Now we know Putin was lying all along. I must admit, I am surprised, I would not have thought this was coming, not like that. The pattern is clear now:
- Putin has for planned this for many years.
- He has rebuilt Russia into a fascist state – centered on military, mafia, state-controlled business, using the cover of the church, pushing nationalist, “traditional values” and xenophobic narratives. This is the definition of fascism.
- He has used his fake news apparatus to push and support right-wing extremists in the US, Germany, France, the UK and other countries.
- He has somehow still been able to convince Socialists/Communists and some Social Democrats in the West (and China) that he was still on the political Left (not that I would consider Communism the true representative of the Left either…). He is not.
- He has used his power of creating chaos and sowing disillusionment to amplify an otherwise healthy democratic discourse in the West and make it toxic.
- He has made European countries dependent on the West.
- He has spread lies (chiefly, that NATO violated a (non-existing!) promise to never expand).
- He has worked to rewrite the history of Russia by sanitizing Stalin, demonizing Gorbachev (a true Russian hero and a true Socialist) and denying Ukraine the right to exist.
- He has destabilized Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, has bound Belarus closer, and is working to destroy Bosnia again and support Serbian extremist nationalism.
- He has committed war crimes in Syria.
- He has amped up his military and violated and left significant demilitarization treaties.
- During the last year, he deliberately did not fill German gas reservoirs in order to control Germany and thus the EU.
- He stole Crimea and the Donbas, then blamed Ukraine when she tried to defend herself against these incursions and called her defensive actions genocidal.
- He has encircled Ukraine.
- He has pretended to support diplomacy, promised a diplomatic solution to Western leaders, lying all the way.
- He has finally attacked.
Now, had he used his many, many years in office to create a prosperous, democratic and resilient Russia, none of that would have been necessary.
We all saw what happened, and we all hoped we were not seeing the bigger picture – even if it was clear before.
Why should we, in the West, care?
This attack is meant against all of us. Ukraine has been asking for help for years, it has been wanting to be part of NATO, part of the EU. We know why this was seen as threatening to Putin: It would have prevented his attack. This was his only reason to demonize NATO: Had we acted swiftly and accepted Ukraine (and Georgia) as part of NATO, none of this would have happened.
My thoughts are with the brave people of Ukraine, and with her President. Putin has called for a denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine. Zelensky is the descendant of Holocaust survivors. Ukraine has been a threat to nobody. It was attacked by Stalin during the Holodomor, a famine engineered by the Soviets. It was attacked by Nazi Germany. Its soldiers – as part of the Red Army – suffered the brunt of the German attack. It suffered through Chernobyl. It has been attacked by Russia since 2014. Ukraine is the innocent victim here, and Putin is the aggressor.
All we can do now for Ukraine is tell the truth, support democracy, support Ukraine in whatever way we can.
Let us hope that someone other than this mad czar sees reason in Russia. This needs to stop.