Watch This

I’ll begin this post with an admission: until a couple of weeks ago, I was only dimly aware of the country of Ukraine. I knew it existed, knew that it had once been part of the USSR, and  at the time it occurred, I read a couple of stories about its 2014 “revolution,” the brief media reports that a popular uprising had forced out Ukraine’s Russian-puppet President, but that was about the extent of it.

Now, with the rest of the world, I’m watching in real time as Ukrainians provide a lesson to the rest of us in courage and insistence on their nation’s right to self-determination.It turns out that this isn’t the first time Ukraine citizens have modeled that lesson, although it is the first time most Americans–including yours truly– have been paying attention.

Our daughter alerted us to the existence of a documentary about that prior lesson .It is currently streaming on Netflix–titled Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom. We watched it, and It was revelatory. I urge everyone with Netflix (which may be pretty much everyone, given its ubiquity) to watch it. The documentary chronicled the 2014 uprising, the deeply humane and genuinely patriotic motives that impelled it, and the brutal efforts to suppress it.

The young people who triggered that uprising made their motives clear: they wanted Ukraine to be part of Europe–not part of Russia or Russia’s sphere of influence. They wanted their children to grow up in a democratic society tied to the West, and when the puppet President refused to sign an agreement that had been negotiated tying Ukraine to the EU, they  responded by demonstrating in huge numbers.

The demonstrations were peaceful; the response was brutal.

Ultimately, the Ukrainian citizens prevailed. But what was amazing to me, and what the documentary so vividly displayed, was the Immense size of the Ukrainian protests, the enormous numbers of ordinary citizens–teenagers and grandparents, labor and management, men and women– who joined in the demand for change, took to the streets, and actively participated in the ensuing deadly combat with government forces.

The defiance we are seeing now was undoubtedly strengthened by the success of that 2014 uprising, costly as it proved to be in death and destruction.

It is utterly wrenching to watch Putin’s unprovoked war on these gutsy people, to see in real time how Russian assaults are not just destroying iconic buildings, but killing and wounding civilians who offered no threat to Russia–citizens who only wanted  their country to remain independent of Russian domination.

After watching the documentary, it was hard to sleep.

It was also impossible not to wonder: how many of the spoiled-brat Americans who equate wearing a face mask with tyranny would emulate the brave Ukrainians if we were invaded by a stronger neighbor? How many of those same spoiled brats–the ones who drive their expensive  gas-guzzling SUVs to the outer suburbs, where they moved to escape “those people”–will carp about higher gas prices while Russia’s outlawed cluster bombs fall on Ukrainian cities.

Watch the documentary. Again, it’s on Netflix: Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.   It’s eye-opening.


  1. Sheila is so right. Watch this. Today. What brave, brave people. During the protests, the Parliament passed an anti-demonstration law that prohibited the use of metal helmets by demonstrators. Keep your eye out for the two grandmas marching in the streets with colanders on their head. You cannot defeat such spirit.

  2. Was Trump’s determination to wield some level of power in Ukraine, which led to his FIRST impeachment, to aid his idol Putin and Russia to return to power over Ukraine? Trump continues to support and praise Putin’s decisions regarding total destruction and killing Ukrainians today; we should all thank God this war did not begin during Trump’s missadministration of United States’ government.

    I will certainly watch the film. Thank you, Sheila.

  3. It’s CIA propaganda; the CIA has already scrubbed Wikipedia of all neo-Nazi references in the 2014 Euromaidan event financed by US citizen, Pierre Omidyar, the eBay billionaire behind The Intercept.

    I find it ironic that so many Americans are embracing neo-Nazism abroad while condemning it within the USA. You’re being propagandized by the MIC.

    There is an interview with Hillary Clinton on MSNBC bragging about Ukraine being another Afghanistan for Russia. Many Americans still don’t understand that we funded the “bad guys” in Afghanistan, too. Now, we are doing it again in Ukraine.

    John asked why I support the autocracies like Russia; it’s because they are fighting the bad guys funded by our MIC.

    Once again, unless you understand the role of the CIA, you’ll be easily manipulated by the propaganda media. They’ve been perfecting their craft for over fifty years. There are plenty of Hollywood movies pointing this out, but people think they are just Hollywood scriptwriters.

    The hoods in Ukraine causing problems since 2014 are the same neo-Nazi patriots the media has been normalizing in this country responsible for an attempted coup last year. That was a dress rehearsal.

    From Max Blumenthal:

    “By this point, Azov had been formally incorporated into the Ukrainian military, and its street vigilante wing, known as the National Corps, was deployed across the country under the watch of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, and alongside the National Police. In December 2021, Zelensky would be seen delivering a “Hero of Ukraine” award to a leader of the fascistic Right Sector in a ceremony in Ukraine’s parliament.

    A full-scale conflict with Russia was approaching, and the distance between Zelensky and the extremist paramilitaries was closing fast.

    This February 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukrainian territory on a stated mission to “demilitarize and denazify” the country, US media embarked on a mission of its own: to deny the power of neo-Nazi paramilitaries over the country’s military and political sphere. As the US government-funded National Public Radio insisted, “Putin’s language [about denazification] is offensive and factually wrong.”

  4. Todd,
    I will leave you some tin-foil for your hat.
    You’re welcome 🙄

  5. Did you know that the leader, Victor Yanukovych, that Ukrainians rose up against had help in being elected to power by none other than Paul Manafort. If you don’t recognize the name, he was Donald Tump’s campaign manager.

    He also work with ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

  6. I cannot speak for people living in large cities, but those of us in rural Indiana that are feeling the financial pain of escalating gas prices view this pain as something temporary that we will survive. That ‘pain’ we are currently experiencing in our pockets is nothing compared to enduring the threat of losing our homes or being killed by machine guns and bombs. Adjusting our daily lives is a small price to pay that we will recover from.

  7. Is Todd really arguing that the Ukrainians deserved this brutal invasion? Is Putin really some kind of hero/savior to him?

  8. Todd; my only thought reading your especially ugly and offensive comments today is…Poor Muncie, Indiana and poor Middletown, Indiana with you as their voice.

  9. You fools bash Trump and his Nazis every day on here, but when they are in Ukraine, somehow they should be cheered as patriots?

    Who needs tin foil hats? LOL

    John McCain was standing next to the Nazis in Ukraine back in 2013 when Washington was gearing up for the coup against the pro-Russian president.

    After the coup, Joe Biden’s son got a very lucrative deal just for holding a board seat on their national gas company. That’s how the Biden’s and Clinton’s operate.

  10. The Ukrainians definitely live with the thought process of Job!

    Everyone knows the story of Job, he was a victim of unprovoked attack, and it destroyed his entire world so to speak. His family, his home, his livestock, his servants, he was stricken with boils, he suffered great grief and personal agony both mental and physical.

    Job was a wealthy man, an asian, and he was also very compassionate and loving towards those in his purview. But when this unprovoked tragedy struck him, he remained a compassionate and loving man.

    He stated: “small and great are the same there, and the slave is set free from his master. Why does he give light to the one who is suffering and Life to those in bitter distress? Why do they long for death, but it does not come? They dig for it more than hidden treasures, those who are rejoicing greatly, who are happy when they find the grave. For what I have dreaded has come upon me, and what I have feared has befallen me. I have no peace, no quiet, no rest, but trouble keeps coming.”(he longed for the freedom of death)

    We call for freedom, we beg for freedom, we pray for freedom, and yet, true freedom never comes.

    Freedom of speech? Freedom of worship? Free will? Liberty? Human rights? All indelibly printed on mankind’s heart. But just as the desire for freedom exists in every man, the desire to subjugate & humiliate with cruelty exists in most. Maladaptive and antagonistic narcissism is really the driver of the sadistically self idolized and self-aggrandized psychological dwarf.

    Look around, how many do you see who fit that description?

    This has been going on for many millennia, men can’t get it right! They continue to do the same thing over and over, and allow the same evil thought process to creep into so-called free societies. Men become lethargic, self-satisfied, and languid. They start to feel put upon by those seeking freedom, or what they have. The desire to push away even if that push away involves great pain. It really is sadistic indifference. Men will never provide true freedom.

    If anyone supports true freedom, and actually knows what true freedom is, they would die for it! Things have to be pretty terrible to leap over the fear of death, this what is what Job was alluding to.

    King Solomon beseeches,

    “You must give to your servant an obedient heart to judge your people and to discern between good and bad.”

    And Solomon was so successful, the Queen of Sheba noticed. With her huge Entourage she came to see King Solomon and told him that she had to see it with her own eyes. And she said that she was not told the half of it. She also noticed He surpassed the wisdom and prosperity that she heard about.

    Today, they claim to “have a form of Godly devotion but prove false to it’s power!”

    Joe Manchin blows up the job producing infrastructure bill! Not to mention the voting Rights bill! Then a few weeks later, says we need to ban fuel imports no matter how high gasoline gets, lol, so, no help for the poor, no help for the less fortunate. Because he can afford to do that, doesn’t mean everyone can. Blow up the healthcare, blow up minimum wage increase, blow up jobs, blow up equality, but, you sure can pay more for fuel because it’s the right thing to do? Lol, what a joke! Compassion doesn’t even enter the equation!

  11. In another attempt to brutalize and break Ukraine, Stalin took their wheat and starved nearly 4 million Ukrainians to death in the years leading up to WWII. They have a lot of reasons to fight Russian rule. Here’s a link to the story.

    (For Todd, it’s just more of the CIA propaganda machine run out of the basement of a pizzeria where Hillary’s missing emails are stored.)

  12. Ukraine has a long history of being taken over by their neighbors. Poland, Latvia, and Russia have all taken their turns, but the Ukrainians themselves always threw them out eventually. Putin might win the battle, but he won’t win the war. In the long run, it’s in his own best interest just to call it a win and leave. God bless the Ukrainians.

  13. Amazing how a faux journalist can trot out so many unsubstantiated, non-sensical garbage. The hate and bigotry must be SO deep.

    In other news, the Ukrainians will prevail. Putin will be deposed in the not too distant future. Donald Trump will keep sending love notes to his boyfriend, but nobody will read them. Todd will continue to post nonsense, and we will all laugh at it.

  14. We watched this last night…I hope all your followers take this suggestion seriously… 0thank you for posting this!

  15. Lynident, thanks for posting link. I’ve heard others’ reference this:

  16. This won’t appear on MSM, but China is now demanding US publication of information about 26 US-financed bioweapons labs on Ukrainian border with Russia.

    A Bulgarian journalist published recent detail about this issue. She was preceded by several others with the same story. Last heard update from UK-based journalist.

  17. The Far Right doesn’t have 200,000 soldiers. But they do have an ecosystem churning out state laws, judges, churches, college groups, etc.. Their “peacekeeping” mission has been underway for decades, churning forward. The time to fight back is NOW…after ’24 it will be much, much harder.

  18. Two quick points
    1) I don’t remember who said it, but the question was “If today’s Americans had to endure the rationing that went on during WWII, how many would have said that we should surrender and end the rationing.?”
    2) Ukraine is and has been a major threat to Putin since 2014. A nation so close to Russia with many more freedoms, acting and thinking like Europeans, and potentially more prosperous, shows the Russian people a possible better way without Putin. I’d call that a major threat.

  19. i watch the latest,and the orange rev,and other ongoing Ukraine political moves over the last 20 years. one issue was how paul manafort was working to install a kremlin person/style goverment.(Yanukovych ) then manafort was paid in the range of $12 million for his work to influence Americans and U.S. goverment people to smooth this election.. how many Americans donated to this election in Ukraine? and who elected here in America had any hand in it? the Ukraine treasury was ransaked by that elected goverment and manaforts name was mentioned,and if true,the log in writing showed him as recipient of $12 million..Though oleg deripaska claimed it was his as an investment scheme..follow the money. Matt Taibbi of yahoo news followed it to the Caymans then was transfered to of all places,Cyprus,and now doesnt exist..Cyprus is a leading money laundering nation to russia..but we know where manafort landed with trump. only U.S.investigations moved him to being a unauthorized agent,and never as far as i know, never charged him with funneling that known money from Ukraine,and as i see it,never sent him to interpol for the rest.. but alike tresonous people will sleep together..

  20. Lester:
    as i see it here in NoDak,trumpdakota,, theres 600K for a,population, after years of talking face to face with alot of people spread out over the state, there are 599,000 who would kill for trump and kicking people to the curb they dont see as human…this my fellow blogger is fact..

  21. Jack,

    I hope, believe (and pray) that all they want is to rule NoDak and have “freedom” to do anything they damn please while leaving the rest of us alone.

  22. While many from the Foxhole believe otherwise because they have been taught otherwise from no less than entertainment and social media, the spectrum from liberal to authoritarian has been made high contrast here in order to reinforce the popularity of authoritarianism here.

    We used to be passionately against authoritarianism and for freedom as a result then of seeing recent memories of WWII.

    Many of us are having those memories renewed by the news from the Ukraine.

    When Putin’s War has concluded, no matter the outcome, perhaps the world will return to post WWII sensibilities and learn once again the hatred authoritarians have for normal lives and how easy their predatory nature is to resist in the voting booth, and how painful it is to correct by death and destruction.

  23. I don’t know squat about CIA propaganda, but I know my friend & coworker from Ukraine weeps daily for her family & friends who are still there. I’m not sure how her Eastern Catholicism works with being a nazi – can you explain that one, Todd? /s/ I hope you at least appreciate that freedom of speech here protects even those who say stupid crap.

  24. I see someone mentioned the Orange Revolution (The Orange Revolution was a series of protests and political events that took place in Ukraine from late November 2004 to January 2005). Poor Ukrainians have become our teachers. I used this film in my Nonviolence Studies intro class along with other examples of nonviolence in action. A Force More Powerful, made by the same producers, is a six-part collection I think you all will appreciate. It’s some solace that sometimes “a breakdown leads to a breakthrough.” Nonviolence has to be our -shared-future.

  25. “It was also impossible not to wonder: how many of the spoiled-brat Americans who equate wearing a face mask with tyranny would emulate the brave Ukrainians if we were invaded by a stronger neighbor? How many of those same spoiled brats–the ones who drive their expensive gas-guzzling SUVs to the outer suburbs, where they moved to escape “those people”–will carp about higher gas prices while Russia’s outlawed cluster bombs fall on Ukrainian cities.”

    Sadly, Professor Kennedy, I believe the answer to the 2 questions you posed above is that very, very few of the anti-vax, anti-mask crowd in this Country would “emulate the brave Ukrainians [resistance] if we were invaded by a stronger neighbor.” And virtually all “will [and already are] carp about higher gas prices. . . .”

  26. I can’t afford higher gas prices. But I don’t care. Cut off Russian oil. I’ll find another solution.

  27. My now deceased sister in law, Avivah, told us her story. Her grandfather and grandmother lived in Ukraine, the breakbasket of Russia, following the 1917 Red Russian Revolution. Lenin died in 1924 and was succeeded by Stalin, who ruthlessly expanded the Red Bolshevik Revolution down into so-called White Russia, an agricultural mecca of conservative farmers who were not in sync with communism. Her father at age 8 witnessed the death of his parents by machine gun-toting Reds in a ditch north of Odessa, ran down to Odessa and hid away in a lifeboat on a British tramp steamer. He was discovered when at sea, forced to work as a cabin boy, and kicked off the ship in Liverpool. He spoke no English and was crying on a dark and foggy dock when a preacher happened along, took him home and wound up adopting him. He learned English and later received a doctorate in theology and was then sent as a missionary to Palestine on behalf of The Brethern, shortly before the so-called British Mandate of Palestine ended in 1948 and the advent of Israel as a Jewish state. Avivah was born in Tel Aviv, was fluent in Russian, Hebrew and English, and met and married my older brother, an air force captain, in England, where she lived with the family of her father’s old friend, the lord mayor of Bristol, while pursuing a degree in nursing. Some story! Incidentally, her father failed to convert the Jews in Tel Aviv; perhaps he should have tried his luck with next door Muslims.

    I told her that her tale would make a good story line for a movie, but it didn’t happen. My point in setting forth her story is to show that what we know about what is going on now in Ukraine has preludes even before the 2014 escapade. Yes, Ukraine has had occasional bouts of political corruption, but what country hasn’t, including ours? (See Harding, Nixon, Trump et al.).

    Ukraine is a sovereign state, and both international law and the UN Charter forbid invasion of sovereign states without provocation. Putin’s denazification propaganda as a pretext to his invasion is ridiculous but reminds me of how we used to joke when making comparisons that “that (fill in the blank) has about as much passing as Adolph Hitler has of winning the mayor’s seat in Tel Aviv,” and speaking of comparisons, I think Todd’s tirade today is based on the same cherry picked factual world of delusion as that of the right – but somehow the parties arrive at different conclusions. (?)

    My conclusion > Let’s help the Ukrainians and send Putin back to make Russia great again but from resources within his own borders.

  28. Todd: Wow; you’ve once again demonstrated your inability to tell fact from fiction to find nuance because of your blind dogmatism. Go to Ukraine and fight on the side of the Russians if you’re that sure of yourself; I’m sure we’d all chip on for that.

  29. Putin is riding high as Emperor of the World at this time; his dictatorship has run on propaganda so long and so string that stories are now coming out from Ukrainians with family and friends living in Russia do not believe there is a war. Putin has convinced them that Ukrainian citizens are killing each other.

    China, Iran and North Korea will not be the one to make the first nuclear attack and the rest of the world doesn’t want a nuclear war and is cowering behind their claim of not wanting to be the one to start WWIII by making any strike against the Russians in Ukraine. Putin has started HIS war and daring the world to take any action against him; leaving his military to destroy and kill at will. How many Ukrainians does it take to die before the allies take action?

  30. Oops; so “strong” not “string”. I’m unnerved by watching the good guys fighting the Russian economy rather than their military; we are now all in danger of being Putin’s next victim. They have the military strength and weapons and could have ended this “military occupation” in the first 4-5 days; like a cat playing with a wounded mouse before they kill it, Putin is playing with all of us…and he is winning.

  31. So, it is hard to determine what is propaganda, and what is not. The CIA has been behind so many coups, for the sake of our corporate
    giants, and “Democracy in a free world,” that it is painful to comprehend. “Free world,” my gluteus maximus, “American Empire” is more like it.
    Recall the statement I quoted, here, from a high official in the GWB quasi-administration: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we
    create our own reality.’” pg. 743-744, of “These Truths,” Lepore.
    Not, please, that I do not root for Zelenskyy, and company!

  32. I feel like I am at wits end. Putin is a nut job and the possibility of his acting out if NATO enters into the conflict is scary.
    Regardless, I think it is time. How sad.

  33. Stephen; thank you! NATO and EU; there are other European counties bordering on Russia, none of them are safe.

  34. Thank you, Sheila, for not banning Todd. Free speech
    is the occasional lancing of intellectual boils.
    To me, the significant element,
    and the reason Trump was such a danger,
    and cautious convincible Biden a boon,
    is nuclear weapons.
    In 1984, possibly in response to
    “The Day After (1983), the BBC
    produced “Threads” which will
    scare the hell out of you.
    Available free on YouTube.

    It reports, documentary style,
    and bleaker than any horror movie,
    the state of England before, during,
    and 13 years after, a full 3000 megaton
    nuclear exchange, of which the UK
    receives 210 megatons.
    It follows one woman through it all,
    blast, fire, radiation, nuclear winter,
    starvation, prison camps, rape. Her
    daughter survives. She doesn’t.

    There’s not a happy ending. Sorry.

  35. Ormond, if that’s the film I think it is, thanks for the info; been looking for it for years. Bleak as hell, but probably a realistic depiction of post-nuclear life for those not obliterated.

  36. Ormond: “The Day After” still rings in my head and is so frightening even after all these years. Like you, while I get so irritated at those early-morning trolls, I thank Sheila for her unbelievable patience with the trolls’ freedom of speech which is often stretched to bursting. God bless the people of Ukraine and those who have compassionately taken them in and clothed, sheltered and fed them, especially the innocent children. That’s what it is all about.

  37. For the record, gas prices around Vancouver hit $2.69/L. In U.S. funds, that’s about $7.90/Gal.

    Measures that hurt Putin and the oligarchs are fine with me.

  38. Reuters news report this morning: “LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) -Radioactive substances could be released from Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant because it cannot cool spent nuclear fuel after its power connection was severed, Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company Energoatom said on Wednesday.

    It said fighting made it impossible to immediately repair the high-voltage power line to the plant, which was captured by Russian forces after the Kremlin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

    Energoatom said there were about 20,000 spent fuel assemblies at Chernobyl that could not be kept cool amid a power outage.

    Their warming could lead to “the release of radioactive substances into the environment. The radioactive cloud could be carried by wind to other regions of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and Europe,” it said in a statement.”

    Will this be taken into consideration or ignored by Putin…and world leaders who don’t want to be accused of starting WWIII? Putin’s troops have already fired on the largest nuclear power plant in Europe with total disregard and caused a fire, luckily in an out building. Do they understand that the shut down of Chernobyl did not end the danger that the uncooled assemblies continue to be the same danger it posed as when the plant was active? Do they remember that disaster which is still a danger in other parts of the world? Do they care? Will anyone but the Ukrainians believe this report?

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