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The above title is outlawed in Russia. Putin forbids my very use of the word “war.” Using that word could place a Russian reporter in the Gulag Archipelago for 15 years. They are not allowed to use “war,” “invasion,” or “assault” when describing their invasion of Ukraine.1

The New York Times reported last Friday, “Russia clamped down harder Friday on news and free speech than at any time in President Vladimir V. Putin’s 22 years in power, blocking access to Facebook and major foreign news outlets, and enacting a law to punish anyone spreading ‘false information’ about its Ukraine invasion with up to 15 years in prison.”((Troianovski, Anton. “Russia Takes Censorship to New Extremes, Stifling War Coverage.” New York Times, March 4, 2022, March 8, 2022))

For Putin, it is all about controlling the narrative within his authority. Those critical of his actions will quickly be labeled criminals and face severe consequences. 

Instead, the Kremlin says their invasion of Ukraine is a “special military operation.” The Kremlin has also blocked access from within their country to major western news sources or popular social networks such as Facebook. Consequently, the general population within Russia will only hear the state-managed media.((Troianovski, Anton. “Russia Takes Censorship to New Extremes, Stifling War Coverage.” New York Times, March 4, 2022, March 8, 2022))

This war will not end quickly, and those who have orchestrated the invasion and war in Ukraine will be suffering economically. But what does that mean exactly? First off, you need to understand that Russia is an oligarchy. What is that exactly? It is a government-run by a few very powerful and very wealthy people. Just a handful of individuals manage and own all the property, businesses, trade, and energy. To give you an idea, Putin is worth about 100 billion. Yes, I wrote billion, not million.((Mohler, Albert. “Thursday, March 3, 2022.” Audio blog post. The Briefing., March 3, 2022. Web. March 8, 2022)) Give that some thought. One hundred billion. For example, if Putin lost 99% of his entire wealth, he would still have 1 billion left. Can you picture a billion dollars? For those who are math-challenged, think of it this way, 1 billion dollars is a thousand million dollars. Could you live on that? Could a millionaire be comfortable with that? How about someone with a hundred million? You see my point. 

These sanctions will undoubtedly hurt the oligarchy, but what is a 90% loss of their billions? It is a nuisance, maybe an aggravation, but I would not even go so far as to say a discomfort. These men and women in power will not suffer one iota from our sanctions. Who suffers? The people of Russia. Many of them may disagree with the invasion of Ukraine but, out of fear, will say nothing against it. Why? Because the Kremlin passed a law making criminals out of those who speak out against their military or government. Vyacheslav Volodin, a Kremlin official, said with the new law, “those who lied and made declarations discrediting our armed forces will be forced to suffer very harsh punishment.”2

The sanctions may place such a general stress on the populace they could rise up and overthrow the government, but they are already cowed by laws, restrictions, and threats of harsh punishments. Constraints on free speech are in full swing and will only get worse. Those who don’t toe the line will quickly disappear and be examples to those who might consider speaking out against the invasion of Ukraine. 

World view matters, and I can’t say this strongly enough. Countries like Russia and China don’t care about the people; those in power only care about gaining more power and influence even if it costs their people or innocents, including women and children. Culture is downstream of religion, and politics is downstream of culture, always. So what Russia is doing and what China is planning on doing has everything to do with politics, culture, and undoubtedly a religion, or lack thereof. Those in charge are answerable to no one, and they will do whatever they can to keep it that way. 

Ukraine will fall. Those who fought to keep their country independent will either be killed or whisked away to prisons in Siberia, never to be heard from again. If you think Russia will be satisfied with Ukraine, you are sadly mistaken. It may not happen in my lifetime, but the Russian oligarch will continue to make moves westward. 

And I predict within my lifetime, China will take Taiwan. And like Ukraine, we will not want to go to war for another country’s freedom. So like it or not, it is simply a delay of the inevitable. Ideas have consequences, and the ideas coming from Russia and China have world-impacting consequences. 

Does injustice diminish depending on the distance? For example, what would you do if you were to walk out your front door and see a man abusing a woman or child just a few feet away? I think most men and women would immediately step in and put a halt to it if they could. What if it was across the street? Does your responsibility for the abuse that you have knowledge of lessen because of the increased distance?

David French, a conservative Christian and political commentator wrote, 

“The true battle for our country isn’t political, it’s cultural and spiritual…Our nation can survive lost elections, but over the long term it cannot survive a decayed culture.”3

As Christians, we should recognize secular ideas regarding ethics. Secular moralities such as the ones we find from the Kremlin and China are established on the belief that their own ideas and moral codes (what is right and wrong) are merely based on their views. Nothing more than that. No higher universal standard or judge that we may call God. They recognize this and act on it. “If there is no absolute beyond man’s ideas, then there is not a final appeal to judge between individuals and groups whose moral judgments conflict. We are merely left with conflicting opinions.”((Schaeffer, Francis. How Should We Then Live? Old Tappan NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1976 p. 154))

You are mistaken if you think theology doesn’t matter. Theological arguments matter because they arrived in the form of jetliners on September 11. You are also mistaken if you believe Godless leaders are a better option. If you have heard and believed the party line that religion has been the cause of more deaths and wars than anything else, you’re deceived. Mao, Stalin, and Hitler, atheist dictators, were responsible for over 100 million deaths in the 20th century. 

The world war for worldviews is just beginning. What side are you on?

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The War In Ukraine by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. AFP, “Russia Bans Media Outlets from Using Words’ War,’ ‘Invasion.’ The Moscow Times, February 26, 2022, March 8, 2022 []
  2. Troianovski, Anton. “Russia Takes Censorship to New Extremes, Stifling War Coverage.” New York Times, March 4, 2022, March 8, 2022 []
  3. Friedersdorf, Conor. “How Breitbart Destroyed Andrew Breitbart’sLegacy.” The Atlantic, 14, Nov. 2017, 9 March 2022 []

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