‘Day 34 of Russia’s Cowardly Invasion of Ukraine’

An early oil painting symbolizing hope by Michael Willard, in the collection of Yulia Bayun. Included with his Facebook post we’re reprinting today (see below).

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is a March 29, 2022, Facebook post on the Ukrainian crisis by Michael Willard, titled ‘Day 34 of Russia’s Cowardly Invasion of Ukraine.’ Last month, WestVirginiaVille’s newsletter featured a series of Facebook posts by Michael, who now lives in Florida, and one of his two daughters in Kyiv, Mia, who along with her sister, Maria, have been hunkered down in the city, where they grew up. The women have declined several offers to depart.

Mike is an old acquaintance of mine and many of us with longtime West Virginia media, business, and political careers. His rich life, which included a stint in West Virginia’s capital, has traversed public relations, advertising, politics and writing (he has published 17 books). He has worked with prime ministers, senators, and CEOs, and once had tea with the Shah of Iran in Tehran. For two decades, he advised businesses and politicians across Eastern and Central Europe, returning to the states after the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, which he supported. He’ll speak to the Charleston WV Rotary Club via ZOOM April 11, 2022.~ Douglas John Imbrogno


By Michael Willard | reprinted from Facebook, March 29, 2022

In the late ’70s, I attended a briefing by the foremost expert on the Soviet Union, Marshall Shulman. This was prior to my accompanying the U.S. Senate leader to Moscow. Shulman said: “You go 20 miles outside Moscow, and you go back 100 years.”

The same is true today. Russia is a gas tank. There once was glitz and glamour in Moscow, but now it is like a dystopian film noir of what might have been.

People look the other way as they lose their freedoms. They hear about the slaughter of women and children in Ukraine, but they pretend it isn’t happening.

Russia doesn’t make anything of note.


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Under dictator Vladimir Putin, Russia left its revolutionary zeal outside the door and in the dirty snow. They sacrifice all for the status quo, even if it means being in chains.

Russia’s economy is smaller than that of Italy or Spain. The State of California has twice the GDP of Russia. Former President Obama famously called Russia a “regional power.”

He wasn’t wrong.

Russia is “powerful” because it has nukes and oil. It’s also big, covering 11 time zones.

It was expected Russia’s military would roll over Ukraine in two or three days. We are now in our second month of a blitzkrieg stuck in first gear.

The Ukrainian fighting force has bested the Russians in every category. All the big bear can do is cowardly lob cruise missiles from a distance that destroy towns and kill innocent citizens.

The Ukrainian fighting force has bested the Russians in every category. All the big bear can do is cowardly lob cruise missiles from a distance that destroy towns and kill innocent citizens.

President Biden is getting all sorts of grief for what is called another one of his gaffes. After a pitch-perfect call for Western unity in the face of Russia’s aggression, he said, ““For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

That wasn’t a gaffe. It was an ad-lib truth during his Poland visit last week. The world can not afford Putin. Biden stated the obvious.

Today, another peace summit in Istanbul. Don’t expect too much.

PS: Many of you asked about M&M, my girls in Kyiv. Mia and Maria turned down another opportunity to escape today by car to the Poland border. Thank you for your concern.


‘Day 30 of Russia’s Attempt to Steal Ukraine’s Freedom,’ by MICHAEL WILLARD | Published march 24, 2022 on Facebook

Every day Facebook is kind enough to let people know which of their friends have birthdays. I appreciate my FB friends and, time permitting, try to say something special about each of them.

This is particularly true for those Ukrainians with whom I worked in The ‘Willard Group. I spent two decades in Ukraine, with a couple of years in Moscow.

Since February 24th and the Russian invasion, it has become increasingly difficult. What do you say on birthdays….” Have a good day?” Or simply “Happy Birthday.” Or, “What’s going on, buddy?”

No, not with missiles raining down on their communities, not with their homes being destroyed, and not when they have to evacuate to Poland, Romania, and elsewhere.

Some carry hardly more than the clothes on their backs and small suitcases.

They are refugees. That’s a proud designation for those getting their families to safety, often leaving fighting-age husbands and youngsters behind.

The former US Secretary of State Albright who died this week was a refugee, first from Hitler and then from Stalin; Freddie Mercury, Henry Kissinger, Gloria Estefan, Albert Einstein, and the list goes on.

The Ukrainians hope to return to Ukraine soon. We all hope to return. One does not leave for long a country as beautiful and friendly and democratic as Ukraine.

The Ukrainians hope to return to Ukraine soon. We all hope to return. One does not leave for long a country as beautiful and friendly and democratic as Ukraine.

After the invasion, a former employee in Moscow blocked me on FB. Once, long ago, I sat around his table in Zelenograd and celebrated a holiday at his dacha with his family.

I wonder, a month into Putin’s “48-hour invasion”, does he still believe it was simply a “special military operation.

Does he still believe Ukrainians destroyed their own homes and killed their own citizens?

It is difficult to fathom such delusions and such stupidity.


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Putting a family’s face on the trauma of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine | WestVirginiaVille newsletter feb27.2022


WESTVIRGINIAVILLE.com | March 30, 2022 ISSUE
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1) Ashes, Ashes, All Fall Down’: What are you going to do when your complicated family just won’t leave you behind? A personal tale from beyond the grave. | by Doug Minnerly
2) West Virginia Hero’s Life Screens at FestivALL 2022 : Dave Evans lost both legs below the knees in a Vietnam War ambush. What happened next is the stuff of a legendary life told in the new documentary “The Wake Up Call.”
3) Many Fights, One Big Fight: A new book chronicles the history to stay the course of Local 1199, and the longing for fairness within an often heartless industry. | by Eric Neudel
4) Barriers to Mental Health Care for Black West Virginians: Black West Virginians are at a significant disadvantage when dealing with mental health issues. A reprint of a BLACK BY GOD piece by Haadiza Ogwude
5) ‘First Streets in West Virginia:’ A photo-essay on how much the streets of Huntington have changed since the author first stepped onto them in 1980. As well as him. | by Douglas John Imbrogno
6)A Tragedy Full of Joy’: The Complicated American Dream of West Virginia’s Jerry West: Pondering Jerry West life after encountering the star’s 2011 memoir “West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life.” | Reprint of a John W. Miller essay from Moundsville.org
7) ‘Ukraine Update: ‘Day 34 of Russia’s Cowardly Invasion of Ukraine’: A former West Virginia residents latest posts on Vladimir Putin’s attempted mugging of Ukraine, where two of his daughters live. | by Michael Willard

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