As a passionate fan of the Star Wars movies, I was always interested in the great dilemma of the inhabitants of the various planets. Can they be saved by the Republic, or will they be ruled by the strong, yet totalitarian Empire?
The Republic turned out to be too divided and poorly organized to immediately stop the threat of the Empire. Yet the Empire, instead of solving the issues of the citizens, became their oppressor. In the end it lost, but at the cost of many lives and the great effort of many selfless heroes.
Does this story not remind you of something? The story in the real world dates back to the conflict between the traditions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Moscow Empire. The nations of the Commonwealth long defended themselves from dangers, living in freedom and prosperity. Yet, internal arguments brought down the Republic. It was then replaced by the Tsarist Empire, then the Bolshevik Empire and finally the Post-Bolshevik Empire. All three of these are faces of a similar system.
The Empire was stopped once in 1918, when Poland and other Central European countries were reborn. Then again in 1920, the red wave was stopped at Warsaw.
But the wave was only stopped, not destroyed. The Empire dominated the region until 1939, but the Republic was never reborn. Hitler would’ve never risked an invasion of Poland if not for the Kremlin’s support. The Second World War ended the remains of the Republic for 50 years, but did not stop the dreams of freedom.
In 1989, the Empire imploded and transformed into the post-Bolshevik-imperial version we know today. The Empire never ceased to threaten the republics which were being reborn. It only managed to maintain control over its most conflicting territories: mainly Ukraine and Belarus.
Ukrainians have been organizing revolts for 15 years to get rid of the domination of the Empire, and they are managing to do so but at the cost of many lives and territory.
Now Belarus’s turn has come. Russia’s weakness led to Lukashenko becoming more amicable to the West, and that encouraged Belarusians to revolt. Russia will not give up its last, large European colony that easily.
The price of Russia’s open intervention may be deadly. The Empire no longer has the ability to maintain the rebelling republics, but it still has great tools for destruction. This is why American soldiers are with us today — so that Russia will know the price of its aggression.
When I support Ukrainian independence, I do not forget about the Volhynia Massacre or other crimes of Ukrainian nationalists. This support always came from the deepest of Polish interests —a Poland which lies at the heart of cooperating republics is safe and becomes the greatest benefactor of this cooperation. At the same time, a Poland which borders the Empire is always threatened by a loss of independence.