Putin’s Futile Effort to Win Back Ukraine

Russian president Vladimir Putin clearly fancies himself as a bit of a historian. A while back he wrote a piece on the origins of the Second World War for the National Interest magazine, and now he’s penned (or at least he and his helpers have penned) a great long tome discussing the historical origins of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples. The purpose of it all is to prove that Russia and Ukraine are truly one, and that their current division is the product of the malicious activities of outside powers – the Poles and Austrians in olden times, the West as a whole nowadays.

I discuss the piece in an article for RT that you can read here. In this I speculate that Putin is trying to appeal to ordinary Ukrainians over the head of their government. Millions of Ukrainians think positively of Russia, he says, but they are intimidated into silence by the despotic regime in Kiev, which is trying to turn the country into an ‘anti-Russia’. It seems that Putin believes that there are large numbers of Ukrainians who share his point of view, and that this is his attempt to speak directly to them in an effort to win Ukraine back for Russia.

Personally, I think it’s a giant waste of time.

Putin may be right that a large segment of the Ukrainian population doesn’t share the anti-Russian stance of its government. One suspects that if – God forbid – Russian tanks were ever to roll into Odessa, while some would fight them, some others would crawl out of the woodwork and declare that they always loved Russia all along. But the thing is that the opinion of the ordinary Joe (or Ivan, or whatever the Ukrainian equivalent is) isn’t that important.

Ordinary Joes don’t run any country anywhere. Political elites compete for their votes, but by and large they live in a different world, with a different frame of mind, shaped far more by what the educated classes think than by the average guy on the street.

At this point, I will admit that I’m not a Ukrainian expert, so I may be entirely wrong about this, but from a distance I get a very strong sense that the Ukrainian educated classes, and with them the political elite, have swallowed the Maidan ‘anti-Russia’ stance with a vengeance. Basically speaking, there are precious few people left who are willing or able to represent the ‘pro-Russia’ point of view.

This isn’t just because it’s been repressed, though it has been – as seen by the arrest of Mr Medvedchuk. It’s more that this representation doesn’t exist in any meaningful form. And without that representation, it doesn’t really matter how many ‘pro-Russian’ people are out there. Politically speaking, their prospects are zilch.

In other words, Ukraine is a lost cause from the Russian point of view. Its upper classes have made up their minds – at least for a generation (perhaps something will change when the promised integration into the West never happens, but even then one can’t be sure). Putin can appeal over the government’s head to the Ukrainian people as much as he likes, but I don’t see it changing a thing.

34 thoughts on “Putin’s Futile Effort to Win Back Ukraine”

    1. It’s more that this representation doesn’t exist in any meaningful form. And without that representation, it doesn’t really matter how many ‘pro-Russian’ people are out there. Politically speaking, their prospects are zilch.

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  1. President Putin

    “… Can be interpreted as you like. But many people will hear me. And I will say one thing: Russia has never been and will never be “anti-Ukraine.” And what Ukraine should be – it is up to its citizens to decide.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Paul, you mention that Putin is wasting his time by writing this article. What should he do instead in the struggle for the borderlands? The other side is not sitting waiting. Look also this week for the “Declaration of the Lublin Triangle Foreign Ministers of joint European heritage and common values.”
    A Polish think-tanker describes the event as “It’s a revolutionary document, that can be regarded as a symbolic turning point foretelling the end of an ongoing 150 year process of nationalizing the past by Lithuanians, Poles & Ukrainians, an unavoidable phase for any nation&state building process.”

    In Poland and Lithuania, the elites have seen an opportunity window to imperialist ideas from yesteryear. For example, to rehabilitate the Commonwealth or, more recently, the Intermarium from Pilsudski now in the form of the 3 Seas Initiative, a US-financed project steered by Poland to counter Germany and Russia and a new darkhorse within the European Union after Brexit.

    We live in the attention economy, and as a result, Russia can’t sit idle. It must fight for the control of the narrative with its viewpoint.

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    1. Not so fast. Lithuanians en masse turned on the PLC because of Poland’s domineering manner back then,. Between two world wars, Polish-Lithuanian differences were quite clear. In the post-Soviet era, there has been some exhibited animosity between the two.

      It does matter that pro-Russian sentiment in Ukraine is greater than pro-Polish sympathy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It strikes me that this statement by Putin resembles a maneuver by Abraham Lincoln in early 1862 to be seen to be supportive of the long established notion of resolving the problem of slavery through overseas colonization. Lincoln went through the motions not because it was likely to come about. But instead, it was something that had to be done to conciliate the softer wing of the Republicans and War Democrats. Knowing full well that is was not viable but that public opinion being in motion would see by the effort that this was so. As a lever to push things forward faster towards a ready acceptance of emancipation and total war. And it worked.

    Putin can write all this stuff and on some level it may be true but who cares? It’s going nowhere. Putin is thus shoring up his long term policy perspective which is much harder. ‘We try to be nice knowing you will spit in our faces. As expected.’ Thus foreclosing this path and consolidating opinion behind exactly where else he aims to go.

    Wait for the other shoe to drop. It’s a pre-emptive move.

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    1. “Zelensky called Russians, Ukrainians single people in 2014 — Ukrainian media
      Now his position is opposite, Strana.UA noted”

      https://tass.com/world/1309679

      “According to the news website, Zelensky’s view on the unity of the two peoples changed drastically in the last seven years. The website quoted Zelensky’s 2014 interview to local media he gave during his tour in Donetsk.

      ‘We cannot be against the Russian people at all, because we are a single people. […] How can we not love it? We are not idiots, after all. We read the same books. But we do not shy away from speaking our mind about the government of the Russian Federation. As well as about our own government,’ Zelensky said at the time.”

      ****

      As for digging up past instances for analogy purposes, during the Cold War, it as said that the Warsaw Pact governments weren’t often in sync with the views of the population.

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    2. conciliate the softer wing of the Republicans and War Democrats. Knowing full well that is was not viable but that public opinion being in motion would see by the effort that this was so.

      I would love to understand your reference, but unfortunately I am neither “a crack”, as we say in German (an expert), on American nor with Paul’s article here or on RT in mind on Russian history. 😉

      Like

  4. “Ordinary Joes don’t run any country anywhere. Political elites compete for their votes, but by and large they live in a different world, with a different frame of mind, shaped far more by what the educated classes think than by the average guy on the street.”

    Once again Mr. Robinson betrays his either inability or unwillingness to portray socio-political situations as they are, instead engaging in laughably ego-boosting attempts to elevate so-called “educated classes” above their more than modest station. Which is, if anyone is still unaware, to be not a class, but merely a strata servile to the interests of the ruling class.

    But Mr. Robinson in general is already too liberal in assigning the title of the “class” and “elite” – thus a stupefied reader might discover the existence of the so-called “political elite” (in the Ukraine, of all places!).

    In one short story about Sherlock Holmes the key to solving the crime turns out initially overlooked detail – that the dog did not bark, meaning, that it knew the criminal. Lack of dog’s barking in Paul F. Robinson’s writing (either paid for RT or in the form of blogposts) is total absence of the serious analysis of the Ukrainian oligarchic capitalism, for which both so-called “educated classes” and “political elites” serve as artificial superstructures.

    Not understanding the fundamentals and mistaking causes and effects precludes one from constructing a scientifically valid objective portrayal of the reality. Failure to correctly describe the reality results in turn in inability to interact with it in a meaningfully reliable and predictable way – let alone to one’s benefit.

    From the article:

    “One has to wonder why he bothers. It’s not as if that many people really care about all the ins and outs of Bogdan Khmelnitsky’s relationship with ancient Muscovy, for instance”

    Indeed there ain’t much – for there were no such thing as “ancient Muscovy” in mid 17th century – just Russian Czardom, aka Russia. Maybe I missed something, Mr. Robinson, and there were back then such countries as “ancient Londonia” or “ancien Parisia” as well?

    “Whether Putin’s detailed account of anthropology and the movement of peoples is accurate is a matter best left to professional historians”

    […]

    I’m heartened that you do so, Mr. Robinson.

    P.S. As a Russian citizen whose taxes make RT possible, I, Mr. Robinson, salute your continual collaboration with our state media. I sincerely hope that your experience as a paid author will contribute for you, finally, developing a class conscience 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In your comments, you always show displease towards the author. Nevertheless, I deeply enjoy Paul’s contributions to RT and hope he continues doing so. He is an exciting voice that deserves to be heard.

      Like

    1. That’s what President Putin said – Ukraine will decide
      If you read the article the core part of it is to explain why Russia will not see the Ukrainian people as an enemy.

      Mr Putin was asked a question at his recent question and answer about why Ukraine is not on the list of enemy countries.
      The article written by the president is the rationale for that view.

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  5. @Lyttenburgh,
    I cannot make any factual critique regarding your request, as I fail to see specific arguments in the comment. Do you criticize the existence of political classes? That he does not put Ukrainian oligarch capitalism into context? Or that Paul wrote a historical inaccuracy?

    Might you want to distill the comment further to its core criticism?

    Like

    1. “Do you criticize the existence of political classes?”

      […]

      Let’s start with the basices. Do you know what is a “class”? What you understand by it?

      “That he does not put Ukrainian oligarch capitalism into context?”

      I take it that you recognize it’s (oligarch capitalism existence) in the Ukraine. Are you denying that it forms the basis?

      “Or that Paul wrote a historical inaccuracy?”

      A deliberate one to boot.

      Now, if you don’t have fact based critique of my comment, do you understand that it boils down your opposition to it to mere “value judgement”?

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      1. @Lyttenburgh

        I imagine that it is challenging to cover the vast and complicated reality of modern Ukrainian society in one op-ed. Accordingly, Paul has to omit or generalize. In any case, it is a non-peer-reviewed opinion piece. The same applies to any historical accuracies. They are the result of simplification for the sake of space and conciseness. In any case, I do not detect any malice behind it.

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      2. Central “message” of both Mr. Robinson’s RT article and this blogpost amounts to the following: “Putin’s article about the Ukraine was a waste of time and effort”. It’s claimed as bluntly as possible in the blogpost above, and more obliquely and carefully worded in the linked articled. More so – in the blogpost above Mr. Robinson goes as far as to make the following claim as well:

        “A while back [Putin] wrote a piece on the origins of the Second World War for the National Interest magazine, and now he’s penned (or at least he and his helpers have penned) a great long tome discussing the historical origins of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples.”

        Mr. Robinson does not provide any proof as to Putin requiring to have any “helpers” to pen any of the pieces on discussion. Moreso – Mr. Robinson in his RT text constantly ascribes the authorship of the this Ukrainian thought-piece to Putin and only him (“In *his* long exposition of Russian and Ukrainian history, *he* lays out…” (c)) – without mentioning even in passing any “helpers”.

        Well, ah… One comes to expect a certain… “glibness”… from typical liberals.

        Still, having made a certain “message” it’s legitimate to ask – “What do you base your conclusions upon, Mr. Robinson?”. Surely he is entitled to an opinion – provided an informed opinion.

        Maybe Mr. Robinson argues against the utility of Putin’s article due to his disagreements with its content? No – Paul doesn’t even mention it. In fact, in his RT piece he, basically, admits, that he is thoroughly unqualified for that due to the lack of the historical expertise.

        Maybe Mr. Robinsons finds Putin’s “long exposition of Russian and Ukrainian history” useless on the basis of linguistic expertise, finding Russian original and/or the Ukrainian translation to be stylistically bad or just plainly shoddily written? Nope, again. Besides, he’s, again, unqualified to make such a call. In fact, one might even question, whether Mr. Robinson read the article in either of the languages.

        Or, maybe, Mr. Robinson draws back on his expertise as Her Majesty’s member of the intelligence community, and, due to the specific training he’d acquired over the years, he can argue convincingly, that “As a piece of agitprop aimed at the enemy, this won’t work, that’s the reasons why…”? Na-ah. Nothing of the sort. Although, Mr. Robinson could have made such a call.

        Instead, Paul F. Robinson judges the article worthless on the basis on his understanding of the internal politics of the Ukraine.

        […]

        …Yet another are of knowledge where he, as per his previous RT articles and blogposts, lacks needed qualification, to make reality based conclusions…

        […]

        Oh, bummer!

        In the end of the day, Mr. Robinson wrote that RT articles because the RT told him so. His resultant… glibness… shown in this blogpost constitutes first pangs of the awakening class consciences.

        That’s why I’m really glad for him 🙂

        Like

  6. @ Lyttenburgh
    It is sensible to assume that the leader of a significant world power is a very busy individual. It is unlikely that the person has time available for epistolary debates. From my experience, someone else does the writing and the heavy lifting, an ideologue ghostwriter, and the person shares a draft with the public author. This person makes adjustments and provides feedback, and the work is published under her name. It is a widespread practice in politics and management.

    I still fail to see why you see ill-intent behind Paul’s opinions.

    Like

    1. “It is sensible to assume that the leader of a significant world power is a very busy individual. It is unlikely that the person has time available for epistolary debates.”

      A-ha. Once again, when it comes to explain anything Russia related, the universal explanation of “Highly Likely” ™ rears its ugly head.

      Yeah, who need them facts?

      “I still fail to see why you see ill-intent behind Paul’s opinions.”

      Where do you askribe to him “ill-intent”? Quote, please.

      Like

  7. I believe you have to see this in the light of current and soon-to-be movements within Ukraine. Putin understands the budgetary bankruptcy of Ukraine = he is a numbers person. The transit gas fees disappearing are a huge blow to Ukraine’s cashflow. The rest of the country’s policies are so anti-Russian that they block, rather than enable their economy to recover. A slow or faster crumbling of Ukraine’s economy is inevitable – there are no – I repeat, NO – positive signs. Zelensky’s government isn’t getting an audience with Putin. Zelensky is pushed by his ultra-right parts of the country and by the Americans, and his own confused views aren’t finding tread into policies. How does a cookie crumble? Putin’s view is a harking back to what used to work and feel familiar – even if it had its problems. As the country is quickly losing all of its young and middle aged working people to emigration, the memory will go back longer than the propaganda of the last 10 years. I don’t really see a future for the rump Ukraine; it is the most likely to be divvied up into more than the one – now American – protectorate.

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  8. I hope Mr. Robinson’s assessment re President Putin’s essay is a waste of effort turns out to be wrong in future. The current economic and political situation in Ukraine is such that any day now something will give.

    These are the indicators of some drastic changes to come. First, the Ukrainian army is sitting in the dugouts fully armed and primed for an attack on the rebel republics. No army can stay over an extended period in such status. And that applies to the Russian army also. What complicates it is that President Zelensky can’t afford to withdraw and survive politically. If Ukraine army attacks, Russia is ready and waiting just for such a moment.

    The West is overplaying their hand with sanctions. At some point they will no longer matter. They stopped being an incentive for a long time. Russia will throw it all up because the situation with Ukraine will have become intolerable. The damage of doing nothing will be greater than damage of having done something.

    Second, the West other than make a lot of noise and supply arms will not get involved. In fact the West will make a best effort in preventing Ukraine’s attack on Donbas rebels.

    Three, Ukraine joining EU is out of question. Even if they find the necessary unity among the EU members, Ukraine can not join without joining NATO.
    That will not happen because Russia has already hinted that being one of the red lines. And it appears the West is respecting the red line.

    My view is, if Russia enters Ukraine it will turn out to be somewhat like the German army entering Austria. And this is where Mr. Putin’s essay makes sense.

    When the Russians are in, they will not stop till they make it to Trans Dniester. At least it would not make sense not to take it all the way. Ukraine will become a landlocked country.

    Must it happen? Is there no way out of this 3 way quandary?
    We must believe that there is a way out. However it takes a serious climb down by all three parties. Ukraine, Russia and the collective West must make a monumental effort to prevent a war in Ukraine.

    These are the possible solutions.

    The West and especially the North Americans will have to give up the notion of capturing Ukraine into their sphere of influence. This can be a mute point since Russia did say they have no problem with Ukraine going their own way. They can be westernized but must not be drawn into EU and NATO. They can have an associated status with EU.

    The rebel republics must have a special status inside Ukraine. I do not see why Ukraine could not be a federation or even better a confederation. Other countries can, so why not Ukraine. Ukraine also needs to relax its policies towards Russian speakers. They too are Ukrainian. Allow the water to flow through the Dnieper canal into Crimea. Russia could pay for it with natural gas and oil.

    One of the main problems in this conflict is the situation where USA is guarding their vassal alliance in Europe. Just look at the friction the Nord Stream 2 caused. This stems from the fact that USA does not want Russia to gain economically from trading with EU. Washington does not want to see weakening of a bond among its so called allies. That is partly what they describe as malignant Russian influence. The Americans must find the will to relax their hostility towards Russia. The moment that happens Russia will reciprocate.

    As for Ukraine-Russia relations, Russia will have to offer some way of compensating Ukraine for the loss of Crimea. Either through monetary compensation or trade.
    The difficulties in Ukraine-Russia relations post Soviet Union did not start in 2014. They go back to early 2000’s. It took many wrong steps and it will take many more to correct it. Russia must reach out to Ukraine with more than an essay. However Mr.Putin’s essay shows no hostility towards Ukraine and her independence which is a good start.

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    1. “As for Ukraine-Russia relations, Russia will have to offer some way of compensating Ukraine for the loss of Crimea.”

      […]

      This comment is very representative of the, ha-ha, pan-Internet school of “thought” known as “Well intentioned half-informed highly opinionated seekers of instant solutions”. They are modern age cousins of all knowing barbers, taxi drivers and self-help seminars lecturers of yore who know how to run the world.

      Dear userperson Thomas Benian! Just to give you a… taste… of what you are talking about here, while possessing serious lacunae of relevant knowledge, let me offer this very accessible, “pop-reference”, which might help you understand what’s the Ukraine of today.

      You know in a horror movie when the appropriate monster (alien virus, zombie, demon etc) takes the form of a long-dead character, and the protagonists upon meeting it are all: “OMG, you’re alive!”? They then embrace the thing in obviously ill-fitting corpse husk, and the audience is all, “Can’t you see that’s not really them?!”

      And then the monster attacks them dumb protagonists. Predictably.

      Since early 2014, the Ukrainian state had been dead. Whatever now wears it’s “husk” is a malevolent entity controlled from the Washington/Brussels/“Center of the Western Civilization” ™.

      You don’t embrace monsters that want to tear your head off and/or turn you into the same thing. Out of self-preservation instinct you simply don’t. End of story.

      The Ukraine is not a country – it’s a territory.

      I’d also like to draw attention to the fact, that in your comment the Ukrainian oligarchs are not mentioned. At all. Weird obliviousness on the part of the Western commentariat, huh?

      Now, Thomas Benian, a bit of homework for you in order to understand why omitting the Ukrainian oligarchs is wrong. 3 questions. Not rhetorical ones:

      A) During much celebrated in the Anglophonic world Jutland battle, which side’s ships armour had been made from the Krupp’s steel?

      B) Were German MIC companies richer before the start of the Great World or after?

      C) What’s the total budget of the Ukrainian governmental spending on the ATO, rearmament program and various “adjacent” initiatives, like “The Ministry of the Temporary Occupied Territories”, propaganda outlets and the like?

      Like

      1. Lyttenburgh or who ever you may be. Purpose of communication is to communicate. You failed in that department other then presented a dose of intellectual pugilism.
        All abuse aside, you tell me what should Russia do about Ukraine if Ukraine as you say is not a country. I do not deal in riddles. Come down to earth where we, the bottom feeders exist and present a solution to the current crisis in Russia – Ukraine relations. I will await your brilliant answer

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      2. “Purpose of communication is to communicate. You failed in that department…”

        Seems I was successful in communicating that your conclusions are, to put it mildly, “deeply flawed”.

        “…other then presented a dose of intellectual pugilism.”

        Yup. Even through the monitor, I see that my words about your wrong conclusions gave you with a black eye… or two.

        “[Y]ou tell me what should Russia do about Ukraine if Ukraine as you say is not a country.”

        Don’t talk to its current batch of gauleiters and heevees for starter. Start treating it as (temporary) occupied territory. Likewise the population. With the latest “language law” approved and deliberate political terror targeting “pro-Russian” population (note – they are not necessary “pro-Russian”, merely anti current camarilla), who soon will be lacking legal venues to express themselves – start treat them as a population of the occupied territory.

        It’s amazing (unbelievably so!) but Mr. Robinson comes to the same conclusion in his RT piece. It’s a pity, that he decided not to analyze Putin’s article from the point of view of…”tradecraft”…

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  9. What a terrible article indeed the National Interest used to have interesting articles it no longer does

    Quotes Yatsenyuk who is working for a new foundation called Open Ukraine … I wonder what entities fund this body I think I can guess

    Yatsenyuk says President Putin wants to recreate the Russian empire – what a clown

    Usually they accuse Mr Putin of wanting to recreate the soviet union – Yatsenyuk has gone for something even more ridiculous

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    1. Talk about not owning up to a mistake by spewing BS:

      https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-economy/3280995-yatsenyuk-nord-stream-2-is-a-project-against-ukraine-eu-us-entire-energy-market.html

      Germans approached Russia on NS around the time that Ukraine decided to siphon Russian fuel to other parts of Europe, in response to Russia cutting energy to Ukraine, because the latter was delinquent on energy payments.

      Russia has shown itself to be a dependable energy supplier. One of numerous examples being the 2008 war in the Caucasus which saw Russian energy to Georgia uninterrupted.

      Like

  10. Ordinary Joes don’t run any country anywhere. Political elites compete for their votes, but by and large they live in a different world, with a different frame of mind, shaped far more by what the educated classes think than by the average guy on the street.

    I.e. elites live in the plastic world that will drop on them like a champagne tower as soon the supports are pulled. On contrary to the Putin’s article, such shallow and poorly aimed analysis strikes me as a waste of effort of the side of commentator who is not accustomed to realities of the place he is talking about.

    Average western imperialist (of which there are too many to name and count for their connection to national spirit) understands the much needed action of indoctrinating and subjection of other, undeveloped nations as a process of grinding the human material into a pulp, from which they can build a new national construct in their own image and ideal. This is what has been happening in Europe since time immemorial and this is what has been continuing to this day. This is what people call “conservative” politics and really it does not change by such trivial matters as progressive, globalist or identity policies coming from elsewhere. In fact, many “progressive” policies are already blended with “conservative” traditions to the point where they provide the same function for cumulative results.

    What average western imperialist doesn’t understand as a matter of fact, that in some places he comes in contact with a different kind of human material than what he used to have in his other subject countries, and that his grinding machine starts to fail at easiest tasks. While trying to tear country in smaller regions that will drift away from Russia one by one they discover that population refuses to do so even under the threat of international retaliation. While trying to grind the available human material they discover there’s simply nothing to grind because the lost and confused “educated” classes do not seek for higher purpose in life but simply try to survive or sneak away from the wasteland. While trying to create anything, westerners discover that ruling classes have no intention to build or rule, but to steal away absolutely anything they can hold their hands on, even the generous donation of their benefactors.

    This is the result of 3 decades of misaimed, inappropriate, dehumanizing attempts to “integrate” the many ex-USSR countries into Europe by aggressive liberal means, which is also based on centuries-old prejudices and hatred, and creates an explosive cocktail of corruption and destruction that has already caused many civil wars before and may result in unlimited amount of suffering down the line. Already the main export commodity of such country as Ukraine is not goods or services, but petitions to invest, to help, to support, to compensate for damages and to give a line of credit.

    What Putin addresses in his article is that rather than continue on the same path until the bitter end of apocalyptic anarchy it is more useful for all the sides to reconcile by peaceful means and stop spilling blood and wasting time for confrontation that only benefits external actors. Such message is not aimed at ruling elites or intellectuals themselves, but rather at the ordinary Joe who is the originator of those classes and therefore the only real person who can make difference in the long run.

    Like

    1. Overlooked is what led to Putin’s recent article. Beforehand, the Kiev regime launched an assault against using Russian in Ukraine. Putin said that move was ridiculous, adding that he planned on providing further elaboration.

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      1. They are also assaulting Hungarians in Zakarpattia. Ukraine is very similar to Slovakia. A highly insecure ‘country’ with a large minority population but without any significant history as an independent state. They are paranoid, see an enemy behind every corner, and try to artificially create a homogeneous culture by brute force. Short of exterminating the unwanted population, this has never worked in history.

        But the EU is fine with this. In EU-member Slovakia, one can get a 10k euro fine for speaking Hungarian. Rule of law, minority rights and all that jazz, indeed.

        Like

  11. Leaders who write in-depth articles such as this are usually thinking about the long game. They want to rise above the crass vernacular propaganda to offer something constructive to the discussion, something that will contribute to the long-term resolution of political problems. They also want to raise the standard of leader public communication, so that in depth political discussion is not constrained to elite corridors but is done out in the open for all to participate in. For this reason Putin’s long in depth writings are quite valuable. As everyone says, what a contrast with the West, whose public politics are just so utterly painful to watch.

    Also note the very Russian and Orthodox mindset (phronema) to Putin’s article. He begins by accepting Russians’ (including himself) responsibility for the disputes over centuries that have led to the current state of affairs. We in the present are also responsible for the sins of the past. “The line between good and evil passes through the heart of every man.” This article is thereby truly an example of leadership taking the best of what it is to be Russian to try and solve a sad and difficult problem.

    Like

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