Stampede staff shares thoughts on Russia and Ukraine

“Real” fake news a danger in a time of war

By Beth Britton, Adviser

My mindless scrolling through Facebook Monday night was interrupted by an image that both astonished and amazed. Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova ran onto the set during a broadcast in Moscow and held up a sign that said “No war. Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They are lying to you here.”

Not surprisingly, Russian police forces immediately imprisoned Ovsyannikova for “discrediting the armed forces.”

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine about three weeks ago, Vladimir Putin’s administration has made it almost impossible for average citizens to know what is taking place across the border in Ukraine.

Facebook and Twitter are blocked. Other social media platforms are severely restricted. TV and radio news have become soundboards for the government, providing only Putin-approved information.

After having listened to our own leaders label anything with which they did not agree as “fake news,” the rest of the world and I are now witnessing the effects that real “fake news” is having on the people of Russia. A prison sentence of up to 15 years is what awaits Russian citizens if they dare disagree with their own government officials – or if they bravely share their opinion out loud.

In the United States, the First Amendment has provided freedom and protection not only to professional journalists, but also to everyday citizens. Despite what is happening on the other side of this planet, I fear that many Americans will not recognize that when “fake news” really is fake, the danger is real. The term is more than a talking point for a disgruntled politician, and there has never been a more important time to stand up for our Constitution.


Numbness overtakes in regard to military action

By Kerrigan Edwards, Editor in Chief

How am I supposed to feel about Ukraine and Russia right now? Am I supposed to be exploding with sadness for the lives lost so far?  Am I supposed to have an uncontrollable sense of anger toward Vladimir Putin and his entire posse of sheep? 

I suppose I do feel those things at the moment. However, the one thing taking me over when it comes to this war is the feeling of numbness and confusion. I’m not proactive about any of these situations right now, simply because I don’t know how I would even begin to be. More than anything, I’m shocked that this is happening.

The most surprising thing might be the lack of support from Matt Rosendale (R-MT) – the sole representative of my very own state. It is disappointing and disheartening to learn of his denial of support to Ukraine. I’m upset that he represents Montana, and it’s disgusting to know that two other representatives did the same. The final vote ended up being 426-3. 

 I know they say that history repeats itself, but why does it have to? It might be remaining childhood innocence inside of me, but I thought people were not supposed to do bad things. So, why does this seem to come so easily to Putin?


Russia edges closer to total dystopia with censorship of the media.

By Isabel Foley, Photo Editor

Uninhibited access to information is something I believe should be an intrinsic human right. On March 5,Russia announced a new law that is nothing short of unjust. Anyone going against the country by spreading “fake news” will be fined and imprisoned. The blatant censorship and brainwashing is a terrifying reality to watch unfold. Russian citizens are bombarded with half truths and blatant lies from “news” outlets reporting on the “special military operation” in Ukraine. 

News outlets across Russia have been shut down and abandoned. There is nowhere for Russians to receive trustworthy news as they can no longer access most social media platforms. As of March 4, Russia banned the use of social media including Facebook, Tiktok, and Whatsapp. 

I fear what this could lead to in the future for citizens of Russia and other countries who may follow the example. After all, it is much easier to influence your citizens if you control the information they receive. That’s what it is about –control.

Putin wants Russian citizens to agree with his every word and support the unjust war he has started. People who do stand up against the war are silenced and punished for doing one of the most courageous things–speaking out. 

The reality Putin has created for Russia is something akin to what you might read in a dystopian novel. Take the time today to appreciate your freedom of knowledge; don’t take it for granted. 


Russia censors news circulation

By Ashlynn Kidder, Staff Writer

Propaganda has always been a large part of war, especially in the World Wars. 

Currently, Russia is experiencing a lot of propaganda, most of it untrue. The Russian government has censored news broadcasts and what journalists may write regarding their attacks on Ukraine. 

The government is feeding false information to its citizens. Putin claims they mean no harm to Ukraine, that their only wish is to rid the Ukraine government and military of Nazis, which is a far stretch from the reality of the situation. 

As Americans, we have the fortune of knowing the truth about Russia’s brutal attacks on Ukraine. Many countries are more than aware of the horrific acts Russia has committed and will continue to commit, even though Russian citizens remain oblivious. However, the truth will always come out. 

It goes against the ethics of journalism to misinform an audience based on what a dictator or government may want. Some reporters have already chosen to break the vow of silence the Russian government has invoked upon them, which has resulted in some unknown consequences. Putin has warned journalists that if they violated his censorship, they would be arrested or possibly worse. Luckily for citizens around the world seeking justice for Ukraine, a number of reporters decided they won’t allow Russia’s president to stop them from accurately informing the people about Russia’s violence towards Ukraine.


Sympathy for Ukraine prevails

By CJ Kiernan, Staff Writer

Watching the Ukrainian civilians fight is a beautiful yet heartbreaking image. The amount of pride for their country that regular citizens of Ukraine have is astounding. If someone is not fleeing to another country or a bomb shelter, they are fighting on the front lines with the military.

The country’s own president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is even on the front lines, prepared to die for his home. Supermodels, celebrities, and athletes have not hesitated to insert themselves into the battle. 

The Ukrainians who can’t fight or flee, just speak and spread the word to others because it’s all they can do. They believe in their country, but know they can’t win the war alone, and they won’t be silenced. 

And it’s not just Ukranians, it’s people everywhere, speaking out in defense of Ukraine, and sending aid to them. Ukraine is not alone, and even if they were, you’d still be hearing about it. The citizens of the war torn country feel nothing but fear for their lives and pride for their country.

Ukrainians don’t care what Vladimir Putin thinks. They only care that they live and keep their independence and culture. They didn’t want war, but they will fight for their rights. They will not give into the Russian regime.

Ukraine’s pride is honestly inspiring. It makes me wish there was more I could do to help. It inspires my own pride and free will to speak out against Russia and stand with the Ukrainian people.


Massive changes will affect the future in unforeseen ways

By Jack Sparks, Staff Writer

No countries have maintained neutrality for as long as Switzerland. When first meeting a Swiss citizen, one of the things they say is that the Swiss are always neutral. 

However, for the first time in 500 years, this no longer is true. Switzerland joined many other countries on February 28th in imposing sanctions on Russia. All Russian assets in Switzerland have been frozen, including super yachts and other items. This has mainly affected the Russian oligarchs, as they have many assets stored in the small European country. 

I completely disagree with the decision of the Swiss imposing sanctions. This breaks their neutrality, a highly beneficial factor for hundreds of years. My heart goes out to the Ukrainian people, but when it comes to this I think the Swiss shouldn’t have done anything. 

The potential long-term effects that this could have are unimaginable. Because they are always neutral in every conflict, Switzerland has been used as a location for numerous peace talks that have led to wars being ended.

But now, they can’t be trusted to always be neutral. How this will affect conflicts in the future is still unknown, but we can be sure that it won’t affect them in a positive way.


Ukraine, showing strength and bravery

By Jordan Clark, Staff Writer

Russia’s war on Ukraine is bringing darkness and misery to many, especially ones from Ukraine, the biggest victims. 

Many pictures on social media and the Internet capture crowds of people and families fighting for their lives. 

Whether it’s food, warmth, health, or just shelter, these people are still hanging on, putting up a fight for their country. 

I think that it is inspiring to see how the people of Ukraine are battling this devastating and scary time.

Families are helping each other, and people are still out there today trying to help other people and escape. Ukraine is still fighting as hard as they were at the beginning, showing the Russians that they will not give up on their country and they will keep battling. 

Even Russian President Vladimir Putin thought that this special military operation was going to be a one and done deal. He hadn’t expected such a fight back from Ukraine. 

What Putin is doing is not fair, and although I know that he probably doesn’t care what people are saying to him about starting all of this, he is putting people in a scary, disgraceful, and unfair situation. 

The people of Ukraine are innocent and deserve nothing of the treatment they are receiving right now. 

While the rest of the world is in worry, Ukraine puts up a fight and seems to still have some hope.


Ukraine holds their ground

By Justin Bollich, Staff Writer

After hearing about the war in Ukraine for the past few weeks, I am extremely impressed by the people of Ukraine and their willingness and ability to fight back. Everyday I hear stories of Ukrainians stealing tanks or yelling at Russian soldiers in broad daylight. I have seen Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy giving speeches one day and on the front line with his military the next. 

One of the most impressive things, in my opinion, is the “Ghost of Kyiv,” who has become the first flying ace (pilot with 6+ confirmed kills) in the world since WWII, with at least 10 reported. While these may not all be from the same person, the idea of this soldier, real or not, is a huge morale boost to the people of Ukraine.

Another thing that impresses me is the amount of support from everyday people online. Whether I’m scrolling through Reddit or Instagram, or taking on Discord, the colors of the Ukrainian flag are everywhere, in profile pictures and statuses. Even if it’s only a small thing, it’s great to see people agreeing with and supporting people in need.

I hope that the people of Ukraine continue their brave fight against the Russians, and that they receive the support they deserve.