Edit on 3rd of May: Since I posted this, Russians have hacked at least one of the sites I linked to. I’ll be optimistic and keep the links up just in case anything changes.
You know this current trend in the romance genre for books about “sexy” Russian criminals? It’s actually making me sick. I do think poorly of people who are seeking these books out and enjoying them, despite what Russians are currently doing to Ukrainians and other people in Eastern Europe.
The argument that it’s just a fantasy? Sorry, doesn’t cut it. It’s like saying, “Gee, I know Germany just invaded Poland and started killing the locals, but those Nazi bad boys are just so hot.”
I’m very close to the situation in Ukraine. One of my family members is high up in the Ukrainian Catholic Church and has been conducting the funerals of Ukrainians murdered by the Russians. I was watching the live video feed the day the snipers came out and started slaughtering the people. I saw them die. I have relatives who were guarding the barricades in the capital city. I’ve stayed on the main square in Kyiv – the heart of this conflict – many times, including only a few months ago. One of the times – late at night – our building was investigated by those awful military police who were doing the killing. I just accidentally saw the crime scene photos of the latest Ukrainians who have been abducted, tortured and murdered by the Russians (in that picture, one of the victims is a well-known politician; the other is a teenage boy).
This torture and murder has been going on for months, and more and more people are disappearing.
And yes, I even have family in Russia. Of course they’re not all bad, but they are citizens of a country that runs entirely on misinformation and propaganda – and most of them believe it.
Russian soldiers in Crimea in the early days of the invasion.
I know that when it comes to romance books all kinds of things get written off as ‘they’re just fantasies’. But this is one line I will judge people for crossing.
“Hot” is an odd way to describe the average man in today’s Russia. I’ve been to Russia multiple times – and not for the prettied-up, propaganda-laden tourist experiences most people see on their riverboat cruise. One of the times, our building was stormed by two jeep-loads of men with machine guns. The building is on Nevsky Prospekt, for God’s sake – the most famous and touristy street in the whole bloody country! A HUGE proportion of Russian men are drunks who beat their wives. They carry bottles of vodka and beer (at the same time!) around the streets at ten in the morning. They all chain smoke. Their life expectancy is lower than third world countries, due to the drinking, smoking, drug use and the rapidly-rising AIDS rate. I’ve personally witnessed more than one anti-gay parade.
And – get this – so many of them hate Westerners and have no qualms about saying it to your face.
What’s so sexy about that?!
That second tweet? It is from an American journalist, quoting a Russian, and shortly afterwards he was abducted by the Russians.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, almost without fail every time I post a picture of Ukraine or Ukrainians somewhere – my blog, Pinterest, Tumblr – I get Russians making stupid or even nasty comments on it, very often informing me all of Ukraine is Russia (funny, because Ukraine existed for centuries before Russia did!). I posted a picture of my ninety-one year old Ukrainian grandmother holding a little Ukrainian flag, and cruel things were said about her. My grandmother, who lost half her village to Russian gulags!
I’m sorry, but I’m just so over all the gushing Russian criminal romance book fans I come across on Goodreads and blogs and everywhere else. Vladimir Putin has turned his country into a cancer on the world, the Soviet Union take #2, and there’s a war on the horizon. I know, because I have family and friends who are going to be recalled to fight it.
I was telling the truth – this fad is making me sick.