Sergei Lukianenko Hails Attacks on Ukrainian Civilian Targets

Russian sff author Sergei Lukianenko celebrated the October 10 mass attack on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure in a social media post. As translated by Ukranian fan Boris Sydiuk, he said:

“Finally, I wish it would be so in February, deliberately and ruthlessly, fascist scum should go to hell.”

February is the month that Russia invaded Ukraine.

A screencap of this remark was posted on Imgur, with a more colloquial translation: “Finally. Should have done this back in February. Methodically and mercilessly. Fascist scum must go to hell.”

Lukianenko, a 2023 Chengdu Worldcon guest of honor, has been an outspoken proponent of Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine for years. His statements sparked passage of a resolution at the Chicon 8 Business Meeting calling for the 2023 Worldcon to refuse him as a guest.

Update: The link to Lukianenko’s post is:

29 thoughts on “Sergei Lukianenko Hails Attacks on Ukrainian Civilian Targets

  1. I know that each Worldcon is independent and can choose its guests of honor but this guy is bringing disgrace upon the Worldcon in as much as it is the premier SF con in the world. I don’t know why the guy cannot hold his opinions to himself.

  2. @Linda Robinett–He’s not keeping his opinions to himself because he doesn’t care about the opinions of anyone who doesn’t agree that the “fascist scum” Ukrainian civilians should die. Sunk deep in his own, or rather Putin’s, insane worldview.

    A disgraceful statement, a corrupt worldview, and a black mark on WorldCon.

  3. What an utter bastard.

    I don’t know why the guy cannot hold his opinions to himself.

    Too late for him. Lukianenko has been an anti-Ukraine asshole for a long time, since late 2000s at least. And not just that but a full-on stooge for Putin’s regime. As usual it started low-key with some small “innocent” comments in his blog and books, then went into overdrive as more people started noticing. During Crimea annexation it was already “foaming mouth” stage.

  4. Eh. I would assume there are Chinese fans that don’t understand why Jeannette Ng couldn’t just hold her opinions to herself about the Chinese government’s crackdown on Hong Kong.

    Inasmuch as those opinions were made during a Hugo acceptance speech, and then given a Hugo award the next year, I’d consider her thoughts to be far more firmly connected to (and even endorsed by) the WSFS than simply past tweets made by a guest.

    If you’re okay with that, then you either need to accept limiting the “world” part of WorldCon to just the parts of the world that agree with you, or accept that different WorldCons are going to make different political statements that you may or may not agree with.

    I should note that I agree with literally every word in Jeannette Ng’s speech, but that’s a separate matter to me then whether her speech (and the award for it) was making a political statement.

    To me, Worldcon precedent would be that everything, up to and including Lukianenko’s repeating those comments during the Hugo award ceremonies to a captive audience that may or may not firmly disagree with them, is fair game, as abhorrent as I find his words.

  5. I would assume there are Chinese fans that don’t understand why Jeannette Ng couldn’t just hold her opinions to herself about the Chinese government’s crackdown on Hong Kong.

    This is not a difference of opinion about geopolitics. It’s not someone making a speech critical of another country’s foreign policy that may or may not be inappropriate to the situation.

    This is someone constantly celebrating war crimes, cheering the murder of thousands of civilians, and fantasizing about the slaughter of millions more. It’s someone with a 15+ year history of using his position as an artist to push constantly escalating hate directed at millions of people. And now he is openly advocating literal genocide.

  6. @Brian–There’s a clear, objective difference between objecting to a crackdown on Hong Kong, and celebrating war crimes and genocide. Actual, literal war crimes–targeting hospitals, civilian population areas with no military targets, and agreed civilian evacuation routes.

    Also apparently kidnapping large numbers of Ukrainians and shipping them to Siberia, which is, yes, a form of genocide, attempting to eliminate Ukrainians as a people, even if they don’t all die.

  7. We were richly justified at the WSFS Business Meeting in Chicago asking the Chengdu concom to please reverse their decision to have this person as their GoH. I supported that and Chuck Serface’s related Ukraine-supporting resolution then, and do so even more now.

    Chengdu concom, please wake up and fix this. The problem isn’t getting better from your ignoring it, but rather worse.

  8. Chengdu concom, please wake up and fix this. The problem isn’t getting better from your ignoring it, but rather worse.

    It was pretty clear at Chicon last month that the Chendu committee, as stated through their representatives in Chicago, really don’t care. (Or, at least ,they’re not allowed to by the Chinese rulers.)

    I’d sell my membership to next year’s worldcon, but–thanks to the new rules ratified in Chicago–I’m not allow to.

  9. @John Lorentz, I heard the apathy expressed in Chicago quite clearly, too, and have no realistic expectation of corrective action. I just felt that it ought to be asked, anyway. Because we are a community. Even though we by design have no power to force a seated concom (beyond the Section 2.6 Incapacity of Committees ploy that was attempted and quickly swatted down), we can stilll speak to it politely and ask.

  10. David Langford: You’re kidding. Not discussing Chengdu’s utterly incompetent performance to date, and its insistence on hanging onto Lukianenko? I can’t imagine any outcome that Ben Yalow would find more desirable than keeping this state of affairs out of the spotlight.

  11. Have we heard from Ben on the matter outside of the Business Meeting? I mean, what I took away from that was he tried to squash the motions using Robert’s Rules, not on the merits of the argument. I think that should be something a chair would address.

  12. So voting for a major science fiction event to be hosted by the approved representatives of a totalitarian state wasn’t a good idea? Who could have guessed?

  13. HowardB: Chengdu was legally selected by a democratic process with a margin of victory of 2-to-1 over Winnipeg. Ain’t democracy a bitch?

  14. Hey, I thought it was a bad idea, I said so, I voted against it–and my side loss. Whic is, I figure, in the fine tradition of my father. Between his 1948 when he got out of the navy after the war, and his death in 1973, and excluding 1960 when he was unable to vote because we’d just moved, but would have voted for Kennedy–he voted for the loser Every. Single. Time.

    (My older half sister, in Texas, thought it was a hoot when Massachusetts was the only state that didn’t go for Nixon. By late 1973, she didn’t think it was so laughable.)

    I was in a small minority, and yes, I am to some extent thinking, what did people expect? Because no, I don’t know why it wasn’t more or less this. But yeah, that’s democracy. Sometimes people do crazy things, but all the other alternative forms of government are worse.

  15. I want every nerdy news outlet to carry this story, because I want people to remember what happens when you entrust Worldcon to an autocratic regime. I want people to never let this happen again.

  16. YES!!!

    At least let’s learn not to do this again, for at least another couple of generations. The autocratic regimes really are the bad guys, and don’t care about our values.

  17. Aaron Pound: And your idea to make sure this never happens again is exactly what? All this portentous finger-wagging at the nameless “you” just ignorantly bypasses how Worldcon sites are chosen. Which is by a vote of people who are (1) members of the current year Worldcon and (2) purchasers of a site selection voting membership. It’s not some little deluded directorate.

    Chengdu got out the vote. Despite all the coverage in advance about the Uighurs, Hong Kong, film censorship, and everything else that’s a human rights concern in China, only 800+ fans voted for Winnipeg — which, when compared to the much larger turnouts for some past contested years, must tell us something. Although what it tells us isn’t only about China — Winnipeg wasn’t really that strong a bid.

  18. @Christopher John Garcia, I was at least unclear, in speaking of someone attempting a Section 2.6 Incapacity motion, and apologise for that. Checking my notes, on Sunday, someone asked the chair to suspend the rules to introduce a motion of censure against Chengdu’s concom, one proposed to be debated on a Monday session, for failing various expected tasks. Such a motion is necessary for de-novo consideration of any motion not submitted before deadline (hence, not on the agenda), and requires 2/3 approval on the floor. The motion failed by an overwhelming margin.

    Section 2.6’s “Incapacity” provision is a WSFS constitutional safeguard in the case of a Worldcon actually failing, and permits the other seated Worldcon concom to intervene and take corrective action, preferably in consultation with the Business Meeting or overall WSFS membership, if possible. (We hope this is never necessary. It’s there in case of need.)

    I was guessing, earlier, that the contemplated censure motion might have ended up being framed as a request to the 2024 Worldcon concom to “determine what action to take” under 2.6, but since WSFS emphatically refused to add any such spur-of-the-moment motion to the agenda, that’s conjecture. Strictly speaking, all I knew from being in the assembly is that it would (if passed) have been some sort of censure statement — and, as it happened, WSFS didn’t want to even hear about that.

  19. And your idea to make sure this never happens again is exactly what?

    Getting out the vote to vote against bids that seek to place Worldcon in places governed by autocratic regimes. This was what worked to blunt the Pups when they tried their takeover of the Hugos, so it should be possible to do when such a hosting bid is made as well.

    I would have thought that this was obvious, but you seem to be determined to have a chip on your shoulder about this, which isn’t a good look for you.

  20. Aaron Pound: I’ll try to be as nuanced and subtle as you are in the future so as to present a better “look”.

  21. Lukianenko’s celebration of destroying civilian targets shows who he really is. The Chengdu Concom, likewise, in their non-response reveal themselves clearly, too. There doesn’t seem to be any way to “dictatorship”-proof the rulebook of the Worldcon without introducing fiats that will haunt others in the future. But as OGH pointed out to Dave L., concealing the matter by ignoring or not reporting on it is no solution. My theory holds: daylight kills vampires. Turn over the big stones and document the things crawling out. Do I think Chengdu should un-invite Lukianenko? Sure, on moral grounds. But does that conform to the rules, and is it practical? That will have to be sorted out by Chengdu Concom. The ball’s in their court.

  22. I quite agree that there is a non trivial distinction between the nations in which Worldcons have been held in through all of their history to date, and China.

    And yes, those of whom were eligible to vote Site Selection for 23 and who didn’t bother, this is on you all, as well.

    Google ‘the Two Michaels’ for more on this criminal regime, and why we should have NOTHING to do with it.

  23. I am curious what lies prompted Sergei Lukianenko to the above statement, because I find it difficult to believe he indeed said so to hail an attack on civilian targets. He may be a supporter of the Russian perspective, but must find his arguments in the flow of propaganda within the realm of his reality. How do we distinguish between truth and propaganda? Truth is what we are being told and propaganda is what the other side is being told? Is it that simple?
    Perhaps because I live and read from our side of the fence, I find the Russian demonizing of opponents more subtle. Our comments are exclusively one-sided. Because we are intrinsically right?

  24. @Wolf von Witting–It’s an objective fact that Russia has bombed hospitals, targeted civilian areas with no military targets in them, and fired on civilians moving on agreed civilian evacuation routes.

    Lukianenko has been virulently anti-Ukrainian since prior to the 2014 Russian invasion and occupation of Crimea. He’s openly cheering the recent attacks on civilians.

    He’s not an innocent, unaware victim of Russian propaganda.

  25. John Lorentz:

    I’d sell my membership to next year’s worldcon, but–thanks to the new rules ratified in Chicago–I’m not allow to.

    You would sell your right to nominate and vote in the 2023 Hugos and vote in 2025 site selection?

  26. You would sell your right to nominate and vote in the 2023 Hugos and vote in 2025 site selection?

    Yes, because I don’t want to support Chengdu in any way.

  27. Ok, they’d still have your $50, but I suppose the person you sold it to wouldn’t be giving them another $50.

    Personally, I always want to participate in the Hugos, and I sometimes want to vote in site selection, at least in contested races, regardless of who is running that year’s Worldcon.

  28. Um, how much continuity is there between the Chinese committee that won the Chengdu bid, and the committee right now (as of late March 2023)? And is this important?

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