Meet Russell Bonner Bentley, an Austin native who apparently some how found himself embedded with Russian Soldiers on the march towards Kyiv.
I did something weird tonight. I decided I was going to jump down the Russian rabbit hole to see how far it goes, and boy did I learn some surprising things. In order to try and remain as objective as possible, I think it's important to always try and recognize both sides of the situation. If you only look at life through one lens or one perspective, you'll never find yourself understanding the heart of any conflict between people. That's how I discovered the man in this video, Russell Bonner Bentley.
In order to truly understand this guy, you're going to have to go read this article on him. I don't think I have the space here in our analysis tab to give the guy a proper write up, and the team at Texas Monthly did an entire interview with him that you'll just have to check out for yourselves.
Moving on, as an American who supports Ukraine in this conflict, I wanted to jump onto the other side of the fence and try to see the Russian perspective. Many Russians are obviously opposed to the war, as we've seen in demonstrations across their country, but even still there has to be some basis for the war. That means some percentage of Russians must either be indifferent or pro-war with Ukraine. That's precisely the side I decided to try and find tonight on the internet. Obviously, as an American who only speaks English and Bad English, I needed another American to try and explain things to me in my native language, or a fluent English speaking Russian.
An overwhelming majority of English speaking Russians that I found speaking on this subject were entirely against the conflict. They were also against any conflict whatsoever, and their opinions were mostly a parrot of Western media and the general consensus on Reddit. I wasn't going to get the other perspective from that crowd, so the next obvious step was to start diving into the pro-Russian Telegram channels. I've got quite a few on my list, so I just started looking for political discussions happening where bits of English existed, and that's ultimately how I ended up on Russell Bonner Bentley the Third.
Now, my research into the Russian perspective is neither here nor there. I do this with every topic that I discuss or write about, as it gives me better insight into the situation. It also allows me to humanize the other side of the fence, and to develop empathy which I think is absolutely paramount when trying to find common ground with another person. What is important however is the fact that this guy's a thing, and he has been a thing since 2014, and I'm only just now discovering that he exists. How in the Hell did this guy stay under our radar for over eight years?
I'm not going to tell you that this guy's smart. I'm definitely not going to tell you that this guy's right. I'm not going to tell you that this individual person has any answers to any single thing on the face of the planet. To most Americans who follow us, this guy probably isn't relatable at all, and you're probably wondering why we're even giving him any light of day on our platform.
In response to that, I'm going to be brief. Empathy is important, especially in times of war. Put yourself in the shoes of your enemy or the person you disagree with in any situation where you have conflict in life, and you'll be far more prepared to make peace with them when the time comes.
On that note... Here's some weird guy from Texas who ended up fighting with Russian Separatists in 2014, and is now embedded with Russian Soldiers on the March to Kyiv.