The Russian Bear

This Time It’s Personal

Ulraguy an New Wineskins pens an amazing post that personalizes the ongoing crises in Easter Europe.

What? You didn’t know about the crisis? – about Russian Prime Minister Putin cutting off natural gas supplies in the middle of winter to entire countries? You must still be reading the newspapers. From the Independent (UK):

Fears of a deep chill spread across Europe yesterday after a row between Russia and Ukraine over gas prices cut supplies to the rest of the continent on a day of plummeting temperatures and heavy snowfalls.

The European Union said the situation was “completely unacceptable” as thousands of businesses were urged to switch fuels, and households struggled to keep warm in sub-zero temperatures. But there was no sign of an end to the standoff between Russia’s energy monopoly Gazprom and Ukraine, locked in battle since New Year’s Day.

Now if you haven’t read Ultraguy’s post yet, please do.  Then come back here. I’ll wait.

Dum Da Dummmmm….

Back? Good. Yes, it’s personal. This story is about my friend, who is a naturalized Czech immigrant who left Prague with her infant and toddler children in 1968 when the Russian tanks came in.  I cannot do justice to her story – but it’s every bit as terrifying, engrossing and wonderful (at the end) as your imagination can make it.  More so. The story includes her train being stopped at the border by guards looking for her and her husband, and escaping only because of the kindness of one of them (it’s “made-for-movie” stuff).  Although there is better news today (perhaps – we’ll see), her elderly mother faces a Prague winter without heat.

My friend will tell you about Putin. She’ll tell you that he’s no different than BrezhnevI’ve written before that he is dangerous, and not a threat to be ignored. The danger is increasing.

This is happening at a time when, for all sorts of reasons, we’re looking inward, never beyond our own shores. We’ve elected a man who is steadfastly concerning himself with the economy and domestic affairs just as we want.  It’s a mistake.  The world will pay an incredible price when we withdraw.

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