Somebody needs to remind Vlad that Russia is a Third World country and no match for a certain world power. But that somebody would have to have the confidence and desire to knock the KGB man down a peg.
Vladimir Putin excoriated the West in a speech on Thursday, comparing his foreign opponents to Adolf Hitler in their desire to destroy Russia while reminding foes that his armed forces were “polite but menacing”.
Speaking at the Kremlin in his annual address to parliament, Russia’s president defended his decision to annexe Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in the spring, saying that it was a place as sacred to Russians as holy sites in Jerusalem for Jews or Muslims.
It’s not, but whatever.
He said that Russia faced a threat to its very existence from western states and accused the United States of manipulating Russia’s neighbours – in particular, Ukraine – in an attempt to subordinate Moscow to Washington’s will.
“If for many European countries, sovereignty and national pride are forgotten concepts and a luxury, then for the Russian Federation a true sovereignty is an absolutely necessary condition of its existence,” Mr Putin told MPs, ministers and regional leaders. “I want to stress: either we will be sovereign, or we will dissolve in the world. And, of course, other nations must understand this as well.”
The West is not even interested in what you’re hawking, Vlad. Europe is because it’s energy poor, but we’re not. So put your shirt on and knock off the chest-thumping.
Mr Putin said foreign foes of Russia had supported similar separatists “up to their elbows in blood” in the 1990s and early 2000s, but without success. “They would have been delighted to let us go the way of Yugoslavia and the dismemberment of the Russian peoples, with all the tragic consequences. But it did not happen. We did not allow it to happen.”
He added: “It also didn’t work out for Hitler, who with his man-hating ideas wanted to destroy Russia and throw us beyond the Urals. It would be good to remind everyone of how that ended.”
We can talk about how that ended, but it’s more useful to talk about how it started. The Soviet Union allied with Hitler under the belief that a Nazi win would allow Russia to carve up Europe’s carcass for itself. Then Hitler invaded Russia. Stalin sure didn’t see that coming, until it was too late. The Allied victory ended up allowing the carve-up. Russia played to the evil side, then by invasion was forced to join the Allies, but pursued its own interests ruthlessly. That’s what Putin is doing now too. It’s what both Stalin and Hitler did then. Nobody’s interested in destroying Russia, at least, nobody in the West is. Islamists are interested in destroying everything not Islamist. Putin is interested in rebuilding Stalin’s old empire.
Putin’s brand of jingoism plays well in Russia. He’s popular and he has been in power so long that he’s part of the furniture in the Kremlin now.
He’s stirring the pot against the West, and he’s not just doing that for grins.