We didn’t want to believe what we feared would come true: a war of invasion in a sovereign Eastern European country. This time it’s not the tanks of the Soviet Union invading Czechoslovakia, it’s Putin’s tanks and missiles that are occupying and bombing Ukraine to overthrow its legitimate government and replace it with a regime controlled by Moscow.
In this way, it redraws the border of a new Cold War that the invasion is fueling, strengthening NATO on the eastern border of Europe in an escalation that ever since 2014 (followed by the Minsk Agreements that have become a dead letter) everyone has pretended not to see.
Of course, Putin’s design, in a country that in 1991 chose independence from Russia by 90 percent of the vote, adds a bloodbath and millions of fleeing Ukrainian citizens to the bottom line. However, going beyond the reasoning behind it and the economic and geopolitical analysis, we must stop for a moment to reflect on the fact that this is an organized war, designed and wanted by a single man in command. Who encounters no internal opposition, because in his country opponents are risking their lives. A war waged by an enemy of democracies, which he mocks as incapable of meeting the needs of the people, and who, for this reason, has become the darling of autocrats around the world — starting with Trump, who considers Putin a genius.
A man who, while claiming that he wants to “de-Nazify Ukraine,” describing it as a regime of fascists, Nazis and oligarchs, seems to be embodying sheer projection, because fascists, Nazis and oligarchs (who are indeed present and strong in Kyiv) are the closest relatives to his own circle, now in power in Russia.
There is no salvation from this war except in peace. Which is not some paradisiacal original condition, but something we try to imagine, an ideal. The only ideal for which it’s worth expending yourself, fighting, believing. And that strength that Europe doesn’t have, neither militarily nor politically, because it is divided between cynicism and impotence, can be found only in its public opinion — if a pacifist wave is able to rise up against a war that can only feed itself.
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