Russian Foreign Intelligence Service director Sergey Naryshkin would, at first look, seem like an evil fraud. And yet, right before Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Naryshkin dared, in a way, to disagree with his orders, despite the huge pressure. Another proof that evilness—just like everything—is relative; all humans - no matter their camp, their ideology and past - have some rationality and honor. Dissent, too, is most relative. Naryshkin, and many more of yesterday's villains, could quickly become tomorrow's heroes.
Whether we want it or not, conflict is a formidable source of change. War can bring destruction, but it can also teach us a lot about our weaknesses. Vladimir Putin will have choices to make after his invasion: slow down his already dangerous brain drain, or turn into an extreme dictator, keep preventing any media against him, and get rid of those who did not fully support him.
Democracy also has an occasion to learn from this conflict. We can learn that Russians are evil. Or, we can realize how dangerous autocracy is, how disunited we are despite the "United Nations" and how dangerous our disagreements have become. And we can realize how relative and surmountable our differences are, and finally make a real effort to actually unite. As Kyiv's mayor came to realize when his city was besieged:
Here's hoping the democratic world can use this as a learning opportunity, before autocracy unites us all in mediocrity and oppression.