November 28, 2022

Brighton Journal

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Putin compares himself to Peter the Great in his quest to regain Russian territory | Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Russian President Vladimir Putin He paid tribute to Tsar Peter the Great on the 350th anniversary of his birth, comparing what he described as their twin historic missions to restore Russian lands.

Peter the Great fought the Great Northern War for 21 years. Apparently he was at war with Sweden, he took something from them. And he didn’t take anything from them [what was Russia’s]Putin said Thursday after visiting an exhibition dedicated to the Tsar.

In televised comments on the 106th day of his war in UkraineCompare Peter’s campaign with current Russian military actions.

“Apparently, it was our duty 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, then we will certainly succeed in solving the tasks before us. ”

Putin, now in his 23rd year in power, has repeatedly sought to justify Russia’s actions in Ukraine, where his forces have destroyed cities, killed thousands and forced millions to flee, by putting forward a historical view that Ukraine has no real citizen. The identity or tradition of the state.

Peter the Great, an authoritarian modernizer admired by liberal and conservative Russians alike, ruled for 43 years and gave his name to the new capital, Saint Petersburg – Putin’s hometown – which he ordered to be built on land he conquered from Sweden.

It was a project that cost the lives of tens of thousands of serfs, who were conscripted as forced laborers to build “Peter’s Window to Europe” in the swamps of the Baltic coast.

Prior to Putin’s visit to the exhibition, state television broadcast a documentary praising Peter the Great as a tough military leader, dramatically expanding Russian territory at the expense of Sweden and the Ottoman Empire with the modernized army and navy he built.

President Vladimir Putin, center, at an exhibition commemorating the 350th anniversary of the birth of Russia's first emperor, Peter the Great, in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin, center, at an exhibition commemorating the 350th anniversary of the birth of Russia’s first emperor, Peter the Great, in Moscow. Photograph: Sputnik/Reuters

In recent years, Putin’s interest in Russian history has become more apparent in his public appearances.

In April 2020, as Russia entered its first lockdown due to the coronavirus, he raised eyebrows in some quarters when he compared the epidemic to the ninth-century Turkish nomadic invasions of medieval Russia during a televised address to the nation.

In July 2021, the Kremlin published a 7,000-word article by Putin entitled “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,” in which he said that Russia and Ukraine are one artificially divided nation. It laid the groundwork for his deployment in Ukraine in February.

Moscow has tried to justify its war in Ukraine by saying that it is sending troops across the border to disarm and “discredit” its neighbor, a claim that has no basis.

In the lead-up to launching what Russia calls its “special military operation,” Putin blamed Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union, for creating Ukraine on what Putin said was historic Russian territory, and for sowing the seeds for the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.

By contrast, the Russian leader offered guarded praise to Joseph Stalin for creating a “highly centralized and fully united state,” even as he acknowledged the Soviet dictator’s “totalitarian” record of repression.

Putin has a laudable history of leaders who share his conservative views, including Tsar Alexander III and former revolutionary prime minister Pyotr Stolypin, both of whom have erected monuments in their honor across the country.

Meanwhile, leaders seen as the antithesis of a strong and united Russian state – including Lenin and Nikita Khrushchev – have seen their contributions belittled.

“Putin loves leaders whom he considers strong and powerful managers,” said Andrei Kolesnikov, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

He wants to be seen as Peter [the Great]A defining style, though he will go down in history as a cruel ruler like Ivan the Terrible.

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