Tag Archives: Russia

Ukrainian Occupation: Worse Than a Crime, It’s A Mistake

by Nicholas Sooy

Flag of Ukraine

When Napoleon executed Louis Antoine in 1804, a decision which turned the European aristocracy against Napoleon, an advisor reportedly quipped “It’s worse than a crime, it’s a mistake.” Former US Secretary of State Dean Acheson, an architect of the War in Vietnam reportedly quipped the same thing about Vietnam. A full-scale invasion and occupation of Ukraine by Russian forces would be a strategic blunder by Mr. Putin. Such an occupation would likely have very high costs with little chance of success. It would be worse than a crime. It would be a mistake.

Peace Is in Russia’s Best Interest

An occupation of Ukraine would be easy for Russia to pull off, but hard to sustain. Stephen Budiansky estimated that a successful occupation requires one soldier for every 40 civilians. With over 40 million citizens, it would take more than a million occupying Russian soldiers. With only one million active forces, and with many of those performing other functions, Russia would have to dip into its reserve forces, which would be economically taxing and difficult to sustain. Another obstacle is that polling suggests millions of Ukrainians would offer armed resistance. An unwilling populace is very difficult to govern, and can become a sinkhole of time and resources. Thousands of Russians and Ukrainians may perish in the guerilla fighting that would continue after the defeat of the Ukrainian military. Such a state of affairs would only further threaten the popularity of Mr. Putin’s governance. Though they are far from an impartial observer, the Atlantic Council has for this reason predicted that a Ukrainian occupation could spell the end of Mr. Putin’s regime. At the very least, it is a very real possibility that a full-scale Ukrainian occupation would be like the failures of the US in Afghanistan and Vietnam. Tactically, the Russian forces would dominate, but the likelihood of peaceful incorporation of Ukrainian territories into the Russian state is very slim. 

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IOCC and the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Lifeline to Russia

by Theodore Theophilos

Over the course of the last few years, the relationship between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate has been severely strained. Disputes involving Ukraine; the Great and Holy Council of 2016; the opening of ROCOR churches in Korea, France and Italy; claims of “Third Rome” status and allegations of Caesaro-Papism—the list of controversies and recriminations seems to be growing ever longer. It is easy to despair of these events.

But I take comfort in the thought that it was not always this way. In 1992, I was asked by representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarch and Archbishop Iakovos of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA) to incorporate a new charitable organization, which would operate under the authority of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops of America. The new organization was named International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). Continue reading

On Religious Freedom, Is Russia the Next Saudi Arabia?

by Hannah Gais


As Donald Trump’s newly-minted administration struggles to adhere to a concise foreign policy, an independent commission has thrown yet another cog in its long-lost dream of a productive relationship with the “very smart” Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a recently released annual report issued by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)—an independent federal commission tasked with advising the State Department and other policymakers on matters of religious freedom—one country name stuck out like a sore thumb among the organization’s list of countries of particular concern (CPC): Russia. Continue Reading…

ROCOR Commentary on the February Revolution: Blame the West and Link Putin to the Tsars

by Lena Zezulin

february revolution

It is sad, if understandable, that the Russian state and society remained almost mute on the anniversary of the February/March 1917 Revolution. There is no consensus on those events.

It should therefore be welcome that the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which has existed independently outside the Soviet state, professed anti-communism, glorified the New Martyrs, and defended the human rights of clergy and other dissidents, raised its voice to mark the event. It was welcome that the Church reminded us of the persecutions against the faithful, the glorification of the New Martyrs, and of the need to bury the carcass of Lenin.

Unfortunately, what ROCOR provided was little more than pro-Putin rhetoric. Continue Reading…