Opinion: What’s really going on in Russia and Ukraine?


Credit: Bella Schreiber

WSPN’s Bella Schreiber discusses the rising conflicts in Russia and Ukraine and their implications for America.

Bella Schreiber

I have had the privilege of living my whole life in a place like the United States, where we have many freedoms. These include being able to choose who is in charge of our country and how long they get to be in charge. Unfortunately, people in places like Russia have not been able to elect their president since 2000. Their current president, Vladimir Putin, has been in power since then.

Recently, Putin has been piling troops along the Russian-Ukraine border which some believe is in anticipation of an invasion or war. We have not heard much about Putin’s plans, but there are many suspicions of why he might be covering the border with troops.

My personal hypothesis is that Putin is hoping to return the Eastern countries to what they were many years ago, when they were the Soviet Union and all banded together. I believe this because he has called for NATO to forbid Ukraine’s acceptance to the group and has tried to stop other ex-Soviet countries from getting in.

There are a few possible reasons for why Putin does not want any more Eastern countries to join NATO. For starters, he might believe that having all his surrounding countries heavily armed with very intense back up from many countries could pose a security threat to Russia. In my opinion, this is not valid logic. No country that is currently a part of NATO has any intention to attack or use extreme violence or force against Russia.

I believe the hidden argument within that statement is that Putin wants to feel comfortable with the fact that they could attack or invade Ukraine without them being able to adequately defend themselves without foreign help.

Other reasons include that Putin is simply bluffing the threat of war to scare the U.S. President Joe Biden, other Eastern countries and the Ukrainians. He would do this with the sole purpose of getting countries to agree with his deals. Although this is very possible, I still do not believe it is the truth.

One of the bigger and more believable reasons is that Putin fears what will happen if Ukraine succeeds in running a democratic government. Currently, Putin thrives off of his own authoritarian-adjacent government, but if Ukraine can prove that people can have more freedom and still succeed, Putin cannot prove that it would not be possible for Russia to also transfer over to a more democratic government. Ukraine neighbors Russia and houses many Russian people. The two are run in very similar ways, other than the fact that Ukraine’s people have much more freedom, threatening Putin’s power.

There are countless other theories and conspiracies about why Russia has stocked Ukraine’s borders with troops, but one thing is for sure: nobody but Putin knows the full reason as to why they are there. Therefore, it is important that everyone proceeds with caution.

The next thing that has probably come to many people’s minds is “how will this affect America?” To begin, if it turns into a full-on war, we will have to put a lot of funds into it and send out many troops to fight. Another concern of the government is that gas and oil prices will skyrocket as Russia might make certain exports much more expensive.

Although the likelihood of America going into a financial crisis is extremely low, it is still possible. On top of that, because we have been rebounding from the pandemic, America requires a constant flow of supplies from everyone it trades with, including Russia, to stabilize.

In addition to all of this, conflict would most likely cause stocks to go down again as war causes much economic uncertainty. I believe that many investors would not feel comfortable during this tumult which could very well lead to another plummet in America’s stock market.

Then, there’s the question many of us are thinking: “what is the response of the U.S. and many other countries, especially those part of NATO?”

We know that Biden has sent troops to Ukraine to assist in case Russia decides to move forward into a war. On top of this, I am aware that both the U.S. and European allies have promised that they will hit Russia extremely hard in the economic area as well as send in weapons to Ukraine. Germany has also agreed to send in a field medical facility to help out which would most likely end in Ukraine winning with the help of all of these countries and probably more.

There has been minor insight given that suggests that the countries of NATO are having slight disagreements on how to approach the subject. There seem to have been small arguments in the approach, and they have led to hesitation in the retaliation against Russia, but almost everyone is in agreement that if Russia does proceed to invade Ukraine, there will be major consequences.

In the end, I think it is most important that no matter how this is approached and hopefully resolved, there are real people’s lives at stake here. People should not have to go to sleep and wake up every morning with the fear that this will be their last night, day or the last time they get to see their families. Even though we are far from the conflict, we must show our support to people currently in Ukraine whose lives are threatened everyday.