Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Speech to the Russian People: “The Truth About the War in Ukraine”

The former governor of California condemns the Kremlin-backed propaganda.

The Russian military invasion of Ukraine, as directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, began on Feb. 24, 2022, and remains ongoing. On March 16, 2022, the United Nations (UN) International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Russia to “immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on 24 February.”

One day later, former Governor of California and seven-time Mr. Olympia champion Arnold Schwarzenegger took to his Instagram page to share a video wherein he tells the Russian people “the truth about the war in Ukraine and what is happening there.” Check it out below:


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Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Here are some stats from the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine:

  • Per The Guardian, 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed by Russian forces as of March 13, 2022.
  • Per CNN, 636 Ukrainian civilians have been killed by Russian forces as of March 14, 2022
  • Per NPR. approximately three million Ukrainians have fled the country as of March 16, 2022
  • On March 16, 2022, President Biden said to reporters, “I think [Putin] is a war criminal.”

In a virtual address to the U.S. Congress on March 16, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy requested more security aid to help defend against Russian forces. Congress has thus far passed a $13.6 billion emergency package towards those efforts. Biden has since authorized an additional $800 million in security assistance. You can watch Zelenskyy’s full address to Congress below, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal YouTube channel:

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Schwarzenegger’s Speech

The video opens with Schwarzenegger telling a story from his childhood when he idolized Russian weightlifter and Olympic gold medalist Yuri Vlasov after watching Vlasov compete at the 1961 World Weightlifting Championships in Vienna, Austria. Vlasov won gold at that contest in the +90-kilogram weight class with a 525-kilogram total.

There I was, a 14-year-old boy, standing in front of the strongest man in the world.

All that was to say that Schwarzenegger has “nothing but respect and affection for the people of Russia.” Schwarzenegger’s video is intended to convey the truth of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine with the Russian people, who are subjected primarily only to state TV that pushes Kremlin-backed propaganda — a new law even criminalized the word “war,” as Putin only refers to the invasion as a “special military operation.”

Schwarzenegger compared the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the insurrection of the U.S. capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 — moments “that are so wrong…we have to speak up.”

Those in power in the Kremlin started this war. This is not the Russian people’s war. You should know…141 nations at the U.N. voted that Russia was the aggressor. It is a humanitarian crisis.

Russian forces’ recent bombings of Ukrainian civilians, including a children’s hospital in Mariupol, have led, in part, to “the strongest global economic sanctions ever taken have been imposed on [Russia].” Included in those sanctions is the United States’ ban on all Russian oil, liquified gas, and coal imports.

The Russian government has lied not only to its citizens, but to its soldiers. To the Russian soldiers listening to this broadcast…this is not the war to defend Russia…this is an illegal war.

After condemning the Russian propaganda, Schwarzenegger calls on Putin to “stop this war.”

Featured image: @schwarzenegger on Instagram