Michal warns FHS of the implications of the Russian Ukrainian Conflict and Putin's decisions.
As the war in Ukraine continues since Russia’s initial invasion in February, the world looks onto a bleak near future. The global community faces gas shortages, threats of nuclear war, a winter of deciding over heat or food and many other things. Millions of refugees from both sides flee their homes as the war looks to be headed towards a winter stalemate because of one man - Vladimir Putin.
For over 20 years, Putin has ruled as the de facto dictator of Russia, and in that time has gradually modernized the country while also tightening his grasp on the presidency. From promises of democracy and cooperation with the rest of Europe in 2001, to altering the Russian Constitution to let him rule uninterrupted longer in 2021, the country has seen a shift in its politics and global positioning.
As Russia was recovering from the collapse of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Putin took notice of the chaos in the country during the 1990’s and took to politics. A former KGB member, he saw his beloved country fall to ruins as several countries declared independence and developed ties with the West. This instilled a desire to someday reclaim lost territories in order to restore glory to Russia. Eventually, after Boris Yeltsin’s resignation as president of Russia, Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to solidify power for himself. He started his reign with promises of a more open and friendly Russia towards Europe, as well as to the West in general. However, as the years went on, he became more and more opposed to the wishes of the free world. Invading Georgia in 2008, illegally annexing Crimea in 2014, invading Syria in 2015. The relations between Russia and the West deteriorated to the point of a continuation of the Cold War, which culminated with the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
At the start of the war, it was expected for Russia to roll over Ukraine with ease, showing Putin’s genius and cunning. However, years of corruption in the form of stealing the budget for the military, a poorly planned invasion as well as logistical issues, and training shortcomings have turned the conflict into a slugfest. The West has pumped billions of dollars into supplying Ukraine, but perhaps the biggest help is Putin and Russia’s incompetence in the field. Unfortunately, this incompetence has lead to desperation, which has kept the world on edge. Rocket strikes near nuclear power plants, threatening to create disasters on the Chernobyl level. Plans to use tactical nukes to strike military targets as a form of clean sweep. A partial mobilization of the country leading to millions of Russian men fleeing for the border. Skyrocketing energy prices have forced people to choose between buying food and heat for the winter. Sabotages of an oil pipeline by Germany and a Crimean bridge have prompted Russia to retaliate harshly on civilian centers, sparking another energy crisis for Ukraine. But perhaps the most alarming development is the recent annexation of captured Ukrainian territories into Russia. With this, Putin can now claim that Ukraine is attacking Russian soil and this justifies a more serious military response, worthy of nuclear warfare.
What started as a conflict in February that looked to be over in a week, stemming from long lasting border disputes spawned by a man desperate for Russia to return to territorial glory, has now brought about the risk of spawning nuclear armageddon to the world. As Europe looks towards a winter of choosing between expensive gas and food, a refugee crisis, and near constant nuclear threats, the world anticipates hardships not seen for many years.