Opinion: Putin needs to endure consequences for his crimes

Barbara Kuznetsova, Staff Writer

Upon hearing the news that Russia launched a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, I instantly became overcome with fear. This is what I have dreaded for so long, as I worry about my home and the safety of my loved ones in Russia. Over the course of the last month, I have woken up every morning to promptly check the news, dreading the impending war between Ukraine and Russia. Now this nightmare is upon me. 

As this war unfolds, my dislike for Putin increases. Some call him the new Hitler, and I couldn’t agree more. Like most of the world, I have seen his incapability to be a true leader for months. I’m disheartened that my country, a country that conquered fascism in WWII, is now becoming fascist itself.  

According to Independent, at least 16 children died in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the fact that it is likely that many more lives will be lost by the end of this war is what is most upsetting. How does Putin sleep at night, knowing that so many people are suffering from his greed? 

What breaks my heart even more is that so many Russians actually support this war and endorse every one of Putin’s irrational decisions. I have had to end relationships with so many “friends,” and even some family members due to toxic political opinions. I am also aware of so many people who even ended relationships with their parents due to their stances in these controversial politics. 

Situations like these reveal who a person really is. In my case, these people are accomplices in crime. Before this war started, people who supported Putin were naïve, but now they are criminals as they are now explicitly aware of violence Putin is responsible for and still have yet to revoke their support which forces me to ask how can they be so oblivious?

Goodness is preserved in the Russians that object to Putin’s poor leadership. But those that have the courage to go out to protest every single day end up punished with prison time and fines afterwards. Protesting is currently viewed as a highly heroic act as participants can get fired, receive death threats and be prosecuted for merely expressing their point of view. Those that are aware of all the risks yet still subject themselves to the possible consequences are those that are the peacemakers and deserve recognition, not prosecution, for acting as such. But sadly over the last week, more than five thousand people were arrested in the peaceful anti-war protests in Russia. Even children no older than 12 years old were detained (CNN)

It breaks my heart to see what is happening in my country, but it is time for Putin to suffer the consequences of his crimes. Russia deserves any sanctions that will be imposed upon it and until there is an end to this horrible war, I will proudly display my support for the Ukrainian people.