Russia’s Attack on Ukraine Sparks Rumors of WWIII

Alana Textor


Devin Berry

Social Sciences teacher Matthew Reitemeier leads his AP European class in a discussion over the tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

In February 2014, Russia, led by President Vladimir Putin, invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula beginning the enduring territory struggle between Russia and Ukraine. Eight years later, Generation Z witnessed the continued struggle through social media apps like TikTok and Instagram.

On Tiktok, video parodies have brought the tensions to the attention of Generation Z.

“I think it’s a meme, for real,” said junior Camden Beebe. “With all the memes, Tiktoks, videos, and Chief Keef about to go to Ukraine. I think it’s a meme, but in real life, it’s surreal.”

The tensions between Russia and Ukraine are not new as they have been going on since the fall of the USSR in 1991. (Annalia Escalante)

According to, children, adolescents, and young adults, have become desensitized to hatred, intolerance, and violence

depicted on social media.

“I feel like, especially with the younger people, they don’t truly understand certain things that are happening, and they can just make fun of it,” said freshman Jack Bakarich. “We’ve made fun of everything since the beginning of time, it’s just now on a more social and public level.”

Senior Matthew Grimm believes that people use jokes to cope with difficult situations, and the Russia and Ukraine tensions is one of those situations.

“When have you laughed at anything positive?” said senior Matthew Grimm. “You make jokes about dark things. Everyone wants to associate humor with bright, happy, funny, but every legitimately funny joke is pretty dark. When people are going around saying we shouldn’t be making jokes about this, what do you want us to do?”

However, some students believe that this is a more serious issue than what is depicted in the videos and memes on social media.

“People in Ukraine are really suffering and it’s not even something anymore that I feel like is worth joking about,” said senior Abigail Cahill. “These are real people losing their lives and being caught in terrible political situations that they don’t want to be a part of. I think desensitization has really made it easy for people to look at it and say ‘well there is nothing I can do so I am just going to say whatever and joke about it.’”

Many TikTok content creators have joked about drafting being introduced if the U.S. were to become involved. According to, between 1940 and 1945 during World War II, 50 million men between the ages of 21 and 45 were registered for the draft, and 10 million were enlisted into the military. 

However, according to, the military has been all-voluntary since 1973, making drafting illegal without Congressional approval.

“The more we talk about draft, immediately people are like, ‘draft hasn’t been around for decades,’” said senior Anthony Alvarez. “As we continue to joke about it, the more people continue to worry about it.”

According to junior Brylie Reese, social media has played a huge role in how Generation Z views and accesses news.

“If you even just look at the past two years with what we had to go through while we’re in high school. We’ve had the pandemic, and we had school shootings that we’ve had to face,” Reese said. “Just knowing that there is always a threat, and having to see it more, especially on social media platforms. We’re seeing more of these issues than ever before and we’re having to deal with them more as kids in high school, and normally we wouldn’t know about this, or even care. We probably would not even watch the news.”