LaGrange College professor weighs in on conflict in Russia

Published 10:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2023

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As quickly as the conflict in Russia broke out, it seemed to come to a resolution. However, LaGrange College Professor of Political Science John Tures said the insurrection should serve as a reminder to Americans of the importance of world events.

“This is a moment where everyone needed to be watching to see what happened … We need to go back to realizing how much world events impact what’s going on in the United States,” Tures said. 

Over the weekend, a Russian mercenary group called the Wagner group marched on the capital as a part of a mutiny against the Russian military. In 24 hours, the group’s commander had agreed to evacuate Russia to a neighboring country, Belarus. 

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Tures said Americans should also be wary of misinformation, especially on the internet and social media.

“Be wary of propaganda because it’s not just pro-Putin propaganda that we see,” Tures said. “We’ll see people trying to undermine America from within just your sources of information.”

Tures, who visited Russia during the aftermath of the 1993 coup attempt, recognized a frightening potential in the recent power grab by Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin. 

“I was over there in 1993, when there was a coup that led to a brief Civil War, just like what we saw over the weekend,” Tures said.

As Russia has nuclear weapons at its disposal, Tures advised all Americans to have a grab bag ready just in case of a nuclear strike in the same way that a household might have an emergency bag for a tornado or natural disaster. 

“The chances of one of those hitting your house are probably unlikely, but you take steps just in case to make sure,” Tures said. 

Previous to this, the Wagner group was a driving force behind the Russian assault on Ukraine. Prigozhin claimed to have rising tension with the Russian defense ministry which escalated when the Russian military supposedly attacked the Wagner camp in Ukraine last weekend. 

“The war was not going well,” Tures said. 

According to a new update, Prigozhin claimed that a Russian military helicopter fired on Bogner positions. The Russian mercenary commander pulled his Wagner soldiers from their position against Ukraine inward. 

For 24 hours, Prigozhin threatened the Russian capital before agreeing to be exiled to Belarus. 

With the conflict between Russia and Ukraine ongoing, the Wagner group moving out of the conflict may have given Ukraine and its citizens fresh hope and sign of turning tides. He also hopes that the conflict will lead to Ukraine joining NATO.

“I think that this will completely embolden the Ukrainians because I’m sure that they have to worry that they’re a much smaller country than Russia, and they were already out there and fighting, but as the war has dragged on it’s going to hurt morale,” Tures said. “This is probably seen as a great victory for Ukraine.”