Staunton, June 21 – Vladimir Putin says when the USSR was founded, non-Russian republics “received an enormous amount of Russian lands” and “traditionally Russian historical territories” and that when they left in 1991, they should not have “carried away these gifts from the Russian people” (youtube.com/watch?v=etszjYX6pZU).
This represents an even more egregious misreading of the historical record than even the Kremlin leader is usually guilty of as there was no Russia that was giving land but father a situation in which a new and revolutionary government divided up the country in an effort to save as much as it could.
Putin didn’t specify which republics and territories he was referring to, but he did say “at the time of the founding of the Soviet Union, the right to leave was written but no procedures were specified” and argued that the Crimean Anschluss was entirely legitimate because there was a referendum and because “Crimea always was ours even from the juridical point of view.”
On the one hand, this is no more than the latest bombastic comment by someone increasingly unmoored from reality; but on the other, as Russian sociologist Igor Eidman says, by implying that Russia would have the right to take back such “gifts,” it is “in fact a direct threat of war to the former Soviet republics.”
The Kremlin leader has already seized part of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, Eidman says; and he is willing to threaten the independent countries around Russia’ periphery (gordonua.com/blogs/eydman/putin-prigrozil-zabrat-u-sosednih-gosudarstv-podarki-ot-russkogo-naroda-eto-fakticheski-pryamaya-ugroza-voynoy-byvshim-sovetskim-respublikam-1505586.html).
If others start invoking that principle, the commentator continues, there could be problems. Imagine if the many nations which still remain in “’the prison house of peoples’” known as Russia and whoa re not “state-forming” but rather “in essence “colonized” should begin to demand back the lands they were forced by Moscow to give away!”
“The more rapidly the rating of Putin is falling, the more aggressive his rhetoric is becoming. The bunker-tunnel (p)resident is trying to regain popularity, making his bed on aggressive nationalism directed against his country’s neighbors. This threatens new military adventures,” Eidman concludes.