It has already been a year since Russia began its attempt to destroy Ukraine. For a while, it seemed like we were all doomed - mostly by international inaction - to a steadily worse world. We probably do not deserve the spirit and sheer power of Ukraine, but at least we have not got worse at supporting it.
At first, I was swept up in the feeling of hopelessness. My Twitter usage exploded as I was trying to find whatever information I could on what was actually happening. A lot was of course rumors and wishes and the like, but I learned that there was actually information to be had from people who over time proved to know what they were writing about, and that information became available much quicker than on more regular news sites I tried to get updates through.
Most important, Twitter messages provided hope much earlier than mainstream media. This message and thread, from February 26th, when everything still felt completely up in the air, was the most important to my mental health. Russia had no good plan, they did not have unlimited resources, they were not unstoppable.
There was hope.
Hope, and so much needless destruction.
The first (and only?) time I really wrote about the conflict here was in March, and while things still felt uncertain the sense of doom was not as strong.
Reading about logistics was often something of a stress relief, getting to know just how poorly maintained and handled those seemingly enormous and threatening Russian convoys were. They can be defeated, they will be defeated, as long as we help keep up the pressure.
Glued to the radio
News about the Kharkiv counteroffensive began with a tweet something like "HIMARS has been active all along the front". By that time, I had got myself a Twitter list of a handful of insightful accounts and had finally understood the thing about Twitter being great for ongoing events. The tidal wave of actual good news, of undeniable progress, was wonderful to follow, and it felt both entertaining and frustrating how much slower all other news media was to catch up. (Another side of me completely understands why the BBC will not report live on Twitter threads. That side was not in any way in charge at the time.) Do you want to know more? Yes, I always wanted to know more.
Killing birds with their own stone
It is funny how I found my greatest use ever of Twitter right as Twitter was getting busy being killed by its own leadership. I still check my Ukraine list very regularly, but I assume I will be able to find those people in other places when or if (let us be generous) Twitter completely turns to dust. I can put up with a little bit of Twitter for good information about Ukraine.
Strange post, this. Strange year, this. I am under no illusion that the conflict will end swiftly, or that the outcomes will be everything they should be, but can we at least do more, faster, to throw Russia out? One problem at a time.