Has Ukraine Lost Our Attention
On February 24th Russia began its invasion. The exact date is a little murky, because Russia had long supported Russian separatists in Luhansk and Donetsk. The conflict really began in 2014 and never really stopped. A few days before Russia began its invasion The New York Times reported shelling had escalated in Eastern Ukraine and thousands had already fled. The conflict was widely known for those who paid close attention. The Economist recognized “An end to the war in eastern Ukraine looks as far away as ever” back in 2018. So, Russia did not begin the war on February 24th. Rather they escalated and expanded it.
Nonetheless, the media became laser focused on events in Russia and Ukraine before the invasion even began. After February 24th the media’s focus became an obsession. Newspapers led with news on the war. Commentaries and editorials discussed geopolitics and international relations. Stephen Colbert invited Michael McFaul to discuss his perspectives on Russia and Ukraine. Podcasts featured episodes designed to better understand the conflict, the region, and the response. After the initial binge, many podcasts moved on to other topics. However, others like Ezra Klein continued to approach the subject from every angle imaginable.
But eventually almost everyone moved on. Nonetheless, stories about Russia and Ukraine continue to appear. Today the popular podcast The Daily had an episode about the soldiers in Azovstal. However, it had not aired a story on Russia or Ukraine in a week. For my own part, the Democracy Paradox began to focus on topics beyond Ukraine and Russia after just a few weeks. Looking back it’s a topic where I could have provided better content while everyone was focused. Still, it is hard to stay on a single topic for so long. Unfortunately, Ukrainians do not have this luxury.