Sunday, December 10, 2023

Putin’s ‘Catherine the Great’ move puts the world on notice

Russia sees itself as a great power, and great powers demand respect. Deploying large numbers of troops to the Ukrainian border with the threat of war poses a clear challenge to Moscow’s global order.

It is about identity. It is about history. Whereas Ukraine seeks to forge its future and define itself as an independent nation, for Vladimir Putin Ukraine is spiritually, historically and culturally linked to Russia.

He sees himself as the heir to the legacy of Catherine the Great who reclaimed Ukraine as part of Russian lands. Two centuries ago, he demanded other states to recognize Russia’s territorial claims.

It was said that he ordered foreign dignitaries to kiss his hand as a mark of respect.

Putin has sought to reinvent history, Russian Orthodox religion, a Russian identity built around the region, and reclaim greatness.

A Convoy Of Russian Armored Vehicles Moves Along A Highway In Crimea.
Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops with tanks and other heavy weapons along its border with Ukraine in recent weeks., Associated Press,

Russia is a nation hurt by the memory of humiliation. Putin called the collapse of the Soviet Empire the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.

It is a flammable mixture. A weak West only increases the risk.

Vladimir Putin gives every sign he is ready to stare at the West. He has done this in the past and encouraged them. They have arguably increased Russian power and influence despite US-led protests and sanctions.

Biggest question: ‘What is Russia?’

Western powers, accustomed to American hegemony and a global liberal democratic system, tend to forget the lessons of great power politics.

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Despite all its might, America no longer takes command of the world. Globally, liberal democracy is retreating.

The post-Cold War “end of history” conceit – that liberal democracy had won once and for all in the great battle of ideas – inspired a great Western slumber.

Western leaders of the 1990s believed that they were on the right side of history. He ignored the deep historical memories of rival powers.

What we are seeing in the world today is not the politics of great power of the 20th century, but in the case of Russia, the politics of a great power that reaches back to the 18th century.


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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