Model UN Club Brings Awareness to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

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By Abi Baker , Editor In Chief

The Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February of 2022 after years of instigation by Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. The issue of Western encroachment and NATO expansion has always been a fear of the Russian government. The dissolution of the USSR left Russia without control of the former Soviet republics, which many Russians, including Vladimir Putin saw as a national disgrace. Since taking power, Putin has taken many steps to retake former Soviet territory, with Ukraine the latest victim. 

 

In an effort to bring awareness about the ongoing war in Ukraine, Flint Hill’s Model UN/International Relation Club (MUN) provided a series of presentations for the student body to inform them about the war’s developments. The presentations reviewed the complicated history between Ukraine and Russia, and the conflicts President Vladimir Putin had engaged in previously. The impacts of this war have led to a severe humanitarian crisis in neighboring countries, which have been forced to accept millions of Ukrainian refugees. 

 

In MUN club meetings, members developed simulations where they embodied various UN members and represented their country’s interests in the war. This forced students to align their arguments for and against the war correctly with the country they were assigned. It put the nuances of international conflict into perspective, revealing the unlimited consequences that can arise from one nation’s decision to become directly involved in a war. 

 

Taking into account that many Flint Hill students are in tune with domestic politics and issues, MUN club members wanted to include an explanation as to how the invasion has directly affected the US economy. Russia’s position as one of the world’s biggest oil producers sparked an instantaneous shock to the gas supply when the invasion began. Subsequently, there have been implications on the world’s gas supply and access to cheap fuel. Already, due to the effects of the pandemic, Americans have been living with inflation rates that are higher than usual. Now, in addition, oil companies are skyrocketing prices in response to the unsteady supply chains.  

 

Sophomore Andy McKee noted that this war sets a precedent for future conflicts that take place in the era of social media. “In a sea of misinformation, it is important to stay aware of the news and to know the true situation. As we are amidst not just any war, but the first war to receive wide media coverage, everyone is put into uncharted waters that can be difficult to navigate when both sides have an agenda to push,” he said. 

 

The presentations were not meant to garner support solely for Ukraine, but also for Russian residents who are being subjected to this war against their will. McKee worked to ensure the presentation provided an unbiased account of the current happenings, “this is not just a game of politics – it is easy to overlook the reality and lives endangered and focus on the petty politics instead.” 

 

Thousands of Russians have risked their freedom to partake in anti-war protests, which erupted throughout Russia’s largest cities and have continued even under the harsh protest restrictions.  They’ve resulted in thousands of detainments and arrests of various activists and journalists. Reports of opposition within the Russian government and a scattered military approach will likely leave Putin significantly less successful than he had hoped for.