February 22, 2024

Two Years


Two Years

Vladimir Putin wanted a subservient Ukraine. He created an enemy for life.

He wanted a fractious, weakened NATO. He caused it to increase in size, unity, and military spending.

He wanted NATO to be pushed back from Russian borders. NATO now has 830 miles more border with Russia.

He wanted to be seen on a par with Catherine the Great, an empire builder and great diplomat. He will go down in history as a paranoid, despotic aggressor who made Russia first-hated among nations.

After two years, Russia is no closer to “winning” its War on Ukraine than it was on day one, when its loss began: a loss of status, economic power, influence, and, most importantly, the catastrophic losses in human life.

Meanwhile, Ukraine, which Putin feels does not deserve to be a country (yet is the largest in Europe) has grown immensely in stature – the brave and guardians at the Eastern Gates of Western Democracy whose standing army is now the largest in Europe.

We might try to take comfort from the fact that even 71-year-old Vladimir Putin is mortal. That even if elected president for life, he will one day – as do we all – pass from this world. But even that will not change things. Not quickly.

Consider all the judges, police officers, bureaucrats, diplomats, businesspeople, and average citizens, who – be it because of fear or self-aggrandizement – have quickly and easily fallen into step with the oppressive dictates of the Kremlin and its minions.

One person does not run a country. It takes tens of thousands of willing accomplices to create a dictatorship.

A darkness has risen over Russian souls such that even if today Russia retreated to within its historical carapace and gave up on this folly, it would take many years, decades perhaps, for Russia to regain any measure of respect and influence.

There is nothing to celebrate on this, the second anniversary of Russia igniting the most horrific land war in Europe since World War II. Except perhaps the dogged persistence of the Ukrainian people, their resolve to remain independent, to join and be an integral part of Europe, to finally and forever live their lives free of Russian domination.

It is very hard to be a Russophile given all that has been done in Russia’s name over the past decade. But perhaps we can embrace Ukrainophilia and hope that, after this darkness ends (and winter always ends), these people who live on the land where Ancient Rus got its start will get the freedom, community, and peace that they deserve.

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