Putin’s Many Ukraines

: Anti-war street protestors in Moscow; similar demonstrations were reported in Minsk and St. Petersburg. Photo courtesy BBC

Tanks and little else may soon occupy Kyiv.

Core to Putin’s success in backing Syrian President Assad was demonizing refugees. There are parallels and patterns between the Syrian War and the current attack on Ukraine.

Not the least of which is the ‘refugee narrative.’

Recall that the Syrian War started with suppressing a non-violent street protest. Not an assassination of a dynastic head of state, not an air attack on a sleeping Pacific island.

What followed were unprovoked attacks on Syrian civilians, supported by Putin, Russia’s elites and watched by Western nations and America.

Consider the consequences borne by neighboring residents: ? Exactly the strategy Putin employs to repress democracy and self-governance: devalue democracy by blowing up dissidents.

The point is that refugees are not ‘collateral damage,’ they are geo-political outcasts.

For the time during which compassion is tried and trampled, refugees occupy an alternate reality: streaming across borders, giving lie to nation-states, refugees are evidence of social disruption and terror. Rooted from home and homeland they are the soul challenge to democracy — citizens without status, non-residents, aliens.

Following the President’s State of the Union address, Rachel Maddow ‘caught up’ with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in one of those semi-rehearsed video meetups that cable news peddles as ‘context.’ ()

Ms. AOC didn’t disappoint. With rolling eyes and her signature tilting head, AOC pondered with the MSNBC audience whether America would ‘demonize’ Ukrainian refugees as America had its own, “dreamers,” caught in Congress’s and the nation’s denial. Challenging the convention of the State of the Union address —  — AOC is rightfully skeptical.

The Bronx Congresswoman ‘doubled down:’ she asked, how about the of dreamers? 11 million Americans currently enjoy the status of the marginalized and demonized.


Consider that Putin is doing the West more favors than waking up NATO. Putin is showing how, by his turgid demagoguery — demonizing refugees as he did in Syria — he threatens democracy, displays democracy’s underbelly — 

Consider that Putin by false-referencing Ukraine’s anti-semitism, which he labels “naziism,” is demonizing refugees on one level, and dissidents in on another. For Putin they are one and the same. Hardly the work of a madman, a megalomaniac and despot for sure.

Consider that Putin is not just attacking Ukraine, he is also attacking the ‘other’ Ukraine — Russian dissidents.

The takeaway moment to all this belongs to Ukrainian President Volodoymyr Zelenskyy, not the State of the Union address. Hours before Biden delivered his first address, His proposal for stopping the blocking of fleeing Ukrainians at the borders of Ukraine, Poland and Moldova, placing refugees in harm’s way, was simple and elegant: allow Ukraine temporary admission into the EU, consequently removing the ‘border.’

March 2



Refuses to nap. Septuagenarian. Cliche’ raker. Writes weekly.

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Rodney Clough

Rodney Clough


Refuses to nap. Septuagenarian. Cliche’ raker. Writes weekly.