Espreso. Global

Ukraine is not Russia. Why Medvedev went public with historical lecture

6 March, 2024 Wednesday

Former Russian President Dmitri Medvedev went public with statements that Ukraine is Russia. He said this against the backdrop of a map depicting dreams of the occupying of Ukrainian territories by neighbouring states

First of all, it should be understood that when Dmitri dressed in a blue suit that resembles the favorite outfits of Vladimir Solovyov, Kim Jong-un or the film's Dr Evil himself, he was not crazy. Medvedev was once presented as a "thaw" in modern Russia, as an advanced democrat in a "biker jacket". It was during Medvedev's presidency that the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the permanent head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergey Lavrov, pushed the legendary Peregruzka button.

Dmitri Medvedev, as an experienced political creature, wants to survive in the meat grinder of our times, which has already ground up Sechin's son, Navalny, and Prigozhin. He wants to outlive Putin and therefore mimics and announces things that might please Putin, who is increasingly drawing inspiration from the late Stalin. 

It may turn out that the next leader of Russia after Putin's departure will not be Navalny's wife, as the current White House administration's analysts, who hardly know Russia's inner workings very well, dream of.

Instead of Gorbachev 2.0, someone will survive the roller coaster of internal repression in Russia. And Dmitri may be among the list of surviving finalists. 

On March 4, Medvedev gave a lecture entitled "Geographical and Strategic Borders" at the Russian World Youth Festival near Sochi. This was a Kremlin-organized event that declared the presence of visitors from over 100 countries. During his "lecture", Medvedev stated that "Ukraine is, of course, Russia". At the same time, Medvedev defined all the territories on the left bank of the Dnipro River and many on the right bank of the Dnipro River as "inseparable" territories of Russia within its "strategic historical borders". 

This was not a lecture for Russian youth and guests from third world autocracies. It was an opportunity to demonstrate personal loyalty to Putin and to please his ego as a self-proclaimed historian

Medvedev clearly stated that the aggressor country Russia is waiting for Ukraine's "new leaders" with whom it will negotiate an end to the war. This suggests that Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has long been considered a funny comedian in Russia, is no longer considered negotiable. 

"Everyone understands perfectly well that we will never give up our lands. Therefore, negotiations with some new people are possible, in my opinion, when they recognise the realities that have developed on the ground as a result of the actions of our valiant armed forces," Medvedev said in Sochi. 

Ukrainian ears have heard these things many times over the 10 years of war with Russia. The backbone of Putinism is that it is necessary to add territory, and Ukrainian lands are a tasty treat. 

However, such maps and statements should be of interest to the French and Germans, Italians and Poles. After many years, it is time to finally understand what "living space from Vladivostok to Lisbon" means - the occupation of territories  and the expropriation of toilet bowls from apartments in Warsaw, Prague, and Berlin. 

In his lecture, Medvedev said that the influence of great powers such as Russia allegedly extends beyond their geographical borders. This is an idea that actually serves the broader maximalist ideological concept of the "Russian world". This is the basis of Putin's old quote, where he stated that Russia does not end where the Russian language does. 

In fact, that is why during his speech, Medvedev repeated several times another Putin idea that "Russia's borders do not end anywhere". In other words, his state is ready to disregard international law and the established borders after 1991. 

Most importantly, he said that Russia is more interested in subjugating the people of Ukraine than in seizing its territory, and that the concept of a sovereign Ukrainian state and the concept of Ukrainian national identity should "disappear forever". 

This is a justification for repression and ethnic cleansing in the occupied territories. And, most importantly, it is a statement that it is extremely important for Russia to capture more than 37 million high-quality, hardworking people. And then use them for meat for further aggressive purposes. 

On Medvedev's virtual map, Kyiv and Kyiv region are deliberately drawn separately. This was done specifically to reinforce his statement on February 22 that Russia "probably" has to capture and occupy Kyiv, which he called a historically "Russian" city, at some point in the future.

This is a warning to Ukrainians that even if the current phase of the war is over, we must be prepared for a new march on Kyiv through the Chernobyl forests. And, obviously, we should not rely on Belarus and Lukashenko's kindness in this case, as in February 2022. 

And now I will summarize why Medvedev, if he survives, may retract his statements. He can simply say that every statement was made under pressure from Putin. And he himself did not want any of this, he was just a hostage to the situation.

For Ukrainians, the moral of these lectures is the same: if you want peace, prepare for war. Listen to the enemy carefully and prepare for war much better than before. Preferably without barbecue, which is then dripping with human blood. (A month before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Zelenskyy said Ukrainians did not have to panic and prepare for war, assuring that in spring they would celebrate Easter and then grill barbecues - ed.)

I would also like to advise Medvedev to read Leonid Kuchma's book in the original, its first edition, which was published in Moscow. In it, he explained to the Russians, first of all, why Ukraine is not Russia and why they have no right to interfere in the affairs of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, using specific historical examples. 

Putin and Medvedev hate this book and love to refer to it and distort it. However, whoever spoke first is right.

Specially for Espreso

About the author: Maryna Danyliuk-Yarmolaieva, journalist

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of blogs.

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