Sunday, March 20, 2022

Putin Doesn’t Want to Seize Ukraine; He Wants to Destroy It, Russian Historian Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 15 – Much of what Vladimir Putin is doing in Ukraine reflects his failure to define what he seeks, a shortcoming that reflects an underlying horror: he does not want to seize Ukraine or change its direction, a Russian historian writing anonymously says; he wants to destroy it as such.

            Many have noted that the Kremlin’s announced goals in Ukraine have shifted over the last month and speculated that this reflects Moscow’s response to Ukrainian resistance; but in fact, a Russian historian writing anonymously as A.M. argues, this is because Putin’s reasons lie not in the rational but in an irrational belief in “war for the sake of war.”

            “Putin’s words  about Ukraine as ‘a mistake of history’ and ‘the result of the actions of Lenin’ who ‘gave’ Ukrainians ‘lands that were originally Russian’ were read initially as a sign that he intended to seize the country and annex it to Russia along the Crimean model,” the historian says (

              But that was a mistake. Instead, Putin was “preparing for total war and the transformation of a flourishing country into a desert.” And tragically, “the total destruction of Ukraine and Ukrainians has been transformed into the absolute idea of Putin’s Russia.” In his mind, one side will win and the other side will be destroyed and erased from History.”

            For the Kremlin leader, the historian says, Ukraine is like an “unattainable” woman’s body, and his “’ideal Ukraine” is thus not a living one but one that must be dead and confined to a coffin, incapable of resisting him and his attacks but instead somehow “revering the voluptuousness of a sadistic necrophile.”

            Unlike Hitler who had a profoundly evil but clearly defined goal of what had to be defeated to realize his vision, A.M. says, “Putin’s ideology on the destruction of the Ukrainians is not clearly worked out or structured in such detail. Instead, it is a paranoid historiosophy, consisting of chauvinistic prejudices, quasi-imperial pathos … and irrational fears.”

            And because of that, because he wants not to defeat Ukraine but destroy it as he puts the world on the path to nuclear destruction, Putin makes Hitler look like “a petty hooligan” in comparison. 


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