Some back-story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_of_Dignity
The 2022 Russian invasion is sobering and eye opening - not only about Russia.
Unfortunately, politics cause innocent people to suffer. Of course Ukraine doesn’t want to be a part of Russia. Why would anyone, if they had the chance to join a less corrupt, more prosperous, more free political system? Russians who support Putin do so out of fear. Fear of the poverty of 1990s.
For anyone like myself who was ignorant of politics until November 2016, here’s what I learned:
Ukrainian revolution (Russia calls it a coup) happened in 2014 (Wikipedia). Ukraine joined the EU in early 2016. It did seem to be the will of the majority, except maybe in Eastern regions. Putin, like Stalin and other Russian leaders, have always been notorious for suppressing and murdering political opponents. United States and Europe supported Ukraine’s political and economic independence. Trump is friendly with Russia. He would have promised that the USA would veto/deny any agreement for Ukraine from join NATO. Would this prevent the invasion though? Putin seems like he wanted more than to simply prevent Ukraine from joining NATO. If that was the case, he obviously would not bomb and take over the entire country, but simply continue grabbing land around the edges. Any country with border disputes is not allowed to join NATO. So that would have been enough. What is war good for? Killing people that refuse to submit to you. This is what Putin and Russian leaders are already known for.
Growing up in Russia, I always heard the sentiment that Ukrainians are Russians, same thing. I thought that it was because the people are so similar and share a similar culture. Russians think of Ukrainians as our brothers and sisters. Russia was actually started in the land of Ukraine 1000 years ago, then grew Eastward.
The problem has a lot to do with language:
- Russia stems from the word “Rus”, as in the old “Kievan Rus”. The land which is now Kiev Ukraine was originally called “Rus”. This can be understood to mean “Russia”.
- Root word of Ukraine is “krai”, which means “semi-autonomous region” in Russian. Literally, the word means something like “corner”. Corner of what? In Russian language, a lot of meaning is implied by context or proximity. So Ukraine literally means “a corner of Russia”.
I always wondered why Ukrainian and Russian languages are similar, both share many root words and grammar, but Ukraine and most other Slavic countries use Latin - an alphabet less suited for the language. It makes sense. The language is a tool of control. In the Russian language, Ukraine is subservient.
Fox News calls it Putin’s “revenge”. That word implies that Putin has been wronged. But he had no business controlling Ukraine to begin with. Let them join Europe if they want to.
Russian state-run propaganda is called “Pravda”. That means “TRUTH”. Great idea! Putin’s political opponents face death threats and violence. So do Trump’s political opponents.
In the Soviet Union, if someone contradicts the party, they would face severe consequences. Now we have that in the USA too. In Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and some others, teachers will face financial ruin if they teach something against the party.
To deny systemic oppression of blacks is like denying the Holocaust. It happened long after slavery, with peaceful civil rights leaders literally being murdered and black people unable to buy a home or good job well into the 80s. Stuck in ghetto, with no mentor, nobody to show how to get out of it. Recent couple of generations gave up, but can you blame them? No child left behind act defunded struggling inner city schools, making the problem worse. Abortion ban will make it even worse, by creating more children raised in poverty by one struggling parent.
We may not get the Communism part of Soviet Russia, but we are starting on the path to the Fascist part of it.
I’m not concerned about the occasional person exaggerating about a racist/sexist encounter. People generally do not report racism and sexism at the time it happens, and live traumatized. I’ve gotten it as a white male. My wife can not wear hijab in this country, out of fear of conservatives which have harassed her from time to time. The occasional female athlete having to race against someone born as a male. That is very rare. What’s common though, is prejudice.
People who are struggling in inner cities need help. Didn’t Jesus teach to love and help your neighbor? I don’t think he meant literally your next door neighbor. If you are against abortion, please adopt foster children, especially black foster kids. Please teach in schools, especially struggling ones. There is not a welfare or safety net in this country beyond basic food. If you think poor people are getting free housing, you obviously haven’t applied for it.
American Republicans, just like Russians who support Putin, are acting out of fear. The growing number of conservative media sources and activists are finding every example of problems and inaccuracies from over-eager progressives, who were also acting out of fear. Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.