The Russian authorities have unleashed a gratuitous, senseless and inhumane war on independent Ukraine. This war has been enmeshed in lies from the outset, but we, Russian citizens who are able to face the truth, know that it has already caused catastrophic destruction and taken many lives. Each of these victims is on our conscience, and with every moment the war goes on our conscience is impoverished. The dignity of Russia, of Russian culture, and of each of us is melting before our eyes. We should not and cannot tolerate this.
We, Russian translators, feel keenly that the very existence of Russia as a country of culture and the dignity of the Russian language, which we have tried to the best of our abilities and continue to promote, have come into question.
From the very first day, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has affected our professional work. International cultural organizations, academic institutions, and specific publishers and authors have ceased cooperation with the Russian Federation. This means that books will not be translated and published in Russia, including works of imaginative literature and the latest scientific and academic research. This also means that books by Russian poets and writers, and by Russian scientists and academics (who will thus not be able to contribute to research and be recognized by the international scholarly community) will not be published in the languages of the peoples of the world. Academic exchange programs with many countries, joint publishing programs, and support for Russian cultural initiatives have already been stopped. Russia is moving towards isolation not only in politics, but also in absolutely all other spheres of life. Translators understand this better than anyone else: we give those who read in Russian the opportunity to feel that they are a part of world culture, and we introduce foreign readers to Russia’s great culture. We are the link between Russian researchers and global science and research, and we are proud of our contribution to international recognition of Russian scientific and scholarly achievements. There are also technical translators among us who provide day-to-day support to foreign specialists in Russia in all areas, from documentation of petroleum and pharmaceutical equipment to business negotiations.
It is obvious that what is happening will deal a blow to the professional work of translators, to our lives, as well as to the lives of all Russian citizens, but seeing the pain, horror and loss of life [in Ukraine], we are full of anxiety, first of all, for those who are now under fire.
We demand an immediate end to the war!
Source: Change.org. 1,425 translators had signed the petition as of 6:51 p.m. GMT on March 1, 2022. Thanks to The Village for its complete list of Russian anti-war petitions. Translated by Thomas H. Campbell, a professional Russian-to-English translator and the editor of this website and its sister publication, Chtodelat News (2008-2013) for the last fifteen years. During that time I have logged 2,813 entries, most of them translations of Russian-language traditional media and social media articles and commentary on grassroots political resistance, social and labor movements, alternative culture, and protests in Russia and the post-Soviet world.