Matthew Mežinskis is the creator of the Crypto Voices podcast and Porkopolis Economics website. In this interview, we discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the refutation of justifications for the war on the basis of Russia’s security needs and threats from Ukrainian Nazis.
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On the 24th February, Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade its neighbour Ukraine. It is the first major conflict in Europe since World War 2, this time pitting East Slav against East Slav. The ramifications of the war will be felt for decades to come. Yet, at the moment, analysts and commentators are still struggling to make sense of the rapidly shifting present.
Despite the uncertainty regarding how the conflict will play out, it seemed as though the ideological battlegrounds were clear: Putin, a ruthless autocratic leader in charge of a mafia state, has aggressively and unilaterally invaded a sovereign nation defying international law, destabilising the wider region, and causing significant issues in global energy and food markets.
However, some of those who have cast a rightfully critical eye over post-World War 2 American foreign policy, particularly its proclivity for armed combat, looked at Russia’s actions through a different lens. To them, Russia had credible security concerns.
Does a nation that has been invaded twice in recent centuries by European powers have legitimate concerns over NATO expansions toward its borders? Furthermore, are the alarming claims of powerful ultra right-wing within Ukraine’s armed forces fighting along Russia’s borders reliable?
To those for whom the conflict resonates personally, where TV images show familiar locations and victims with a shared history, these are incredibly emotive subjects. It becomes more than an intellectual disagreement, and there is little room for nuance. But, even for those of us without an intimate connection, Putin’s historical record and the evidence that Russia is engaging in brutal atrocities against unarmed civilians of all ages, should bring clarity to our perspective.