Last Thursday the readers waited in vain! No new post went online, it stayed quiet on the blog. The Russian army launched its attack on the Ukrainian neighbor on Thursday night. The next morning it seemed too banal to write about Saab. As if nothing had happened. I took down the article scheduled for the morning. Talking about cars while Europeans are dying a few hundred kilometers away? I couldnt do that!
I was coldly surprised by Putin, although I had given him credit for a lot. But despite all the war rhetoric, I didn't expect aggression on this scale. A coup d'état in Kyiv and the installation of a government loyal to Russia seemed conceivable to me. About the complete annexation of the two “republics” that Putin had forcibly detached from Ukraine years earlier. But a big war?
The Russians seemed too intelligent for that
A little over 80 years ago, it was German tanks that rolled through Kyiv for the first time. Two battles, in 1941 and 43, were fought around the city, and both sides claimed more than 141.000 lives. I hoped after 80 years people would be wiser. But learning from the past seems impossible. We have no idea how many people will pay for the defense of Kyiv with their lives over the next few days and weeks.
In the days that followed, I was frustrated by the German government, which wanted to continue the appeasement of its predecessors. Looking the other way, like in Crimea, like in Syria and Libya. Do not leave your comfort zone at any price, because who will explain to the German voter when the heating stays cold and companies are at a standstill? The appeasement strategy was only buried on day 4 of Russia's war against Ukraine.
Due to considerable pressure from the allies
What is clear is that the war in Europe will change everything. He brings old issues back on the agenda that have been completely neglected. The naïve idea that a large industrial nation does not need a powerful army is history. As is the strategy of being able to trade with any system in the world and simply turning a blind eye to the partners' black pages.
War shows us limits. Ukraine is, in the cities, a highly modern and digital democracy. Their digital vulnerability is demonstrated by Russian attacks using wiper malware. Data is hacked, effectively erased and never recoverable. The damage is immeasurable and, should the state survive the war, almost impossible to repair. Digitization works and is useful – in an ideal world. But not with an envious neighbor who lets tanks roll flanked by digital attacks.
Saab scene in Ukraine
In Ukraine there is an active Saab scene - as well as in Russia. So far, vehicles from both nations have been seen parked peacefully next to each other at international meetings. How the whole Saab scene is transnational and peaceful. This has given me hope for the past 10 years since I've been writing the project. When nations that once stood against each other talk to each other and share their hobbies - like the enthusiasm for a brand like Saab - then that can only be a good thing. I thought to myself…
On YouTube you can find a Saab video that probably comes from Tschernihiv (Chernihiv). It shows a Saab meeting in the summer of 2021, and were it not for Ukrainian flags in the background, the film could have been set anywhere in Russia or Belarus.
The video shows young people just having fun with their cars and friends. Just like anywhere in the world. And only a few months later the idyll is over. It's war.
Chernihiv is currently east of the Russian army's corridor of entry towards Kyiv. The city is said to be an important base for the Ukrainian army, which does not make the situation any easier. I have no idea how the Saab community is doing there as heavy fighting was reported in the area today.
Are the people sitting in the bunker, are they still alive, are they on their way west? Maybe they're fighting the invaders, guns in hand? You have thoughts and worries - and you are there in spirit and heart.
I am touched by this war and my powerlessness bothers me. Nothing justifies a war. We should be intelligent enough to solve our problems in other ways. The fact that tanks are rolling towards Kyiv again after 80 years is a declaration of bankruptcy for our species. Because years ago there would have been dozens of ways to stop development.
Of course I will continue to write about Saab. Even in times of war (as well as times of pandemic) we all need a dose of normality and banality. Something that takes us away from our worries. Constant alarmism is not a solution. That's why there are more car stories, even if it's difficult for me at the moment. I would be happy if you also want to continue reading Saab.