By Aidan Morales
With covered faces and lacking insignia, Russian troops entered the Crimean peninsula. Crimea was a peninsula that was Ukrainian before 2014, but since then has been incorporated as part of Russia, contrary to what many governments recognize. Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, holds his popularity due to the removal of opposition and his ability to appeal to Russians who feel like he is the only way to bring back Russia into a golden age of being feared by its neighbors and those around the globe. Following Putin’s annexation of Crimea, his approval rating went up and his presidency was again guaranteed. If there is a reason for the Russian military to stand on the Ukrainian border, this is it. Many middle-aged Russians remember the USSR and look back at it with fond nostalgia, a time when Russia was strong.
The Russo-Ukrainian conflict has been going on since 2014, with both sides looking across the border with unease. Russia is the aggressor in this situation without a doubt, but there is no good side in this from an ideological perspective. While the US and the EU are gearing up Ukraine, they fail to acknowledge the fact that they are arming and training Ukrainian forces that are infiltrated or are entirely made up of far-right neo-Nazis. If you look back in time, America armed the Mujahideen, which now we see as a terrorist organization. We armed these people with a blind hope that they will limit Soviet influence. When the USSR was gone, however, they looked west. Osama Bin Laden, a member, and supporter of the Mujahideen splintered off and formed al-Qaeda. America funded the people who eventually caused the terror attack on 9/11. America seems to lack foresight.
The Azov Battalion, a branch of the Ukrainian Military is led by a man who once said the “historic mission” of Ukraine is to “lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival” in “a crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.” While this is more than mildly concerning, Russia is on the other side of this conflict and seems to be racking up human rights violations.
You’re free to pick a side, but make sure you know who you’re supporting.