Pensioner Roza Abaidullina and pensioner Sabira Yuldasheva live in the same microdistrict of a large Volga city. They have known each other for a long time, because they once worked at the same factory, and they became friends there. They help each other in life with moral support, share the successes and problems of their families. The level of prosperity, the composition of the family are approximately the same. Husbands are also pensioners, and also Tatars. There are two adult children in each family, but the children do not know each other, they only know about each other’s existence. The Yuldashevs have two sons, while the Abaidullins have an older daughter and a younger son.
“We don’t get into politics,” Roza and Sabira say when they meet. They had a good life in the Soviet Union, they are not against Russia, although sometimes they grumble at it. Mostly due to shortcomings in the work of utility services or imbalances in prices and incomes. They did not approve the reduction of hours for studying the Tatar language in schools, and they did not notice changes to the Constitution, because this is not the main thing, these are trifles, the women say. In general, we can live!
Sabira’s sons serve in the army, both graduated from a military school, they are officers. She is proud of them. The guys are handsome and disciplined. They earn good money, they have their own housing, they come to their parents in good cars, and bring their grandchildren.
Now one of the sons is serving in the rear, the second was in the special military operation zone, he was injured, but not seriously. He is being treated in a hospital, plans to return to the front, because he understands his duty to the Motherland. He remembers that his great-grandfather fought against the fascists, was wounded and awarded medals. If he backs down, the Ukronazis can attack Russia. The son told his parents that he would not change his mind about the special military operation, although he agrees that events are developing not in accordance with his pre-war ideas, that everything is going the devil knows how.
The youngest son of Roza Abaidullina was also recently summoned to the military registration and enlistment office, he passed the medical examination and was preparing to go to the army. Short-term training is planned, and then he will be sent to the front. He had military service a few years ago, he was a tractor driver, and drivers were always needed in the Armed Forces. Many of his fellows and acquaintances are already fighting on the territory of Ukraine. Some of them died and several more were injured. When considering his prospects, the younger Abaidullin comes to frightening conclusions. He is not against fighting, but he doesn’t want to die. He sees his duty to the Motherland in honest work, in paying taxes, building a better, more perfect and comfortable life for his young family, in respect for the laws of the country, in respect for its citizens, its government, all residents of Tatarstan. But he doesn’t want to die. His older sister, whom he greatly appreciates, after listening to her brother, agreed that the government of the Republic and the government of the Russian Federation have no right to force her brother to go to war with the Ukrainians and die in the Donetsk steppes. Previously, she believed that the Ukrainian authorities offended the Russian residents of Donbass, but recently she began to search the Internet for information about the war and came to the conclusion that the ends do not meet. The picture of official TV channels and Telegram channels is contradictory. The older sister is very smart and independent, she is preparing to defend her dissertation, the parents sometimes laugh when they are asked why their daughter is not married, they say, “She studied too much!”
The eldest daughter of Rosa Abaidullina decided to express her disagreement with the war, which, in her opinion, Moscow started. On Sunday, she simultaneously with other like-minded people took part in single pickets in the city center. They were arrested and taken to the police. In the city department, when drawing up protocols, they were spoken to rudely, humiliated, and one of the girls was hit several times on the head with a plastic bottle of water “for impudence”.
The younger Abaidullina came home from the police depressed, she did not tell her parents everything, they later learned the details from acquaintances. The court will be held one of these days, probably, the daughter will be punished administratively – with a large fine. Most likely, she will have problems at work, and she will no longer be able to defend her dissertation. But her brother is more precious, and she does not regret her act. She has pity for her brother. And she is afraid that grief could happen to him in the war.
The pensioner Roza Abaidullina and the pensioner Sabira Yuldasheva discussed this unpleasant situation among themselves, and they also discussed all the latest events in the country. They understand that Tatars are different. Some are fighting for Free Tatarstan, sacrificing themselves, while others, also Tatars, persecute them, arrest, judge, throw into prison, torture, break destinies and force them to flee the Republic. They have not heard who is R. Kashapov and other dissidents are, they are on the side of “all Tatars in general”, they see contradictions in such a picture, but it is difficult for them to change their views. Such a position does not allow them to put everything in its place, as they did before. Both Rosa and Sabira are somewhat confused, they are very worried about their children and want to protect them. Of course, their husbands have the same opinion, although it is also difficult for them to develop a view that allows them to come to inner peace and determine how they should act. All their lives they relied on Tatar mutual assistance, and here you have…
The daughter of Rosa Abaidullina is the only one of the two families who has outlined everything for herself: she is against the war, against Tatar girls being beaten in the face in police stations, against that Tatar boys die in Ukraine, which, it turns out, did not attack Russia, and moreover Tatarstan, but protects itself from aggression. The educated and organized daughter of Roza sees the main evil in the fact that the government of Tatarstan is subject to Moscow, and the Russian government has its own goals that do not coincide with the interests of Tatars. She is scared, because she knows the power of the repressive machine, easily chewing on the fate of people – you can easily perish. But her sharpened brain of a scientist says, “We are going the wrong way! Tatars suffer! We have to change something!” She does not know if she goes out to picket again, but she is going to explain her point of view to her colleagues at work and defend the uncomfortable and dangerous truth. She has no doubts about this.