A Guide To The Ukrainian Conflict For Thought Catalog Readers


So last night I went out with a couple of friends for some drinks. I’m usually the smartest one in the group, and everyone looks up to me because of my opinions and insights. So naturally, when the topic of the Ukrainian conflict came up, Stephabeth and Mackenzalin wanted to know exactly how I felt about it.

“What the heck is going on over there?” asked Stephabeth.

“What is all this dang stuff,” added Mackenzalin.

“Just heck off with all this dang stuff,” they squawked in unison.

I’m sure a lot of you feel the exact same way they do. Revolutions, invasions, economic sanctions – this is a lot to take in, and it’s extremely important that you have an opinion on it all, because this is a global event and you’re a smart person with a lot of good opinions. It’s okay, breathe. While the conflict may be confusing at first, it can also be over simplified and dumbed down so that anyone can understand it.

So let’s start with the basics. Ukraine, a country, has recently undergone a revolution. You may be thinking, “Hey, I know what a revolution is! That’s like when George Washington did the cherry tree!” You’re right! It is kind of like that! Ukraine, like colonial America, has thrown out their old government and replaced it with a new one that, presumably, better reflects the will and interest of its people.

In a lot of ways, Ukraine is kind of in its twenties right now. It’s confused, it’s scared and angry, but it’s overwhelmed with this new sense of independence and adulthood. It may not be making the best decisions, but the mistakes it’s making are Ukraine’s and Ukraine’s alone. Ukraine is just finding itself.

Ukraine’s former president was too much in favor of relations with Russia, a country that you might know as the country that hates gay people. Russia is filled with bad guys. They aren’t about social justice, and that’s all you really need to know to form an opinion on Russia.

Ukraine, however, has a complicated relationship with Russia. The two countries used to be members of the Soviet Union, which is way too complicated for you to understand, so just think of it like this – Russia and Ukraine used to be in a pretty serious relationship. In the 1990s (Doug, Rugrats), the Soviet Union disbanded, and Russia and Ukraine didn’t break up per se, but the lease was up on their apartment and they had to rethink their relationship and spend some time apart.

While clearing out the old apartment, Ukraine realized it had a bunch of nuclear warheads lying around. The easiest way to think about nukes is to just think of them as nudes. In the 20th century, there was a proliferation of nudes in the world, and the only reason nudes weren’t leaked is because everyone knew that if they leaked someone else’s nudes, their own nudes would be leaked as well. Everyone was kept in check by fear of their nudes being leaked. When the Soviet Union broke up, Ukraine agreed to give Russia its nudes back and to not take any more nudes, and in exchange, Russia, and the UK and US acting as friends helping to ease the breakup, agreed to respect Ukraine’s status as an independent woman who doesn’t need a man to do her thing.

But, Russia is no longer respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty. Russia keeps saying it’s going to do one thing, but then it does the opposite. Russia is being such a guy right now, ugh.

You see, there’s a significant population of ethnic Russians in Ukraine. I know, I know – you’re saying, “Ethnic??? None of these people look ethnic!” It’s kind of hard to explain, but when a country doesn’t have any black people, some of the white people are considered ethnic. So, for now, just hang tight and accept that the Russians in Ukraine are PoC.

That large population is mostly centered in Crimea, which is a peninsula in the south of Ukraine. Don’t let the name fool you, peninsula actually has nothing to do with gender. A peninsula is like an island, but it’s attached to a larger land mass on one side. It’s kind of like the geographical equivalent of being in your twenties, you’re almost entirely independent, except for the fact that your parents cover most of your financial burdens and you always have them to fall back on in the event that you become flooded with adulthood. You’re a peninsula.

Crimea is of special interest to Russia not only because of the Russian population, but because of its strategic location on the Black Sea, as it already houses naval ports for Russian military. Crimea actually used to belong to Russia, but it gave it to Ukraine back when they were dating, thinking that their love was real and would last forever. In a lot of ways, Crimea is kind of like a dog that Ukraine and Russia rescued while they were dating, and now that the relationship is over, tempers are flaring over who gets to pet the dog, take it for walks, and use it to protect their house.

Crimea has been taken over by Russian nationalists, and is now occupied by Russian military. In a way, it’s a lot like Russia breaking into Ukraine’s apartment to get the dog. They promised they would respect Ukraine’s independence, but now, when it’s time for them to actually demonstrate that respect, they are ignoring the promise they made way back when Ukraine gave Russia all of its nudes.

So now, the United States, who helped Ukraine move out, is put in a tricky situation. You see, Russia and the United States are considered “superpowers.” They’re basically like the alpha bros of the world, and they’ve spent a lot of time checking each other’s masculinity. Unfortunately though, the United States has recently been identifying as a male feminist and demonstrating its courage using nothing more than tough but empty language and shame. This does not work on Russia, who has called the United States’ bluff and will do whatever it pleases in Ukraine. As far as Russia is concerned, the US is only respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty because the US saw an opportunity to hook up with Ukraine after its recent revolution, and Russia will be damned if it’s going to let the US pull that male feminist niceguy bullshit and fuck it’s ex-girlfriend. Russia is getting its dog back and the US is left to blog and whine on behalf of Ukraine because as much as the US would like to gently fuck Ukraine, it’s not worth a confrontation with Russia.

So now, Ukraine is pissed. Its friends aren’t going to help, and it knows it can’t take on Russia by itself. Russia is also not afraid of hitting a girl, and after the lackluster response from the United States, Ukraine might have to take matters into its own hands. Russia knows this however, and they’re just waiting for Ukraine to put its hands on the dog so they can justify an assault on Ukraine, take its dog back, and gaslight Ukraine into thinking it brought it on itself.

So that’s the situation thus far, broken down into simple terms that everyone can understand. Hopefully this has cleared things up for you, and if not, I think the Oscars are on.