John Sinton: Putin and Russia must be met with force

Published: 07-02-2023 3:22 PM

Regarding the guest column by Allen J. Davis and Tom Weiner [“Stop double standard; tell truth about Ukraine,” Gazette June 29], first, please do not write our political leaders asking them to force a negotiated peace settlement on Ukraine. Before you believe propaganda, whether left or right, inform yourself about the historical context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Begin by listening to the podcasts and reading the substack writings of one of the world’s eminent Eastern Europeanists, Professor Timothy Snyder. I wish he had been one of my teachers when I completed Ph.D. work on Russian history in the 1960s.

Furthermore, we know much more in 2023 about Ukraine and Russia than we did during the Cold War. Those of us who studied Eastern Europe know at least two key facts. One, the territory of Ukraine was first known to the world as the state of “Kievan Rus” in 862, a full 700 years before the territory of Moscow called itself “Russia.” At that point in time, in the 16th century, the Ottoman Turks owned all of Ukraine and Crimea. Two, the Russian Empire, later the Soviet Union, only occupied Ukraine and Crimea from about 1800 till 1991. Ukraine is by no means an original part of Russia, and Crimea has its own special history. Gazette readers, please do not fall for Putin’s propaganda that the U.S. and its allies threatened Russia, so Russia gets to invade Ukraine. Ukraine was never Russia’s to take!

And no, the U.S. and Russia did not “respect one another” from 1945 to 1990. I was there in the middle of the Cold War, and believe me, diplomacy (aka “war by other means”) and negotiation was used as a weapon, not a sign of respect. Read and reflect deeply on this grave war. My considered opinion is that Putin and his Russian thugs are a global threat that must be met with force. You must make up your own minds. I have already written to President Biden and our politicians in Washington in support of our defense of Ukraine.

John Sinton

Florence

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