Explain Russia To Me

Explain Russia To Me

I want to start by answering your burning questions. Readers are asking “Hey Daniel, what’s going on with Russia? This situation has been keeping me up at night. It’s the only thing I can focus on between Anti-Vaccine Mandate and CRT protests!” So I decided to oblige and give you a brief summary about what the pravda is going on with Russia, Ukraine and this international crisis.


I’ve not only been paying attention to the news, I’ve also been watching The Americans, where Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys play Russian spies living as normal Americans in the 80s. So I’m up on my history. Allow me to explain what’s going on. I also drank two White Russian cocktails this week, so you can trust the quality of my explanation.


Basically, Russia is sort of like the kid who was the second tallest person in middle school, only to get to high school and discover they are the eleventh tallest, and only the top ten show up on the rankings. At 5’7”, Putin is not happy with that.

Because of that absence from the list of world powers, they’ve had to assert their dominance by making noise in order to be noticed. Russia thinks their way of doing things is better, unlike the humility of American Exceptionalism, and of course who wouldn’t rather live in a dictatorship? In November, 75 million people voted for one here in the US, outnumbering the 80 million who voted against it.

What’s The Beef?

Some countries disagreed with their assessment, and Russia is expressing that bitterness (sorry that was an autocorrect. It was supposed to say “better-ness”) by surrounding Ukraine on nearly all sides of their border with something like 150,000 troops complete with tanks. Not just because Ukraine used to be part of the Soviet Union (Russia’s former heavyweight wrestling title), but because they don’t want the world alliance known as NATO to permit Ukraine to join.

Of course Russia says the US and other NATO members are breaking promises by expanding NATO to begin with. Based on what? Well, back in the 80s when all restaurants were Ponderosa and Cattle Company, some guy representing the United States who was barely above an intern (okay it was U.S. Secretary of State James Baker) was sitting in a casual dining setting with then Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev and said that NATO won’t expand “one inch to the east”.

The problem is that he was misunderstood. He meant to say his mashed potatoes won’t expand one inch to the beef, referring to his buffet selections for what was likely plate #2 (I guess he didn’t like his food to touch).

Fast Forward to Today

Well, NATO has expanded over the years, and Putin doesn’t like that, mostly because it accentuates how short he looks, standing just a border away from NATO missile defense systems. Based on almost nothing, Russia is expressing security concerns over the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO, a plan that is not in the works at all. Because of that they are doing “military exercises” and the US has screenshots of Putin saying they are not planning on invading Ukraine (LOL).

What do these military exercises look like? We’ll picture an exercise class (also in the 80s) with Keri Russell (from the Americans) wearing typical 80s leg warmers except instead of Keri Russell, it’s a bunch of whites guys eating Borscht out of a can and instead of leg warmers they’re wearing boots made out of Soviet rubber.

It only takes a few scrolls through Tick Tok to see what’s going on at the Ukrainian border. And it would seem threatening to anyone–except Ukraine of course (also LOL) who is pretending that they don’t mind in an effort to avoid panic. Like any bully, Putin is telling us he’s our friend when it suits him and telling us we’re chumps the rest of the time.

As of now, the US strategy death by press release, frequently publishing their suspicions and warning of the threat level. Russia’s strategy is to Tonya Harding Ukraine by knee capping them while Ukraine screams in shock, and Russia claims it is someone else’s fault even though it was their plan all along. I assure you, this isn’t about Ukraine or Nancy Kerrigan. They’re playing the World Games and going for Gold.

This week, Russia claimed to have drawn down troops, but these matches say you’re lying.

Editors note:

Do you have questions that you just can’t rely on the internet to answer for you without trying to sell you something? Politics? Religion? String Theory? Ask me anything. Send questions to [email protected]!