"Never have I been so ashamed of my country as on February 24 of this year"

The letter of the Russian counsellor to the UN in Geneva criticizing the invasion of Ukraine

The rejection of the invasion of Ukraine by many Russians has been reflected in a resounding letter of resignation from the diplomat Boris Bondarev.

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Until today, Bondarev was a counsellor to Russia’s permanent representation to the UN in Geneva. He has had a 20-year diplomatic career serving Russia, and Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine has led him to resign. He so far he is the highest ranking Russian official who has resigned as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. He has done it through a harsh letter in which he says he feels “ashamed” of his country. The NGO UN Watch has published the text of that letter. You can read it below:

STATEMENT BY BORIS BONDAREV, RUSSIAN COUNSELLOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS IN GENEVA

My name is Boris Bondarev, in the MFA of Russia since 2002, since 2019 until now — Counsellor of the Russian Mission to the UN Office at Geneva.

For twenty years of my diplomatic career I have seen different turns of our foreign policy, but never have I been so ashamed of my country as on February 24 of this year.

The aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine, and in fact against the entire Western world, is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia, with a bold letter Z crossing out all hopes and prospects for a prosperous free society in our country.

Those who conceived this war want only one thing — to remain in power forever, live in pompous tasteless palaces, sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and cost to the entire Russian Navy, enjoying unlimited power and complete impunity. To achieve that they are willing to sacrifice as many lives as it takes. Thousands of Russians and Ukrainians have already died just for this.

I regret to admit that over all these twenty years the level of lies and unprofessionalism in the work of the Foreign Ministry has been increasing all the time.

However, in most recent years, this has become simply catastrophic. Instead of unbiased information, impartial analysis and sober forecasting, there are propaganda clichés in the spirit of Soviet newspapers of the 1930s. A system has been built that deceives itself.

Minister Lavrov is a good illustration of the degradation of this system. In 18 years, he went from a professional and educated intellectual, whom many of my colleagues held in such high esteem, to a person who constantly broadcasts conflicting statements and threatens the world (that is, Russia too) with nuclear weapons!

Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy. It is all about warmongering, lies and hatred. It serves interests of few, the very few people thus contributing to further isolation and degradation of my country.

Russia no longer has allies, and there is no one to blame but its reckless and ill-conceived policy.

I studied to be a diplomat and have been a diplomat for twenty years. The Ministry has become my home and family. But I simply cannot any longer share in this bloody, witless and absolutely needless ignominy.

Photo: Mark Henley/Panos Pictures. Boris Bondarev (right), during a UN session in Geneva this month.

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