Arnold Schwarzenegger Sends Emotional Video to Russians on Ukraine Invasion
“You started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger has released an emotional video message directed at Russia and Vladimir Putin, where he condemns the war and calls out the Kremlin’s propaganda campaign. In a nine-minute video, the action film icon and former governor dismantles Putin’s claims that the war is an attempt to de-nazify Ukraine, calling it “a senseless war condemned by the entire world.”
The former California governor has intimate experience with the evil and destructive nature of Nazism, as his father fought for Hitler in Leningrad during World War II. Schwarzenegger has never shied away from his dark family history, and how the war left his father a broken and embittered man. He discussed their relationship in last year’s poignant video address, where he compared the Capitol riots to Kristallnacht. He described his abusive father as one of many “broken men drinking away the guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history.”
Schwarzenegger begins his video with a personal anecdote about meeting Russian weightlifter Yuri Petrovich Vlasov as a young teen, and how the Russian champion inspired him on his own bodybuilding journey. Schwarzenegger describes his love for the Russian people and culture, which is why they deserve to know the truth of what is happening. “I am speaking to you today because there are things that are going on in the world that are being kept from you, terrible things that you should know about,” he said.
“Ukraine did not start this war, neither did nationalists or Nazis,” said Schwarzenegger, noting that Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is Jewish. “Those in power in the Kremlin started this war. This is not the Russian people’s war,” he intones, as he describes the horrific attacks on schools and hospitals and shares footage from the Ukraine. His video has now been viewed over 27 million times on Twitter. Schwarzenegger is still a massive star in Russia, and is one of 22 Twitter accounts followed by the Kremlin. He also notes that over a hundred countries have condemned Putin’s actions, and that Russia is now under the most severe economic sanctions in its history. Schwarzenegger makes a direct appeal to Russian soldiers, who have witnessed the violence firsthand, saying “You’ve seen it with your own eyes. I don’t want you to be broken like my father. This is not the war to defend Russia … this is an illegal war.”
Schwarzenegger also calls out Putin in the video, saying “You started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war.” He also shares his admiration for the Russian protesters who have taken to the streets to protest the war at great risk of arrest and imprisonment. “The world has seen your bravery. We know you have suffered the consequences of your courage. You are my new heroes.“
Finally, Schwarzenegger reminds his Russian viewers that 11 million Russians have family connections in Ukraine. “Every bullet you shoot, you shoot a brother or sister,” he said. It’s a stirring and moving video, and well worth watching in its entirety.
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