Adam will probably cover this later with far more insight and geopolitical acumen than I can summon, but Putin gave a speech this morning to commemorate the bogus referenda in the Ukrainian territories Russia occupies (for the moment), and I was reading commentary on it from Max Seddon, Moscow bureau chief for FT, on Twitter. The tweets that summarize the speech start here.
In one of the earlier threads, folks who were paying attention before I did noted the homophobic, transphobic, macho nonsense in the speech, and there was plenty of that:
Russian President Putin:
– We're witnessing sheer satanism in West
– Do we want our children to be offered operations on sex changes? It's unacceptable!
– Our future is different. We're fighting for a great, historic Russia pic.twitter.com/BzkDAuRLbl
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 30, 2022
Putin may have lifted whole sections of the speech from a Tucker Carlson episode earlier this week:
After suggesting the US blew up the pipelines, Tucker starts listing possible options for the Russian retaliation pic.twitter.com/XvmHolSSg4
— Acyn (@Acyn) September 28, 2022
Seddon and others who are far more informed than I on Russia seem to be viewing this speech as a major escalation. Seddon said:
I’ve watched a lot of Putin speeches over the last 10-15 years and this is the most anti-US one by a really long way.
If I were a western policymaker wondering if he’d really use nuclear weapons – and he hasn’t even got to them yet – I’d be very concerned…
That was a truly stunning speech – one clearly aimed at sending fear into the hearts of US, UK, and European leaders.
Seddon also quoted Alexander Dugin:
“This is a fundamental declaration of war against the modern west and modern world in general. This is a manifesto of Tradition. I can’t imagine how profound the consequences are. It was an eschatological, religious speech.”
On the other hand, Putin sounds like a big bully who’s trying to save face while begging the smaller kid to stop kicking him in the slats here:
Putin calls on Ukraine to stop fighting and negotiate an end to the war with Russia. But these territories are off limits.
"We will defend our lands with all the means at our disposal and do everything to protect our people. This is our great liberating mission." pic.twitter.com/ZrHKZpIslV
— max seddon (@maxseddon) September 30, 2022
Ukraine exposed Russia as a paper tiger, and Putin is in a desperate situation, so I’m not sure what to make of it all. I also don’t know how serious a threat influencers here who have thrown in their lot with Russia’s dictator are. It’s unsettling to say the least.