War in Ukraine, Nicolai Lilin is hosting refugees in Rovigo: «So far 18 families. I receive threats “

Nicolai Lilin

There is a Russian, a Russian writer with an Italian passport too, who saves and hosts Ukrainian refugees fleeing from war. And it hasn’t done so since February 24, when the army of Vladimir Putin invaded “the granary of Europe”, but since 2014when the conflict broke out in Donbass between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces. He is Nicolai Lilinthe author of «Siberian Education“, Of which he oversaw the film adaptation, artist eclectic also known for drawings, graphite works on paper, paints on canvas and reproduction of orthodox icons inspired by the symbology of tattoos and exhibited at the Milan Triennale and at the Museo del Novecento. Character discussed precisely for his way of telling about Russia, much documented but also criticized to the point of being able to count on police protection, is now in the limelight as well on Instagram. But she has never forgotten the last ones.


“I welcomed 18 families in Rovigo”

“I have a villa in Rovigo where so far I have hosted 18 Ukrainian families – revealed Lilin a Pordenonelawthe book party with the authors “, during the presentation of his book”Putin, the last tsar»(Piemme publisher) -. These are people on the run from war particularly exposed or in economic difficulties, recommended by friends and acquaintances. They give me their phone number and I contact them, I help them get to Italy, get their documents in order and find accommodation. In the meantime I host them in the house in Polesine, I also bought some families there machine“. And then more than someone stays in Italy. “Yes, they are smart people – says the writer – they integrate well and choose not to return backwards. They make a new life in Veneto or in other regions. One of the stories that impressed me the most concerns one girl with a degree in medicine and escaped from Ukraine because they wanted to force her to enlist, to join the military right now, in open warfare. At the university in addition to the degree he acquired the military degree of official, which he had to use. The state would have waited for her little son to turn one year to call her to arms, so when the little one was eight months old he fled with him and her husband and I I welcomed all three of them ».

The threats

Lilin opened the doors as well to Donbass boys whose house was bombed. «I have helped everyone – he admits – but I continue to receive threatsalso on Facebook and Instagram, e right from the Ukrainians, incited by the Russians. I am quite serene, I understand what it is about people desperate. And like me many other Russians living in Italy help the Ukrainiansthey collect money for them and host their children, because this is a war that has affected families ».

Putin, “neither saint nor devil”

If you ask him what he thinks of Putin, he replies: “He is not a saint nor a devil. He was born in St. Petersburg, in a neighborhood in the hands of organized crime, where children shot at each other. The mother did the cleaning, the father was an invalid who had found a job in the factory and Putin brought out the worst in himself to survive. Nevertheless 86% of Russians like itits strength is precisely the fact of coming from the slums and knowing how to communicate with the language of the periphery. Those who criticize him say that it is a necessary evil, or the lesser evil – adds Lilin – if the far right were in power instead of him, he would have already used the atomic bomb. Italy is the second country to hit within a minute, with a intercontinental missile not interceptable nor collapsible. Putin, despite being a dictator, can paradoxically be defined as more moderate: if Great Britain and the USA did not do everything to provoke him, if NATO did not place bases on his doorstep and did not support Ukraine by arming it, he would gladly sit at a table with Germany or with Pope Francis. After all, in 2007 he had said: Russia wants to be a partner of the West that is not a subject. But the conditions are not yet there ».

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September 19, 2022 (change September 19, 2022 | 12:13)

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War in Ukraine, Nicolai Lilin is hosting refugees in Rovigo: «So far 18 families. I receive threats ”