Schwarzenegger delivers anti-war message ‘as a longtime friend of the Russian people’
Arnold Schwarzenegger has a message for Russians, telling his “friends” in the country that “your lives, your limbs, your futures are being sacrificed” for an “illegal” and “senseless war.”
California’s former Republican governor shared an impassioned plea on Thursday in a video created by media company ATTN:, saying he aimed to get the word out to Russia’s citizens about their country’s invasion of Ukraine that began last month.
“There are things that are going on in the world that have been kept from you, terrible things that you should know about,” Schwarzenegger, 74, says in the video.
The bodybuilder-turned-action movie star begins his message by recalling his own childhood growing up in Austria and meeting his “hero” when he was 14, Russian heavyweight weightlifting champion Yury Petrovich Vlasov.
After he proudly displayed above his bed a photo of Vlasov, Schwarzenegger says his father told him to “take down that picture and to find a German or Austrian hero.”
“He didn’t like Russians because of his experience in the Second World War,” Schwarzenegger says. “He was injured at Leningrad where the Nazi army that he was part of did vicious harm to the great city and to its brave people.”
“But I did not take the photograph down, no. Because it didn’t matter to me what flag Yury Vlasov carried,” Schwarzenegger says, before describing his other connections to Russia, including filming some of his movies there.
“No one likes to hear something critical of their government, I understand that. But as a longtime friend of the Russian people, I hope that you will hear what I have to say,” Schwarzenegger says, adding that he was speaking “with the same heartfelt concern as I spoke to the American people when there was an attempted insurrection on Jan. 6 last year, when a wild crowd was storming the U.S. Capitol trying to overthrow our government.”
“I know that your government has told you that this is a war to denazify Ukraine,” Schwarzenegger tells viewers in the video posted on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“This is not true. Ukraine is a country with a Jewish president — a Jewish president, I might add, whose father’s three brothers were all murdered by the Nazis,” Schwarzenegger says of Volodymyr Zelensky.
“You’re also not being told the truth about the consequences of this war on Russia itself: I regret to tell you that thousands of Russian soldiers that have been killed. They’ve been caught between Ukrainians fighting for the homeland, and the Russian leadership fighting for conquest.”
“When I see babies being pulled out of ruins, I think that I’m watching a documentary about the horrors of the Second World War, not the news of the day,” the “Terminator” star says. “And let me tell you, when my father arrived in Leningrad, he was all pumped up on the lies of his government. When he left Leningrad, he was broken — physically and mentally.”
“I don’t want you to be broken like my father. This is not the war to defend Russia that your grandfather or your great-grandfathers fought. This is an illegal war,” Schwarzenegger says, calling it a conflict “condemned by the entire world.”
— attn (@attn) March 17, 2022
Turning his attention to Russian President Vladimir Putin and “those in power in the Kremlin,” Schwarzenegger says, “Why would you sacrifice these young men for your own ambitions?”
“You started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war,” Schwarzenegger tells Putin.
“I urge the Russian people and the Russian soldiers in Ukraine to understand the propaganda and the disinformation that you’ve been told,” Schwarzenegger says. “I ask you to help me spread the truth — let your fellow Russians know the human catastrophe that is happening in Ukraine.”
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