While the mainstream media (and most Jewish media, unfortunately) casts the entire blame on Russia, the truth is that the Ukraine did not have to respond as it did.
Any economy and society finds it difficult to recover after such destruction (Bosnia still hasn't recovered from its wars of the 1990s), a country already ranked as the poorest and one of the most corrupt in its region will struggle even more to right itself (because it never stood straight in the first place).
Furthermore, regarding the Ukrainians who found themselves bombed out of their lives and forced to flee in destitution and panic — did anyone ask them if that was okay with them?
Did anyone ask them whether they preferred to endure Russian control again while remaining in their homes, communities, jobs, and lives...or whether they wanted to lose everything (including lives in some cases), make themselves & their children vulnerable to abuse & crime while fleeing and residing unprotected in mass shelters?
Did anyone ask them whether they wanted to be undesirable refugees in Poland or remain in their own society under Russian control?
Did anyone ask the elderly or people confined to hospital wards or the Holocaust survivors (who found it all particularly traumatic)?
Who is the Zelensky government to decide that fighting an unwinnable war and destroying lives and huge swathes of the Ukraine is better for the Ukrainians than Russian governance?
Please remember: The losses and destruction are not realistically recoverable.
So while much of the media is like, "The Ukraine had NO choice! They had to fight back! Whaddaya except them to do, just roll over and let Russia conquer them?"
I'm not saying Russia was right to invade. I don't think it was right. I don't think Russian greed justifies war.
But in an unwinnable war and an unrecoverable situation (because the Ukraine was already doing so badly before Russia's invasion), there is no logical case that can be made for fighting back.
A Look at the Nordic Countries (Or, "How the Ukraine isn't Finland")
While their handling of immigration has harmed their society, they still remain some of the most highly functional societies in the world.
In fact, Finland is the type of place where, if you forget your purse on a park bench, there is a good chance it will still be there when you come back 20 minutes later to find it.
They could also recover from a war.
Having said that, I don't think that, even banded together, the Nordic countries could win a war with the massive nuclear-armed Russian military.
So if Russia moved on them, maybe they should try negotiating whatever they can (which is how Finland gained its independence from Russia in the first place; not by war, but via diplomacy and patience).
But it would make a lot more sense that they want to preserve their independence and society because, well, they have what to preserve.
And probably at some point, Russia will try to invade the Nordic countries.
After all, their liberal policies of same-gender marriage, being soft on crime, abortion, alcoholic weekends, and loose behavior (like how most Swedes don't even bother getting married & when they do, it's only in their thirties, plus 54.4% of births occur out of wedlock) eventually bring out the disintegration of a society because Hashem really doesn't like that stuff.
In fact, the downfall of their societies has already started via the acceptance massive amounts of immigrants who not only don't share their liberal values, but fervently oppose those values.
But from a purely materialistic point of view, it's understandable if any Nordic country wished to resist Russian occupation with all its might because the quality of life would certainly plummet.
This is not true of Russian occupation of the Ukraine.
Both Share the Guilt
Yes, the media is acting like, "Heavens to Betsy! What else could the Ukrainian government possibly have done? They had no other option!"
But it's simply not true.
Of course most Ukrainians (though not all) do not want to live under Russian control.
But what's happening now is so much worse.
And again...it's UNrecoverable.
Contrary to popular propaganda, the Ukraine was a mess before the invasion. They never had their act together.
How could they possibly recover after this?
And what kind of society do they have to return to? A society in which you may not even receive proper medical care without handing over a bribe? A society with a 42% divorce rate? A society which ranks as one of the worst for corruption and the absolutely lowest in Europe for a poor economy?
A country about which the WHO states: "Ukraine falls in the highest WHO category of 'years of life lost' due to alcohol use, with an average alcohol consumption of 13.8 liters of pure alcohol per person per year (WHO, 2018).
In fact, Ukrainian independence from Russia caused the following:
Independence in 1991 was according to community leaders the end of a country that some had not anticipated, because they thought the USSR was the “mightiest” in the world.
Following the end of the USSR, in Ukraine several collapses of financial systems ensued accompanied by significant losses of jobs, savings and pensions.
Only a few of the respondents mentioned to have anticipated the independence and ensuing chaos and to have redirected their money. Local economies also collapsed resulting in an increased need to become self-sustainable while more people worked on their home farm due to a lack of jobs.
Three health workers (males, 35–55 years old) reported this was not full-time work and that:
“… people would drink alcohol the rest of the day … They cannot imagine that they can have a better life.”
Respondents remarked that outdated and still centrally organized political-economic structures affect all citizens in their daily lives from the state of roads, and public transport, to access to medical supplies and the approach to work.
According to community leaders some individuals longed for the old days when work and medical aid was certain for everyone and that people in their communities who still work according to communist norms struggle to understand that their work lacks standards in quality and quantity.
If you read the entire article, you see that Ukrainian independence did not bring an overall benefit to society. They have a lot of problems.
A lot of problems that "nice, normal, civilized" societies do not suffer.
Again, Ukraine is MUCH worse off now under Russian attack than under Russian occupation.
And they won't be able to recover because they were NEVER doing so well to start with.
Like this eye-opening tidbit here:
This same female AD [alcohol dependence] survivor reported to start misusing alcohol from 9 years old, telling how her whole room would reek of alcohol the next morning.
She said her parents would not investigate after her reply that it was “just beer.”
Negligent parenting was in about one third of the youths’ responses linked to parental AD...
And I guess you have to be a pretty committed vodka-drinker to consider a 9-year-old's alcohol-saturated bedroom as okay as long as it's "just beer."
Can you picture little Shaindy in her Beis Yaakov uniform of light blue buttoned shirt and navy pleated skirt downing a 6-pack?
Do nice, normal, civilized societies feature such a huge percentage (1 in every 3 children) of negligent parenting due to alcoholism?
In fact, the Ukraine hosts one of the world's highest incidences of children's alcoholism:
That is really not normal.
As stated in previous posts, of course there are decent Ukrainians of integrity, compassion, and goodness.
But here, we are discussing the Ukraine as a general society, and not the wonderful individuals who exist within.
The Ukrainian government could have entered into some kind negotiations to prevent the destruction, displacement, trauma, poverty, severe losses, and chaos millions of people are experiencing now.
So please remember that next time you see a compelling photo of a little blonde Ukrainian toddler in her fuzzy pink coat standing outdoors near an evacuation bus (whose parents are probably impoverished drunks).
She didn't have to be there outside, exposed, and on the run.
There WAS another option. Not a palatable or ego-stroking option. But a better one than this.
And let's hope that as the Ukrainians tire of the constant war, poverty, displacement, and death, that they don't wake up to the fact that the man who helped wreck their lives is a Jew.
Sure, I don't see that mumar and possible meshumad as a fellow Jew. (The Rambam says I do not need to consider him my brother due to his lack of any connection to Torah.) I don't believe he even has a Yisrael soul.
But that's not how he'll be seen in his part of the world once all the smoke clears.
Let's hope he stops crowing about his Jewish roots and that the Ukrainians also forget about those roots.
Myrtle Rising posts on this topic: