Winnie the Pooh, the beloved bundle of cuteness and curiosity, is a delightful archetype of youthful gullibility and exploration. I always associate him with the search for a pot of honey, of that sweetness that soothes and consoles. Of course, there is the inevitable encounter with bees; those lessons which sting but also teach. A caricature of innocence, the Pooh Bear speaks to a part of us long gone and forgotten. We are no longer childlike. We are grouchy, grumpy, and cynical. This Winnie the Pooh died when we became poisoned by the apple of knowledge.
However, there is another Winnie the Pooh whom I wish to acknowledge. His name was Mykola Larin, a soldier of the Ukrainian
forces fighting Russian invaders in the Donbas. He was killed on October 16, 2017, and his codename was “Winnie the Pooh.” Not the typical codename for a military man, but one that reflected the late Mykola’s good nature. The death of this Winnie the Pooh is a real death, a true loss of a man who was 25 years old. It also is symbolic of a society’s lack of immunity against greed, corruption, and those who are part of worldwide crime networks.
One such person is Paul Manafort. Viktor Yanukovych’s campaign manager, Manafort was instrumental in many “schemes.” Money laundering is the tip of the iceberg. Even by Ukrainian political standards, Yanukovych illegally amassed more money than most, but less than his mentor Vladimir Putin. Ukrainian investigators are looking into allegations that Paul Manafort was involved in massacre of peaceful protestors during the Maidan Revolution. In any case, Manafort worked to maintain crime and corruption.
Manafort was also Donald Trump’s campaign manager. A coincidence? I don’t think so. It’s the Russian connection. Indicted on 12 counts of criminal activity, one of them reads “conspiracy against the United States.” Trump’s former campaign manager!
And why is President Trump so hesitant in implementing sanctions against Russia?