She didn’t have to do that. She could have continued to work as normal on Monday at the Russian state broadcaster “First Channel” and swallow her anger, anger or despair at the situation and the lies. But she didn’t.
Marina Ovsyannikova decided to surrender to an unpredictable judiciary, to risk years of slavery, hunger, thirst, torture, and possibly later regret for her self-destructive stride. She wrote “No war! Don’t believe the propaganda of a cartel that interrupts the main news.
The comments from the West – so brave, such a heroine – were unanimous and admiring, as always when it comes to opposing the violent regime of Vladimir Putin. And in Germany also a little alienated. Why would a Russian risk her entire future for a moment of television attention? Why do Ukrainians engage in urban wars that, against all odds, they cannot win against a superior army? Why are they at risk of being shot, blown to pieces, killed?
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Questions like this rarely come up in a society like Germany, which likes to call itself “post-heroic” and is self-confident and only willing to celebrate heroes in sport. Such questions expose the rhetorical cunning of the many Sunday sermons that preach the “fight” for whatever it is – democracy, justice, human rights – by linking the “fight” to the possibility of personal physical concern.
Such questions are worrying. Due to the attitude towards life in free and secure democracies, which value nothing more than individual life, the answer to “What would you be willing to risk in a fight?” it’s probably “Not too much”.
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According to post-hero theorist Herfried Münkler, there is no place for the human will to suffer and sacrifice in these forms of government. The brave stand in the front row and above the cause, they are quickly suspected of becoming an uncontrollable ego trip. Whoever dares to make sacrifices also puts himself at the service of the cause, but takes a step back. Marina Ovsjannikova, for example, or the many people in Kharkiv, Mariupol and Kyiv who are erecting barricades against the enemy army.
Everyone had the option to react differently, to minimize harm to themselves. They could have packed up and left the city, the country. But they stayed to stand up for something they believe is bigger than themselves, and by doing so, they make themselves bigger. Perhaps that is why the first verdict was light against Ovsyannikova. But that doesn’t end the case.
A question that follows the exploits is: What would I do? And its strength can call your own life into question. At the same time, there is also the charge that too many willing victims make the solution difficult. After all, how can you find a compromise when so much has been suffered in battle? In the end, are more and more people dying because of self-sacrifice? However, such considerations miss something.
If there are no self-sacrificing people standing in the way of an aggressor, there is no compromise and often the only option is to surrender.