This post was most recently updated on July 31st, 2023.4 min read.
I never thought that I would write an article on this site of mine about war, peace and a threat to not only an entire nation’s existence, but mine, too. But as this website has some reach (there’s around 75 000 of you each month), I feel that I have a responsibility to say and do something.
On February 24th, 2022, the fascist oligarchy known as Russia attacked yet another one of its neighbors. That’s almost not even newsworthy by itself – it’s happened multiple times before. But what was different, was the victim – a bigger, more established country than ever before. Ukraine.
What likely was planned as a quick and effortless occupation, seems to have already regressed to a war of attribution and indiscriminate shelling of civilians.
Ukraine is not only fighting a war for its existence – it’s in essence defending the whole of Europe against a megalomaniac neighbor trying to restore not only the USSR, but any area that they could have any historical claim to. This includes my homeland, Finland, that was a semi-independent duchy of the Russian Empire in the 19th century.
Threats of military consequences to Finland are now coming not only from Mr. Putin himself, but also from other high state officials like Sergey Lavrov, Maria Zakharova and others.
However, Finland – just like Ukraine – would like to stay independent. Somehow, this is a big enough red flag to Russia that they’re ready to send 200 000 – 400 000 soldiers to a peaceful, non-threatening neighboring country.
How did it come to this?
For years, we thought that my home country, Finland, had some kind of a special relationship with Russia. This was due to our long-standing history together and our successful, if not awkward and scary, existence as an independent democratic country through the Cold War – all the while being located right next to the USSR, right after being attacked and having fought a losing war against them.
This is why Finland was fairly comfortable being militarily non-allied.
We thought that the 2 countries had a shared understanding of many matters and had largely joint economical goals. This war proved, once and for all, that Finland was naïve and absolutely clueless.
I served in the Finnish military. I’m a reserve officer. I don’t really have a strong relationship to Finland, but most of my friends and family live here. I’d like to keep the country safe, if I can.
And right now, supporting Ukraine seems the best way to do that. And the potential recipients for donations I’ve curated at the bottom of this post concentrate on different aspects of saving Ukraine.
For any Russians reading this..
I know there are hundreds of people located in Russia reading this blog weekly (around ~1.5% of the audience – more than there are Finns, mind you). And now this message is for you:
You, and you alone, have the means to de-escalate the situation. Any outside interference will most likely escalate the situation, and nobody outside Russia wants that. But all of us neighbors are now forced to prepare for war.
If you feel powerless, leave the country. Don’t submit your skills to be used by your oppressive regime.
Although I guess if you’re reading this blog, you’re working on Azure or SharePoint Online… your skills won’t be much use in Russia anyway, as the country seems to prepare to disconnect from the global internet soon enough anyway. In Finland (and most of the rest of the World), on the contrary, we appreciate your skills.
What can you do?
Over 10 million refugees have left their homes in Ukraine to flee the horrors of indiscriminate bombings of civilian dwellings, hospitals and sleepy suburbs. My family and I volunteered to host a family in our guesthouse, and even though I’d feel absolutely horrible for someone that’s fleeing Russia to somehow end up in Finland (after Putin and his minions have very clearly said we’re next), if someone DOES indeed come, the least we can do is treat them well.
That said, there’s a more direct way to help than hosting refugees: Donating money. I’ll go through options that I think are useful below.
If you want to help Ukraine’s armed forces, see instructions for donations here:
Or this initiative/association – ARMY SOS – that directly purchases and distributes gear to fighters – they also have PayPal available:
If you’d rather donate to humanitarian efforts, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is always a strong choice:
Alternatively, CARE has a direct fund for Ukraine:
And if you want to support crisis journalism, Kyiv Independent is – quite literally – reporting from Kyiv and around Ukraine, and they have a Patreon site available:
Ukraine is fighting, and at the very minimum buying time for the rest of Russia’s neighbors (well, the ones they haven’t yet occupied, anyway). And if helping them while simultaneously preparing for a conflict ourselves means there will be peace instead, I’d say any amounts of donations and military gear were an investment well worth the money.
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