Written by Dr. Mary Theresa (Terry) Webb, West Lampeter. This piece was first published on February 27, 2022 in LancasterOnline. Reprinted here with permission from the author.
Franklin & Marshall College professor Abby Schrader’s Feb. 20 Sunday LNP op-ed shed light on why Russian President Vladimir Putin has been obsessed with annexing Ukraine and attempting to restore the greatness of Russian dominance (“Explaining Putin’s push to take control of Ukraine”). This explains Putin’s invasion of that country.
I have the viewpoint of having spent 15 years in the former Soviet Union and Russia. When communism collapsed in 1991, I was visiting countries under Soviet control with a group called Creating a Sober World (I wrote about this in my book, “Memories and Miracles”).
In Moldova, the streets were empty of vehicles; its supply of gasoline had been cut off in an attempt to keep it under Soviet control.
In Georgia, I found out why the former Soviet Union was called “The Drunken Society.”
In Ukraine, I met resilient citizens, learning new ways of relating.
In Moscow’s Red Square, I observed Russian people protesting for a return to the glorified days of the czars.
In 1997, while traveling on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Novosibirsk, I began a conversation with two Texas oil men who were seated across the aisle from me. Their mission, they told me, was to “get the oil gushing” for the newly formed Russian Federation. About this time, President Boris Yeltsin discovered Vladimir Putin, picking him to be prime minister of that new federation. In the 20 years since, Putin has restored a familiar Russian autocracy, and many who challenge him are killed or poisoned. Oil and gas exports have made Putin and Russian oligarchs wealthy and powerful.
Kudos to Germany, which at the Biden administration’s urging, stopped the approval process for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. How do we now counter Putin’s ambitions and avert this humanitarian disaster?
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