Dreaming of Old-Time Finland
L a d u s h k i n -- There are wars and rumours of wars, also here in the Kaliningrad enclave – this sprawling, heavily-rural version of Cold War West Berlin. Yet Russians, in contrast to me, remain largely unruffled. They’re accustomed to adversity and insist on going about their business even in the shakiest of circumstances. In a large, virtually mask-free Baptist service in Kaliningrad on 16 January not a word was mentioned regarding the rumours of war in nearby terrains. But I did like Ukrainian-born Pastor Alexander Krikun’s prayers for the youthful governor, Anton Alikhanov, his spouse and their children. He also included Vladimir Putin.
Russians insist on retaining good thoughts about their Western neighbours, including those beyond the Atlantic. I’ve noted that even
many Russian border police can’t resist that feeling. I’ve done no scientific survey, but it should be safe to conclude that 95% of Russians desire a peaceful solution to the Ukrainian dilemma.
Yet there are numerous photos out there of Ukrainian Baptist and Pentecostal civilians posing in camouflage with weaponry. I have never seen anything of the kind in Russia. In Ukraine, even the
security chief, Oleksandr Turchynov, is a Baptist. He reportedly sent the tanks eastward in April of 2014 in hopes of quelling the unrest.
I’ve been traumatized ever since Ukraine was broken out of the Eastern Slavic world in February 2014. That Ukrainian-Russian break is comparable to the political split between East and West Germany in 1949. Yes, most citizens of Western Ukraine, who are frequently followers of the hybrid Greek-Catholic faith, tend to be more Western-Slav-Polish than Russian. But the same is not true for the eastern half or third of the country.
I was shocked by the observer Gilbert Doktorow’s statement out of Brussels on 8 January that diplomacy has run its course. The sole option still remaining for Russia is a military one. On 14 January, Russell Bentley, a Texan living on the pro-Russian side in Donbass, described in detail an upcoming Russian move into eastern Ukraine. He couldn’t have cleared this with the Kremlin – official policy states that Russian forces on the border will only attack as a response to an attack from the Ukrainian side. Bentley closes with a wish: “Good luck to all good people in the hard days ahead. May God protect the innocent, and may the rest of us get everything we deserve.”
No less frightening are Washington’s claims beginning on 14 January that Russia is preparing a false-flag operation. Since Washington itself is highly-versed in such procedures, one cannot perish the thought that this may be precisely what Washington itself is planning.
That is much talk in the West about the 80-100.00 troops massed on the Russian side of the border. (Peace-time strength has been around 80.000, I am told.) Astonishingly, the 125.000 or so massed on the Ukrainian side do not appear worthy of mention.
I still dream of Ukraine’s Finlandization, or at least of a military neutral Eastern half of the country. The Kremlin is very open to such efforts; Ukraine would once again become a bridge spanning the blocs. That would offer Russia a tiny bit of buffer from NATO and would allow for the restoration of many thousands of family and economic ties. This is not nearly the distance the USA demands from its adversaries – see the response to the only half-serious Russian threat to plant military instillations in Cuba and Venezuela – but this could help flatten the waves and allow the frightened a return to every-day life.
With Western blessing, Yugoslavia was smashed into seven (may soon be eight) parts. Why would it be impermissible to tolerate a Ukraine consisting of two or three entities? Czechoslovakia also is no more.
William Yoder, Ph.D.
Ladushkin, 18 January 2022
A journalistic release for which only the author is responsible. It is informational in character and does not express the official position of any church organisation. This release may be reprinted free-of-charge if the source is cited. Release #22-01, 614 words.