Since the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine, artists from all over the world, also from Ukraine, have been protesting the aggression and lies of the occupants through a variety of projects, trying to find hope, redemption, and boost their country’s spirits in the process. Ukrainians are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, and while global aid organizations ramp up their important work, the arts community is doing its part to support them, raising funds and awareness. In our new series of interviews and special features with Ukrainian artists, we share first person perspectives and thoughts about the relationship between Russians and Ukrainians. In our new installment, we spoke to Odessa based screamo band JANPALACH.
“We’re very grateful for the a lot of words of support from u, we’re pleased to understand that u support us morally, physically, financially, even without being personally acquainted. Punk music has always been a protest against any kind of oppression.” – comments the band.
“It’s impossible to stand aside when bombs are flying on a peaceful country, where people die every day, where all the infrastructure important for life is destroyed. Don’t believe in russian propaganda, everything they write and say, even if it’s supposedly pseudo-protest and liberal opposition, it’s impossible to be different from your ruler, if you haven’t done anything in 20+ years to overthrow him. Be prudent, and time will put everything in its place. We’ll break through! 💪
In the meantime, we remind you that you can help Ukrainians with any amount by choosing any option here.
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?
ARTEM: Early on the morning of February 24, Russia attacked Ukraine, hitting many cities with its missiles. We didn’t fully believe that we would be attacked, so the day before we went to bed with quite ordinary thoughts about tomorrow. But we woke up already from the sounds of explosions. Now we’re all in different places, but the most important thing is that all relatives and families are with us. Our vocalist is now with his girlfriend in Western Ukraine, the guitarist with his family stayed in Odesa, the bassist also stayed in Odesa with his girlfriend, and on the very first day I managed to take my family to Moldova (when it was still possible to cross the border), where I’m to this day, volunteering in the biggest center for refugees. We also try to keep in touch with all our friends who are also scattered all over the country and abroad. None of us have taken up arms right now, but we’re helping as much as we can: by volunteering, sending money, coordinating and accommodating people, hacking Russian websites, attracting public attention from abroad with our music, collecting donations from them etc.
There is no need to talk about future plans, although they were, both for the band (f.e., in May we were supposed to go on our first European tour and we were already going to post announcements of future gigs), and for each of us. Now we’re waiting for victory and, of course, the cessation of any hostilities by Russia on the entire territory of Ukraine.
⚡️Strollers have been put in central Lviv on March 18, representing the number of children killed in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
According to Prosecutor General’s Office, Russian forces have killed 109 children and injured more than 130 since Feb. 24.
📷 Asami Terajima pic.twitter.com/OGtrIsElHi
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 18, 2022
What’s your take on this tough subject and how would you assess the current difficult political and situation between Russia and Ukraine? What’s your general stance on this subject?
ILLIA: The more you delve into the details and history of the conflict, the clearer it becomes that everything is connected to Putin’s imperialist claims. We don’t suffer from nazism in Ukraine, Russian-speaking people aren’t infringed, we don’t have nuclear weapons and NATO military bases. We’re suffering from Russian invasion because Putin simply cannot have a free democratic country close to his borders. So he and his servants concoct dubious propaganda about nazism in Ukraine or a Western conspiracy to appear as a hero among his people who rescues mythical downtrodden Russians in Ukraine, thinking that most people will greet his troops with flowers. But in fact, no one here is happy with him, and instead of bouquets of flowers, Ukrainians meet Putin’s killers with machine guns and Molotov cocktails.
– Flower thrower, Banksy, 2005
– Molotov thrower, Ukraine, 2022 pic.twitter.com/UQ05LZbJgH
— Kocour v Botách (@BotachV) March 11, 2022
ALL: Our position is that Putin is the Hitler of the 21st century, committing murders in a peaceful country. Russia is an aggressor country. All those who support it or are simply silent and don’t come out to protest are complicit in all the bloody acts.
Portrait of Putin pic.twitter.com/cmlCTWd29e
— Wefail (@wefail) March 15, 2022
The complex relationship between your countries is something widely misunderstood, especially in the Western countries. Is there a way to explain the background of this conflict to someone not educated in this matter?
ARTEM: First of all, I’d like to note right away that what is happening now is not just a conflict, let’s call words by their proper names – this is precisely a war. The answer to your question is rooted in history many centuries ago. Russian emperors, soviet rulers… Then it continued after the collapse of the soviet union. The constant imperialistic habits of the Russians have always brought only bad things to the Ukrainians. Now it’s another time of trouble for Ukraine, which was treacherously attacked by the army of an insane bastard dictator.
Just catching up. The video Zelensky showed to US Congress today. Devastating. pic.twitter.com/6XtacPA2qA
— Richard Chambers (@newschambers) March 16, 2022
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?
DENYS: Well, every country has opposite sides of people by political beliefs. I would say, due to past events, that we saw that the quantity of Russian supporters is quate miserable. We live in a city where more than half of the population speaks Russian. And the vast majority of them do not support pro-Russian sentiment. There is no place for “appreciation” or any kind of support toward Russian influence for most ukrainians since 2014, as their government decided to take Donetsk, Luhansk, Crimea.
I was born in Sevastopol, Crimea. I remember a lot of Russian regime supporters there. As they took Crimea, there were not many native residents left. And the “funny” thing is that a lot of regime supporters from 2014 also left Crimea and they moved not into Russia.
Vladimir Putin just spoke in front of 80 000 cheering Russians at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on the 8th anniversary of Crimea’s annexation.
“For a peace without Nazis” and “For Russia” was written on the banner behind him.
He invoked the Bible to justify the ongoing war. pic.twitter.com/H4zjXlhNk8
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) March 18, 2022
As we look back on that terrifying experience, I think, it became a game changer for pro-Russian supporters. Ukrainian minds for now focused on our country and our people. And that reaction is badass. I’m proud to be Ukrainian.
How do you think where it’s heading? What future do you see for your country?
DENYS: From the moment when war has started once again we have seen how strong and cohesive our nation and country is. We truly believe in our victory, as it’s the only way for our country to be free. If we stop trying to stop it, if we stop helping each other it’s only a matter of time for Ukraine to sink into totalitarian regime. So the only way is to resist.
We have a lot of professionals, smart and creative people to rebuild the country even more beautifully and stronger than it was. So the main point and heading actions is to help each other, confront and stay human after all.
Lastly, how can we help?
DENYS: For now it’s spreading the word about Russian invasion and their war crimes. Also donations in humanitarian assistance for Ukrainians. Many local civilian forces need donations to protect their cities. We all have power to stop this terror, but only together. So we appreciate any help from your side and are really thankful for it.
— IDIOTEQ.com (@IDIOTEQ) March 11, 2022
You can follow on ur bandcamp and find all the links HERE.
Also Miss The Stars made a sampler with Ukrainian bands, where people also can make donations HERE.
All the best, janpalach (Denys, Artem, Illia, Volodymyr)