I am writing this on the 1st of March, 6th day of Russian full-scale invasion in peaceful, independent and democratic country Ukraine. I understand the situation is changing every hour, so part of this text might be irrelevant tomorrow, but I think now more than ever it is important to speak if you have something meaningful to say. And these thoughts have been circling in my head after reading various comments on social media.
The first false premise that needs to be addressed is that NATO’s expansion is to blame for this war. Let make this clear – NATO expands BECAUSE of Russian aggression. Finland is a good example. In December, last year 24% of Finns were positive towards their country joining NATO. After recent events that number jumped to 53%. NATO’s function is defence, not offence. Every sane person understands the alliance will never start a war with Russia. If that would be its goal, our tanks and fighter jets would be in Ukraine right now.
I am from Lithuania – small Baltic country. This thought was repeated many times among my friends and family members – if we were not in NATO, it would be us. We were repeating that during Russian invasion in Georgia in 2008, during Crimean annexation in 2014 and we keep repeating it now. So, we fully understand the shift in the position in Finland (and Sweden as well).
And this ties well with the main message of this text – every action of aggression by Russia will strengthen NATO. And if Russia feels threatened just because its neighbours muscle-up not to be bullied, then it has an option – not be a bully.
Second false premise – the sanctions will hit regular people the hardest and they have nothing to do with this conflict. Some Russians don’t care what’s happening in Ukraine. Some of them agree with Putin’s actions. And some of them are ok to go through any hardships coming their way. Just watch this video:
The sanctions should shake their view on their government and force to take some actions. There are protests in Moscow and other cities, but that’s not enough. When people opposing war were asked by journalists why they aren’t doing anything, they said that they are afraid, because the government threatens them 20 years in prison if they are caught showing any support to Ukraine.
There number of people protesting is too small because of fear. But after a quick google search, I found the number of police officers in Moscow is 50,000, in St Petersburg – 9,000. Meanwhile the population of both cities is 12m and 5m accordingly. Can they arrest everyone if 1% of the whole city would go to protest? I think it’s just a matter of time, till the numbers of the protesters will start growing significantly as the effects of the sanctions are just starting. The main question is – how long the sanctions will be applied if the Russians will achieve their goals in Ukraine.
To be continued.