Russian neighbours

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OH comes from a Polish background. He doesn’t find that funny!

I think it is meant to be a comment on what is going on in Ukraine.

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I realise Mark, but it could equally well be Poland. The Poles are paranoid that they will be walked over either by the Russians or the Germans. There’s not much to stop them.

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Article 5 should keep Putin out else what’s the point of collective defence. My wife is Polish. She’s not concerned at all about Germany.

Something to do with the British, Americans and the French having a few tanks parked in Der Vaterland to stop the Hermans getting any funny ideas?

I think it could be may countries historically.
My view is that a sovereign state should be able to choose their own friends & although your neighbouring country might not like it, it does not give them the right to invade them.
The one cartoon makes that point well.

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There was an interesting statement from Putin the other day, whose essence was he was not going to let the ‘US push him into a war’.

Perhaps he’s realised what he planned isn’t going to end well, or alternatively he’s successfully deflected local attention from his government’s Covid failures and the fact that Russia is a basket case. I think Western diplomats will play along with this and give him space to back down without any apparent loss of face to his domestic audience.

On a rather more trivial level, I’ve always been sympathetic to the Ukraine if only because half the kids in my primary school class were from Ukrainian or Polish families with amazingly complicated names that must have been a teacher’s nightmare (and wouldn’t have been allowed in France at that time). The rest of my class was Irish with just one Italian and a Franco-American Hungarian (moi!)

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But it’s also important to understand that this is complicated by history. Much of the instability and conflict in former colonies (eg. the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland) is around foreign imposition of artificial borders.

Many Russians don’t really believe that Ukraine is a ‘sovereign state’ to begin with, just as many irish people don’t think the ‘six counties’ are really a separate entity. They just don’t acknowledge the borders.

Ukraine didn’t really exist as any kind of separate entity until very recently - the territory was part of other countries/empires. What is now Eastern Ukraine, especially, was clearly a part of Russia from the 17th century, then of the Soviet Union (and it was only in this context that it’s present borders were formed - leaving aside the Crimea question!). Then it’s important to recognise that the Soviet Union collapsed via an illegal process. There was, within the Soviet constitution, a legal mechanism for ‘republics’ to withdraw from the union, but this was not followed. It was a situation rather like the recent Catalan conflict. Or imagine Scotland not following the consitutional procedures and simply declaring independence. I wonder how English people would view that? Many, I bet, would argue that such an independence was not legitimate.

(This was, by the way, why Gorbachev was embarrassingly sidelined by Yeltsin et al - he found himself head of what had been the country, from which most of its constituent parts suddenly declared independence.)

As always, it’s compromise rather than posturing that will resolve the issue - the west has to acknowledge that the Ukraine that emerged in the 1990s, via a process outside its own law at the time, is questionable; Russia has to acknowledge that most Ukrainians (at least in its western half) want independence, see themselves very much as Europeans - and indeed ultimately, probably, would join the EU.

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It is a light hearted take on a very serious problem.

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I appreciate that Jane. And no doubt OH would in fact have a wry smile, but probably no more than that.
His background means that he is steeped in Polish history. His grandmother was there to greet Paderewski when he came back to take up the role of Prime Minister to the newly formed Second Polish Republic in 1919. There was a time when Poland was one of the most powerful countries in Europe but from 1795 to 1918 Poland effectively ceased to exist due to invasion from Russia, the then Kingdom of Prussia and the Hapsburgs. So Poland knows all too well how easy it is for its neighbours to move fences.

That was all my comment was intended to say.

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There was a well established Polish community in Lancaster and several girls of Polish background at my school.

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I saw the cartoon and it struck a chord with local happenings, last year… so I chuckled.

Two neighbours chatting in their respective “backyards” (and they’re both my friends)

Well, if you don’t want to do anything with that bit of land over there… why don’t I just move our fence line a bit further…???

To one it seemed to be a good thing… to the other it was totally unacceptable.

and neither could make the other understand their own point of view…

(I have no wish to offend anyone, this is simply my own reaction… a chuckle.
Obviously, political stuff is not funny…)

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My OH’s uncle as a teenager was shot by the Germans. My OH’s parents came out of Poland as the Russians moved in. His mother was hidden in a truck covered by canvas, so full of people that all they could do was stand as for hours the truck weaved its way across country trying to evade detection.
When they finally reached the UK his parents slept in a tent as refugees during the severe winter of 1946/7.
This was the history he grew up with. In many ways he is more British than I am, but his psyche and his emotional context is deeply, profoundly Polish. When I first met him and visited his flat I couldn’t believe the amount of tinned food he had. These days we joke about his tendency to hoard “in case the Germans invade” or “in case the Russians invade”. I think it is difficult for an island race (or indeed the people of somewhere like Switzerland protected by their mountains) to understand what it is like to have such fluid boundaries that are no more than a river that can be forded or a field that can be walked across.

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My fathers family fled the Russians entering eastern Germany at the end of the WWII, travelling back to Vienna, and spent 2 weeks on a train returning. When ever we were getting ready to leave home, my father ALWAYS had to go to the toilet - I think it was the memory of never knowing when the next opportunity might be.

As you say, there’s generally a security that comes from living on an island, especially if one is from the dominant (English) race.

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Really? REALLY? And the Beano is literature I suppose :roll_eyes:

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Damn right it is and the Dandy and dont forget the Hotspur. :smiley:

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This pic would be more applicable to the UK: Folkland Islands, Gibraltar, Bahamas, Caymans, Bermudas, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and hundreds of other lands/islands taken from its native inhabitants. Russia never attacks first. Napoleon and Hitler used the Ukrainian corridor to invade Russia and that is why Ukraine is so important for NATO (read UK/US) because they want Russia’s natural resources and its vast territory. It’s not about Ukraine. It’s all about Russia. So, your pic does not stand here. Sorry.

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Are you Russian or Ukrainian yourself Olga? - or perhaps your forebears?

The former surely.

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