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Why Did Russia Invade Ukraine? Just Repeating an Old Pattern

Richard Dowson explores Russia's history with Ukraine

A Thumb Nail Back-Story – Russian Invasion of Ukraine

From the collapse of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991 Ukraine had been a loyal ‘serf state’ of Russia. They were like Belarus is today. Loyal and cooperative and considered Bunyuks. (A Bunyuk is someone who does things wrong and doesn’t know it. A Bumbling Fool.) By 2013 Ukrainians had travelled into Europe and visited other former Soviet states. They learned there was a better way of life. 

The Ukrainian leader in 2013 was Viktor Yanukovych, born in the Donetsk region. Pro-Russian, corrupt and a petty dictator who declared when elected “… to defend Ukrainian interests and democratic traditions.” 

(Politicians say the ‘darnedest’ things.)

Wanting a better standard of living Ukrainians began to protest. They wanted closer ties with Europe. They thought of themselves as European, not Bunyuks. When Ukrainian President Yanukovych visited the Kremlin in November 2013 he was told by Putin that there would be no ties with Europe. The Russian puppet Viktor Yanukovych didn’t want to lose his opulent estate and his money so he agreed with Putin.

By late fall of 2013, after Yanukovych failed to sign an agreement with the European Union there were riots in Kyiv. The Euromaidan Revolution began. (‘Maidan’ means ‘open space’) 

On February 22, 2014 the Euromaidan Revolution was victorious. Viktor Yanukovych as booted out and sought refuge in Russia, leaving his ‘opulent estate’ behind.

Dates are Important:

1    November 2013 – Russia tells Ukraine it cannot not have closer ties with Europe
2    Winter of 2013-14, Putin angry at Ukrainians for wanting European connections
3    February 7 to 23, 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia – Putin Scheming 
4    February 20, 2014, Russia invades Crimea
5    February 22, 2014 – President Viktor Yanukovych booted out
6    March 2014 Unrest in Eastern Ukraine – Crimea declared part of Russia

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The Russian invasion of the Ukraine is about taking territory, and retribution. It’s about capturing and ‘owning the ground’ and exerting power, influence and control over others. There is no real tactical need. It is the same reasoning Hitler and the NAZIs used for the invasion of the Soviet Union (Russia) on Sunday, June 22, 1941. They failed.

On June 24, 1812, Napoleon’s Grande Armée invaded Russia to take more territory. They failed. There was no economic or strategic reason for Hitler or Napoleon to invade.

The NAZIs invaded Norway on April 9, 1940 for economic and strategic reasons. Norway had deeps sea ports for German U-boats attacking shipping in the North Atlantic and protection for shipments of iron-ore from neutral Sweden. 

The invasion of the Ukraine makes no sense economically or strategically. It is a land grab, and historically, ‘land grabs’ from existing, established regimes turn out badly. 

It was not only Hitler and Napoleon who undertook misadventures. The British and then American invasions of Afghanistan. The French and then the American invasions of ‘Indo-China’ and Vietnam where more than 50,000 Americans were killed and 250,000 wounded. For What? Our American cousins are guilty of some very dumb wars.

The world hoped ‘land grab’ wars ended with WW Two. Never did.

If the invasion of the Ukraine makes no sense economically or strategically, then why?

Hubris!

Russia has abundant natural resources and supplies oil and gas to Europe. They could be an incredible military and economic power. They could control Europe with oil and gas. Why not just take the European’s money and buy all the businesses in Europe? War is the dumbest idea of all. Just make money and buy European businesses and make more money.

Seems like the Russian Leader never took an economics class when he was with the KGB.  

Also, Russia has no real checks and balances on a Leader’s power – something Americans are struggling with today. Russian leadership seems to only think of controlling people and exacting revenge.

Russia has never been a democratic country. They tried to be a Constitutional Monarchy in 1906 but that ended badly in 1917. Basically, Russia was led by Czars and the Dictators. That’s it.

The Russian Leader has no desire to share power. Instead, what has emerged as one man wanting complete control. There isn’t even a ‘Political Bureau’ able to offer advice.

If you have ever been the boss, you know about forming coalitions; seeking support; accepting valuable ideas and criticism and being the final arbitrator. In Russia it seems those with money and privilege feed the Leader a line of BS and ‘play’ the new Czar while they carry on ripping off the Proletariat. 

The wealthy ‘cling-ons’ are the powerful dudes with the yachts, who please Putin. They agree and go along to keep the Leader happy. Those who step out of line ‘commit suicide’ or ‘Defenestration,’ a metaphor which comes from ‘throwing an opponent out a window’. (The Slavic term originated in Prague in the seventeenth century.) 

Past History

The Russian Leader invaded Chechnya and killed thousands. The Russians destroyed the city of Grozny.  And the world did nothing. 

The Russian Leader invaded and took a controlling interest in Georgia in August 2008.  And the world did nothing.

After hosting the Winer Olympics in 2014 Russia invaded Crimea.  And the world did nothing.

In 2022 the Russian Leader invaded Ukraine. The world woke up and are doing something.

The pattern – Past Behavior is an Indication of Future Behavior.

President Putin wants more and more power, influence and control. His invasions are not for economic or strategic reasons. It is about subjugating people and gaining more power, influence and control. Like Hitler, Napoleon, Stalin and others, he has no interest in stopping

Who’s next? Poland? Bulgaria? Moldova? Dictators never stop. 

Putin’s Objective in Ukraine is Etched into the Soil of Chechenia

Wanton destruction. The First and Second Chechen Wars define his objective. Chechenia is a small, former Soviet Union state east of Georgia, between the Black and Caspian Seas. It is mostly in the Caucasus mountains. When the Soviet Union broke up in December 1991 the Chechen folks formed their own country. That went over like a lead balloon with Russia.

The Russian Republic invaded the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria in December 1994. The war lasted until August 1996. Both sides were brutal. That was the First War.

The Second Chechen War, 1999 to 2009 

The Russians flattened Grozny, the capital city. Thousands were killed. Russia overthrew the government and installed a government loyal to Russia. It is now a vassal state of Russia, like Belarus and is supplying troops to fight for the Russians in Ukraine.

Grozny was rebuilt. Who got the contracts to rebuild it? Probably Oligarchs and friends of the Russian and Chechen Leaders. Who paid? The people of course, through taxes.