As the Brown University’s estimates for the ‘War on Terror’ of the 21st century have made clear, if indirect impacts of war are included then mortality can be many times more than the deaths caused directly by war and conflict.
In the tumultuous landscape of post-invasion Ukraine, a nation straddles two disparate worlds ~ the grim trenches of a relentless war and the increasingly contentious political battleground in Kyiv. The recent offer to Mr Anton Drobovych, head of Ukraine’s Institute of National Memory, to become culture minister sheds light on the delicate inter-play between military duty and political turmoil. Amid the threat from Russia, the internal fault lines within Ukraine are becoming more pronounced. The rifts extend beyond ideological differences, reaching a concerning level of discord between the country’s military and political leadership. President Volodymyr Zelenskky and his commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny find themselves at odds, with their differences laid bare in public rebukes and conflicting statements.
The recently disclosed candid interview by General Zaluzhny, where he declared a stalemate in Ukraine’s war, ignited a public spat, underscoring the fragility of the relationship. The spectre of a reported criminal investigation into the defence of southern Ukraine adds another layer of complexity. This is the region where Russian forces secured a swift victory, creating a crucial corridor to Crimea. The investigation, which names General Zaluzhny as a witness, looms ominously, potentially serving as a tool to keep the military leader in check. The intertwining of military strategy, political manoeuvring, and potential legal scrutiny paints a picture of a nation grappling with internal strife amid external threats. Public sentiment, once overwhelmingly supportive of President Zelenskky for his role in defending the country, is now shifting. Corruption scandals and concerns over the nation’s trajectory have tarnished the President’s image.
Trust in Mr Zelenskky has dwindled, contrasting sharply with the still-revered General Zaluzhny. The possibility of Mr Zelensky losing in a head-to-head presidential election against his own commander-in-chief looms large, indicating a seismic shift in Ukrainian politics. Amidst these internal challenges, Russia seizes the opportunity to exploit ambitions and tensions within Ukraine. Intelligence reports reveal a multi-faceted disinformation campaign targeting different constituencies, attempting to shore up support in Russia, undermine confidence in the West, and amplify grievances within Ukraine. As Ukrainian society grapples with the complexities of its internal struggles, Russia aims to sow seeds of discord and capitalise on perceived weaknesses. The international community must closely monitor Ukraine’s evolving political landscape to ensure that the nation remains resilient against external pressures. As the war on the front lines persists, Ukrainians face a stark choice ~ life or death. For those entrenched in the daily struggle for survival, the internal political wrangling in Kyiv might seem distant. Yet, the nation stands at a crossroads, where navigating the delicate balance between political stability and military resilience will determine its fate in the face of persistent external attacks. The echoes of war reverberate not just on the front lines but throughout the corridors of power in Kyiv, shaping the destiny of a nation caught in the throes of internal and external conflict.