Arnold Schwarzenegger's message to Russian troops fighting in Ukraine could be one of his most personal and hopefully most meaningful. In an address to those questioning why they are fighting and the leadership decisions that have taken them into the situation. For Schwarzenegger, he is a fan of the Russian people and has been for years. Still, he has a greater motivation for speaking out.
"Ever since I was 14 years old, I've had nothing but affection and respect for the people of Russia," Schwarzenegger said. "The strength and the heart of the Russian people have always inspired me. That is why I hope that you will let me tell you the truth about the war in Ukraine and what is happening there."
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
This leads to Schwarzenegger talking about his father, Gustav Schwarzenegger, and his experience fighting for the Nazis during World War II. "When my father arrived in Leningrad, he was all pumped up on the lies of his government," Schwarzenegger explains about his father's experience. "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's father and his Nazi history made headlines in the 1980s, and has been discussed by the actor and former governor several times. While it has been a source of criticism against the Conan star, he is hoping this time it can be a source of good.
"I know that your government has told you that this is a war to denazify Ukraine," Schwarzenegger says, referencing Vladimir Putin's questionable explanation for invasion. As he says, he wants the soldiers and citizens "to understand the propaganda and the disinformation that you are being told."
"We know that you've suffered the consequences of your courage. You have been arrested, you've been jailed, and you've been beaten," he closes his video statement. "You are my new heroes. You have the strength of Yuri Petrovich Vlasov. You have the true heart of Russia."