Over the past few weeks the world’s gaze has shifted toward Ukraine as Russia launched a full-scale invasion into their fellow post-Soviet state. Suggestions of WWIII have swirled about social media, but this isn’t the first time Russia has invaded Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, has been harassing Ukraine for years. He’s launched an assault on Ukraine before and has even been sponsoring Russian separationist groups within Ukraine.
In 2014, Russia violently seized control of the Ukrainian owned Crimean peninsula. During the attack, Putin’s troops killed many Ukrainians, which led to uproar and protests in both Ukraine and Russia. Many protesters were detained for expressing their discontent and members of the media were imprisoned for simply reporting on the protests.
Many of the same things are happening today. Russian citizens are being detained for protesting in the streets. Prominent celebrities and athletes in Russia are being silenced and usurped from their platforms.
The enemy is clearly not the Russian people. The enemy is Vladimir Putin. A news reporter recently described Russian politics as, “dangerously sophisticated,” but that could not be farther from the truth. The same news article stated Russian politics, enacted by Putin, are elaborate, not sophisticated.
They’re also barbaric. In 2015, a favored-to-win competitor of Putin’s in an ongoing election, Boris Nemtsov, was assassinated. His campaign had been built on criticizing Putin and appealing for change. It is widely believed that this assassination was a plot within the Russian government with Nemtsov’s suspected murders being the fall-guys of the operation.
Putin will do anything to maintain control and be seen as a big player on the world stage, even at the expense of his own people and their rich culture. It’s a shame that only now the world is coming together to combat an utterly corrupt dictator.
The signs of foul play have been apparent for years and it has cost many lives. I can only hope that Putin’s games are stopped before too many more lives are ended.