ISSN 2330-717X

For First Time, Putin Admits His Goal In Ukraine Is ‘Recovering’ Russian Territory – OpEd

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When Vladimir Putin launched his “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, he said that its goals were to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” Ukraine. Later when Russian-controlled areas sought to hold referenda on joining the Russian Federation, his spokesman indicated that that was their choice rather than Moscow policy.

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But now, for the first time, the Kremlin leader has made clear by comparing today’s events with those in the era of Peter I what many have long suspected: Russia’s goal in Ukraine now is “’the return’ of territories,” that is, imperial expansion of the borders of the Russian Federation (ehorussia.com/new/node/26084).

Kremlin propaganda is unlikely to change course and admit to this fact. But Putin’s words provide insight into his thinking in which he compares himself to tsars of several hundred years ago and sees the expansion of land under the control of the central government as the measure of Russian victory.

Not insignificantly, Putin’s comments now reflect the views expressed in April by Sergey Naryshkin, someone widely identified as the leader of the war party in the Russian government, when the SVR head used language almost identical to that which the Kremlin leader is now using (ria.ru/20220411/ukraina-1782865908.html).

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

One thought on “For First Time, Putin Admits His Goal In Ukraine Is ‘Recovering’ Russian Territory – OpEd

  • June 28, 2022 at 5:57 pm
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    Ukraine is just the start – regain the whole Soviet empire which will need to be protected from US bases in places like France, Italy and (I quote the Kremlin here) Portugal. This is of course best achieved by conquering them too. They really do believe their own paranoid propaganda – the world is out to get them and their survival is at stake.

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