Russia's invasion of Ukraine "will one day be written into textbooks as one of the darkest stains on Russian history," internationally acclaimed Russian novelist Ludmila Ulitskaya told Kyodo News in a recent written interview.
The 79-year-old contemporary writer, who had expressed to Russian media in late February that her country's actions brought her "pain, fear and shame," also called the military aggression "a crime being committed in the name of the Russian people against our will."
"One man's madness and his loyal followers control the fate of the country," Ulitskaya said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
She added that she believes Putin's decision to invade Ukraine was motivated by his successful experience unilaterally annexing Crimea from the country in 2014.
Putin sees Western nations as "weak" entities that "are only concerned about their own profit" and threatened them with Russia's dominance over energy resources and possession of nuclear weapons, leading to his defiance of international condemnation, Ulitskaya said.
Within Russia, growing patriotism is being fanned by local media with the approval of the authorities and opinions hinting at the possibility of another world war in response to sanctions on the country are emerging, according to the award-winning author.
Ulitskaya explained that Putin continues to be popular as "power is concentrated in the current government" and "there is no opposition to it," adding that she does not trust approval ratings and other published figures.
"No one knows what his real approval rating is," she said. "No one around me supports him."
While Ulitskaya expressed hope that the scale of anti-war protests in Russia would continue to grow, she also voiced concern over "very bad signs" that more arrests were being made and independent radio stations have been shut down.
In her epic novel "The Big Green Tent," Ulitskaya depicts the subtle emotions of citizens struggling under an oppressive regime during the half-century between dictator Joseph Stalin's death and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
When asked about the role literature has to play, Ulitskaya said she believes it is the only thing that allows humans to survive and reconcile themselves to the times, as a character in her novel claims.
"It may be that I am mistaken or exaggerating, but it seems to me that a more effective tool than literature does not yet exist," she said.