Staunton, April 18 – Today, Putin’s press spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Russian troops in Ukraine are using Soviet symbols like the Banner of Victory because those symbols are sacred to them and to many others, but he denied having any information about reports that these forces are using tsarist symbols as well.
“For many generations and in many countries, especially in the former Soviet Union,” Peskov says, the Soviet flag and other Soviet symbols are “something holy” and have “a special meaning and literally a sacred significance” (politobzor.net/248591-v-kremle-prokommentirovali-ispolzovanie-simvoliki-sssr-v-hode-voennoj-specoperacii-na-ukraine.html).
There is no doubt the use of Soviet or tsarist symbols have significance but less that to which Peskov points than in two other ways. On the one hand, this use of symbols from the Soviet and imperial past provides yet another indication of precisely what Vladimir Putin’s intentions are.
And on the other, they call attention to something else: the Kremlin leader and his regime have proved incapable of coming up with any attractive ideological goals of their own and thus have fallen back on symbols of the past, a choice that may bring them short term benefits but at the price of long term and much higher costs.
Despite what Kremlin propagandists may believe and even use force to insist upon, few in Russia and even fewer in the non-Russian countries surrounding Russia want to go back to the Soviet or imperial past. They may view the Soviet military flag as a sacred symbol of the past, but they are hardly likely to support the other Soviet policies Putin is using it to promote.