Letters to the Editor: Russia is acting a lot like the Soviet Union with Ukraine

A group of female soldiers in camouflage stand near others and blue and yellow flags
Ukrainian army soldiers pose for a photo in Odessa on Feb. 16, 2022. U.S. officials are warning that a Russian invasion is imminent.
(Emilio Morenatti / Associated Press)

To the editor: In 1952, I obtained a history degree from Boston University while studying under the GI Bill. Russia expert Frank Nowak was my professor. (“U.S. and NATO officials ramp up warnings of potential Russian aggression in Ukraine,” Feb. 17)

As a young officer, Nowak was gassed during World War I and reassigned to the American military mission in St. Petersburg. He conducted student summer tours to the Soviet Union for years and interviewed Soviet leaders.

He learned that Russia created buffer zones along its borders, ostensibly for defense. However, it made a habit of eventually incorporating them into the Soviet orbit.


Russian President Vladimir Putin followed that procedure with Crimea, which is part of Ukraine but was invaded by Russian forces and subsequently annexed in 2014. He has followed up by using eastern Ukraine’s Russian-speaking area as a buffer zone, but evidently now wants it too to become part of his country.

George Shahinian, Huntington Beach


To the editor: With the saber-rattling on both sides, maybe Putin will accomplish his goal without ever entering Ukraine by making the citizens of that country distrust their own government. He has made Ukrainians question their government’s ability to keep them safe and to secure prosperity for them.

Without ever firing a shot, Putin has disrupted the stability of Ukraine.

Never underestimate Putin. He has gotten the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to negotiate with him when he seems to have no intention of changing his position. It reminds me of Germany just before World War II.

Linda Shabsin, Diamond Bar


To the editor: Putin cannot be as cagey as our media depict him to be.

If he wants to invade Ukraine, all he needs to do is show the United Nations Security Council some satellite pictures of Ukrainian trucks carrying large metal tubes and say they are weapons of mass destruction.

A similar strategy worked for the George W. Bush administration and its cabal of warmongers, so it should work for Putin.

Don Moore, Redondo Beach


To the editor: When the Warsaw Pact became defunct, one could say to NATO, “Mission accomplished — well done!” But what has happened instead?

Democratic Russia was snubbed by the West from its outset, NATO has swelled to include landlocked and Eastern European countries, and today it’s embroiled in a conflict with Russia that endangers the world.

When a job is accomplished, new sights are set, and discarding the old or past is done. NATO has replaced the Warsaw Pact as the new menace in the world.

We Americans, in a sober light, ought not to have any trouble seeing that.

Robert Thomas, Miami Beach, Fla.