Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Open letter to President Obama

Open letter to President Obama

Dear Barack Hussein Obama,

I decided to write to you directly, because clearly there is some misunderstanding between us.

Whatever my country does, you say "Putin did this, Putin introduced, Putin occupied, Putin announced ..." It sounds like a personality cult of some sort. Let's talk about things without mentioning Putin, directly, OK?

In addition to Putin and his enemies who partook in the march of the millions on Bolotnaya Square, we have another 142 million people. Your colleagues in the West and in Russia call them different names - "anchovy,"  "cattle," "imperialists," and "serfs." I understand that "surf" is a convenient word but it is hurtful and I would like to ask not to use it when talking about me.

I understand that you, Mr. President of the last superpower, do not know much about us, only if through hearsay. Grandpa Luka, a character from Maxim Gorky's story, answering the question of a local cop why the said cop did not know who Luka was despite the fact that it was the cop's job to know everybody in his district, said: "This is because the entire land did not fit into your district, there is a little bit left..."

What I mean is that, generally, there is no shame in not knowing all the people occupying 1/7 of the land where we, 142 million, are residing. I've heard that in America, people are important not as a crowd - Russians, Serbs or Abkhazians, but as individuals. This is why I decided not to collect signatures for a petition but address you as an individual.
You shouldn't think that we are mean, angry people who conspired against neighboring Ukraine, Europe or the entire world. Don't start talking about Putin again, I said "we," which means one hundred millions of people. I will tell you a secret: there are more Russian in Russia, Crimea and Ukraine than your friends Germans or French. There are more Russians in Ukraine than Austrians in Austria (the motherland of Californian Arnie), or Danes in Denmark (the country of NATO Secretary General). There are seven times more Russians than Albanians in Kosovo for whose right to self-determination your predecessor bombed Serbia.

No, I am not talking about you bombing, or our readiness to bomb. I am talking about the fact that there is more kinship between the Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine than between your esteemed people and Kosovo Albanians. Somehow we cannot be indifferent when in a neighboring country guys who hang a portrait of a local collaborator Hitler in their office come to power. We cannot be indifferent to the fact that they limit people's rights to their own language, to self-governing, or preserving their human and national dignity. You were always proud of commitment to democracy and fair elections, and therefore, of course, you cannot but be shocked that the power in the country with a population of 45 million was forcefully captured by a small group of people that dictates to everyone how they should live.

I am sure you remember the first words of the U.S. Declaration of Independence: "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.." I suggest that you and I, Mr. President, only you and I, Putin aside, give the population of Crimea a chance to explain to humanity, including the respected people of the U.S. , how they see their destiny and why. You and I are to act as guarantors of the referendum. I promise for the time of this free expression of the will of the people not to say anything bad about America, and you promise to harness your acquaintances in Kiev that listen to you (although I would be embarrassed to have such acquaintances) so they do not interfere with the highest form of manifestation of human rights and freedoms - national plebiscite.

Oleg Odintsovsky