Modern Russia vs. The World

March 3, 2022

The invasion of Ukraine marks the third European war of the 21st century. The first happened in 2008 when NATO considered membership requests from the Republic of Georgia and Ukraine. Enraged, Putin declared an area of Georgia called South Osseda an independent country and sent troops in to “keep the peace” in Georgia. The Georgian people and their allies fought back, and Georgia expelled the Russians quickly, ending the war in eight days. However, the Russians managed to permanently damage Georgian historical landmarks and create refugee and housing crises that still plague Georgia today. More to the point, Georgia withdrew its bid from NATO out of fear of further attacks.

Courtesy of Wikimedia

While his first war wasn’t successful, Putin’s second war was. In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimea Penisula, a small region that connects Ukraine and Russia across the Black Sea. In 2013, Ukraine was approached to join the European Union. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian politician who was funded by Putin, refused to allow Ukraine into the European Union. This led to massive protests throughout Ukraine which became the Revolution of Dignity.

In February, Ukrainians drove Yanukovych and his corrupt allies out of power (they currently live in exile in Russia) and established a pro-European government. In response, Putin had soldiers take over Crimea’s Supreme Council, who then declared Crimea as an independent nation from Ukraine. Putin instantly recognized this new country and sent in its “peacekeeping force.” Ukraine and its allies were furious, but the revolution-backed government was in no shape to repel the Russians. Other countries did not want full war with Russia, so instead of sending soldiers to take back Crimea, Russia was kicked out of the G8 (it’s now the G7) and its aid from the West was cut off. This was also when Donetsk and Luhansk started their separatist movements, which have caused 14,000 deaths over the last eight years.

Fast forward to today: Putin is pulling the same trick a third time and hoping it resembles the skirmish in Crimea more than the skirmish in Georgia. But why now?

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