The main news item today, for me, is the Russian-made missile striking inside Polish territory. The investigation is still underway as to who fired the missile, but a report on Aljazeera states that it was likely fired as part of Ukrainian defenses against a missile barrage launched by Russia:

Moscow’s forces launched 110 missiles and 10 Iranian-made attack drones throughout the country, the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said, leaving millions of households without power.

Ukraine said more than 70 missiles were shot down, but some hit the city of Lviv, near the border with Poland to the west.

Either way, it has made a stir.  The fact that there are missiles flying around Europe at all should be our focus of attention. Why is this happening in the year 2022? Somewhere in the morning’s news items I did see that reports from Russia indicate that more and more people are speaking out, in social media at least, against the war and Putin.  Good, please keep it up! And if there is anyone inside of Russia reading this that is still on the fence about where that country is going, in my expert opinion your trajectory is unsustainable. Or, in Russian, buduschego net. That it, unless you take action and make big changes in your government immediately.

Made with Bravery- Bravery is in our DNA

Made With Bravery and United24

Recently I was introduced to the website Made With Bravery, a marketplace for Ukrainian businesses. The site launched in mid-September, and currently has around 250 merchants with products on the site. Not only do the merchants continue to do business, but the site donates all of their marketplace commissions, and an additional 5% if you pay with Visa, to United24. I am placing my first order today, for holiday gifts.

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” The words of Winston Churchill, which need to be considered to fully understand the predicament the world is in today, the possible futures before us, and the requirements of western nations, emerging democracies, and authoritarian regimes alike. We have essentially two choices: to work towards equity, justice, democracy, freedom, and liberty. Or to work towards the opposite, the path of the pathological, authoritarian, megalomaniac “leading” Russia. Remember, there has never been a perfect political system, just as there has never been peace. Both are idealised parts of a long dreamt of world, that at best is what we strive for, work towards, never lose hope of attaining.  At worst they are, and will remain, fantasies, illusions, and far-off dreams.

Another quote summarises the Russian state. From Foreign Affairs magazine May/June 2022 issue, in the article Putin Unbound by Daniel Treisman,

“Russia is a brutally repressive police state run by a small group of hard-liners who have imposed ever-harsher policies both at home and abroad.”

Governments are at work, militaries are at work, Finland and Sweden have made their decisions, but what can the rest of us do? The simplest thing that anyone can do is to donate to help Ukraine. See the links in the upper right of this post. Not everyone can do that, so next is to fight against disinformation and help spread the truth- pass on verified information to as many people as possible within your networks. This is not just a battle against disinformation being fought against Russia- it has just as many proponents worldwide, and within our own country.  (What a sad state our democracy has fallen to!) Finally, contact your representatives and let them know we need to do more for Ukraine- more food, medicine, weapons, more sanctions against Russia, and more support for NATO and Europe.

In an article in the Wall Street Journal from last weekend, Putin Drives Finland Into NATO’s Arms, there is a quote by a 78-year-old amateur historian that stands out,

What Stalin forgot, and what Putin is forgetting now, is that if you fight for your own home, it makes the difference.

The reference here is to the Winter War of 1939-1940 where Finnish fighters did the same to Russian forces as Ukrainians are doing now- cutting them off, destroying their morale, destroying their forces, and eventually driving them out. The people of Finland were brave in 1939-1940, as they were last week in joining NATO. The people of Ukraine are brave. They are standing up for the world and they deserve our help.

The same article outlines the very prudent preparations that Finland has been making on their own over many, many years. These range from defense spending almost meeting NATO requirements, to upgrading and training with equipment that will integrate immediately with that used by NATO, to building a series of underground tunnels and shelters that will house up to 70% of the population, while stockpiling food, fuel and medicine.  Finland sets an example for all other countries to follow.

Since this seems to be a post full of quotes, I will end with one more.  “Budschego net“- Russian for “no future.”  This I learned from Masha Gessen’s similarly titled book, The Future is History. It is a commonly held and expressed sentiment in the… former Soviet Union, or today’s Russia, and says it all.

If by some stretch of the imagination someone in Russia reads this post, know that the future has not been cancelled entirely. The future is up to you. Be brave like the people of Ukraine and stand up to your government. You may suffer, and you may die. But Russians will continue to die every day until they stand together against their own tyranny.

 

russian combat losses as of 20 May 2022

Russian combat losses as of 20 May 2022