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“There have been tyrants and murderers [throughout history], and for a while they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think about it – always.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began almost two weeks ago on February 24, people around the world have watched on their screens as the brutal destruction of apartments, supermarkets and city centers. They also observed the heroic and probably hopeless resistance of the Ukrainian people, ranging from farmers fighting tanks with tractors to unarmed and untrained mothers joining the front lines with Molotov cocktails.
Those who attend the chart news ask why? Why does Vladimir Putin achieve such horror? Why are Ukrainians fighting so fiercely against terrible odds with such courage? To understand the passionate resistance of the Ukrainian people to Stalinist Putin’s fanatical and brutal onslaught, look to the story of their national anthem, Ukraine, and the brutal Putin himself.
PUTIN’S INVASION IN UKRAINE WAKES ONCE-SLEEP WESTERN NATIONS
As we see the overwhelming Russian troops, tanks and planes moving in to crush the much smaller Ukrainian resistance, an old Ukrainian song is often heard from crowds sheltering with children underground. Crowds began to spontaneously sing a haunting melody beginning with the words: “You are not dead Ukraine…as in the spring melts the snow, so will the enemy melt.”
A video of a housewife singing the song while cleaning up debris from a bombing has become popular on YouTube and is now being shared around the world. Written in the 1860s, the Ukrainian national anthem was banned during the Stalin era. Humming it would result in a swift death sentence.
For hundreds of years until the Soviet period in the 1920s, Ukraine was a land of small farmers called Kulaks, much like farmers in Ohio or Iowa, and traveling bands of shepherds called Cossacks.
The Cossacks were generally considered the greatest horsemen in Europe, the fiercest warriors and the freest souls. Their songs, just like our Western songs, were played and sung by guitarists known as Kobzars. Their romantic and magnificent ballads sang of great love and fierce war in the steppes (plains) of Ukraine and the rides of the famous Don Cossacks and explorers. They were the retained history and culture of Ukraine.
The Cossacks became staunch supporters of the Romanovs in the 17th and 18th centuries. The last great successful cavalry charges in history were the Ukrainian Cossacks led by the so-called Black Baron during World War I, inexplicably breaking the backs of modern Austrian machine gun and artillery units with courage and sabers.
Because of their love of freedom, Ukrainians were enemies of the Soviets from the beginning, especially of Stalin. He wrought terrible revenge. As part of his own “cultural revolution” of 1928-1932, Stalin decided to control ideology and culture, banning words like God, killing several thousand priests and purging the arts.
In 1931, Kobzars from Ukraine were summoned to Kiev to form a union and meet with Soviet leaders. Hundreds were shot and thrown into a secret mass grave along with their instruments. Their songs and even their instruments were banned on pain of death. Stalin then began the collectivization of all agriculture in this great granary, seizing all the land and forcing the entire population into state-owned collective farms.
The collectivization experiment was predictability a failure. Stalin’s response to the reduction in production was to launch a massacre in 1932-1934 sometimes called the Holodomor. Stalin seized most of the grain, including even the seed stocks needed for the next year’s harvest. Those who resisted and their families were shot. Wealthier families were sent to work and starve in notorious projects like the White Sea-Baltic Canal.
At least 6 million Ukrainians and possibly many more perished from starvation and execution during the Great Famine as it became known – the largest non-Holocaust genocide in modern European history. Until their liberation from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukrainians were a bitter, enslaved people, holding in their hearts but only secretly humming “you’re not dead, Ukraine.”
Putin’s background controls Putin’s actions. His grandfather was Stalin’s cook and his father a WWII human exterminator for Stalin. Putin continued in the family business as a KGB officer who, like Stalin, was a self-taught man of steel who avoided all combat but used skill and poison to hasten his rise and eliminate opponents. Asked about Putin when he became president of Russia in 1999, Putin’s mentor Anatoly Sobchak said, “Putin is Stalin.” A few days later, Sobchak and a bodyguard died suddenly of a heart attack with no history of coronary heart disease.
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Like his idol Stalin, Putin pursued the dream of a Soviet empire that transformed from a retail poisoner of hundreds to a mass murderer of thousands and potentially millions in Ukraine. And like Stalin, Putin may well succeed in conquering the physical land of Ukraine through sheer numbers and brutal weapons, overcoming courage and homemade Molotov cocktails.
Putin, however, will fail to win over the souls of the Ukrainian people. Writing the songs is sometimes more important than writing the laws. When the statues of Putin, like the statues of Stalin, fall, Ukrainians will again openly sing their national anthem, “We will spare neither our souls nor our bodies to achieve freedom”, and summon from their graves the long-lost Cossack. long time. leaders to fight again for the freedom of Ukraine in the steppes.
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