March 20, 2022

Let’s not Forget about the brave Russians: Meet Olga Smirnova.

It’s all too easy to forget that there are everyday heroes standing up to the Russian regime and the inhumane attack, and war, on Ukraine.

We can group them together as a people. As a country. But in doing so, we lose a little sliver of our own humanity or our own true north on the compass of what is right and what is wrong. And there is a right and a wrong, as so many brave individuals are showing us. We’ve spoken about Marina Ovsyannikova who stood up against the fake news on state-controlled Russian TV and put her own freedom at risk. We’ve highlighted Natalya Sindeyeva who has dedicated her life to democracy in Russia.

And now, I’d like to throw another name onto this growing list.

Olga Smirnova. 

She might not be a household name, but in Russia, she’s making waves because she’s not just anyone choosing to leave her country and make a stand against the Russian actions in Ukraine. She is one of Russia’s most talented Prima ballerinas. She’s using her voice and her platform to reach far outside her circle. And it’s working.

Earlier this week, Olga left the country of Russia. This act of defiance makes her one of the most important Russian cultural icons to do so following the invasion of the neighboring country of Ukraine.

She’s quoted as saying, the following:

“I am against war with all the fibers of my soul. It is not only about every other Russian perhaps having relatives or friends living in Ukraine, or about my grandfather being Ukrainian and me being quarter Ukrainian,” 

“I never thought I would be ashamed of Russia, I have always been proud of talented Russian people, of our cultural and athletic achievements. But now I feel that a line has been drawn that separates the before and the after,” she added.

Smirnova added that she had been considering a move to the Dutch National ballet for “quite a while,” noting that the company would help her further her career as a ballerina. “The current circumstances accelerated this process,” she added.

In my humble option, I think they’re beyond lucky that this artist’s morals and ethics have triggered such a move and I hope that it is the start of several more key cultural shifts among the Russian people as the reality of this desperate Ukrainian conflict continues to come to light.

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