The Shadow of the Bear – A guest post on the Russian/Ukraine War
Today, I’m relinquishing my own thoughts to publish a guest post by a blogger I have come to both admire and respect greatly. Kat Argo is an incredible writer who has spent the last year travelling through the Ukraine (including Kiev and Donetsk), Turkey, and other places. Her insight into the war is incredible, and more often than not, her first-hand accounts have shown a very different story than the ones that have been making it across to us in the Western World.
Her blog, A Red Rover, follows her journeys, and has been well worth the read. Recently, she published her first book, The Shadow of the Bear, which tells of her time travelling amidst the different cities and areas within the Ukraine. I will be posting a review of this book in a few weeks, but I can tell you, if it is written anything like the way she blogs, it will be an incredible read.
As a journalist, he was a buffoon. I was thoroughly stunned each time he spoke, discovering over and over again that if ‘his audience’ – the people who subscribe to the magazines or journals he submits to, or the audience that hear him interviewed on the radio – had a chance to meet him, they would not see an intrepid, young “freelance journalist” covering a war zone.
They’d see a guy well into his twenties, asking his ‘colleagues’ to do his laundry for him (he didn’t know how) and receiving an allowance from his parents.
This was a journalist that I met in Donetsk, the pro-Russian rebel-controlled stronghold in eastern Ukraine.
When I published The Shadow of the Bear, I wanted to explain how my journey
unraveled – how my allegiances and perspectives changed as I spent time in the places affected by this so-called East-West proxy war. I also wanted to explain how what I saw there was leagues different from what was portrayed to me in the news – and after discovering journalists, I began to understand why…
The Shadow of the Bear covers a lot of things – Activists, volunteers, soldiers, rebels, Nazis, fascists, communists… but I often forget to mention how much I write about the journalists. The journalists who are the window into that world, and how their struggles colored their stories and placed limitations on what they could portray.
And, on occasion, how someone falls off the turnip truck and bounces his way
into Ukraine, and we’re all left scratching our heads on how, exactly, they managed to get there.
I met a lot of exotic characters – most of them extraordinary in ways I thought only existed in fiction – as I wrote about the Ukraine Crisis and the human landscape that complicate not just the conflict, but the message that is received.
Kat Argo is a writer, interested in international conflicts and has traveled to Ukraine, Afghanistan and the Middle East. She chronicles her personal journey at ARedRover.com.