The Villainy Is the Point

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks on March 21, 2023, in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)

Vladimir Putin and his war machine get more respect than they deserve from the West.

This may seem a bit counterintuitive. After all, just 9 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Russia, and the International Criminal Court recently issued an arrest warrant for Putin for war crimes.  

But if you listen to a lot of the debate over Ukraine, you might be forgiven for thinking Putin’s invasion was just a bad mistake, badly implemented by an otherwise serious country. Sure, terrible things are happening in Ukraine, but terrible things happen in war. What’s left out is that the terrible things are the policy, not the unintended consequence of it.

Reports of torture and rape started pouring in from the earliest days of the invasion. In March 2022, Russian troops electrocuted the genitals of male civilian prisoners and sexually brutalized girls and women from age 4 to 82. 

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