Putin’s nostalgia for the heydey of Russia motivated invasion of Ukraine


Dani Wasserman, Staff Writer

Russia’s claim to Ukraine is a direct result of continuous years of conflict and Russia’s attempt to expand their influence by claiming Ukraine as their own. It began during the Russian Revolution in 1917 and has ramped up in recent years with the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO.

In 2008, Ukraine applied for a Membership Action Plan with NATO; however, NATO plans were halted in 2010 when newly elected President Yanukovych wanted to remain neutral. However, the movement to join NATO gained traction in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea and again in 2019 when Ukraine amended their constitution.

“To Putin, the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO was the exact opposite of what he thought Ukraine should be in,” Micheal Daly, social studies teacher, said. “He thought that Ukraine should be aligned with the countries that were in the Warsaw Pact.”

Putin does not want Ukraine to be aligned with democratic nations as he fears that will weaken his political influence. If Ukraine were to be an official member of NATO, it would make it much more difficult for Russia to invade and claim Ukraine due to NATO’s militaristic backing.

“The possibility of Ukraine joining NATO was a huge signal to Putin’s people that he was losing power and influence,” Daly said.

Not only was the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO a trigger for Russia to invade, but Ukraine is also situated with access to many natural resoures which could bring profit to Russia.

“Ukraine is situated on the Odesa Sea Port which is a strategic place that Russia wants,” Nwannediya Ibe, social studies teacher, said. “Russia wants to make sure they get their land back and benefit from it economically and politically.”

By gaining access to the Odesa Sea Port, Russia will have greater control of trade and shipping. Ukraine also has key nuclear plants, including Chernobyl.

“Ukraine also has some nuclear power plants which might be a reason that Russia wants Ukraine so they can build up their nuclear arsenal.”

Ukraine is rich with resources and politically vulnerable at the moment without NATO, leaving Putin eager to stake his claim after all these years.

“The biggest thing that I have seen is that Putin wants to be a superpower,” Ibe said. “He is trying to take it old school by colonizing other countries.”