May 01, 2023

Grappling Hooks

We must grapple with some difficult contradictions.

First, we conclude that this is “Putin’s War,” the horrific scheme of a solitary tyrant. Yet we shrink from blaming the people or society from which Putin arose, the people that continue to support the president in droves. Is it because we don’t want to face this truth, to look squarely at the centuries of Russian imperialism and aggression? Do we fear implicating those Russians we know personally, the warm memories we have of interacting with this culture, this literature, this society?

Second, we place hope in the idea that, when President and Indicted War Criminal Vladimir Putin passes, this war shall pass. Yet, again, this defies logic. One man does not begin a war such as this without an elite, or a large section of that elite behind him. There is still ample support for this war in the halls of the Kremlin and, despite the elite infighting revealed in the recent leak of US classified documents (which mainly seems to show disputes over how to conduct the war, not whether to), it is not logical to assume that, were Putin to disappear tomorrow, Russia would sue for peace.

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