A Radford professor looks into the Russian-Ukrainian conflict

RADFORD, Va. (WFXR) — As Russia’s war on Ukraine continues, entire buildings are razed to the ground, hundreds are killed and more than a million refugees flee the country.

This conflict is only the latest in a long and strained relationship between the two nations.

Dr Matthew Oyos, professor of history at Radford University, says he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin was embarrassed when the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s.

However, now he wants to restore his former glory.

Oyos says the loss of national pride after the fall of the Soviet Union could fuel Putin’s actions today as he tries to restore “Russian holy ground”.

“I think it ate at him and he thought of a general goal of restoring Russian greatness. experience in the Soviet Union,” Oyos said.

Part of this plan includes Russian propaganda comparing Ukrainians to German Nazis during World War II.

“There are references, especially from President Putin, there are ‘dog whistles’ referring to nationalist Ukrainians who tended to help the Germans. Now most Ukrainians fought against the Germans,” Oyos said.

Oyos says all of this plays into Putin’s aggression and attack on Ukraine.

“He’s basically been a calculating individual, thinking we’re restoring order, building a more managed economy, attacking certain high levels of corruption,” Oyos said.

Something Putin didn’t take into account was how well the Ukrainians would defend themselves.

“They have something going for them that the Russians don’t. They haven’t understood the depths of Ukrainian nationalism and the kind of resistance it entails,” Oyos said.

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