Essay | Russia brought Europe back to the distant past – Rarely are there clashes between the good and the bad

Rarely are there clashes in which there is a clear contrast between good and evil. Putin’s war is a tragedy for Ukraine and a threat to Finland and Europe. For Russia, it is an alley run that will not end well for it.

Long then in distant Caledonia, on the edge of the famous world, war was fought. The area is what is now Scotland.

Opposite were the legions of the great and mighty Rome and the small local tribes led by the chief Calgacus.

It was the year 84. In Rome, power was held by an illusory emperor Domitian. It was known in the streets of the imperial capital that the emperor had allowed the walls of his palace to be covered with tiles sanded into mirrors. Domitian wanted to see if anyone approached from behind.

The Roman historian wrote about the war in Caledonia Tacitus. He forged a breath-raising speech in Calgacus’s mouth, which he gave to his troops before meeting the enemy.

The speech was rhetorically skillful.

“Roman terror is unnecessarily tried to be avoided with obedience and consent,” Calgacus said. “Neither the East nor the West have been able to satisfy them.”

“They falsely call robbery, slaughter, and martyrdom to rule. They create the desert and call it peace. ”

Lyrics resonate over millennia and are effortlessly adaptable to the present.

They prepared for an offensive war and talked about “military-technical operations”. They rolled into an independent state with armor, began to kill people and call it a “special operation”.

They talk about the “Slavic Brotherhood” and shoot grenades into the living rooms.

Size Vladimir Putin the war is based on a gigantic lie, and with that truth we now have to live.

Unexpectedly. Suddenly.

Few of us may have believed the worst when worrying news about the concentration of Russian troops began to flow from Ukraine’s borders in November. At least I didn’t believe it.

Putin’s bluff, I thought: Bullying the home audience, Ukraine’s disturbed intimidation, the attempt to blackmail the West. The Great Circus of Moscow.

After all, no one is so crazy about waging an offensive war in Europe in 2022, I thought. Not to mention one that could escalate into a great war.

Has Europe again walked in its dreams towards disaster? Like the summer of 1914, when Europe moved from beaches to trenches?

Open It is a difficult year for all of us, above all, of course, for Ukraine, whose heroic struggle is well appreciated and appreciated by us Finns for our own reasons.

It is still possible, even probable, that the sound of reason will someday still reach air dominance. Of course, on the initiative of the Kremlin’s instigators of war, this will not happen, but reality may lead to it.

Russia has now been through its brutal war of conquest for more than a week and does not seem to be getting through its will easily. Russia has to pay a heavy price for its actions.

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It is to be hoped that the course of war, the status of a wreck, and economic discipline will put some kind of restraint on state terror.

Suitable for hope but not trust. We Finns must act on the view that Finland will survive the crisis intact and even stronger internally.

History the flywheel is now spinning at breakneck speeds. The world has changed in a very short time in a completely incomprehensible way. Russia launched its offensive war on Thursday, February 24, forcing us into a new abominable era.

Instead of coronation and skiing, we suddenly have to follow the news of wartime nuclear power plant fires and thermobaric bombs that create a vacuum in their area of ​​influence by sucking all the oxygen out of the air. Russia is also said to be considering the use of these weapons.

Thousands have died in the war in a week. More than a million have evacuated from Ukraine.

And all this because of a giant lie. They talk about “liberation” and build a prison of nations.

Finns may not have experienced such a depressing threat since the last wars. We have been used to living in peace, now for many generations.

We are used to arguing about a wide variety of issues, both big and small, such as the reform of sote or the proportionate supply of meat and vegetarian food in municipal schools and kindergartens.

We often resolve these disputes clumsily, but still in a civilized way. Our state is said to be a democracy: it is decided by a majority of citizens, not a minority.

We are liberal in our public life, and the state did not dare to act.

We have a great society. Our values ​​are soft. And now the world around us is tough, which can force us to harden our values ​​as well.

We are completely innocent of the crisis. We would just like to continue to live in peace. This change, its one-time unfairness, is bitter lime.

Anxious questions are floating above us. Why did we have to wake up to such a world?

Really Russia did not take Europe into a new era. Russia broke the future. It is a return to the old, somewhere in the 19th or 20th century, which was clearly visible but hard to believe.

In May 2016, I visited Moscow. I was writing a book called The Dance of Death on the rise of nationalism in Europe.

The parade on Victory Day was flamboyant. By that time, Russia had already managed not only to wage war against Georgia but also to seize the Crimean peninsula and establish a rebel zone in eastern Ukraine. (They call the Donetsk and Luhansk regions “people’s republics.” In them, power is ultimately exercised by exactly one non-nation.)

In Moscow, a diplomat hinted to me that it would be worthwhile to visit Pavilion No. 57 in the exhibition area of ​​National Achievements, which has an exhibition “Russia – My History”.

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That was a great tip. The exhibition was extensive, and it is apparently still there. Russia’s power and the catalysis of the Western world ran like red threads.

Russian the centuries-old chronology of the rulers was accompanied by a basic message on the maps: success is measured in square kilometers.

Dear Tsar: Russia is expanding. Bad Tsar: Russia is shrinking.

The pavilion number 57 exhibition followed the official conception of history. The walls had pictures of Putin and his provocations, including positive remarks about the Soviet Union.

I saw this with my own eyes. But I didn’t think Putin would be willing to go that far to become a good tsar.

So in favor of their own criteria. In neighboring countries, tsars are weighed differently.

Ukrainian national poet, lived in the 19th century Taras Shevchenko referred in his verses Peter I and To Catherine II: “The first crucified / unfortunate Ukraine, / and the second / he smoothed / Its little left.”

If Shevchenko were to write his poem today, he could include the Third and Fourth, several more, depending on the method of calculation.

We go through a tough generation experience alongside a coronary pandemic pales. There is a difference between hoarding toilet paper and iodine tablets.

History strikes us with an open palm, just as if a pandemic were not enough.

Many other key events in the recent past have suddenly shrunk in importance, at least from Finland and Europe.

Brexit? Donald Trumpin jerking? The financial crisis?

Little things.

Even the refugee crisis of 2015 now feels small. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 in the United States, on the other hand, seem very distant.

In terms of magnitude and impact, the year 2022 is essentially similar to 1989, as the European order is completely new.

The year 1989 marked revolutions, most of which were peaceful. It meant the collapse of socialism and eventually the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Older Finns remember the rapt feeling when the Berlin Wall broke. There is now a kind of reverse version going on since 1989.

In October 1989 Leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev visited Finland. Gorbachev acknowledged the neutrality of our country, which was a cause for joy in Finland at the time.

From Gorbachev’s backdrop, spokesman From Gennady Gerasimov was asked at a press conference in Helsinki if Brezhnev’s doctrine was still valid. Brezhnev’s doctrine meant that if the vassal state was slipping out of the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union, it would be restored to the ground, even with armor.

Gerasimov leaked that there is now a new doctrine, the doctrine of Sinatra. Then he sang a piece of the clip My Way. Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and other socialist countries would therefore be allowed to follow their own paths. And so it happened.

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In 2022, the old doctrines will be in force again. In Putin’s teachings, independent states will not make choices of their choice if they are given the right to exist at all. And if necessary, a full-scale offensive war will be waged and threatened with nuclear weapons.

Tragedy is that Russia could do so much better than humanity as a whole has been able to.

In October 1989, Gorbachev got Mobira’s Cityman in Helsinki and spoke to Moscow for half a minute. It was new and wonderful.

Gorbachev’s mobile phone call is relatively short, 32 years. The world has evolved an astonishing amount in our lifetime, and this also applies to those under thirty.

There have been wild leaps in technology and science that have improved people’s quality of life and extended life expectancy almost everywhere. At the same time, global problems are also wild, starting with climate change, but they would require cooperation and not rocket launchers.

Russia is not right at the forefront of development in any field, with the exception of weapons technology. Being left behind seems to be a big part of the problem. If the innovations are dictated from above, the end result will be the state-run Silicon Valley of Potemkin.

A diversified, thriving economy could have created a Russia that would be interested in being a constructive superpower and not a champion of vicious violence. How wonderful it would be if we had a prosperous, democracy-chosen eastern neighbor.

Instead, the Kremlin is driven by dangerous fuel, an authoritarian sense of inferiority. The consequences are known; evil is restless across the earth.

In international politics, in fact, there are seldom clashes in which there is such a clear contradiction between good and evil.

Putin’s war is a tragedy for Ukraine and a threat to Finland and Europe. For Russia, it is an alley run that cannot and will not end well.

80’s In Caledonia, the Roman legion had supremacy. The tribal chief of the Calgacus army had no resistance to the empire.

However, Rome did not gain a permanent foothold. After a few years, the legions had had to withdraw from the northern parts of the British Isles.

In Rome, the oppressive power of the emperor gradually became insane. The historian Tacitus wrote of “a time of terror, when Domitian no longer, from time to time and at intervals, but unanimously and as if in one fell swoop defeated the state to death”.

No one felt safe anymore. Tacitus wrote, “We had to watch and be watched when, you see, our sighs were secretly recorded.”

Eventually, Domitian was removed from the days by his own servants.

The quotations from Tacitus are from Agricola in 98. The translations are mostly from KJ Hidén’s 1904 translation.

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