As Russian tanks rolled across the border of Ukraine, it became increasingly clear that a significant portion of the Russian people are not afraid of the possibility of war — in fact, they welcome such a prospect. Nostalgia for the "glory days" of the Soviet Union is widespread in Russia among those who have no personal experience of the Cold War and Communist tyranny.
In an article for the U.K. Independent entitled “Young Russians yearn for the glory days of the Soviet Union — despite not having experienced it,” Abigail Hauslohner observes:
Mr Putin’s moves this year to annex Crimea and to support pro-Russian movements in Ukraine appear to have resonated with a younger generation that has no memory of the Soviet Union but yearns for its power.
According to the Levada Centre, an independent polling organisation in Moscow, the President’s high approval rating among young people tops even his numbers among an older generation that remembers the empire and views Crimea and Ukraine as essentially Russian.
People 18 to 24 years old — the youngest group among 1,600 people surveyed in late May — backed Mr Putin more than any other age bracket, at 86 per cent, said Karina Pipiya, a spokeswoman for the centre.
Putin’s flagrant contempt for the rule of law and treaty obligations has grown increasingly obvious throughout the course of events the past six months in Ukraine. Since 1997, the reduction in tensions between the West and Russia had been given formal expression in an agreement between NATO and Russia. As Breitbart recently noted, “In 1997, NATO agreed not to build permanent bases in Eastern Europe if Russia did not violate another country’s sovereignty. [Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw] Sikorski claims Russia violated this agreement due to aggression towards Ukraine, which includes annexing Crimea in mid-March.”
Russian troops were overtly involved in the overthrow of Ukrainian authority in Crimea — a fact that Vladimir Putin denied at first but then later admitted after his rule over the region had become secure. On June 12, at least three Russian T-72 tanks crossed the border from Russia into Ukraine in one of the most significant escalations in the continuing crisis in eastern Ukraine. The tanks were allegedly part of an entire column of Russian armored vehicles. The aggressive act was met with a formal protest by the newly elected Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, only to have that protest countered by a classic example of "the big lie," with the Russian Foreign Ministry denouncing the Ukrainian accusation as "another fake piece of information."
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