Flirty empathy of an ogre
Putin cannot reconcile himself to the turning point of history - the Ukrainian Maidan, which became his personal fiasco, his most painful defeat
Humanity has lived through a lot of dictators in its long history, but it still can't get used to their traditional desire to appear as peacemakers, messiahs for the masses, benefactors who dream of seeing the nations they make happy. "It's easy," Hermann Goering, one of Hitler's associates, practiced demagoguery, "You just have to say that the enemy is preparing to attack and shut up the pacifists by declaring that they do not love their homeland and are abandoning it in trouble".
And so what if Bertrand Russell once wrote that "in a democracy, fools have the right to vote, and in a dictatorship, the right to rule." If this were true, then people would probably have long ago invented a way to close the path to political Olympus to "fools."
Vladimir Putin, a war criminal, child abductor, and organizer of the latest genocide of Ukrainians, cannot be called a fool. His path to power is marked by hecatombs of victims, including Russians, but also by flattering and, I would assume, sincere assessments of his sympathizers. Those, for example, who still inspire the leader to continue the war in Ukraine, who do not hesitate to accept the deaths of thousands of compatriots in this senseless slaughter, and who will come back next spring to continue the rule of the Kremlin leader.
Putin has indeed become a pariah among civilized society, disgusted by his yesterday's partners and even friends (if there is such a thing among politicians), and not wanted at international summits or official events.
This was the case at the online G-20 meeting, which the leaders of the United States and China refused to attend. They may have even agreed to this boycott during last week's meeting in San Francisco, and if so, it means that the toxicity of Putin and Russia is self-evident even to ardent opponents and ideological enemies.
Neither Biden nor Xi wanted to listen to Putin's demagoguery, which was peppered with outright lies and classic Kremlin propaganda. For example, Putin claimed that some speakers at the summit said that "they are appalled by the ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine. Yes, of course, military action is always a tragedy for individuals, families and the country as a whole. And, of course, we must think about how to stop this tragedy. By the way, Russia has never refused to hold peace talks with Ukraine." It is interesting that here he finally decided to call a spade a spade - he used the term "Russian aggression in Ukraine" instead of the traditional "special military operation" stamp. But despite this oversight, the genocidal mastermind flirtatiously began to assert that he could not stop thinking about how to stop this tragedy.
And he clearly went overboard with the peace talks that Russia is allegedly running around with. First, Moscow has long tried all the options for a "peace" that would suit it through intermediaries. We have already seen formulas from Erdogan, the Pope, and Xi Jinping. But these "pacifist initiatives" cannot be taken seriously, for at least two reasons. First, they record Russia's territorial "acquisitions," which Putin has rushed to legally annex and which neither Kyiv nor the international community will categorically agree with. Secondly, it is clear as day that the Kremlin will use the peace pause to resuscitate its shabby army and amass arsenals for a future offensive - this time in Europe.
But I was personally interested in another part of the dictator's speech. It reveals Putin as a narcissistic and self-confident dictator, not without the mentality of a petty KGB servant who never admits his mistakes, never forgets "offenses" (in his own sense), and waits for the most critical moment to remind him of them. Putin cannot come to terms with the turning point in history, which has become his personal fiasco, his most painful defeat: "I understand that war and the death of people cannot but shock. But is the bloody coup in Ukraine in 2014, followed by the war of the Kyiv regime against its people in Donbas, not shocking?" - Putin asked his virtual interlocutors rhetorically.
That is, we not only heard the banal propaganda cliché about the Revolution of Dignity, but this cliché was used as an argument, as an unfounded prosecutorial accusation of the neighboring nation of the illegitimacy of its political leadership.
In other words, Putin has not yet abandoned the idea of Ukraine as a failed state, because in his mind, can a country in which power is gained through revolution be normal? And then there are the "terrorists"! To reinforce his ignorance, Putin paralleled the events on the Maidan 10 years ago with... the Gaza Strip.
Putin is afraid of "coups" like fire, and so in his own country he has poured concrete over the slightest movement of freedom and dissent. That is why he has surrounded Russia with a belt of former Soviet satellites, turning them into hostages of his policy. And he broke his teeth on Ukraine. And perhaps the deeper motivations behind the "special military operation" were precisely Putin's fear and anger. It cannot be covered up with flirtatious "empathy." Because empathy is not inherent in a primitive moth.
Specially for Espreso.
About the author. Ihor Hulyk, journalist.
The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of blogs.