In an attempt to break past Russia’s propaganda wall over its war in Ukraine, the actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger delivered a speech to the Russian people.
On Twitter, a video message from Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Russian people has already gotten above 20 million views, with the former California governor saying that he is giving them the truth about Vladimir Putin’s “illegal war.”
On his Instagram account, he posted a video that has gained more than 2 million views.
I love the Russian people. That’s why I have to tell you the truth. @attndotcom
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Schwarzenegger said in the video
“I am speaking to you today because there are things going on in the world today that are being kept from you, terrible things.”
In the video, Schwarzenegger recalled how, when he was 14, a friend asked him to attend the World Weightlifting Championships in Vienna. After Yuri Petrovich Vlasov won the title, Schwarzenegger claims he was escorted backstage by a friend.
“All of the sudden, there I was, a 14-year-old boy standing in front of the strongest man in the world,” he said.
He said that Vlasov “had this powerful man’s hand that swallowed mine. But he was kind, and he smiled at me. I will never forget that day.”
When he first started training weights, Schwarzenegger stated he went home and hung Vlasov’s image above his bed to motivate him. His father, on the other hand, advised him to take it down and replace it with one depicting a German or Austrian hero.
“He got really angry, and we argued back and forth,” Schwarzenegger said, noting that his father, in the Nazi army, was injured during World War II in Leningrad. The Nazi Army, he noted, “did vicious harm to the great city and to its brave people.”
Schwarzenegger said he didn’t take the photo down “because it didn’t matter to me what flag Yuri Vlasov carried.”
He stated he ran across Vlasov again in Moscow, this time while filming Red Heat, the first American picture to be authorized to shoot in Red Square. They spent the day together, and she gave him a blue coffee cup because “he was so kind, so nice, and so brilliant.”
Schwarzenegger stated that he has had “nothing but affection and respect for the people of Russia” since he was 14 years old.
However, he stated that he intended to speak out in the same way that he did after rioters sacked the US Capitol on January 6th of last year.
“I know that your government has told you that this is a war to denazify Ukraine. Denazify Ukraine? 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. You see, Ukraine did not start this war. Neither did nationalists or Nazis. Those in power in the Kremlin started this war. This is not the Russian people’s war.”
He went on, “Because of its brutality, Russia is now isolated from the society of nations.”
“I regret to tell you that thousands of Russian soldiers have been killed. They have been caught between Ukrainians fighting for their homeland and the Russian leadership fighting for conquest.”
He claimed that Russian soldiers were misled about the grounds for their deployment to Ukraine and that Russian citizens were misled about the situation of the conflict.
“When I see babies being pulled out of ruins, I think that I am watching a documentary about the horrors of the Second World War, not the news of today,” he said.
Schwarzenegger said that when his father arrived in Leningrad, “he was all pumped up on the lies of his government. And when he left Leningrad, he was broken, physically and mentally. He lived the rest of his life in pain. Pain from a broken back. Pain from the shrapnel that always reminded him of those terrible years. And pain from the guilt that he felt.”
Speaking to Russian soldiers, Schwarzenegger said, “I don’t want you to be broken like my father. This is not a war to defend Russia that your grandfathers and your great grandfathers fought. This is an illegal war.”
He told Russian soldiers that “your futures are being sacrificed for a senseless war condemned by the entire world.”
“To the soldiers who are listening to this, remember that 11 million Russians have family connections to Ukraine, so that every bullet that you shoot, you shoot a brother or a sister. Every bomb or every shell that falls is falling not on an enemy, but it falling on a school or a hospital or a home.”
He also addressed those in Russia who have protested the war.
“You have been arrested. You have been jailed and you have been beaten,” he said. “You are my new heroes. You have the strength of Yuri Petrovich Vlasov. You have the true heart of Russia.”
He spoke to Russians who were protesting their country’s invasion of Ukraine at the end of the video.
“We know that you’ve suffered the consequences of your courage. You have been arrested, you’ve been jailed and you’ve been beaten. You are my new heroes. You have the strength of Yuri Petrovich Vlasov. You have the true heart of Russia.”