Putin’s Long History of Proclaiming “Russian Greatness”
Russians have been told and mostly believe the U.S., Ukraine and the West are aggressors and stopping NATO’s expansion requires war. This has been a consistent position of Putin’s, and for more than a decade, the position of his party and now near total state-controlled media.
Putin’s latest one-hour speech (Feb. 22) encapsulated the historical perspectives and grievances he’s argued for two decades. The position has a long history in nationalist politics. In Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, it was the stab in the back by liberal politicians undermining the German war effort in WWI. Putin’s argument is that until he came into authority, the West took advantage of Russia’s weaknesses and he intends and works ceaselessly to reverse it and recreate historic Russia.
Vladimir Putin is 69 years old and can serve two more six-year terms until 2036. He would be 84 if he serves the terms currently allowed. He will have been president for 37 years at that point, including 4 years as prime minister when he really ran the country. The West should prepare for a long and dangerous engagement.
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