Vladimir Putin has compared himself to the 18th-century Russian tsar Peter the Great, drawing a parallel between what he portrayed as their twin historic quests to win back Russian lands. “Peter the Great waged the great northern war for 21 years. It would seem that he was at war with Sweden, he took something from them. He did not take anything from them, he returned [what was Russia’s],” the Russian president said on Thursday after a visiting an exhibition dedicated to the tsar.
After months of denials that Russia is driven by imperial ambitions in Ukraine, Putin appeared to embrace that mission, comparing Peter’s campaign with Russia’s current military actions. “Apparently, it is also our lot to return [what is Russia’s] and strengthen [the country]. And if we proceed from the fact that these basic values form the basis of our existence, we will certainly succeed in solving the tasks that we face.”
Putin, now in his 23rd year in power, has repeatedly sought to justify Russia’s actions in Ukraine, where his forces have devastated cities, killed thousands and forced millions of people to flee, by propounding a view of history that asserts Ukraine has no real national identity or tradition of statehood.
Critics said Putin’s remarks proved that his complaints about historical injustice, eastward Nato expansion, and other grievances with the west were all a facade for a traditional war of conquest.
Comment: Seems pretty clear to me. Russia is Russia and has been for centuries. We should expect no more and no less. Communism was a mere interlude, a deadly flirtation on the path to an empire of all the Russias. I think Putin sees that.
BTW, Putin doesn’t look like he’s near death in that video. Looks and sounds fairly healthy for his age to me.