Hope more reasonable heads will prevail

Hope more reasonable heads will prevail

“I know you must be feeling this week’s events heavily,” I wrote to my friend in Maryland, whose wife is from Ukraine. ”I can only imagine your stress levels.”

“Yes,” he said. “There are many tears being shed here by all of us.”

What he said had great impact on me, and I’m sure you too have felt sorrow for those who are suffering in the former Soviet Bloc country. Those of us of a certain age have felt the looming threat of those pain-in-the-neck Russians since childhood.

I don’t think any of us in high school expected to escape the big nuclear engagement we all thought was coming at any moment. Once the Soviets toppled we could breathe a little easier. They were just going to be a bit smaller, still poor and less in our faces. Our Russian respite was, as it turned out, not very long lived.

As nations of the world turn off one connection to outside civilization after another, the Russian people are feeling the pinch of their leader’s misadventures more every day. It strikes me that there are more than a few things I associate with Mother Russia and which I will happily trim from my life.

We got ingredients to make one of our favorites, stroganoff, just before the invasion. We turned it all into something else as neither of us had the stomach for it as the horror stories and casualty figures mounted.

Thank goodness there are plenty of sources for vodka other than Russia, so we won’t have to give up the occasional evening martini. There’s even a good vodka made in Columbus, Ohio.

It is heart rending to see the images and videos coming out of Ukraine, and the people there are surely suffering needlessly. The thing that makes it all seem surreal is the feeling that some ancient demon, thought to be slain, has revived and is once again causing havoc. I mean, didn’t we solve all this European war drama years ago?

The nations of Europe were at each other’s throats pretty much continuously for centuries until the end of World War II when everyone agreed to try and stay alive and let each other alone.

Pictures of refugees boarding trains to flee an invading army hungry for territory and power feel out of place in the 21st century. The safety of the world depends on the really big players to manage disagreements peacefully, respect each other’s borders and generally behave themselves. No good can come of such a backward-moving maneuver.

Of course, always curious about food, I looked to see what kind of dishes are native to Ukraine. As one would expect, quite a bit of Ukrainian cuisine is shared with their bullying eastern neighbor.

There’s a spinach soup that is popular there referred to as a green borscht. Russian borscht is a cold beet soup I have never been the least tempted to try. There are also the expected pancakes, potato cakes and dumplings. Also not a surprise is golubtsi, a variation on stuffed cabbage rolls. It’s a blend of Eastern European cuisines and mostly the hearty kind of fare cold weather people evolve organically over time.

I suspect there are a lot of people in our area who are of Ukrainian ancestry, and who have relatives in Eastern Europe. Access to social media makes this invasion a very different experience than in previous such outbreaks of fighting. We can see it unfold in real time on the devices we all carry, and get information directly from those involved as they run for safety. We actually get far more information than the average Russian as the country has been cut off by most social media providers.

In any case, our prayers are with those in anguish, and we must hope for more reasonable heads to prevail to bring about a quick and peaceful resolution, which sends the Russians back home where they belong.

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