OK, so 2022 started off pretty shitty… I hadn’t even finished a post about what I thought of the pandemic from 2020-2021 (+ still going), and then our neighbour Russia attacked Ukraine which felt pretty unreal. During the beginning of the 21st century I’ve been optimistic that war is something that really doesn’t happen in Europe anymore… but I was wrong and after almost a year now my feelings are a bit of shock mixed with disbelief still.
And now, we’re in 2023 which is soon over so I’ll continue writing this post that began in 2022. Here are some thoughts…
The world is still a dangerous place
Having lived under peaceful conditions all my life (well, there was fighting in Yugoslavia if we’re talking Europe but it felt pretty far away in the 90’s when grunge was just becoming a thing) I couldn’t see that any modern, industrial European-minded countries wanted to go to war anymore. I thought that all countries after WW2 just wanted to put wars behind them and focus on building factories to make and sell shit to people who took jobs in order to buy all that shit and start families and go on vacations, musical concerts and gay parades.
But now that illusion is slightly broken and it isn’t looking better towards the end of 2023. The Middle East is still a fucked up place, and I wonder if climate change isn’t a factor making things dry up and get worse there. If the climate change is accelerated, as has been hinted at in 2023, the fires will surely start at the equator so civil unrest, wars, poverty and refugees will just be more and more common in the center of the world.
Authoritarian regimes are basically toxic masculinity
I don’t really get why Putin & company – let’s not call the gang of criminals that took over Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union a mob, but… yeah, they are gangsters, basically – want to play the abusive, dominant daddy to the former soviet countries instead of trying to become a modern economic powerhouse like Germany or Japan, or even Sweden. Russia is huge, there are workers there and natural resources. Perhaps the guys on top are just too corrupt and selfish (and inept) to really care about creating a flourishing economy that would benefit most people, and in order to stay in power while maintaining an illusion of democracy (really it is just a mobster gang pretending to be a democracy) they need some outer enemy that draws the attention elsewhere from all the injustice happening within the borders.
In order to understand Russians, and why they let things be like that, I think it’s important to understand the culture. Here I found this Finnish ex-military guy’s (RIP in 2023, by the way) lecture on Russian strategic culture quite helpful in comprehending some basics:
Basically, the lecture explains that the Russian people want a strong, authoritarian leader to protect them from chaos and mayhem because Russia has historically been easy to invade and the people have bad (genetic) memories from having been abused by the different invaders. And the leader the Russians choose is always right, having received the power from God, basically.
So, Putin is protecting his people from chaos by framing that NATO and the EU want to invade Russia, which of course is bonkers when you look at the craft beer drinking hipsters walking the streets of modern Europe – no-one wants to invade Russia, or go to war at all, it’s a much comfier life to watch Netflix and create new pasta dishes to get likes on social media than having to risk your life in order to move some borders on a map for no apparent reason.
Of course, the thing I wonder about is if the magicians in Kreml actually on some level believe in the illusions they cook up or if it is just purposeful sleight-of-hand done to keep the people under control. I’m leaning towards the latter, although I do fear that as Putin grows older he actually wants to leave his mark in history and do some great deed because that’s what he dreams about – being someone who did something big because he’s so good. I know I’m getting anxious that I haven’t created anything of historical importance yet (not counting this blog, of course!) and time is running out… maybe reuniting Crimea to Russia is his big dream, his gift to the Russian people and himself. But… why is that so important? Perhaps it is the only thing he knows how to do, if he has no other talents.
At least that unsympathetic-looking assassinated leader of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was able to illustrate a children’s book… if the rumours are true. Now that is a real achievement.
I don’t get it why Putin can’t be satisfied with stealing a shitload of money “legally”, getting laid and having children – what more could you want? Rewrite the Wikipedia? The age and Vladimir’s reactions are just basically his war on the woke agenda because in the modern world guys like Vladimir don’t sit too well in the scheme of things. They get fired from their jobs if they behave like dictators, as being dictator isn’t cool in the modern world anymore.
That’s toxic masculinity among men for you, some men just need to be the best even if they aren’t and have the need to bully the world if need may be.
But, that’s all for now. The war goes on and looks like its not ending soon… and my only time in Russia, in 2009, might be the last. Which makes me sad, as it is a neighbouring country and it seemed really nice. Except for the government.