Russia’s Turtle Army

Max Can't Help It!
3 min readMar 2, 2022

It saddens me that Russians are blamed for this war. I certainly had no say about my country attacking Iraq — twice. Russians aren’t poked bears. They’re just people like you and me.

40-plus years ago, when I was a teen, I made friends with Anna, a Ukrainian. Indeed throughout my life I have met many Ukrainians and they bristled at being called Russian (because I didn’t know the difference — not sure I do, even now). They certainly didn’t fly into a rage.

I can’t remember any Russian or Ukrainian expressing hate for each other. I can’t even remember them making jokes about each other (though I’m sure they did). Their differences seemed more cultural, in a small way like those in the United States between North and South.

I know, it’s Putin that everyone blames for the war. But not enough is done to separate him from the Russians commanded to enter Ukraine. So here I am, doing my small part.

So far, all the Russian prisoners have mentioned surprise at being told to drive over the “border”. Whatever Putin may say about “de-Nazification” none of the captured Russians mention it. All they say is they were on training exercises one day and driving into Ukraine the next.

All they say is what I saw in the weeks leading up to the invasion.

I haven’t seen any evidence of a convoy of blood-thirty Russian soldiers. Most of the damage has been done from the air, from someone in a control room in Moscow. That doesn’t represent Russian soldiers.

Has there been any artillery fire? Thankfully, it seems sparse. Perhaps I’m naïve, but I feel the Russian soldiers are heroically doing everything they can to keep it that way. I believe Russians and Ukrainians are working together to buy time, far out of the eyes of the media.

That said, the daily horrific deaths that 500 extremists, Russian or Ukrainian, can cause would harden everyone’s view. That’s my biggest fear. We must remember that the German Army did fight back against the SS in the beginning of the second World War. I expect the same is the case with the Russian Army.

We must give them the benefit of the doubt!

Anyway, I just can’t believe the majority of Russian soldiers want to be killing Ukrainians, or anyone for that matter. At home parts of their families are indoctrinated (just like here). And if they surrender and the West ends up abandoning Ukraine, what then? History is full of people who did the right thing, hoping human decency would prevail, only to end up hung up from a tree.

We don’t need to read history for that. We all understand this. I certainly do and feel extraordinarily lucky that I write this from the U.S. and not Russia or Ukraine.

I don’t believe the stories of Russians puncturing their gas tanks to slow down their advance is the exception. It’s what every Ukrainian and Russian would do in my experience. Sure, there are soldiers who will do what they’re told, as is their commitment.

Again, I can’t imagine any Russian I’ve ever met shooting a Ukrainian, or the other way around. Fighting each other? Sure. Killing? No.

So to me, Russians have formed a turtle army. Only coming out of their shell if forced to. They wait until the shthead at the zoo is removed. Then they’ll come out again and peacefully co-exist.

Can they hold on? I wake up every day hoping they have. I try not to think about what waits for us after the war. Enough of that. I’m here to defend the humanity of the Russian and Ukrainian friends I’ve met over the years.