Like Superman streaking through the sky, Putin saw himself taking Ukraine in one fell swoop. The Russian press service, Novosti, rushed out a release last Sunday, two days into the attack, that reads like it was dictated by Putin himself since it reflects his innermost reasoning. But when it became obvious that it was hopelessly premature, not least because the forces of intervention were not so successful and because the statement undermined his main alibi for the invasion (the threat from NATO), it was speedily removed off line.
“A new world is coming into being before our very eyes”, it begins. “Russia’s military operation has opened a new epoch…Russia is recovering its unity – the tragedy of 1991, this horrendous catastrophe in our history, its unnatural caesura, has been overcome. Yes, at a great price, yes through the tragic events of what amounts to a civil war, because now for the time being brothers are shooting one another…but Ukraine as anti-Russia will no longer exist.” Instead the Great Russians, the Beylorussians and the Little Russians (Ukrainians) would come together as a whole. This “historic responsibility” Putin had taken upon himself “by not leaving the Ukrainian question to future generations.” Here “the issue of national security, the creation of an anti-Russia out of Ukraine and as an outpost for the West to pressure us is only the second most important among them [the “key reasons” for acting].”
It gives us fascinating insight into a man cast as a Shakespearean figure of tragedy: Macbeth, Richard III and Lear all in one. But the tragedy is first and foremost that of all Ukrainians, and the Russian people themselves who are beginning to pay the price for the boy once bullied in the back streets of Leningrad.
08:00 26.02.2022 (обновлено: 08:01 26.02.2022)