That needs to be made clear.
Yes, most of the editors and writers seem to be sincere people. (I've met quite a few of them.)
And yes, some of them earned rabbinical ordination, which indicates a certain amount of scholarship under their belt.
But they are not daas Torah.
Sometimes, they communicate daas Torah (hopefully, they do so accurately). But they themselves are NOT daas Torah.
With the best of intentions, they are daas baalei batim.
And because they are all in all, daas baalei batim, they are subject to the same bias, blind spots, and good yet misguided intentions as all of us.
In other words, their opinions should not carry the same weight as those of truly knowledgeable and great rabbanim.
Why Davka Go Pro-Ukraine? Why Not be Neutral? Or Why Not be Anti-Both?
I'm not referring to our wonderful Ukrainian Jewish brethren.
I mean the average Ukrainian.
I mean Ukrainian society.
And frum media adapted that pro-stance with bewildering fervor.
It's like this:
If a frum Jew feels anti-Russia sentiment...well, okay. There's the whole history of Communist rabid religious persecution. And while Putin deals fairly with the Russian Jewish community now, he's no tzaddik.
I get the anti-Russia sentiment.
But this fervently sympathetic pro-Ukrainian stance?
It's simply mind-boggling.
There is NO basis for it.
As you'll see below, the Ukrainians aren't better off under a Ukrainian government.
It does not matter whether they are independent or not.
Neither a Russian government nor a Ukrainian government benefit the Ukrainian people.
It's all the same rubbish.
But because this Ukrainian-sympathetic stance so obviously derives from the mainstream media (which developed a sudden & cultish support for the Ukraine), it also concerns me that frum Jews allow themselves to be so strongly influence by the Leftist anti-religious anti-Torah anti-Israel mainstream media.
(Because on their own, a frum Jew never would've developed such a pro-Ukrainian POV. There is simply no logical support for such a position.)
Also, I've seen NOTHING from any Gedolei Hador supporting such a stance. The kol koreis I have seen simply call for a peaceful resolution for both sides & caring for Jewish refugees without taking sides.
(That's daas Torah. And it means something, guys.)
A Brief Look at the Views Promoted in the Media, Plus Real-Life Anecdotes
But I think events of decades ago (with the perpetrators are mostly dead by now) don't hold sway among people today who seem to believe the modern Ukraine is all sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns — with Russia as the only thing holding them back from being totally fabulous.
But it's simply not true.
As has been true for centuries, the Ukraine has problems innate to itself...
...which is why I find so puzzling the fervent sympathy for Ukraine & the insistence on seeing Ukrainians as so lovely.
(Yes, there are lovely Ukrainians. But we are now generalizing about their society.)
For example, one publication published the following description of the Ukraine:
"nice, normal, civilized"
WHO on earth ever describes the Ukraine that way????
When has the Ukraine EVER been nice or normal or civilized?
Note: I'd like to interrupt myself to say that if you realize what article I mean, then please know it was an excellent article other than that bizarre phrase — very educational about the modern history of the Ukraine.
Furthermore, just because a person's name appears on the byline of a piece doesn't mean they wrote every word.
Sometimes, an editor adds stuff without even informing the writer. I personally know of an instance when an editor did this, turning a concept into something the author did not even believe, yet was expressed under this author's name.
And yes, the author received an angry letter, but could not respond because the author agreed with the letter-writer, yet was not allowed to say where the blame really lay.
Also, even if the author really does believe it, it says something about the publication's stance that they allow such a view to be promoted within their publication.
So keep all that in mind...
Anyway...going back to the idea of modern-day Ukraine being "nice, normal, and civilized," (as if the Ukraine is actually Finland or Denmark in disguise!):
We've all known so many people of all stripes who went to Kiev and Uman over the past years.
And we all heard their impressions of the Ukraine.
No one ever came back remarking what a normal and civilized society it was.
In fact, we all know the Ukraine is a very corrupt country — and NOT just because of Russia.
For example, anyone who has visited the Ukraine will tell you a lot of Ukrainians working as drivers (truck drivers, taxi drivers, etc.) do so while under the influence of vodka.
Is Russia compelling Ukrainians to drive professionally while snockered?
Of course not! That has always been part of Ukrainian culture.
Furthermore, murder, terrible car accidents, and unjust arrests occur at a high rate, as we all know from both the media and anecdotes from our friends.
(You can read of my son's experience in Uman back in 2021 — including the ho-hum run-of-the-mill Ukrainian corruption — here: www.myrtlerising.com/blog/the-view-of-a-non-breslov-wife-mother-regarding-rosh-hashanah-in-uman...did Putin force that Ukrainian to be ignorant of Russian-language ATMs until the Ukrainian received 5 hryvni?)
On the other hand...yes, if you go to the mall in Kiev, you will feel like you're in any other cosmopolitan place in Europe.
But what goes on behind the scenes?
Let's look at the cold, hard objective numbers.
The Truth about the Ukraine BEFORE the War with Russia
Meaning, this is the NORM for the Ukraine BEFORE THIS WAR WITH RUSSIA.
(Boldface & underline my own additions.)
- Ukraine is the POOREST country in Europe
"...Ukraine remains the poorest country in Europe by nominal GDP per capita, which some journalists have attributed to high corruption."
Tellingly, even before the Russian invasion, the Ukraine was even poorer than fellow Soviet and formerly Communist-dominated countries like Belarus and Hungary, including the miserable Moldova (seriously; Moldova is one of the world's most unhappiest countries) and poorer than war-torn PTSD countries that still suffer ethnic strife and corruption, like Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia.
And the report states outright the abysmal ranking derives from high corruption.
Should ranking as the poorest country in Europe due to "high corruption" be characterized as "nice" or "normal"?
BTW: If you're rank at the bottom of a list, you are not normal. Normal means "median," not "the worst."
And "high corruption" is neither "nice" nor "civilized."
- The Ukraine also lies low on the WORLD corruption index
Note the Ukraine sinks toward the bottom of the 180 countries: rank #122.
How civilized! And nice! And normal! [sarc]
The Ukraine ranks below other countries you may have considered extremely corrupt. Meaning, the Ukraine is considered MORE CORRUPT than Gambia, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone (always a prime pop-up as a center of human rights abuses), Kazakhstan, Surinam, and many more.
If a country is considered MORE corrupt than Sierra Leone, Egypt, Serbia, Bosnia, and the Solomon Islands (where cannibalism can still be found among some inhabitants)—how can you call it "civilized" or "normal" with a straight face?
Furthermore, there's this:
Over half (53 per cent) said that their government is doing badly at fighting corruption, while less than a quarter (23 per cent) say that they are doing well.
The governments of Ukraine (86 per cent), Moldova (84 per cent), Bosnia and Herzegovina (82 per cent), and Spain (80 per cent) were judged worst by their citizens.
Bribery is a far too common experience for many households in the region.
On average, one in six households paid a bribe for access to public services. Although few households paid bribes when coming into contact with public services in EU member states, rates were significantly higher further east...the Kyrgyz Republic and Ukraine (38 per cent for each)...
Even before Russia’s invasion, Ukraine was already facing an increase in the scale of human trafficking...The population is extremely vulnerable, an issue severely exacerbated by Russia’s invasion and the need for millions of people to leave their homes for safety in Ukraine and abroad.
I knew this meant wide-spread sxual abuse.
The Ukraine already faced a problem with this and with so many women and children lying out in the open and unprotected, this immediately signaled terrible abuse.
But the mass of frum political pundits did not see this for some reason.
You can blame Russia all you want, but the Ukrainian government handled things very badly.
And they handled things badly BEFORE too.
In fact, statistics labeled the Ukraine as one of the HIGHEST human traffiking countries in Europe (on par with Rumanian, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Russia):
Prior to Russia’s invasion in February 2022, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in Ukraine...estimated that more than 300,000 Ukrainians had suffered from human trafficking since 1991. An estimated 46,000 Ukrainians were trafficked during 2019-2021; 29,000 abroad and 17,000 in Ukraine.
Is it the sign of a civilized society?
I certainly hope not!
There's also this nifty heads-up to people considering living there BEFORE the Russian invasion:
Ukraine is riddled with real-estate scams that go mostly unnoticed by the government...
Unfortunately, corruption is still commonplace. Police often hassle foreigners for a "small gift." Shady businesses operate with seemingly no repercussions. Getting anything done officially takes a lot of time, patience, and the occasional "extra fee" for officials.
While the healthcare situation in Ukraine has improved radically, some remnants of an inefficient past still remain, particularly in terms of bribery — in some cases bribes may be expected in order for patients to receive proper care.
On the contrary, that all sounds really awful and Sodom-like to me.
Why are frum Jews supporting the Ukraine????
(Support Ukrainian Jews? YES!!! But why all the support & idealization of Ukrainian SOCIETY & Ukrainian independence?)
Guess Who's Name is "Mud"?
There's also Daniel Greenfield's article breaking down & analyzing Zelensky's manipulative & self-serving rhetoric:
(Also, as for Zelensky lauding the anti-Torah Commie Gold Meir, please see Rav Avigdor Miller:
Since then, I've seen photos claiming to be of Zelensky holding a swastika flag of a Ukrainian neo-Nazi group and at his child's baptism in a church.
Are these photoshopped? I cannot tell.
But he for sure turned his back on his heritage and married a non-Jewish woman.
And all his Holocaust drivel? Give me break. If you care so much about Jewish continuity, why didn't you at least marry a Jewish woman, you mumar?
Personally, I still find it unforgiveable that he demanded little war-torn Israel to take on massive nuclear-armed Russia.
What an egomaniacal psychopath.
That some frum Jews swoon over this egomaniacal mumar (and possible meshumad) with a deathwish for Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael?
(And I'm being nice and giving the benefit of the doubt by calling such swooning "insane." It's actually much worse and more disturbing than that. How can they possibly not see something so obvious?)
How to Stop the Madness
They DO listen.
Again, whether a writer meant what was written or not, the PUBLICATION decided to publish THIS point of view.
They are PUSHING this narrative of the Ukraine as a nice, normal, civilized, innocent victim full of rainbow glitter and unicorns — and only that "big bad" Russia is ruining things for them.
As shown above, it's all wrong, wrong, wrong.
(BTW, I do not support Russia or the Ukraine. Both governments are corrupt.)
Even one letter makes a difference, especially when supported by proven sources.
You can write to either the publication or the author (if a personal address is given).
(I've done this. They don't respond, but they do change their wording in future articles.)
Don't lambast or insult them or use tons of exclamation points.
Just say the facts with links. (You can use the links provided in this post.)
At the very least, know for yourself the facts.
Don't take sides among these backwards corrupt messed-up nations!
Stated in 1980:
Stated in 1981:
Yes, specific circumstances changed, but the principles guiding us how to view situations remain the same.