As this latest Russo-Ukrainian war continues into the 2nd month of it's full invasion, I keep on thinking about the random cycle of history. Not only the bigger picture of having been invaded, again - for like the 5th time in the last 100 years - by Russia, but about the smaller historical experiences.
This isn't the first time Russia has invaded Ukraine. This isn't the first time they've acted like pirates in people's homes. When the Red Army entered Lviv (or well, generally western Ukraine in 1939), there were numerous reports of soldiers being dumbfounded by simple things like indoor plumbing. The train wagons going back into the Russian interior were filled with porcelain toilets and sinks. I've had interviews with UPA veterans who said the same thing: those coming into Lviv were awestruck that people could live so well. Red Army officer's wives wore dressing slips (like the kind you wear under your clothes) to the Opera because they assumed something silk was a gown to be worn around town and not something that simply slipped under your dress.
And that's what we are seeing a lot in those areas that have been occupied by the Russians: they're stealing whiskey, TVs, cash and furs. They call their wives back in Russia and describe the riches Ukrainians live in. We might think it's funny, but really - it's just sad. It's sad because they could easily have the same way of life as Ukrainians - but they choose to live in their ignorance. Ukrainians have worked hard to get what they have, the Russians mostly just survive off the corrupt system. That's why they're surprised Ukrainians have such nice homes with such nice things. I wouldn't be surprised if some woman in Siberia begins walking around in a night slip sometime soon.
The other terrible thing that's coming back through the cycle of history is the mass rape of women. The Red Army basically swarmed Germany and raped their way across it - no grandmother, mother or child were save. The same it seems to be happening in Ukraine today. And I only pray to God it's not going to be as widespread as it was in Germany.