I grew up hating America. I lived in the Soviet Union and was a child of the Cold War. That hate went away in 1989, though, when the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended. By the time I left Russia in 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed, America was a country that Russians looked up to and wanted to emulate.
Twenty-three years later, a new version of cold war is back, though we Americans haven't realized it yet. But I am getting ahead of myself.
After Russia invaded Crimea and staged its referendum, I thought Vladimir Putin's foreign excursions were over. Taking back Crimea violated plenty of international laws, but let's be honest. Though major powers like the US and Russia write the international laws, they are not really expected to abide by those laws if they find them not to be in their best interests. Those laws are for everyone else. I am not condoning such behavior, but I can clearly see how Russians could justify taking Crimea back — after all, it used to belong to Russia.
I was perplexed by how the Russian people could possibly support and not be outraged by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But I live in Denver, and I read mostly US and European newspapers. I wanted to see what was going on in Russia and Ukraine from the Russian perspective, so I went on a seven-day news diet: I watched only Russian TV — Channel One Russia, the state-owned broadcaster, which I hadn't seen in more than 20 years — and read Pravda, the Russian newspaper whose name means "Truth." Here is what I learned: