We Can Help the Ukraine Situation

I’m not going to sugarcoat this.  The current situation the world is facing with the Russia/Ukraine crisis is bad, very bad.  I’ve had a personal connection to Russia for over 25 years.  We’ve lived through a lot, including major events like the 1998 financial crisis and collapse of the ruble, the serious anti-American sentiment after the beginning of the Global War on Terror, and the chilling of Russian/American relations.  But this time is different, and I don’t think it’s one of those things that will fade out of the news.  If you’re like me, sitting in my cozy apartment, I feel like there must be more I can do.  So, let’s talk about some real ways we can help the Ukraine situation.

Stay Informed

A sign this time is different

A major problem of this war has been misinformation.  This is also one of the indicators that this time is different.  Our friends and family in Russia are slowly but surely losing all access to independent news sources.  Yes, it has been well known for a long time that the “regular” news on TV and in the main newspapers are governmentally controlled.  However, the Russian people have always had access to independent news sites online and social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram.  If they wanted to hear a different perspective and knew how to search for it, they could.   

Every day, they lose more and more access.   My friend, Masha, explained that pages and sites are disappearing daily or slowing down to a non-useable point. Echo of Moscow and TV Rain, two major news outlets known for providing a perspective that has varied from the Kremlin’s, have both been forced to shut down. 

Although Russians can’t access TV Rain’s website anymore, we can.  It was both disheartening and scary to watch Natalia Sindeyeva, General Director of TV Rain, tearfully announce that they must stop their work for the time being because the laws that are being passed make it impossible for the staff to report the real news safely.

And, according to this New York Times article, the radio station, Echo of Moscow, was taken off the air by authorities for the first time since the Soviet coup in 1991.  It also quoted Nobel Prize winning Russian journalist, Dmitri A. Muratov: “Everything that’s not propaganda is being eliminated.”

Utilize your freedom

What does this have to do with you?  Make sure you are well informed.  We can search any website, read different newspapers, and listen to a variety of educated people who are experts within this realm.  It’s important for us to hear all the information and make educated decisions.  Most importantly, we need to communicate this to the elected officials who represent us.  If we want our democracy to work the way it’s built to, we need to stay well informed and speak up.

Reach Out to Your Community

My Russian husband and I have been so touched by the outpouring of love and support we have felt from our friends and family, especially after my post last week, Peace is the Only Way.  We have noticed how much our own calls and texts have helped our loved ones in Russia and Ukraine.  Isolation is scary, especially in a crisis.  You may not know someone physically living through this war, but have a think…is there anyone in your community affected?  Your church, school, work, gym?  It could make a big difference if you let them know you are aware and care.

It may surprise you how decisions “over there” can affect people right next door.  My daughter’s friend at college is scared as she has no access to money for food and rent.  Her parents are unable to transfer money to her.  But her college is responding swiftly and surely, providing emotional and financial support to any student or faculty member affected by this crisis. 

Be Ready to Make Some Sacrifices

Although this is a war between Russia and Ukraine, we all know it’s much more than that.  I found an article summarizing a round table discussion between Russian and Ukrainian experts at the University of Colorado Boulder.  I felt they succinctly and understandably organized the facts.  One of the tips that the panelists offered was this: “Be willing to pay higher gas prices: Sanctions are not going to hurt Russia unless they hurt at home.” 

“More than 1.2 million refugees have left Ukraine, according to data from UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency. The exodus is set to become Europe’s worst humanitarian crisis in this century.”

– The Washington Post

Help the Refugees

The victims of this war and the countries who have opened their doors to them need our help.   If you have the funds available, please donate.  I found this article helpful.  It has a healthy list of organizations to choose from and what they each focus on achieving.  And although the title refers to Americans and how they can donate, many of the organizations are international and should be accessible no matter where you live in the world.

I think it is important to remember that the countries taking in these refugees are not rich.  The influx of refugees will severely tax their resources.  And we can help.

I hope this article has provided you with some new ideas how you can make a difference.  One of my favorite sayings is, “Action is the antidote to anxiety.”  Let’s keep busy doing something so we don’t drive ourselves mad worrying.  All we can do is our best.

Do you have any other ideas how we can make a difference?

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