Vladimir Pastukhov says that Vladimir Putin’s new article on Russia and Ukraine is “depressing” because it represents an effort by the Kremlin leader to provide “an ideological justification for a future war,” giving such a conflict “a religious-ideological” interpretation. That is, to make this possible war a holy one.”
As such, Putin’s article is a kind of justification for action, “although Putin doesn’t understand this,” the London-based Russian analyst says. The Kremlin leader will always be proud of seizing Crimea and seek to justify what he did despite the consequences.
For Putin, Crimea is like Karabakh for the Armenians, Pastukhov argues; and it is now obscuring that Russia “has lost the main thing: We have lost Russia’s strategic place; we have lost Ukraine as a whole.” One oblast was gained but only at the price of an entire country and “in fact, the chance to conduct a wise strategic policy in all of Eastern Europe and not only in it.”
More on the topic: Why the West should be paying close attention to Putin’s article
As for the Russia-occupied Donbas, the analyst continues, in its current form it “is not needed by Ukraine, by Russia or by anyone on earth. This is an absolutely criminal enclave, which reminds one of Chechnya in the mid-1990s with Basayev and the rest.” No government on the basis of sober calculation would want it.
Pastukhov also calls attention to the way in which Putin, by using a nominally historical essay, has advanced a political and ideological agenda is recapitulating what Stalin did with Marxism and Problems of Linguistics near the end of his life and thus time in power and what other authoritarian leaders have done as well.
The analyst adds that he is “certain that 90 percent of the audience of this article is domestic” because “it is an attempt to give additional mobilization in such a pandemic, pre-election, and economic crisis period” and represents “an expansion of this Versailles syndrome” with “imperial hysterics.”
Putin wants to be sure that if a war does occur, the population will be ideologically prepared, Pastukhov concludes. The only 10 percent attending to this article will be Ukrainians who like the Balts in 1989 heard from Mikhail Gorbachev threatening language. But they too will feel the need to prepare for a war as well.
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