ICYMI: The Origins of Russia's War in Ukraine
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One more week of Jason and I digging through the old archives. He’s just returned from vacation and I’m just about ready to sit in a chair like a normal human again. Thanks for bearing with us.
Today I’ve strung together two of our oldest episodes about Russia and Ukraine. Episodes 14 and 18 show how much can change in less than a decade. The first is a discussion of the invasion of the Donbas in 2014 from someone who witnessed it.
I wanted to highlight this episode because we sometimes forget that Russia didn’t invade Ukraine in February 2022. It escalated a conflict that had been simmering since 2014. After the Euromaidan protests in 2014, Russia annexed Crimea and then moved Russian soldiers—remember the “little green men?”—into the Donbas to stoke a separatist movement.
The conflict froze from 2014 until February 23, 2022. At the time, a lot of people—including myself—believed that Russia would be in and out of Ukraine quickly. This started in 1991 when it aided South Ossetia against Georgia. The Georgians accused Russia of sending troops along with helping to broker a peace deal. It happened again in 1992 in Transnistria. Ethnic Russians fought for independence in the region of Moldova. Russia brokered a peace that sent in troops to act as a de facto occupying force. It happened again in 1992 against Abkhazia and followed the familiar template. The region broke away from Georgia, the region claimed independence, and Russia sent in troops to stabilize the region.