Russia and Ukraine crisis
“It was easy for Russians to push the war off to the edge of their minds, but now it has come home to them.” Russian-American journalist and author Julia Ioffe talks to New Lines’ Amie Ferris-Rotman about Putin’s mobilization and the future of Russia.
Proof of the horrors local residents were subjected to during more than six months of occupation was revealed on Sept. 19 in a dark and dust-filled basement under the police station in Izium, a strategic city in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region that was liberated in its latest offensive. Among the instruments used to terrorize people were Soviet-era gas masks that had been modified to prevent the victim from being able to breathe once it was placed on the face.
Not everyone in the West believes Putin’s war in Ukraine is bad. Kyiv’s counteroffensive created alternative theories.
While neither side desperately needs an immediate military advance, both also deny the possibility of a negotiated peace any time soon. This will be a long, slow fight to the death until one side is exhausted.
No Estonian needs to be told what occupation is like or what it does to a nation. None requires a tutorial about what Josef Stalin did to their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents in 1941 and 1949, or to be reminded of those events’ gruesome parallel to what Putin is today doing to Ukrainian families. Kallas’ mother, for instance, spent a good portion of her childhood in Siberian exile, after the Soviets deported her via cattle car at only six months old with her mother and grandmother.
Since the end of February, Putin appears determined to push ahead with plans in the far north. “Taking into account all kinds of external restrictions and sanctions pressure,” Putin said, “special attention must be paid to all projects and plans related to the Arctic. Not to postpone them … but instead, we must respond to attempts to curb our development with maximum increase of the work rate on both current and upcoming tasks.”
“Tonight, we had five raids. If we had air defense, it wouldn’t be happening. We have it, but not enough. It’s from the ‘70s and ‘80s. It’s too weak. We need modern air defense. We haven’t received any yet. And you also have to learn to use it first. It’s not like driving a car.”