"Blue Flower of Hate" is not only the name of this blog, it’s also the working title of the novel I’m writing. The novel follows three main characters as they live in Russia at different time periods, experiencing different evils within a struggling society and trying to make their experience about love, not hate. And for Zoya, a twentysomething in contemporary Russia, the flower of hate stems from seeing Putin manage the country in a cruel manner, from observing innocent lives being lost because of his political ambition.
Recently I became increasingly aware of these dynamics and was worried that such a strong fixation on Putin was excessive, maybe even unnecesserily flattering to him. After all, he is not an independent entity, and there is a much bigger system that had spawned him and has maintained him throughout. But now, in light of the Crimea events, I think I was right on the money from the beggining. It is about Putin all the way, it is personal. He is the culprit and this cookie will crumble in his very fingers.
Another peculiar thing is that before I began writing “Blue Flower of Hate” during my master’s at Oxford, I had bee working on “Abyss” a PTSD drama about the effects of war on an individual and the society. Set in 1919 in the US, it follows a shellshocked French soldier who comes to Louisiana after the end of World War I and becomes involved in tragic events. I put this project on hold because it made more sense to be starting my literary career with a more unique selling point — that is a contemporary Russian novel.
I’m still going to come back to “Abyss” to finish it, of course. And I do miss it on a daily basis, the subjects it touches are very close to my heart. I tend to think about death all the time, and war, too, most importantly the way it damages a person. And it just occurred to me that it might well be that I won’t need to resort to WWI events to discuss the war PTSD anymore. Russian troops are in Crimea, as we speak, and a war between Russia and Ukraine could easily be a done deal.
It’s very painful to realize that a war might unwrap any minute now just 400 kilometers away from the town where I was born, and in the region where I first saw the sea as a child. But the weirdest thing is, it doesn’t feel any more painful than when you’re walking over scorched earth at the Somme, looking over the poppy fields or the odd symmetry of the cemeteries. Because war is war, it’s always the same old. But the pain that it inflicts upon us never repeats itself. Each new throb is fresh.
I sincerely hope that the economic interests of the Russian oligarchy now at risk will provoke them to do something about our unhinged autocrat, who’s bent on making the lives of Ukrainian citizens — and Russian citizens, of course — a living hell.