Staunton, December 20 – In an interview for a documentary film on Moscow’s Russia I channel, Vladimir Putin says that Western support for Ukraine “is connected not with the defense of the interests of Ukraine but with efforts to interfere with the restoration of the Soviet Union, and no one wants to believe us that we do not have a goal of restoring the Soviet Union.”
Moreover, the Kremlin leader says, “no one in the international arena wants to speak as equal with international groupings promoted by the Kremlin.” For some reason, Putin continues, the West thinks that “it is possible to create a European Union but not a Eurasian one” (nr2.com.ua/News/Ukraine_and_Europe/Putin-Zapad-meshaet-vossozdat-SSSR-113701.html).
Given Putin’s track record of saying one thing and doing another, his declaration that the demise of the USSR was “the greatest geopolitical tragedy” of the 20th century, and his treatment of former Soviet republics, he should not be surprised that many do not believe his protestations on this point.
But that undoubtedly is not the most important aspect of this latest Putin declaration. That is his argument that the West is supporting Ukraine not because it is interested in supporting Ukraine for its own sake but only as a derivative of its desire not to see any steps toward the restoration of the Soviet Union.
From Putin’s point of view, such an argument plays to two audiences he is invariably concerned about. On the one hand, it is directed at the Russian people and represents yet another aspect of his current suggestions that Russia is surrounded by enemies and that national unity is therefore obligatory.
And on the other, his words are directed at Western governments, many of whom have problems with Kyiv, and is intended to get them to focus more and more critically on what Ukraine is doing or not doing than on what Russia has been doing and continues to do in Ukraine.