I’m increasingly concerned with the dominant social perception of Russia’s aggression. After recent presidential debates, it’s clear that both candidates view Russian actions as unjust and deserving of heavy collective punishment from the western world.

This escalating antagonism to all Russian pleas for their side of the story is resulting in a nightmare for Russian citizens and other member of the Russian speaking world. Investments are being withdrawn, jobs and resources becoming more scare, and people growing more desperate as the sense that the world is not listening to them as to why they almost unanimously supported their leaders.

Russia’s side of the story is that their response was a justified intervention to the non discriminatory artillery fire and military action upon residential areas of south Ossetia. What democratic nation would use such heavy force with devastating collateral and infrastructural damage on its own people? Why is it only after pulling the trigger on such a reckless move to solve a conflict that has been brewing for decades did the Georgian government started asking for support from its western allies? Why didn’t they consult the U.N. or the U.S. before such an action? It would have been much more prudent to have western powers do the peacekeeping for them in the region and now as a result both Russian and Georgian people are trying to escape the nervous and incredibly dangerous atmospheres within both nations.

Look, Medvedev and Putin may be power hungry, arrogant and silencing, but they are certainly pragmatic. They would not have plotted a disastrous and clearly isolating military action against neighboring nations if it wasn’t as a reaction to something of moral urgency. They have plenty of domestic issues to worry about before they can realistically consider expanding their ‘empire’.

It sounds absurd to me and it should sound absurd to all people in the world to consider the notion that Russia would want another war after World War II, especially as the aggressor.

The media that seems to generate the intensity of issues much more then they’re actually alleviating them by reporting the ‘truth’ and ‘analysis’ for the common good. The reporting that my homeland of Ukraine and the Baltic states should be increasingly paranoid is in fact creating more tension than existed before. Consider the incredible impact that inaccurate reporting and political rhetoric has upon the populations who are not able to speak your language and express their agony to the masses with majority of power.

Don’t get me wrong, there will always be political tension between Russia and Ukraine or Russia and the Baltic nations, but treating them as an immoral with entirely absurd reasoning will only lead to a much more hostile world.

Artem Kopelev

School of Public Health