Will Russia Bite off More than it can Chew?

A female shooting a scoped precision rifle.
A female shooting a scoped precision rifle.

The Ukraine is training and arming volunteers to fight the Russians and has been for years. That should scare the Russians.

I’m not suggesting that the volunteers are outstanding soldiers, although they may be. However, when 52-year-old women spend close to $3,000 to buy themselves a semi-automatic battle rifle, scope, and suppressor so they can fight invaders, then the invaders have a problem. The problem is every person the invader sees is potentially an adversary.

In war, you identify the enemy by their uniforms and because they travel about in military vehicles. That woman buying bread looks like a housewife. She seems safe, but she’ll kill you if she has the chance, and she’s been training to do it for two years.

This article about Mariana Zhaglo, our 52-year-old volunteer, says she has “undergone sniper training.” That’s the last thing an invading army needs: hundreds of laymen (and women) who take their gun out of hiding and shoot one or two of your people every few days, then go on about their lives. They look like innocent civilians but they are sleepers.

The Russian’s Mistake

After Russia invaded and took over Crimea in 2014, the people there didn’t benefit. Life got worse in Donetsk and Luhansk, and residents fled. Those who favored Russia and could afford it moved elsewhere in Russia. Many of those who didn’t like the Russian occupation escaped into Ukraine. Their tales of woe have driven home the message that living under Russia occupation is difficult. According to the Wall Street Journal:

“Residents are keenly aware of what has happened in Donetsk and Luhansk since that region fell under Russian sway in 2014. The economy there has shriveled. Businesses, homes and cars were expropriated by Russian-installed militias. People suspected of pro-Kyiv sympathies were shot or imprisoned.”

When Russia invaded in 2014, some 30 percent of Ukraine was pro-Russian. Estimates today say that only 5 percent are Russian sympathizers. The vast majority of Ukrainians want to be ruled by their elected government, not by Russia, and they will fight to protect their homes and their families.

If Russia had turned Donetsk and Luhansk into a true workers’ paradise where the people prospered, that might be a different story. Looks to me like Putin missed his chance. If Russia invades Ukraine, Putin’s forces are likely to get mired in another unconventional war like they saw in Afghanistan. This time, the opposition is better educated, equipped and organized than the Taliban was.

Russia reportedly has 130,000 troops on the border. Ukraine has a population of 44 million. If only 5 percent fight, that’s 2.2 million people. That’s more than enough to turn the tide.

The Power of an Armed Citizenry

This is why private guns in a citizen’s hands are so powerful. Switzerland has not been invaded during the modern era because it gives its able-bodied young men military training, requires them to serve in something like our army reserve, and issues them guns. An armed citizenry is also what helped the United States win the Revolutionary War and obtain its independence from England. Our gun culture has supposedly given our enemies second thoughts about invading the U.S. Who knows how many would-be home-grown despots and tyrants have been discouraged by our armed population?

It’s almost your civic duty to own a gun and know how to use it. It’s definitely a good idea if you are a prepper.