The Shot Glass Is Half Full for Ukraine

And it’s half empty for Russia

B Kean
5 min readDec 9, 2022


Photo by Alvis Taurēns on Unsplash

Vodka plays an important cultural role in both Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainians, in fact, make a wonderful thing called “samogon,” which is a homemade spirit often stronger than vodka. Samogon sometimes tastes wonderful. Vodka is always horrific if you ask me.

Nonetheless, if there is one thing that could bring warring Russian men together for at least an hour of relative peace, at least before the drunkenness sets in, which would inevitably give way to brutal fisticuffs (or as they say sarcastically in Russian, “viyasneniye otnoshenii” which means “clarification of the relationship”), it would indeed be a bottle of vodka.

Vodka is not to be consumed alone, though. It is best consumed when there are three people. There is even an expression in Russian, “let’s get three of us together,” which means “Let’s drink.”

Unfortunately, I don’t think that we will be seeing any Russians or Ukrainians repeating the famous World War I pause in hostilities that occurred on the Western Front in 1914. Then, in acts of spontaneity, the warring sides agreed to put down their weapons and celebrate Christmas together.

The blood is too bad for the Ukrainians. The crimes of the Russians are still too fresh. There could be no redeeming value for the Ukrainians to break bread with the Russian invaders.

Stranger things have happened, though. Russian officers, being the vile and corrupt cowards they are, would surely react harshly to such acts of spontaneity. It would be regarded as “thinking for yourself,” which is a danger in Russia, the “heroic” officers would undoubtedly give the order for the celebrating soldiers to be executed.

This leads us to the Russian shot glass.

Half empty

We are at a stage in the war, though, where a few holiday drinks between the warring sides could do some good. The shot glass of the Ukrainians is half full while that of the Russians is half empty. Ukraine has suffered from nightmarish death and destruction but it is surviving. This is a reason for optimism that Ukraine will prevail.

Russia, though, having also suffered but in a much different way, is barely holding…



B Kean

The past holds the answers to today’s problems. “Be curious, not judgmental,” at least until you have all the facts. Think and stop watching cable news.