, making flags, and spreading awareness in remorse of the countless lives lost due to Putin’s actions. We recognize it is not the residents who live in Russia who wanted this heartbreaking war with Ukraine; it is the dictator that has full control over the military and government in Russia. 

With four artists behind this project of dying the water of the Russian embassy pond red, protesters have begun to swim across the pond, specifically Lithuanian Olympic swimmer Rūta Meilutytė, an act called “Swimming Through.” According to the Baltic Times, Julija Samorokovskaja, a spokeswoman for Vilnius County Police, claimed the protest had been coordinated with environmental protection authorities and that the dye was harmless. 

Amidst the red water, some have soaked themselves and lay on the ground, while others float in the water, both to represent the lost lives of Ukrainians. It is a call for action to Russian military operations, by one the artists Berta Tilmantaitė. 

“It’s a call to not remain neutral in the face of the war. A call to take an active part in protecting the lives, the freedom, and the democracy of Ukrainian people who are being tortured, raped, and killed by Russia,” Tilmantaitė said, to Daily Mail UK. “It is important not to get numb to the horrific images of mass killings of Ukrainians and their pain. The seemingly never-ending horrors imposed by Russia on the Ukrainian land must not become the norm.”

It is an outcry for help to put a stop to someone who only causes more pain and more destruction as each day goes on. Protesters in Riga have begun to hang pictures of Putin outside of the Russian Embassy, with graphic drawings of him being hung, having a deformed face, and more. These drawings, and the pond, are only the start of inner backlash Putin is receiving. It will only get worse. 

The war crimes being committed against the innocent peoples of Ukraine needs to end. 

As a unit, we need to keep standing in solidarity with Ukraine. We need to keep protesting the actions of Putin, and we need to keep observing, educating, and learning. We need to support those who do not have a voice right now, who are being smothered in bloodshed. 

“It’s crucial that we keep acting,” Tilmantaitė said. “Spreading truthful information, volunteering, protesting, donating, and pressuring our governments to take action.” 

 

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