So it's especially bizarre to me why the world—including so many Jews—have suddenly decided the Ukrainians are a bunch of poor bullied li'l babies who need to be rescued from the big bad Russian bear.
I also remember Communist Russia and the Jewish refuseniks, plus the severe repression of religion there and I personally heard from people who traveled to the USSR to give chizuk and religious items to Jews there.
As an adult, reading about the brutal behavior of Russian "liberators" during WWII revealed animalistic behavior, so in contrast to the behavior of American, British, and French soldiers.
Without going into detail, Russian soldiers even pulled out a non-Jewish (Hungarian?) woman in a shelter from between the woman's mother and husband to violate her.
The widespread aftermath of Russian "liberators" revealed corpses of German females, from the very young to 60-somethings, clearly murdered after being violated by Russian soldiers.
Jewish women were no exception, unfortunately.
In one case, a Nazi commander was left in charge of a death camp AFTER liberation in order to protect the Jewish women from Russian assault!
The young Sassover Rebbetzin (before she became rebbetzin) and her friend found refuge with a rural Nazi woman, who initially chased them away from her home, but after witnessing the barbarism of the Mongolian Russian soldiers, the Nazi-supporter actually allowed the two Jewish girls to take refuge in her home!
For Communist-era true stories, please see the following links:
For Holocaust-era Jewish girls escaping Russian soldiers (both stories end well, baruch Hashem), please see:
This all does not even begin to cover the pogroms, the heartrending tragedy of the young Jewish Cantonists, and the general anti-Jew attitudes throughout the history of BOTH Russia and the Ukraine.
People think today's grandchildren shouldn't be judged for the deeds of their grandparents.
But today's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were raised by those brutal grandparents! It's in the society. It always has been.
The men who acted like brutes in the Russian army during WWII never expressed regret or remorse for their behavior toward girls and women.
(I still find it especially bizarre and revolting how they targeted Jewish girls fresh from the death camps, and even while still within the "liberated" camps. They see how the Jewish girls and women have suffered, they knew about the genocide, yet they were such animals nonetheless...)
And these values & attitudes get passed on to the younger generations (even if they aren't actively or obviously expressed).
Actually, I did hear about a Russian reality show in which the participants would be allowed to commit sxual assault and murder on camera, but I don't know what happened with that. But you see these attitudes remains in the culture if the society wishes to watch such things as "entertainment."
(Not that American reality shows are so much better...)
Just saying that despite sleek exteriors, some things never change.
You want to tell me that there are righteous Ukrainians and Russians?
Correct! Of course there are.
But both societies are still dysfunctional & corrupt society, compared to modern Western countries.
(Although that's admittedly changing, plus modern Russia refuses to embrace the whole immoral "rainbow" movement with toeva, etc.)
Heck, my son could not even get help when the ATM machine suddenly reverted from English to Russian with his credit card stuck inside until he offered a passing Ukrainian 5 hryvna. (Initially, the Ukrainian claimed he did not know how to help. Isn't it amazing how daas can be acquired so cheaply?)
Certainly, by the Torah's Noachide standards for non-Jews, issues abound among both societies.
Furthermore, in both Russia & the Ukraine (and let's be honest: all of Eastern Europe), there is a culture and history regarding the Jews.
And, with the exception of some heroic righteous gentiles, it is not a pretty one.
In addition, Ukrainians have NO CHANCE of getting decent leadership. Both the Russian politicians AND the Ukrainian politicians are corrupt.
(It's sort of like how Muslim societies get frothing at the mouth if a non-Muslim oppresses or kills them, but if a fellow Muslim does it—and does it even worse than the non-Muslim—then it's okay.)
What exactly is the point of choosing one over the other?
Finally, I think it was Rabbi Berel Wein who explained how Mother Russia & Christianity were traditionally intertwined.
This isn't it, but here is a brief Russian-Jewish history by Rabbi Wein: www.rabbiwein.com/blog/post-2073.html.
And Rabbi Wein's brief summary of Jews in the Ukraine:
Historically, Russia considered itself "holy," which explains a lot of its hostility toward the Judaism. To traditional Russian thinking, a Jewish presence profaned "Holy" Russia...of which the Ukraine was also a part.
So why on earth is anyone, especially Jews, taking sides in a Russian-Ukrainian conflict?
Hashem is orchestrating something significant here and our job is to focus on our personal avodah.
Concentrating on our personal avodah (along with helping & davening for our AUTHENTIC JEWISH brothers and sisters in harm's way) is the best way to achieve the best outcome.
My great-great-grandparents & great-grandparents came to America from Ukrainian Odessa & Moldavia. Here is some of the story why they did so:
Hashem, Thank You More than I can Ever Say For Burning Down My Great-Great-Grandparents Store in Russia
And regarding current events: