After shock comes resistance


Ivanna Khrapko

March 16, 2023

Ivanna Khrapko on shock and denial turning into Trade Union Lifeline

When I try to remember my life before 24th February 2022, it almost feels like another life, something that happened aeons ago. Neither our lives nor we will ever be the same.

When Russia unleashed its bloody unjust aggression, turning their hybrid war of eight years against Ukraine into a full-scale conventional war, many of us were stunned. I was among those who believed that logic would still prevail and all the threats were just a show of force as a part of diplomacy. I was wrong.

After a couple of days of shock and denial, I was overwhelmed by indignation. I was disgusted by how Russia uses anti-imperialistic rhetoric and plays victim just to cover its imperialistic colonial war of conquest and genocide. That is why we had no choice but to act. The aggressor kills and tortures countless people, razes entire peaceful villages and cities to the ground and makes millions homeless.

Everyone was compelled to do something. We as a union movement used our grassroots organisation experience and, with our long-standing partners, started creating a humanitarian network called Trade Union Lifeline. We started providing any aid or assistance we could to those in need. Also, a big part of our work was an informational effort, as we tried to make voices of ordinary workers heard. This was very important in order to fight lies spread by the Russian propaganda machine.

After several months passed, we were able to resume our educational activities in order to help the labour movement adjust to wartime reality and to stay on track with new labour legislation introduced by the government.

Russia is waging war not just to annihilate Ukraine. It is also a war of autocracy hiding behind lies against democracy and human rights, including labour rights and freedom itself as we know it. That is why it is our common duty as free people to do everything in our power to help the defence of the values we all hold dear.