Because tractors have become an icon of Ukrainian resistance

Because tractors have become an icon of Ukrainian resistance

In the great game of war propaganda, if Russia limited itself to spreading false or ambiguous information under the central control of the Kremlin, and therefore mostly applied classical techniques, Ukraine stood out for creativity, also demonstrating a strong sense of humor. From the stolen stamps of the sailors of the Snake Island with the middle finger raised in front of the Moskva, then "promoted to submarine" in other memes following the sinking, ending with Santa Javelin (dedicated to anti-tank weapons), songs, videos and comics the Ukrainian people have always tried to counter the drama of the situation with irony, a way to instill strength and courage as well as to diminish the threat of Russian soldiers, portrayed as an army of Sturmtruppen.

History of Russian military dolphins and other warlike “bestialities” Like dolphins, but also other animal species, they are used for military purposes. According to some observers, Russia has a unit of dolphins trained to support the Black Sea fleet. The role of tractors Among the most widespread memes, several have seen Ukrainian agricultural tractors as protagonists. There are many images, however difficult to verify, of tractors pulling tanks, ironic images which, however, hide a profound metaphor of this war. The metaphor of civilians who, in order to defend their nation, lend a hand as best they can to the army: who by taking up a rifle and turning into a soldier, who - like these peasants - reacting to the invasion as best they can, with their own means. Here then is that in the heroic narrative of war transformed into memes, we see tractors dragging Soyuz rockets, submarines and the inevitable Moskva. Propaganda is not limited to memes but leads to merchandinsing: with tractor t-shirts and army patches with the words "Tactical Agricultural Unit" in games such as Ukrainian Farmy and in NFT projects. Proceeds from the sale are promised to displaced soldiers, mothers and children.

The image of the tractor is inextricably linked to Ukraine, defined as "the granary of Europe", since it is one of the largest exporters of cereals, covering 10% of world grain exports and 15 % corn. The interruption of supplies to stop the war in the Black Sea thus threatens global food security, risking starving more than 5% of the world population. An agricultural history, that of Ukraine, which in the past has seen tragic moments that have remained forever in the imagination of its people.

The Kharkiv factory and the great famine In 1930 Kharkhiv, then the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, boasted the creation of one of the largest tractor factories in the country. A hymn to Soviet industrial production wanted by Stalin, of which the tractor was one of the flagships, replacing the wooden horse-drawn plow with an engineering miracle punctually enhanced by Soviet propaganda with parades, films and songs.

After trying unsuccessfully in the 1920s to build the first tractor by imitating the parts of an American Fordson, it was decided to directly replicate the Stalingrad factory that produced International Haverster tractors in Ukraine. It was a success: in 1932 alone, Karkhiv produced 17,374 tractors, earning the Lenin Order medal for outstanding service to the state. The first Soviet-designed tractor was built only in 1937: the Xtz-Nati caterpillar.

Despite the large amount of tractors available and the fertile land, the agricultural class was unable to take advantage of the resources due to Stalin's decision to collectivize over 90% of agricultural land. According to the Soviet project, the wealth produced by these had to be directly reinvested in industry, the new engine. To do this, the lands had to be unified into agricultural cooperatives (kolkhoz) or state-owned companies (sovchoz). An action that proved devastating for Ukrainian small farmers, the kulaks, who could no longer enjoy private property and were forced to find work on collective farms.

A process initially carried out on a voluntary basis, which after the failure became coercive: Stalin began to send the Bolsheviks to the countryside to implement his plan and the opposing peasants were executed or deported to Siberia. Collectivization created an immense famine known in Ukraine as the Holodomor, which according to various estimates caused the death of around 4 million people.

How Ukrainian civilians use small drones to make war They can be used by anyone for activities ranging from surveillance to gathering evidence, but they involve considerable risks Russian tanks Today, tractors are back as protagonists against the Russia of President Vladimir Putin and his "Soviet" ambitions making fun of his T-72 tanks, which among other things proved to be death traps for the Russians themselves. In fact, images of abandoned turrets on the street abound or found directly on terraces on the fifth floor. A video released by a Chinese journalist shows how this is possible: after the tank is hit (perhaps by a Javelin), the turret jutted over 15 meters high ("creating a new record", ironize the Ukrainians on social media ).

This happens due to a design choice that has proved unsuccessful. To reduce the size to a minimum, thus offering a smaller target for enemy shots and at the same time increase the thickness of the armor, it was decided to eliminate the figure of the servant inside the combat chamber by replacing it with an automatic loading system. However, this prevents separating the bullet reservoir from the same chamber, and every blow that pierces the armor inevitably produces the fire of the reservoir and its consequent explosion, with the consequences that the turret is thrown up and the crew dies toasted.

Speaking of tanks, tractors and antiquated technologies, this war has highlighted how tanks are outdated in current combat scenarios. Incinerated by Javelin rains, decimated by swarms of Turkish Bayraktar or even artisanal drones, entire columns of crawlers proved absolutely clumsy and easy targets for resistance. The American M1 Abrams or the new Russian T-14 Army may have more chances than these old Cold War projects, but there is no doubt that drones have been a game-changer to consider, and that in the long run they could lead to the end of the 'era of these mechanical dinosaurs, at least in evolved warfare scenarios.

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