Dibrova Volodymyr
Dibrova Volodymyr
Writer, translator, literary critic
The War That Can Never Be Lost

Volodymyr Dibrova

Some 40 years President R. Reagan called the Soviet Union "an evil empire". At that time the USSR invaded Afghanistan and tried to suppress the internal dissent.

On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a 4-prong attack against Ukraine and thus started a military campaign that has not been seen since the end of the World War II. The military operations were accompanied by cyber attacks and a relentless campaign of propaganda and disinformation. As far as we know, long before the February 24 assault Russia started creating "sleeper cells", teams of well-trained saboteurs, almost in every Ukrainian city to create panic, wreak havoc, capture the main administrative, military centers and to assassinate Ukrainian leaders. Also from the first minutes of that war Russia has been targeting civilians, using hostages as a human shield, deliberately causing ecological damage, blackmailing the world with its nuclear weapons and engaging in atrocities which are classified as war crimes. If the Soviet Union was an evil empire, what is the name of that?
They say that September 11, 2001 was a turning point in world history. The February 24, 2022 Russian attack on Ukraine is an event of similar magnitude. The world order that was established in 1945, with all its demarcation lines, international institutions and deterrents is crumbling right before our eyes and is not likely to be rebuilt ever again.

Some so –called "ordinary Americans" for whom the biggest worry is the price of gas at their local gas station may not notice that. The same goes for well-bread, well-groomed and profoundly corrupt politicians of all shapes and stripes. But it is high time for the rest of us to realize that all efforts to "domesticate" Russia have failed. Their only result is the corruption of basic Western institutions and dragging the USA to the brink of a civil war.

One hundred years ago the country that gave the world some of the finest 19 century works of arts, literature and philosophy was taken over by thugs, murderers and ideologues who lie with every breath. They had put on the their victim’s clothes and from then on have been masquerading as the heirs of the civilization they themselves crushed and obliterated. But as a Russian proverb says – You can’t whitewash a black mutt. Their behavior speaks louder than their lies: they don’t feel at home among decent people. Driven by the sense of inferiority they crave for "special attention" and demand "respect". But no matter how hard one tries to please them history of the past century shows that appeasement is futile and extremely dangerous. And, perhaps, at this point the high-minded discussions about contemporary Russia (like whether its behavior is the legacy of communism or an "innate" quality deeply rooted in their DNA) should be left to academia. Right now the world has to stop them before they panic and jump off the cliff like those proverbial swine. Those courageous Russians who are protesting on the streets are too few to change Russia’s overall trajectory. The hope we have been all harboring that the Russians will come to their senses and rise against their war machine is wishful thinking. Anyone who watched any of Russian propaganda outlets for two minutes understands that it is not your regular hypocrisy, sham or fakery. It is some kind of extremely toxic substance. It does things to you.

And one of the conclusions from the unthinkable events unfolding in Ukraine now is that Russia in its present form is not a project that could be maintained and shored up. The so-called "West" has long ago cozied up to the idea that it is easier to contain one bully rather than to deal with a dozen feuding, nukes-waving warlords. And Ukraine has always been the hostage of that "wisdom". Well, not anymore.

So those chess-playing geo-politicians have no choice but to fundamentally rethink the situation. As W.B. Yeats once said "All changed, changed utterly, a terrible beauty is born". Yes, it is not perfect or consistent, it sometimes stumbles and makes mistakes, but the world can ignore it only at its own expense.

This is a real war for independence. It can never be lost.

march 6, 2022
Tags: #War
Support our work

We need your help to create projects and materials aimed to defend freedom of speech, popularize Ukrainian culture and values of independent journalism.

Your donation means support for discussions, awards, festivals, authors’ trips to regions and PEN book publications.

Support PEN

We recommend viewing: