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Let me give you some advice

Occasional Observer

I know it’s presumptuous of me, an American, to be telling you, the president of the world’s largest country, how to conduct your business but I think it’s time somebody did even if it’s a person without proper qualifications or deep knowledge of your special circumstances.

I know that, because of  your national and personal history, you feel angry and hurt because of your country’s  loss of its former territories and subservient states. This makes you feel like what, in the U.S., we call a “loser” (if it’s any consolation, we now refer to our former President Trump as a “loser” too although it hasn’t much damaged him, he still lives like a Czar if you know what I mean!).

As I was saying, you are by far the largest country in the world, nearly twice the size of either China or Canada, the next largest. Before the dissolution of the Soviet Union your country was half again as big (and as such nearly unmanageable). In my humble opinion, Russia is so much better off having gotten rid of these ungovernable foreign states. Frankly, the “Stans” were never going to be Russian!

As for the many Eastern European countries that were, and to a limited extent continue to be, dominated by you, their departure from the Russian orbit has really been a benefit for everyone. Like the former Soviet states, the eastern Europeans just don’t like Russia and they’re not likely to change their opinion anytime soon.

It’s not only that they speak all different languages and have very different histories. Even you must have been glad to separate from East Germany, Finland and the Baltic states with which Russia had been at war not so very long ago. To whatever extent possible, you should  develop good relations with these and other countries with which Russia has formerly had bad relationships; but believe me, none of them want to become part of Russia, now or ever!

Despite your fear and dislike of NATO, your current belligerence has brought the U.S. and Western Europe much closer together than they have been for decades. Now, because of your uncalled for threats, both Finland and Sweden are considering joining NATO, something I cannot believe was part of your intention!                                             

There’s no other way to put it: your war (which you continue to tell your fellow citizens is a “military exercise” while threatening  a prison sentence for anyone who says otherwise) is a disaster. You seemed to think the Ukrainians would welcome Russian troops and give up without a fight.

How could you have come to such a stupid conclusion? Your only hope for an optimistic outcome would have required your troops to behave like gentlemen and befriend the Ukrainians, persuading them that Russia had turned over a new leaf and would only make their lives better. But then again, after waging a quiet war in eastern and southern Ukraine for the past 10 years how could they believe that?

In a matter of weeks your military disgraced itself by its murder of civilians and its pointless destruction of lovely cities; why would Ukraine want to become part of such a barbarian nation?

And as for your threat to perhaps use NUCLEAR WEAPONS on the battlefield, you sound like someone who has lost his marbles! Don’t you remember that, even in Ukraine, the prevailing wind blows from west to east?

Your campaign has had so many missteps that I have to wonder about the skills of your military advisors. But everyone says that you are your own military advisor. If so, listen to others, particularly those who are not just “yes men.” I know you don’t like him but a good place to start would be your rival, Alexei Navalny. In addition to being a man of good heart he is even more popular than you, which might be of help to you when the Russian people find out what has been happening the past few months. Take my advice, Vlad:  Embrace your rivals.

You must stop this war. Bring your troops home and apologize to Ukraine. I know it won’t be easy but you need to do it.

You will be forgiven by the Russian people if you start immediately to implement a whole “New Deal” for Russia, starting with undoing the current police state. Next a whole new direction for the Russian economy. Cut way back on fossil fuels and the military and put much of that energy into science  and agriculture. Food supply is becoming an increasingly serious world problem and climate change is making Russia ever more suitable for growing food.

Your misdeeds both recently and over the years may force you to resign or be overthrown but as one of the world’s richest persons that wouldn’t be so unpleasant. By doing good works at the end of your career, you may be remembered throughout Russia not as a warmonger but as a hero.

                              

Architect and landscape designer Mac Gordon lives in Lakeville.  

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