Tuesday, March 26, 2024

‘Russia is in a State of War’ With the West and that Has Domestic Consequences Peskov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 20 – Putin has so long insisted on calling what he is doing in Ukraine a special military operation and on attacking those who call it a war that the decision of his spokesman Dmitry Peskov to say that “Russia is in a state of war” was viewed through that optic rather than as a description of something even larger.

            In reporting Peskov’s words which first appeared in Argumenty i fakty (aif.ru/politics/world/peskov-rossiya-nahoditsya-v-sostoyanii-voyny-kazhdyy-dolzhen-eto-ponimat), some speculated that the spokesman either would get in trouble or was simply acknowledging what many have known since February 2022 or even earlier.

            At most, Russian commentators were willing to suggest that Peskov was serving notice that Putin’s war in Ukraine was about to escalate. But in reality, the Kremlin spokesman was making a far larger point, one that suggests changes not only in Russian policy toward Ukraine but Moscow’s policies toward Russians.

            The key passage in his remarks is this:“We are at war. Yes, it began as a special military operation, but as soon as the collective West became a participant in this on the side of Ukraine, it became a war for us. I am convinced of this. And everyone should understand this for their own internal mobilization.”

            In this way, Peskov is saying not only that Putin sees Russia as at war not just in Ukraine but with the West but that the Kremlin leader is committed to ensuring that Russians see that as well and draw the necessary conclusions about how they must all mobilize together so as to ensure that their country wins this much larger conflict.


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