I had hoped to get this out last Friday, but weather changes have had me rather locked up. That said, it is still timely and if you want to understand not just the invasion of the Ukraine, but all his other actions, you should read and listen on.
First, listen to this speech by Putin. There are captions that are reasonably accurate if you don’t speak Russian. Some describe it as bizarre, and in sections it may seem such. The problem is, it really isn’t from the point of view of someone who subscribes to the concept of “Russia World” (Russkiy Mir) as he has for a couple of decades now.
If you are not familiar with this term, this is a fairly concise overview. Note the reference to “New Russia” which is the goal of a new Russian empire. And, yes, there are references to “Holy Russia” in there too, which is why Kirill is onboard with the idea. And, if you dig into it a bit more, you will find the philosophical fingerprints of both Aleksandr Dugin and Ivan Ilyin on the concept too. I really do need to get deeper into this concept, but suffice it to say it has the capability of bringing the Church, the Russian Mafia, and the Oligarchs together because they can all make bank on it.
It is also worth noting that it appeals primarily to older Russians, and to a younger set that sees it as a way to move up in life and who are of a particular political view. For many younger people, the concepts involved have neither the emotional appeal nor the practical appeal — and in fact are repellent to those who are embracing more Western ideals on freedom. When you look at who supports Putin right now, and those opposed, you can get a good idea of the generational break.
I seem to have lost one bookmark, which is to an interview on German television of Putin about why he invaded. Putin launches into a rant about Clinton’s campaign bus dumping sewage on the street and how that was sickening and, in essence, a sign of how morally sick the West has become. The television host is quite taken aback, and Putin adds a bit more to the rant. When pressed to say anything else, he simply says no. It is bizarre, to say the least, but it is also a reflection of the concepts of Russkiy Mir.
Vladimir is a strongman in an increasingly vulnerable state. He is heavily invested in Russkiy Mir, and as such has couched a lot of his speeches on the concepts within: Holy Russia and the morally decadent West; the fight against Nazis; the need to reclaim that which is Russian to begin building the New Russia; and, the need to deal with the immoral elements at home.
Thus you get the speech seen at the top. While some of it is clearly aimed at the Oligarchs who have turned to the West and mostly live there, it is also aimed at all Russian citizens. If you don’t embrace the ideals of Russkiy Mir, you are a traitor. If you oppose Putin and his efforts to bring about the New Russia, you are a traitor. Vladimir deals with those he considers traitors in nasty ways: nerve agents, radioactive agents, nasty poisons, and other means of gruesome deaths.
He sees being bold and starting the process of reclaiming the “lost” land as a means to bolster his position. He gambled heavily on it, and it has not gone well for him. Going after Oligarchs who pretty much have left Russia and tend to not favor Vladimir, he both sends a signal and when he does move the state (and his buddies) get to take control of their Russian assets. It sets the stage for even further repression of the general populace.
Listen/look at his words in light of Russkiy Mir, and you have his official motivations for all his actions. His private are like almost anyone else: securing and/or expanding his power and making his situation more secure.
Keep in mind, he is desperate. He was desperate before the invasion, and now that it has not gone to plan, he is even more desperate. Desperate people make bad decisions, it’s almost guaranteed. This is why the use of chemical or nuclear weapons IS an option as far as he is concerned. It has been and still is military doctrine in Russia. If he will use nerve agents and more on those he deems traitors, don’t think he won’t hesitate to do far worse if needed to save his hide.
Meantime, keep an eye on the domestic situation here. The fact that the Shady Lady, aka the New York Times, has admitted that Hunter’s laptop is real and verified is a political nuke. The implications are staggering, and I would be unsurprised if there were not regime change here in the works.
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