Jill Sinclair has been wracked by a combination of anguish, sickness and anger as well as extraordinary pride as she has watched Ukrainians stand fast in the face of Russia’s invasion of their homeland. One thing she hasn’t felt, however, is surprise.
“Whenever I see how surprised people are about what the Ukrainian military is doing now, and what Ukraine is doing now as a people, a nation, a government, I’m not,” Sinclair says. “I say: ‘If you’d had your eyes open.”’
A former Canadian diplomat, Sinclair is Canada’s representative on a high-level advisory panel created by the Ukrainian government in 2016 to help the country reform its post-Soviet military from the top down.
A bomb-sniffing Jack Russell terrier named Patron has helped neutralize more than 200 hundred Russian explosives in Ukraine since the start of the war on February 24.
[Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy] made the award at a news conference in Kyiv with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Patron barked and wagged his tail, prompting laughter from the audience. Trudeau patted his pockets as though looking for a dog treat.
“Today, I want to award those Ukrainian heroes who are already clearing our land of mines. And together with our heroes, a wonderful little sapper – Patron – who helps not only to neutralize explosives, but also to teach our children the necessary safety rules in areas where there is a mine threat,” Zelenskiy said in a statement after the ceremony.
The award also went to Patron’s owner, a major in the Civil Protection Service, Myhailo Iliev.
Bono and The Edge performed a 40-minute concert in a metro station in Kyiv on Sunday and praised Ukrainians fighting for their freedom from Russia.
The crisis isn’t just that we had a coup attempt almost a year ago, but that the Republican party has itself become so venal, so corrupt, so ruthless in its quest for power, that it seems assured that we will see further attempts to overrule any election outcomes they don’t like. Already the kind of election laws they’ve pushed across the country seem aimed at such goals, and voter suppression has long been one of their anti-democratic tactics (it played a substantial role in Trump’s 2016 win, and the genuine illegitimacies of that election – foreign interference, anomalies the recount might have uncovered had the Republicans not stopped it – were appropriated as false claims for 2020).
The Republicans made a devil’s bargain decades ago, when they decided that they would not change course to win the votes of an increasingly nonwhite, increasingly progressive people, but would try to suppress those who would vote against them. That is, they pitted themselves against democracy as participatory government and free and fair elections. The rhetoric of the far right makes it clear they are fearful and know their power will ebb if they cannot command and subvert the laws and elections of this nation, and they are aiming at some form of minority rule.
That’s perfectly clear from their attack on the constitutional process unfolding that afternoon of 6 January, which was itself a refusal to accept a loss. The refusal to recognize the authority of Congress by Trump associates, including Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows, is a further sign of their belief, emboldened by Trump’s four years of criming in public, that they make their own rules. Both have been found in contempt of Congress.
Dictators distort the past because they want to use it. Putin certainly wants to use the past to stay in power. If Russians are nostalgic for their old dictatorship, then they have less reason to push back against the new one. He may also want to use the past to give legitimacy to violence—Russians who have no awareness of what Moscow did to Ukraine in the past will feel no sense of guilt about repeating old patterns of aggression. History does contain lessons, and here is one of them: If Putin plans to turn his falsely heroic vision of Russia’s past into a justification for another war in the present, he won’t be the first autocrat to do so.