Though it’s hard to know all of Vladimir Putin’s intentions in the invasion of Ukraine, thing is for sure: he intended to destroy Ukraine’s independent identity as he subsumed the sovereign nation into a rose-tinted reformulation of the Soviet Union.
But of the many apparent blunders and miscalculations in this campaign, this failure may be the greatest. Instead of destroying Ukraine’s identity in the minds and hearts of the global community, Putin has overwhelmingly enhanced it.
Protests have broken out around the world in solidarity with Ukraine, even in Russia, where at last count over 3000 people have been arrested voicing their outrage at their government’s actions. People and nations, TV stations and politicians the world over are calling in unison for Ukraine’s freedom. The proud nation’s national anthem has been heard more than it ever would have been without the invasion.
The flag. The colors. The people—citizens and politicians alike. The cities. The maps. The history.
And the name. Even the name! We now know it is not “The Ukraine” but simply Ukraine. The Ukraine refers to the region as it was within the Soviet Union, whereas Ukraine is the modern sovereign country.
If you didn’t already know that, you do now.
I know it because a viral meme ( of a torrent) hit in response to the invasion.
Everything in the news and on social media is about Ukraine. The country is on everyone’s lips, in everyone’s thoughts, and (rather less impactfully) in many people’s prayers.