America has founding fathers. Much of the rest of the world has founding tyrants. Perhaps this explains today’s many stark differences between the US and everyone else.

I was born in the former Soviet Republic of Ukraine four months before USSR’s collapse. Now, over two and a half decades later, Ukraine, Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe is still struggling to recover from the havoc of Lenin, Stalin, and others.

The damage is staggering.

Take Stalin for example. Historians estimate that his rule alone was responsible for the deaths of at least 20 million people — his own Soviet people. That sort of abuse leaves a mark on a nation for generations.

And yet, like with many victims of abusive relationships, for some odd reason, those same battered nations again run to the arms of new ruthless leaders.

The abuse may no longer look like mass executions and labor camps. Those archaic methods have long been abounded for new and refined ones. Today the leaders simply plunder the nation’s goods, enriching their offshore accounts while their people are left to fend for themselves in a neglected country.

Sadly, this is the only life my people have ever known — a life of abused orphans. While some nations may have been brought up by fathers, we were brought to our knees by tyrants time after time. Theirs is the only security and provision we know. Maybe that’s why we can’t seem to ever walk away from them.

Yet, I’m still holding out hope for positive change. If a generation of bad leaders could so scar a people for a century, just think of how much lasting good could be accomplished by a generation of fathering leaders.

I believe that I will see the day when my people’s scars and bruises will be mended by new tenderhearted leaders. I believe we too will one day rise up on the shoulders of our fathers — forever leaving behind the shame and sorrows of our orphan past.

Follow Dmitriy on Medium.

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