Almost Timely News, 27 February 2022: Special Ukraine Edition (2/27) :: View in Browser
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Special Ukraine Edition
No marketing talk this week.
Let’s start with the calls to action first, because these are the most important.
If you want to help Ukraine militarily, the National Bank of Ukraine has a special fund set up. Instructions for donations are here; the bank has streamlined the process and you can now use any credit or debit card along with Google Pay. Currency conversion is also automatically handled for you. This is the program I chose to donate to, mainly because it’s one of the few institutions I was able to easily verify was legit.
If you want to help Ukraine non-militarily, the Red Cross and Red Crescent of Ukraine is in urgent need of donations for helping the injured. Another organization for consideration is World Central Kitchen, which is feeding refugees in the EU border states.
What else can you do to help Ukraine? If you live in a nation where your government officials are elected and listen to the people, contact your elected officials and urge the strongest financial sanctions against the Putin government, including the removal of Russia from the SWIFT financial system. Keep doing this regularly.
If you have friends or colleagues who are affected by the invasion, be sure to check in on them and offer your support.
And if you have a platform of any size – from 50 followers on Twitter to millions on YouTube, please help spread the word about the ways we can help.
Go do these things first.
The rest of this newsletter is political in nature, so feel free to skip this week if that’s not your thing.
Where Do You Get Reliable Information About the Invasion?
The top account on Twitter I’ve been following for vetted, fact checked, reliable information is the UK Ministry of Defence. They’ve been publishing regular updates since the start of the invasion, and it’s been a great source of information that someone with expertise has validated.
Why Do I Care?
The reason I care about Ukraine and the invasion by the Putin government is more than just because it’s morally repugnant, though that’s reason enough.
It all started with one of my guiltless pleasures, watching the international singing competition show The Voice. I enjoy seeing variants of this show from all around the world and you can even get a hint of a nation’s character from the contestants and judges. One of the versions that always caught my ear for both talent and character was Ukraine’s edition, and I started following the various, very entertaining judges and contestants.
Over the years, that made me more and more curious about Ukraine as a nation and its people and culture. The power of AI and translation software meant that previously inaccessible content and culture was understandable to me. Then I learned that a fair number of people in our field – marketing – have strong Ukrainian roots as well. AHREFS, the SEO tool, started in Ukraine. OWOX, the business intelligence tool, is Ukrainian. Grammarly is Ukrainian. I’ve gotten to know and become friends with people from Ukraine at these companies and in general; one of my neighbors is from Cherkasy, on the Dneiper River.
For me, Ukraine isn’t an abstract concept or a place on a map. It’s represented by real people I know, interact with, and value in my life. When the invasion began, I found myself messaging Ukrainian friends and colleagues on LinkedIn and Instagram. Some replied they were safe. Some, I haven’t heard from yet. I hope I do.
Again, one shouldn’t need that level of personal involvement to care about Putin’s blatant violation of international law any more than we should need to know the victim of a mugging in order to be outraged that a criminal committed a crime. But that’s what makes me more emotionally involved in this particular instance, and why I’m so avidly in support of Ukraine’s fight to defend itself.
Why Should You Care?
Two reasons. First, left unchecked, Putin won’t stop at Ukraine. He’s made no secret of the fact that he wants to restore the borders of the Soviet Union. That’s bad for Europe and the global economy. Also, the last time we heard about a tyrant demanding “buffer space”, it was called lebensraum and it was 1938. We didn’t step in soon enough then, either, as a global coalition. We need to not make the same mistake again. Those whose motto has been “never again” – that is now. Putin must be stopped by any means necessary.
Second, Putin and his government has been responsible for and had a hand in destabilizing many nations over the past two decades, from Brexit to COVID and vaccine disinformation (which was basically biological warfare against nations like my own) to Cambridge Analytica and election interference to funding hacking groups attacking businesses and governments around the world. Senator Mitt Romney famously and correctly said that Putin’s government remains the greatest geopolitical threat of modern times; containing Putin and his regime should be a global priority.
Please join me in taking action to support Ukraine through the links at the top of this email, and for spreading the word about the ways people can help.
A Word About Russia
An important distinction in this conflict is that 100% of the blame, fault, anger, and punishment should be directed at the government of Vladimir Putin and the man himself, including his oligarch buddies. The Putin government is not freely elected, and does not represent or speak for a substantial number of Russian citizens, as evidenced by the mass protests this week in major Russian cities.
Do not confuse the two. Many, many Russian people – including some of our colleagues and friends – vehemently oppose the invasion of Ukraine and if they had the ability to force their government to withdraw, they would. Many have tried in protest this week only to be arrested; we have no idea what’s become of them under the fascist regime. Be clear when you’re talking about the invasion that it’s the Russian government or the Putin government at fault, not the Russian people as a whole.
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Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.
See you next week,
Christopher S. Penn