I’m going to repost something I put in last night’s update and then expand on it because I think it might have gotten lost in the shuffle. Here’s the reposted bit:
Everyone please dial it back a bit in the comments. I get it, everyone is pissed off at Russia. Unfortunately, because of the nature of Putin’s Russia, we do not have any really good way of knowing how much popular support he has for this war against Ukraine, nor how many people really actually know what is going on. Being pissed at Putin, the oligarchs, siloviki, strongmen, political, and military leaders, as well as the repugnant people licking his jackboots in Russian state controlled media is all well and good. But it is important to keep a bit of perspective here and separate all of those horrible people and the Russian state from the actual Russian people. Because when all of this is over, those people who have been propagandized to believe we’ve been waging war on them for 30 plus years, are going to need a lot of our help, compassion, and charity. And that doesn’t mean that the Ukrainians are more deserving of any and all of that right now and won’t need it too.
Here’s the expansion: I know that some of you are Ukrainian Americans or Ukrainian nationals living in the US and other places outside of Ukraine and are just doing your best to get through this day to day. I know that some of you have family and friends in harm’s way with limited communication. You’re stressed, you’re sick with worry. We’re here for you!
I also know that some of you are Russian Americans or Russian nationals living in the US or other places outside of Russia and, like our Ukrainian American and Ukrainian national readers and commenters and lurkers, you’re also stressed and sick with worry. You’ve got friends or family living in Russia you’re worried about, maybe even in Ukraine. We’re here for you too!
We also have Americans who originate from other former Soviet states or readers, commenters, and/or lurkers who are from and live in other former Soviet states and you all are also worried. You’re worried will the war spread. You’re worried whether you or your friends and your family might wind up in harm’s way. We’re also here for you as well!
We, and by we I mean Balloon Juice, IS HERE FOR ALL OF YOU!!!!!
But that means we all have to dial it back and cut everyone a bit of slack. Or a lot of slack. I get it, I really do, everyone regardless of where they’re from or who they are are worried what Putin might do if push comes to shove and the end of that line of thinking is unsettling.
Trust me, I get paid to think about it and have been doing so since January 2014.
I would greatly appreciate it if everyone would make an effort to ease up. If it isn’t too much to ask, and it isn’t, which is why I’m going to make the ask on the front page right here, leave the “the” off in front of Ukraine, spell Kyiv “Kyiv”, and stop beating people up if they screw up. It is going to happen. I went to reread the assessment I did on this stuff in March 2014 just before Putin scarfed up Crimea and noticed while I’d not put any “the” in front of Ukraine, I had a few in front of Crimea. And my spelling of Kyiv wasnt uniform, I had a few Kiev’s in there too. Worse thing I’ve ever done? Definitely not. Would any of the people that assessment was for back in 2014 have noticed or thought it was an issue, most likely not (can’t say the same for the typo on p. 4…). Looking at it now after I’ve had eight years to work on this problem set and go from someone who knew a lot about oligarchs and kleptocracy and revolutionary protest movements, which is why I was writing the assessment, despite, at the time, knowing little about Ukraine or Putin, it grates when I read it. But we live and hopefully we learn and do better.
I’m asking everyone to try do better. Not by not making any errors in reference, though let’s get that learning curve moving in the right direction, but in recognizing that hammering each other here isn’t going to do Ukraine or Ukrainians any good. It isn’t going to stop Putin’s aggression, reinvasion, war crimes, or being ambiguous about his nuclear weapons to hold the world hostage.
I trust that we will not have to have this discussion again.
I’ll be back tonight with the update.