In the Ukraine, the Russian war of aggression is raging unabated, and I have no words to write about how I feel about it. As a result, Russia is experiencing an unprecedented wave of boycotts and sanctions out of solidarity with the attacked Ukraine. However, our Russian Saab page is still online and will remain so. Even if we were initially tempted to take them offline. Because there are good reasons not to do it.
In peacetime, which seems incredibly long ago, between 10 and 15% of readers came across the Russian side. Saab has loyal fans in the Russian-speaking area, just as there are in Ukraine. Cars from both nations often stood side by side at international meetings – there was no sign of mutual hatred.
With the Russian aggression, the flow of visitors to the Russian-speaking site suddenly collapsed. The firewall service provider raised the walls, the foreign-language pages hosted by a US server were given tightened security measures. After a week, visitor traffic normalized slightly, but without reaching peacetime traffic levels.
Since then, only an estimated 5% of people who visit here read the blog in Russian. And we want to keep the pages online. If you look closely, the Russian translation has little to do with Russia. It may even be that you cannot access the blog from Russia, because Moscow has also closed the Internet to the West.
The evaluations provided by the American server show us that the blog is read in Russian in Western Europe. People who live somewhere in the EU, who have Russian roots and who like Saab. Should they be penalized and the sites taken offline? Some readers thought so and wrote us emails.
I think that would be the wrong way. It would be a path of exclusion. Because it can hardly be assumed that Russian generals or the Lord of the Kremlin have an affinity for Saab. It would definitely hit the wrong people, and at the international Saab events, the Russian visitors were fans and enthusiasts like all of us.
The blog is a small medium that only plays a role in the Saab world. But I was always proud that the Saab passion was connecting across all borders. There will also be times after war and suffering. Then what has now been barbarically destroyed must be rebuilt. And I'm not just talking about cities and houses. You also have to practice working together again, you have to be able to look each other in the eye and talk to each other. A huge challenge - because it will take decades to close the wounds.
What would be more appropriate than a personal interest when it comes to a small car brand? A banality in the great calamity we are witnessing now. But a bridge for the future that we want to keep alive with the Russian translation site and not tear down. Even if it would seem appropriate at first glance.