The Tribulations of Tyranny

Freshly conscripted Russian soldiers preparing to depart to join the war in Ukraine. These new soldiers were average Russian citizens mere weeks ago.

Sergey Pivovarov/Reuters

Freshly conscripted Russian soldiers preparing to depart to join the war in Ukraine. These new soldiers were average Russian citizens mere weeks ago.

Daniel Boudreau, Editor-in-Chief

Russia has been ruled by tyrants for centuries, from the rule of the Tsars, to the days of communism, and now, Vladimir Putin’s puppet democracy. This legacy has been disastrous for Russia and has propagated the suffering, starving, and slaughter of millions of people. 

And, now, Russia’s latest tyrant is looking to add his name to the list of mass murderers with the war in Ukraine. This war is the brainchild of one man trying to strengthen his image and grab more land for his own exploitation at the expense of lives, both foreign and domestic. 

Putin’s fiat-laden invasion into Ukraine is well within its seventh month at the time of this writing and has no end in sight. According to Ukrinform, despite being reputed as one of the world’s most powerful armies before the Ukrainian invasion, Russia is struggling to maintain even a stable foothold in Ukraine as they are currently being routed by Ukrainian forces. 

And what’s worse, current estimates from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine suggest that over 50,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in action during this fruitless seven month long struggle over insignificant territorial gains. This is astounding if you consider that the United States lost around 58,000 personnel during the entire decade-long duration of the Vietnam War, still to this day America’s most infamous divisive conflict. 

Despite Putin’s immense frustration with the state of affairs in Ukraine, he is determined to save face. Putin has begun expanding the war to not only include Russian volunteers, but also civilian conscripts within the ranks of a now exhausted and demoralized Russian army. Russian citizens are increasingly against the war in Ukraine as its destructive effects permeate more and more of their society. Many Russians have fled the country or deserted in the field in order to escape Putin’s meat grinder.

The war has also taken an unacceptable civilian toll, repeated Russian artillery strikes on civilian targets have devastated Ukrainian families and their livelihoods. Many of these families do not know if they will make it through the harsh Ukrainian winters. According to, Russian combatants have killed 5,587 unarmed Ukrainian civilians as of August 21, 2022.

This is the price of tyranny. Allowing one person to decide the fate of millions with no consequences for themself. The people of a sovereign state have the responsibility to safeguard themselves against the rule of maniacal tyrants. And indeed, throughout history, there have been many theories that strived to accomplish this feat.

People today (especially politicians) love to declare that we live in a democracy, and it is important to recognise that this is not true, and there is a reason for this. The idea of democracy died with Ancient Greece. The democracies of old sought to stabilize society by preventing any one individual from consolidating dictatorial power via citizens directly voting on matters and electing individuals to power. However, these democracies became riddled with factions and voting blocks (very similar to today’s political parties) and they eventually became partial to the wills of the ruling faction. This led to direct democracies essentially being multi-individual dictatorships that had total power to decide the fates of their countries. 

Because of these faults, the idea of democracy gave way to the idea of the republic. The founders of our nation knew full well of the tumultuous history of true democracies and saw fit to create the nation as a republic where every position of power has a check on it, and every position of power can check another position. 

Our constitution was written so that we have the ability to elect, directly or indirectly, representatives that reflect the general views of everyone who voted for them. Rather than the people making decisions, representatives chosen by the people will make all the decisions. The rampant cynicism of our republic and the apathy from the mainstream voting population has only served to radicalize the representatives elected to government since most voters are extraordinarily partial to one ideology.

 Mainstream voter participation election where voters participate based on impartial judgment of the qualities of the available candidates rather than fanatical loyalty to a certain point of view is the price of protecting against tyranny. Extremism on any side of the political spectrum is a gateway to dictatorship as has been demonstrated throughout history. There have been both right and left wing dictatorships that have each killed millions of people either through war, famine, intentional extermination, or a combination of the three. 

Putin is an example of what our nation should strive to defend against and what this generation of emerging voters should look out for. If Putin can teach us anything, it is that a tyrant in power has no obligation or accountability to those who put them there.