Why are we letting Russians commit atrocities against Ukraine on our watch?

Virginia Backaitis
10 min readApr 7, 2022

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

I fear that this statement is true. The horror stories being lived in Ukraine today are painfully reminiscent of the ones I heard as a small child from my relatives about their time in Lithuania, and then as refugees in Germany and Soviet Russia during and after World War II. Though some of the particulars are different, the evil inhumanity is the same.

My mother and father were in grade school when the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania. I am discovering that their stories, their experiences, live in me in a ways I never could have imagined. As I watch what is unfolding in Ukraine, the horror and suffering from their stories is coming alive in me through what feels like cellular memory. I am experiencing anguish, horror, anger, terror, and profound helplessness. Tears flow. How can the world in 2022 be standing by and watching millions of innocent human beings be driven from their homes in terror — children and mothers ripped apart from their brothers, sons, and fathers, tortured, murdered, raped, maimed, and deported to prison camps. Every cell in my body is screaming why is no one stopping this? Why is no one coming to the aid of those who are so bravely defending themselves and protecting their loved ones? Who are we as people to stand by and watch this brutal inhumanity take place? Who am I to stand by?

The evil, murderous dictator who stole my mother and father’s childhoods was Joseph Stalin, not Vladimir Putin. It’s hard to measure which man was/is more evil or deranged. My parents were driven from their homeland, Lithuania, as children. They escaped by horse and buggy, boat and foot. The Ukrainians are fleeing by bus, automobile, train and on foot. Some can’t leave because the Russians block the way. Others are shot as they begin their journeys. Still others may be tricked into taking “safe corridors” that lead, not to freedom and safety, but to Russia and death camps.

It’s happening. Again. This time in 2022 livestream. We can all see it.

Virginia Backaitis

Narrating the trek to the digital economy from ActBrilliant.com