Ukraine’s Fight to Stay Alive 

My name is Gösta Iwasiuk. “Iwasiuk” is a typical Ukrainian name. The “iuk” ending is the giveaway. My parents were born in Czernowitz (German), Cernovitsi (Ukrainian – Чернівці́ ), or Cernăuti (Romanian) now in south-western Ukraine. At the time of their birth, it was Austro-Hungary. For a while, it was Romania, then Russia. After World War II it became Ukrainian. My father became a physician and, for a time during the Stalin era, he was the head of Public Health in the region, something akin to Surgeon General. Because he would not stop his Public Health programs of vaccinating children, along with food and clean water programs for the elderly; he was ordered to stop at first, then gradually demoted by the Moscow bureaucracy and eventually tried for being an enemy of the people and sentenced to death. That is what Stalin’s modus operandi was.

Before the war, he had a wonderful life. My father had married into a wealthy family who helped him in establishing a solid medical practice. He also worked as a resort doctor on the Black Sea near Odessa during the warmer seasons. Here he is at the water’s edge as a resort doctor.

The Communists changed all that, and he had to get out of Russia with his wife to avoid the hangman’s noose. He eventually wound up in the USA along with his family, including me, by way of Germany/Austria, but he considered himself a Ukrainian all his life and frequently reminded me that I was one too. We often laughed at my big feet (Ukrainian feet – size 13 www) as proof. Although I have never seen Ukraine, I do have family there. The current Russian unprovoked attack on Ukraine has revived my feelings for my origins. I watch the daily newscast with horror and sadness, the bombed-out cities, the dead bodies in the streets, and the unnecessary body bags of young Russian men, who had no idea why they were there, mostly being left where they fell by the retreating Russian army. This is all due to one man who has a crazy notion of reviving the glory of the old Soviet Union.    

I am shocked by some of our misguided leaders and their media representatives supporting Vladimir Putin. Their logic escapes me. It is our fault, they say. We provoked Vladimir Putin in this criminal act because he had no choice. They parrot Putin’s propaganda saying the Ukrainians would have done this to him. They malign Volodymyr Zelensky, a real hero, by calling him a “Thug” and calling the butcher war criminal Putin “smart.”            Putin is Delusional – yes, Paranoid, and definitely “not smart”! Putin’s lies about Nazis around every corner of Ukrain are denied by the Jewish population and the leading Rabbis of Ukraine. Bombing maternity hospitals because they are run by Nazis has got to be one of the most ludicrous lies ever told. “Normal people never would believe this rubbish,” so said the chief Rabbi of Kiyv.        

Putin will not stop with Ukraine. He has proven that by what he has already accomplished. He placed Georgia, Chechnya, Belarus, Crimea, and the Donbas region under his spell. If he wins in Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia are next. If Finland and Sweden try to join NATO, he will attack them too. I guarantee you China is watching very carefully. If Putin succeeds, we will have Taiwan to protect next. And I do believe Xi Jinping is smarter than Putin, and his armies are better trained and more competent than Putin’s army. China is much more nuclear savy than Russia and less vulnerable just because of its size. Keep that in mind.            

The fear of Putin threatening use of Nuclear weapons is not a likely scenario. He is paranoid and delusional, but he is not stupid and as scared of Nukes as the rest of us are. He is unreasonably afraid of catching Covid. You can see that by his fear of getting close to people with his long tables and the fact that he talks to his entourage by phone or zoom only. He is a coward, and he wants to stay alive! If we do not win this war with Putin, he will take us and NATO down, too, eventually! We must arm Ukraine with heavy artillery and better air defense, including modern jet fighters. The Ruble has almost completely recovered in the last few weeks. That is a clear sign that our sanctions are being subverted. They need to become more robust! I am not proposing that we put boots on the ground. The brave Ukrainians have decimated half of the Russian military assets and a large percentage of their fighting force. They deserve and must have more of our help! This is not the time to be weak and timid. If we don’t help Ukraine win this conflict now, we will not get another chance. Appeasement did not work with Hitler, and it won’t work with Putin either!