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"A Fine Line": ISW explains what is behind Putin's statements on May 9

Maryna LisnychukNews
Russian dictator Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin used his speech at the May 9 parade to demonstrate the aggressor country's hostile attitude toward the West. He attempted to reiterate his belief that the latter is trying to negate the USSR's contribution to the victory over Nazi Germany during World War II.

This is stated in a report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). They also noted that the Kremlin leader surrounded himself with several foreign officials at the parade to establish himself as an "effective statesman" who, in his opinion, can activate a coalition alternative to the power structures of the "collective West."

Analysts recalled how the Russian dictator said on Red Square in Moscow that the West was trying to "distort" the truth about World War II and "demolish" the memory of Soviet heroism and self-sacrifice in it. According to him, the West's alleged attempts to "rewrite the history" of that war and support for "Nazism" in Ukraine (another longstanding Kremlin ideology) are part of its broader efforts to "foment interethnic and interreligious conflicts around the world."

Putin argued that while the West would like to "forget" the lessons of World War II, Russia remembers how the Soviet Union "decided the fate of humanity" during battles "from Murmansk to the Caucasus and Crimea." It is noteworthy that he similarly used these propaganda claims in his Victory Day speeches in 2023 and 2022 to reiterate existing perceptions of the West's "war" against Russia and absurdly equate the threat of Nazi Germany with the "threat" from Ukraine.

''A Fine Line'': ISW explains what is behind Putin's statements on May 9

According to experts, the Kremlin leader's willingness to repeatedly emphasize the West's imaginary attempts to devalue the USSR's contribution to the victory in World War II suggests that he sincerely believes that this is a real threat to the legacy of the Soviet Union and, as a result, to the modern Russian state.

"This belief is consistent with Putin's repeated attempts to rewrite and rehabilitate the Soviet aggression against Poland, its brief alliance with Nazi Germany, and the crimes committed against its people before, during, and after World War II," the ISW stated.

They also noted that at the same time, the Russian dictator used his speech on Red Square to present Russia as a "bastion in the fight against Nazism." He claimed that the Russian Federation had never diminished the contribution of other Allied powers in World War II, and also mentioned "the courage of the Allied soldiers, resistance fighters and the people of China who fought against Japanese aggression."

He claimed that Russia would now do everything possible to prevent a global conflict, but at the same time would not allow anyone to threaten the country. The head of the terrorist state called his war against Ukraine a "difficult transition period" that Russia must go through and part of its larger historical struggle against "Nazism."

The Kremlin regularly invokes the myths of World War II to garner domestic support for its invasion of Ukraine and to present the conquest of the neighboring country as part of a broader existential conflict with the West.

"Putin's rhetorical attempts to portray Russia as both a victim of Nazi aggression and the leader of its imaginary anti-Nazi coalition walk a fine line that he likely hopes will appeal to both his ultranationalist electorate and the broader Russian population," the ISW suggested.

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