Просто так,"prosto tak," means simply so, or just because.
My Ukrainian friend was explaining to me how Hitler killing people—per an idea, an ideology—differed from Putin killing people: просто так.
I've long understood evil as slavery, indigenous assault, gas ovens, rape, bodily torture. I guess I like to think there are reasons for the behavior, however unconscionable.
This is different.
We don't care that a hiker climbs Mount Everest because it is there.
But the killer who kills because they are there?
How do we fight this?
What are the rules of engagement?
If the killer is ensconced in an alternative reality, a game show, a mad contest of wills, what do we do?
Timothy Snyder is right about trying to guide and appease the gamer:
"It makes no sense to create an "off-ramp" in the real world, when all Putin needs is an "off-ramp" in his virtual world. It will be built by propagandists from pixels, and we are not needed for that."
The Bloodlands, as Snyder has told us, stretch from the Baltic to the Black Sea, from Berlin to Moscow. Tsars and Red armies trampled the fields and the bodies, then Stalin took them by collective greed, intruding from the Soviet east. Then Hitler by Aryan imperative, invading from the west.
The Lebensraum will soak up the blood and bear fruit for the conquerors!
Well, in time, that is, it takes a lot of blood and a lot of deaths...
...and here we are again, Слава Україні, glory to Ukraine.
Killing the grandchildren of those who survived the Holodomor and the Holocaust.
Pretending there are Geneva conventions and treaties and wartime rules of engagement.
There are none.
There's a psychopath and no way out, unless you shoot to kill.
We don't care when cops do this, cornered by a psychopathic killer. We want them to do this. We tell them to do this. In fact, we're mad when they don't do this, in the face of the slaughtered Uvalde children.
But now, my good West, what now?
Is the US to be lost by good people trying to placate the psychopath in Florida, as Europe is lost by good people trying to placate the psychopath in Moscow? Or wherever their bunkers are now.
As Anne Applebaum says, "the bad guys are winning."
Just for now, let's hope, for now.
1 JUNE 2022