Wednesday, June 07, 2023

This Republican senator has a very weird theory for why Russia invaded Ukraine



CNN —  

Tommy Tuberville thinks he knows why Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

It’s not because Ukraine was once part of the Soviet Union and Putin wants to restore those former borders. Nor is it that Putin worries about the encroachment of the West – and NATO – into Ukraine and at his country’s western border.

According to the Alabama Republican senator, it’s communism. And farmland. Or something.

“He can’t feed his people,” Tuberville said of Putin in a speech to the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce earlier this week, as was reported by 1819 News. “It’s a communist country, so he can’t feed his people, so they need more farmland.”

Uh, what?

First off, it’s worth noting that Russia is not, in fact, a communist country.

The Soviet Union was a communist country, but its fall in 1991 signaled the end of the communist regime. Russia is now considered a federation government with a prime minister and a president, who has the power to appoint the prime minister. There is also a legislative body as part of the Russian government; it’s known as the Federal Assembly and is comprised of the State Duma (the lower house) and the Federation Council (the upper house).

Russia is now an authoritarian regime with Putin in charge.

I also did a bit of digging on Tuberville’s claim about Russia’s inability to feed its people – and, it turns out, he is totally wrong.

According to the 2021 Global Hunger Index, Russia ranks 25th out of 116 countries – with a level of hunger that is “low.” And Russia is currently the top exporter of wheat in the world.

Here’s what Rector of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yakovenko said at a UN summit in 2020, noting that his country wasn’t facing the hunger issues that others were around the world.

“The problem of hunger in the world has exacerbated. According to the UN, 680 million people are starving in the world at present. Over the past five years, this figure has been increasing by 10 million annually. Our country has attained a historic victory over famine, so the experience of Russia may be appealing to other countries. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to consolidate these positive dynamics of domestic food systems and make them inclusive and sustainable.”

I reached out to Tuberville’s office for some clarity on what, exactly, he was talking about. They didn’t get back to me, but if they do, I will be sure to share their perspective.