Sasha Boole
Interviews

Ukrainian artists speak out against war – part #3, with Sasha Boole and ARHAT

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, protests by civilians, artists, companies, countries and various communities have been held all over the world. So far, almost 850 000 refugees have fled Ukraine as the terrorist regime of Putin continues its assault on the country’s most populated cities, including the capital, Kyiv. According to the State Emergency Service, Russia killed more than 2,000 civilians since the full-scale war began on February 24th. We are strongly against Russian military aggression, we wholeheartedly support the Ukrainian people, and in this series of brief interviews with Ukrainian independent artists from all over the country, we take a closer look at the situation in Ukraine, through a direct perspective of assaulted Ukrainians.

Joining us today are Chernivtsi based artist Sasha Boole of the band ME AND THAT MAN (also featuring John Porter and Adam Nergal Darski of Polish blackened death metallers BEHEMOTH) and ARHAT, a groove / death metal band from Kyiv, whose lyrical content balances between cruel modern reality and oriental mythology.

Thanks so much for taking some time in such sad circumstances. Where are you at the moment and where were you at the very beginning of the invasion? How it looked and felt like from your perspective?

Sasha Boole: Iโ€™m in a countryside bit far from city of Chernivtsi. We evacuated out of there when bombardments started. This area is more or less safety. But dealing with Russians you canโ€™t be sure, because they are attacking civilians to spread chaos and panic. They missiles pretty often hitting living quarters.

ARHAT: Now, on March 1, 2022, all members of the Arhat Group are in the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. On February 24, 2022, at 5 o’clock in the morning, Russian troops launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine with missile and air strikes.

We woke up to the sound of explosions and heard in the news that Russia had declared war on us.

Kyiv resident Natalia Sevriukova reacts next to her house following a rocket attack on Kyiv, Ukraine. February 25, 2022Emilio Morenatti - AP Photo

Kyiv resident Natalia Sevriukova reacts next to her house following a rocket attack on Kyiv, Ukraine. February 25, 2022 – Emilio Morenatti – AP Photo

Whatโ€™s your take on this tough subject and how would you assess the current difficult political and situation between Russia and Ukraine? Whatโ€™s your general stance on this subject?

Sasha Boole: Russia is a terrorist state. Now they are playing the same scenario they did in Transnistrian republic of Moldova, Chechnya, Georgia, Donbas, Luhants. Trying to pretend peacemakers committing crimes against humanity. Itโ€™s pretty important for the world to finally see the real face of this country. Because their propaganda will try to justify their crimes.

ARHAT: The policy ended when Russia declared war on us and it will lost it. At present, Russia is at war not only with the Ukrainian army and the Ukrainian people.

๐‘…๐‘ข๐‘ ๐‘ ๐‘–๐‘Ž โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘  ๐‘‘๐‘’๐‘๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘ค๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ ๐‘œ๐‘› ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘’๐‘›๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘–๐‘ฃ๐‘–๐‘™๐‘–๐‘ง๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘ค๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘™๐‘‘.

A view of the central square following shelling of the City Hall building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. - AP Photo - Pavel Dorogoy!

A view of the central square following shelling of the City Hall building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. – AP Photo – Pavel Dorogoy

The complex relationship between your countries is something widely misunderstood, especially in the Western countries. Can you briefly explain the background of this conflict to someone not educated in this matter?

Sasha Boole: Back in 2013-2014 Ukraine rejected pro Russian government during revolution. Itโ€™s ruined Russia’s plan to usurps the power in Ukraine. After that they started war actions in east of Ukraine. Itโ€™s a part of hybrid war that russia doing for decades. When Ukraine choose democratic and pro western vector, russia started to do everything to take advantage here. This war is the final step to not let Ukraine choose democracy. Itโ€™s against Putinโ€™s vision of the โ€œSlavic brotherhoodโ€ in his terror state.

ARHAT: In short, Putin’s Russia dreams of reviving the Soviet Union in its most heinous form. Russia claims our territory and wants to destroy the Ukrainians as a nation. It’s just that now the Russian military is firing rockets at sleeping areas in Ukrainian cities, areas where 100% have no military infrastructure. The Russian military is engaged in looting and violence against civilians. It’s just that now Russians are waging a war to destroy the Ukrainian nation.

On the other hand, a considerable part of Ukrainian residents are pro-Russian. How do you estimate this ratio of the division between your people? Also, regarding your closest neighborhood, have you felt any palpable appreciation and support towards Russian politics and their agenda?

Sasha Boole: After 8 years of war in the east and especially after this stack even most pro-Russian people changed their minds. Of course, some of them left. But, as far I see โ€” this war took the masks off.

ARHAT: The pro-Russian part of the population does exist, as it probably does in any country in the European Union. 80 years of the USSR make themselves felt. In reality, no more than 10-15 percent of them, that’s how many pro-Russian parties are gaining in the elections. More and more people are abandoning their pro-Russian views. Apparently it is difficult to support Russia when it tries to kill you.

How do you think where itโ€™s heading? What future do you see for your country?

Sasha Boole: Ukraine will stand till the end. People are joining military forces, preparing themselves to worst case scenario. There will be a lot of victims from both sides but we have no other options. They trying to take our home and create here another terror state like Russia and Belarus. 

ARHAT: Victory will be ours, Russian soldiers are demoralized. They run away leaving the tanks. Russia has suffered huge losses these days, losing more than 1,000 soldiers and more than 60 units of equipment every day. The whole world helps us! Many thanks to our allies!

Lastly, how can we help?

Sasha Boole:The main thing now is to spread truth. Russia is a terrorist. They are committing crimes against humanity and they should be punished for that. Itโ€™s not a war for Ukraine, but war for European values. Try to fight russian fakes and reach western leaders. We need help from the world.

ARHAT: It is necessary to impose additional sanctions, we need complete isolation of Russia’s economy.

Also caring citizens can help our army on this site: HERE.

Berlin protests

Ukrainian artists speak out against war – part #3, with Sasha Boole and ARHAT
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