Letters from the other side: what Russian children write to their soldiers

12 October 2023

The Holodomor Museum received two letters from Russian schoolchildren to their soldiers, found by the Ukrainian military on September 10, 2022, near the village of Bohorodychne in the Donetsk region, in the former positions of units of the Russian Armed Forces. “Let our descendants know who to associate with and fraternize with,” added the soldier who found and passed on.

“I respect your work that you are doing at the moment. I want to become the same as you, protect the family, [redacted], be as brave and strong,” Artiom Dorofeyev from the sixth cadet class writes. “Burn! Kyiv is ours! Crimea is ours! Donbass is ours! Luhansk is ours! Odessa is ours!” the cadet adds under his telling picture.

“Kill Ukrainians” is hidden under a thick layer of corrector. You can see it if you look at the sheet against the light.

We do not know whether the teacher “censored” the depth of Artiom’s thoughts in this way or whether the military censors drew an unfavourable phrase already on the approach to the addressee because they kill nobody here, only “liberate”.

Artiom’s classmate Ivan Bezgodov was more reserved in his words, but he expressed his thoughts eloquently in a picture.

The boys live in the city of Krasnokamsk, Perm Region, Russia. It is two thousand kilometres from the Ukrainian border. They have not seen Ukraine or Ukrainians in their eyes, but they are already affected by the virus of hatred and know how to “liberate” it so that Kyiv becomes “theirs” too.

We read several letters from Ukrainian children to Ukrainian soldiers.

“I want to thank you!” “I want to wish patience, strength and health”, “We are with you, and you are with us”, “May God help all of you and all of us”, “Come back alive and unharmed!”, “I really dream of playing with friends under a peaceful sky”, and “Thank you for the fact that I can eat ice cream and play on the playground.” These are our schoolchildren’s thoughts and dreams. The pictures show sunflowers, birds, and always smiling warriors.

Let’s agree that the difference is striking. And this once again proves that we are experiencing not a war between two armies but a war between two completely different worlds…