“I love the Russian people. That is why I have to tell you the truth,” Schwarzenegger captioned a video on Twitter. “Please watch and share.”
The video includes Schwarzenegger detailing his admiration of Russian Olympian weightlifter Yuri Petrovich Vlasov and working in Russia, as well as revisiting his father’s history during WWII.
“I’m sending this message to various different channels to reach my dear Russian friends and the Russian soldiers serving in Ukraine,” Schwarzenegger said in the nine-minute video. “I’m speaking to you today because there are things that are going on in the world that have been kept from you, terrible things that you should know about. Let me tell you the truth about the war in Ukraine.”
Schwarzenegger listed how Russia instigated attacks and that the invasion has been declared as illegal by 141 countries, including the U.S. Many civilian buildings have been bombed and thousands of Russian soldiers have died.
“The world has turned against Russia because of its actions in Ukraine,” Schwarzenegger continued. “The destruction that Russian bombs are raining down on innocent civilians has so outraged the world that the strongest global economic sanctions ever taken have been imposed on your country…This is not the war to defend Russia like your grandfather or your great-grandfather fought. This is an illegal war!”
Schwarzenegger compared the lack of accurate information being shared with the Russian people via state-sponsored national media outlets to the rise of the Nazis during WWII. Schwarzenegger’s father was a Nazi sergeant.
“[My father] was injured at Leningrad and the Nazi army he was part of did vicious harm to the great city and to its brave people,” he said. “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. 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. To the Russian soldiers listening to this broadcast: You already know much of the truth that I’m speaking. You’ve seen it in your own eyes. I don’t want you to be broken like my father.”
Schwarzenegger later addressed Russian president Vladimir Putin directly, saying, “To those in power in the Kremlin, let me just ask you: Why would you sacrifice these young men for your own ambition? To President Putin, I say: You started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war.”
Schwarzenegger concluded with a message to Russian protesters who have risked imprisonment opposing the war in Ukraine.
“The world has seen your bravery,” Schwarzenegger said. “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.”
I love the Russian people. That is why I have to tell you the truth. Please watch and share. pic.twitter.com/6gyVRhgpFV
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) March 17, 2022