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The History Man

This blog contains interesting facts about the history of Spain and things Spanish.

23/24 February – bad days for democracy
Friday, February 24, 2023 @ 8:26 AM

Two attacks on democracy have taken place on 23 and 24 February. One, 42 years ago in Spain and the other, 12 months ago in Ukraine. The History Man tells us more.





It is 12 months since Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, launched his illegal and brutal attack on Ukraine. He called it a special operation to stave off the "nazification" of Ukraine.

Does Putin think we’re stupid? Or that the Russian people are? Problem is, propaganda and lies like this are all the vast majority of Russians get to hear via the tightly controlled media in that country.

The latest death toll figures are difficult to establish with both sides over- or under-estimating the data for their own political reasons. Many agencies make different estimates of the death and injury statistics.

Official US resources reckon that 200,000 soldiers have died on both sides.

Other “official” figures show that 7,199 Ukraine civilians have been killed – a war crime, or more accurately 7,199 separate war crimes.

18,483 civilian casualties were reported between February 24 and January 23, 2023, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

1,276 children have been killed or injured in violence between the beginning of the conflict and January 23, 2023.

About 5.7 million school-aged children have been affected by the conflict, including 3.6 million due to school closures.

17.7 million people need humanitarian aid and protection. In addition to the more than 8 million refugees outside Ukraine, an estimated 5.5 people have been displaced within Ukraine.

With over 8 million fleeing Ukraine as of early January, this has become one of the largest and fastest displacement crises in the world today, according to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Human Rights). It is also one of the bloodiest conflicts in Europe since World War II.

Data provided by


Spain and 23-F

23 February was the date, 42 years ago, when a pistol-wielding civil guard, Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero, backed by 200 civil guards, entered the chamber of the Spanish parliament, fired shots into the air and tried to initiate an ill-advised and under-prepared golpe de estado (coup).

The coup attempt failed and democracy was quickly restored.

I wrote about this a year ago in Eye on Spain. Please see A Failed Coup (


The future of democracy

Can democracy as a political concept survive? When democratic political systems elect people like Trump, Johnson, Erdogan and even Putin, one has to raise one's eyebrows.

It’s an interesting debate. Absolutely crucial is that Putin must not win this war. The West is behind Ukraine, but despite the provision of massive resources, more needs to be done. There is a lot of rhetoric on the part of politicians like Biden, Sunak, Macron and Sanchez, and belatedly Schulz in Germany, but is it enough?


© The History Man

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