If the Polish curse is geography and proximity to Russia, that applies just as much to Ukraine and its people. For dictators and autocrats hooked on historical fantasies this has long been territory to be rolled over, first one way, then the other. Ukraine is conquered land that is held until the next wave of war and upheaval, death and destruction, fighting and famine, catching a few decades of relative peace in between. Here come the Bolsheviks, the Communists and Stalin, then Hitler, then the Soviets again. And each time there were tens of millions of people caught in the middle trying simply to go about their lives before the next maniac gripped by an ideology turns up. Now, here come Putin and the Russians, rolling in much as the Germans did in the 1940s.
In The Race Meeting, Sir John Everett Millais presents a poignant story of an undisciplined crowd at the Epsom Derby.