Argument magazine presents a second special issue against the war in Ukraine. The first, published in August 2022, honoured Ukrainian artists who supported their country’s efforts against Russia’s war of aggression. The one you are holding in your hands similarly aims to give a voice to Russian dissidents, anti-war artists who dare to protest openly against Russia’s horrific invasion of Ukraine. In so doing, they are lending their support to the Ukrainian people.

Almost all these dissident artists have been forced to leave their country; some have stayed, however, and they only exhibit their anti-war works underground, just as they did in the days of the USSR. They have not given up on their idea of awakening the hearts of people in Russia, helping them to understand reality and get rid of fear.

These Russian artists oppose and expose themselves to the dictator Putin’s regime and are the first to be captured by his repressive machine.
This criminal regime has imprisoned one of our heroines, Sasha Skochilenko. She had the courage to take anti-war action, and since April 2022 has been spending her days in a Russian prison. We would like to thank her for agreeing, despite all the risks, to write an article for Argument magazine. This text is precious to us, and was secretly sent to our editorial team. You will find it carefully translated into French and published in full, without the slightest change. We have dedicated the cover of this special issue to one of the drawings she made from her prison cell.

Our entire team would like to thank all the artists, both in Russia and abroad, who without hesitation agreed to take part in this issue and said ‘yes’ to us, despite the difficult conditions in which they currently find themselves:

Katerina Bondar, Vladimir Constantin, Olga Dmitrieva, Sergey Kurdyukov, Andrey Kuzkin,,Katy Meladze, Stépan Puriga, Véra Polozkova, Sasha Skochilenko, Alisa Yoffe.

Those who decided to expatriate chose to abandon their homes, their loved ones, their workshops and their works; they reduced their material values to the size of a single rucksack, because inside there was enough room for freedom of expression and compassion for the Ukrainian people.
Did we know, at the very start of writing this issue, that we would be writing not interviews, but confessions; not an art magazine, but an almanac of courageous human destinies?

We are convinced that the voices of all these authors and artists deserve to be heard, because now is the time to give our full support to every spark that lights up in the dark.

I would like to thank all the volunteers who have worked so hard to bring you this issue: journalists Virginie Shirley, Clémence Dani, Claire Dubois, Julie Lequet, Faiza Saidi, Kristina Larina-Montoya, Sergey Kurdyukov, translators Olga Ledak and Santa-Vanessa Cavallari, proofreader Michèle Simonot and graphic designer Hélène Schumacher, who designed the layout of the texts and visuals.

Finally, I would like to offer my special thanks to the founder and director of the journal Argument, François Beauxis-Aussalet, who placed his trust in me for this important and singular work.

Camilla Osechkin,
Editor in chief

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