11/5/2022 – Fighting for Survival

From Heero Hacquebord in L’viv (pastor and MTW missionary): What are our weapons? There are different kinds of weapons. We have the opportunity to send all our enemies to hellfire, but this is not our task. We listen to the words of the Creator in our hearts and obey them. These words give us a sacred goal. The goal is to stop the supreme lord of hell, no matter what name he uses – Satan, Lucifer or the Devil. Because his goal is death. Our goal is life.”

This is how Dmitry Medvedev, ex-president of the Russian Federation, describes his country’s unprovoked war of raping, pillaging, forced evacuations, bombing residential buildings and land grabbing in Ukraine. While Russia acts like a modern incarnation of the 12th century Mongolian horde, it cloaks itself with Christian language and symbols. Its targeted, specialized propaganda has affected even Christians in the West! Ukraine desperately needs military, humanitarian and financial help from Europe, the U.S. and other countries. While the aid it has received so far has allowed it to survive and even make significant gains against the Russian military, it cannot continue to fight – and win – without an increase in aid! Yet many Christians have doubts about supporting Ukraine in its desperate fight for survival. We must, therefore, begin by briefly addressing some of Russia’s propaganda that is knowingly or unknowingly parroted by some western Christians, politicians and journalists (such as Fox’s Tucker Carlson). (The latter is often triumphantly quoted on Russian state television for representing “thoughtful” Americans.)

(Image: www.eupolitacalreport)

Russian propaganda points – and brief answers

  • CLAIM:  The war is the necessary result of NATO expansion in Eastern Europe, threatening Russia’s existence. 
  • REALITY:  NATO has never threatened Russian statehood.  Russia could have applied for NATO membership in the 1990’s or 2000’s, but chose not to.  Putin himself never complained about NATO expansion.  This is a much more recent theme in his rhetoric. (See this panel discussionwith Lord George Robertson giving details (see at 43:00-45:00 minutes).)  Putin uses NATO as a foil to shift attention from corruption and a host of other domestic problems.
  • CLAIM:  Ukraine is corrupt and undemocratic, persecuting political opponents.
  • REALITY:  Ukraine is an imperfect democracy. It has grown out of the very corrupt ashes of the Soviet Union.  Yes, Ukraine must develop and purify its legal system and do more to fight corruption, but it is Russia’s influence that has held it back from positive western influence in these areas!  Ukraine does have a free press that openly criticizes its rulers and it has a plethora of political parties (unlike the U.S.).  Many of those parties have been Russian state puppets, though, which is why they were outlawed at the beginning of the war.  Indeed, it is mostly members of the main pro-Russian opposition party who are now welcoming Russian invaders with open arms!  Would the U.S. have tolerated Japanese or German- funded political parties during WWII?
  • CLAIM:  Russia is fighting for moral purity against an immoral Ukraine and West (see Medvedev’s quote above).
  • REALITY:  Russia has a thin veneer of “Christianity”, created by the KGB-infiltrated Russian Orthodox Church.  Yet Russia oppresses and persecutes Protestants.  It is the country with the highest official abortion rate in the world.  Corruption, political persecution, alcoholism and domestic abuse are out of control.  While there certainly is a plethora of evil and immorality in the West, it is not the EU that is torturing and murdering people in Ukraine….
  • CLAIM:  The U.S. has helped Ukraine to develop chemical weapons.  This was used as one of the pretexts for the Russian full-scale invasion.  Russia’s ambassador to the U.N recently even claimed that Ukraine has developed disease-infected “combat mosquitoes!”
  • REALITY:  See this article explaining that the U.S. has never had labs in Ukraine for developing chemical weapons.
  • CLAIM:  Nobody should send weapons to a corrupt Ukraine.  The weapons will end up on the black market.
  • REALITY:  Has there ever been a war that did not lead to some weapons showing up on the black market?  Yet there is no evidence that this has happened yet with weapons earmarked for Ukraine.  In fact, it is hugely important for Ukraine that this will not happen, since it would directly affect the aid it is receiving in its fight to survive!  The U.S. is keeping close tabs on what goes where.
  • CLAIM:  The U.S. has enough problems of its own.  It does not need to get involved in Ukraine.
  • REALITY:  This is a false, either/ or dichotomy.  “This is like saying that a man must choose between being a committed husband, a loving dad, or a hard worker.  Sometimes in life, one must do more than one important task at a time.”  (See this helpful article entitled “Ten Myths about U.S. Aid for Ukraine”)
  • CLAIM:  Diplomacy – not weapons – are the only way to end this war.
  • REALITY:  The only effective way to end this war is for Russia to leave Ukraine.  Sitting down for negotiations with Russia before it leaves Ukraine is letting it get away with murder – literally.  Such negotiations would embolden Russia to bilaterally seize territory again in the future in Ukraine and elsewhere.  Case in point – the partial invasion of Ukraine in 2014, followed by this year’s larger invasion.  Additionally, one must remember that Putin is a thug, not a diplomat.  Thugs respect and respond to force.
  • CLAIM:  Everybody knows that historically Crimea really belongs to Russia!
  • REALITY:  Imagine what would happen if every part of Europe that once belonged to someone else were taken back by force!  That’s not the kind of world we want to live in.  Do we really want to support that way of thinking?  Yes, Crimea was ruled by Russia for 171 years before, during the Soviet Union, it was given to Ukraine in 1954 (68 years ago).  But few people know that Crimea’s centuries-old population, the Crimean Tatars, were brutally deported by Stalin to central Russia, resulting in the abandonment of 80,000 households and tens of thousands of deaths!  Overnight ethnic Russians were hastily moved into Tatar homes, sometimes literally finishing the previous occupants’ meals!  But Crimean Tatars eventually were allowed to return to live in a peaceful Ukraine that has respected their heritage and rights.  Since Russia’s Crimean annexation of 2014, however, Crimean Tatars have again been brutally persecuted.  Shouldn’t they have a say in who owns Crimea?
  • CLAIM:  The U.S. and EU are fighting a proxy war in Ukraine to destroy Russia.
  • REALITY:  If only the U.S. and the EU were that committed to this war!  This war was started by Russia and would have been over already if the U.S. and EU were more committed to helping Ukraine before and after it began.
  • CLAIM:  If the West keeps arming Ukraine then Putin – backed into a corner – will use nuclear weapons.
  • REALITY:  Putin’s ultimate aim is to survive by staying in power.  He will not use nuclear weapons if it is clear that doing so will cause his demise.  Giving in to his demands, however, will embolden him to do whatever is necessary for him to accomplish his goals – including using tactical nuclear weapons.  Experts disagree on how likely it is for him to use a limited nuclear option.  But those who understand him best argue that he must be resisted at all cost.
  • CLAIM:  Putin is crazy.
  • REALITY:  He is acting rationally according to his own principles, goals and presuppositions. Believing that he is crazy makes the West afraid of opposing him, since he has that nuclear button. That’s exactly what he wants – for people not to oppose him out of fear.

What is the point?

Ukraine needs all the military, humanitarian and financial aid it can get! (We’ll get to prayer below!) It is because of this aid that Ukraine still exists today. Please do keep this in mind as you go out to vote this coming Tuesday. Write your congressman and senators to increase their support for Ukraine! I do not like to wade into politics, which is not my field. But for people in Ukraine this is not politics. It is life and death. The more Ukrainian territory Russia controls the more death, destruction and religious persecution they sow. Weapons from the West help immensely to stop Russian soldiers from murdering, abusing, torturing, raping and pillaging more Ukrainian children, women, men, elderly people. God calls us to protect life. Ukraine may not be at your doorstep, but you do have the power to help.

Total aid to Ukraine by country as a percentage of GDP (statista.com) Help from the U.S. is at 0.25% of GDP

4 responses to “11/5/2022 – Fighting for Survival”

  1. Dear Heero,
    Thank you very much for this article, clarifying and explaining the Russian propaganda!
    This is very helpful!


  2. Hello Heero,

    Thanks for the information truth verus lies. Suprised many western christians are beguiled by the lies. To me its simple, a sovereign nation was attacked eithout provocation, and murder, destruction, atrocities have followed ever since. For Russia, to claim doing this in the name of Christisnity is a farse. The basic 10 commandments are not being demonstrated.

    I forwarded this to about 15 people. One responded with this article. I found their response unsympathetic, lacking compassion. Did they read your message?? You addressed a few of what this article mentioned. And they too are a Christian.


    If you can, could you provide a response?

    Personally, I agree with you.

    I’ve always wondered, if Trump was in office would this have happened, or if it started what would he have done.

    I’m continuing to pray and support Ukraine through MTW.

    Thanks for the pictures of the church and Thankgiving celebration. Happy to hear, so far your infrastrucure has not been affected like other areas, and you can prepare with getting the generators you need.

    In Christ, Katherine

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


  3. Hi Katherine!

    My thoughts on Caldwell’s article are various. Unfortunately I do not have the time or scholarly prowess to give it the full reply it deserves. But I do have something that most scholars do not – the experience of being on the ground in different parts of Ukraine over the past 25 years. It is a very dynamic country that has undergone momentous changes since independence in 1991. Most people do not appreciate the extent to which this country – and its civil society – have developed. Ukrainians are very adaptable and quick to learn. And with two recent pro-democratic, anti-Russian revolutions (one of which involved more than 100 deaths), a limited invasion in 2014, an armed conflict for 8 years and now a full-scale invasion and war, this young democracy continues to be forged into tungsten by the fires of adversity and struggle.

    Caldwell’s article is full of generalizations about Ukraine that are very friendly to the Russian perspective on its smaller neighbor. I won’t take the time to address each of those generalizations. What follows are just some main thoughts.

    Caldwell speaks more of what Russia wants than of what Ukrainians desire. It is this kind of condescending attitude that has caused the current war in the first place. This dismissive point of view towards Ukraine is very typical of many commentators who bow to Russia’s overpowering size and energy-based influence. It is to their own peril, though, that they – essentially – ignore what Ukraine wants. After Russia, Ukraine is the largest country in Europe with a population that is about a third of Russia’s. It is a much more united country today than it was in 1991, 2004 or even in 2014. Caldwell describes Ukraine in 2014 as “a failed state defended by a ramshackle collection of oligarch-sponsored militias.” That phrase sounds like it was penned in Moscow. Ukraine is not a failed democracy. In many ways it is more democratic and politically active today than many old democracies in the West. In fact, Ukraine may just be the European democracy of the future. You underestimate Ukraine at your own peril – as Putin’s Russia continuously fails to learn.

    An “unprovoked invasion” means you did not attack or threaten the existence of the state that invaded you. Ukraine’s desire to be a democratic, western-aligned nation that is independent of Russia’s corrupting influence is its own choice. The fact that Russia does not like this about its independent neighbor does not mean that Ukraine “provoked” Russia. If Russian centuries-old imperialistic chauvinism means Russia feels threatened by Ukraine’s developing into a true democracy that wants to be a part of NATO then that is Russia’s choice and Russia’s fault. Commentators’ views to the contrary reveal an opinion that Ukraine is not truly an independent state. Or is the future of smaller countries always to be decided by the “great powers” of the world?

    Caldwell writes: “If you had to give a one-word answer to what this Ukraine War is about, you would probably say Crimea.” I disagree: If you had to give a one-word answer to what this Ukraine War is about, you should say the deep-rooted, core culture of Russian chauvinism, which includes viewing Ukraine – the heartland of Rus’ – as “Little Russia.” Why would Russia attempt to take Kyiv (and with it, all of Ukraine) if the war is really just about Crimea (which it already annexed in 2014)?

    Caldwell writes: “In Russia, Putin—whatever else you may think of him—was at least able to rebuff those oligarchs who sought direct political control.” Important correction: Putin is the biggest oligarch of them all. He just removed his competition.

    Caldwell makes it sounds as if the 2004 “Orange Revolution” and the 2014 “Revolution of Dignity” were the result of U.S. sponsorship and coordination. That is what pro-Russian Yanukovich and Putin kept saying at the time. It is a deep misunderstanding of the development of Ukrainian civil society. It was a movement of the people by the people such as few countries in Europe have seen in recent memory. I happened to be on the streets in Kyiv in 2004 and I was in Ukraine in 2014, when up to 25% of the population took place in enormous demonstrations. Indeed, in December of 2013, during the “Revolution of Dignity,” there developed two separate centers of demonstrations in Kyiv – the one of the people, the other (smaller) organized by politicians. Even after the people hesitantly allowed the politicians to join them on “Maidan,” they frequently booed the politicians during their speeches. The revolution was not led by politicians or any foreign country. U.S. support was ancillary at best. (I imagine that the regime in Iran right now may be saying that the U.S. is organizing the demonstrations there. Putin, similarly, has never been able to conceive of Ukrainians standing up en masse by themselves. This is one of his great, consistent misjudgments of Ukrainians that also blinded him to think that he could take Ukraine in three days.)

    Caldwell is right in pointing out the startling fact that Ukraine “has been, over the past 150 years, the single most violent corner of the planet.” During that time (and in previous centuries), Ukrainians were robbed, attacked, starved, starved, starved, raped, deported, murdered by different nations. It is time for this violence to stop. But it will not end until Ukrainians can today – with the help of willing partners – teach their attackers the futility of violating their sovereignty. It is time for the world to finally respect Ukrainians, their independence, their sovereignty. Ukrainians have a voice. Listen to what they have to say, not to what others want to say about them!

    Liked by 1 person

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