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All content by Kyle E. Mitchell, who is not your lawyer.

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Ukrainedonate money against this horrible war

Give to the UN Refugee Agency. Give to Разом. Give to the Ukrainian armed forces if your conscience allows. Find whatever credible, focused charity site makes you feel good enough to type the numbers and press the big donate button.

Tweets, posts, little black squares, video confessions, and definitely this blog post—they are worth nothing to those in need right now. Unless they lead us to action that helps. “I am against the war on Ukraine.” How? What do you do against the war or its consequences? UN has the symbolic front covered.

I fell in love with Russia as a boy. I love Russia, somehow, even today—the language, people, culture, history. I have longed for Moscow, to live there again, to work there, to meet at Кофе Хауз, to browse at Библио-Глобус, every day since I left. This war breaks my heart. I’ve given so much of myself for so long, to relate to a people, a culture not my own. So Khodorkovsky of all people could make me cry? Twice? So I can smell the stench of state TV from California?

I’ve never wanted to hurt a Russian in my life. I’d probably rather have liters of bad тройка beer, or like seven cups of Акбар tea, with almost any Russian in boots currently standing in the wrong fucking country. I never had a reason to stop and ask which “Russian” friends were Ukrainian until now. I have never been to Ukraine—and I once took a day-long train detour to avoid a visa. But you bet your eyes I donated real money for Ukraine. When I figure out my taxes, I bet I’m good for more.

I became an “open source lawyer” by mistake. That was not the plan. The plan was to forge, serve, and multiply solid links between my people, tech people, in the former Soviet Union and the United States. Сколково. Медведев in the Valley. Investment. Exchange. Advancing computing. For the world.

I went to law school because that was what I saw Americans I liked doing in Moscow. Bad things had already started happening. Georgia when I was there. Then Crimea and Donbass at the critical point in my career, just after my apprenticeship. Sanctions went up. I hunkered down. Gave my notice at the big law firm with the Moscow office. I held out hope. Despite Syria. Despite Belarus. The horrors. But now this.

Хотели как лучше, а получилось как всегда.

We wanted the best, but it turned out as always.

Viktor Chernomyrdin

I was wrong. For the foreseeable future, my dream is now a fantasy. The last cornerstones of plausibility were bombed to pieces last week, along with so much of infinitely greater, irreplaceable value. My little dream—maybe, if not in my lifetime. The people killed, the time with them—lost, gone forever.

I will find a way to make myself a factor for long-term peace, to make good on the education, the time, the opportunities I have been given. I am actively hunting opportunities to bring more work related to the Ukrainian diaspora, and Russians settled abroad, into my law practice. And I am a pretty good hunter. But if you, dear reader, see a way, please send an e-mail. Institutions, relationships, investments, dependencies—these will bind us together over time, beyond crisis.

As for now, keep your loved ones close. Keep your conscience awake. Watch what you have to watch. Turn away when you need to turn away. Keep living.

In the war on war, Ukraine is the front line. Her people will fight, will persevere in ways that astound us. But what they have to work with is a question to the rest of us now. And not just to our governments.

We answer.

Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome by e-mail.

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