The Fierce Determination of the Ukrainian People

Sure, some people are looking at the global political ramifications, and seeing this as a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia, and they’re not completely wrong. Certainly, in retrospect, the American involvement from Maidan onward has been unacceptable interference. But what Putin did, and is doing, is monstrous and totally unacceptable.
But, American interests and Russian interests have nothing to do with it. This is about Ukraine. They are the victims in this, and to say their reaction to the crisis has been admirable is an understatement. The words the spring to my mind are ‘heroic,’ ‘awe inspiring,’ and ‘incredible.’
But also understandable. There are two types of people in Ukraine, as in all of the Warsaw Pact countries and former Soviet Republics. Those who are under 40 or thereabouts, and those who are older. Those who are under 40 were at most 7 or 8 years old when the Soviet Union collapsed, so they have lived their lives in a European nation, from which they could travel freely and in which they were exposed to Western ideas. The idea that they should suddenly become a vassal state of Russia must seem completely surreal to them. Then there are those who are older, who have memories of living under Russian subjugation, and they are all saying “Oh, fuck no, no way are we going back to that shit.” I am thinking of the photos I’ve seen of 80 year old women holding assault rifles and ready to fight the Russians to the death. It is not a bluff. Their determination is evident.
The irony (well, one of the ironies) of the whole situation is that this isn’t even the same Russia as in 1989, although Putin would obviously like to go back to that. Russia, as well, has had 23 years of relative freedom and access to the rest of the world.
And now they are blowing it. The only positive ending to this is if Russian troops are removed from Ukraine, and Putin is removed from power.

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