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Moscow historian Andrei Zubov: “Clear evidence of Putin’s military failure” – Kultur

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Andrei Zubov is a renowned Moscow historian and theologian, a former professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). After criticizing the annexation of Crimea, the MGIMO fired him. This article originally appeared on www.karenina.de, the Internet portal of the Petersburger Dialog.

The war between Russia and Ukraine looks more and more like the war between the Soviet Union and Finland between 1939 and 1940. At that time, the advance of the troops of the attacking country, having captured the insignificant border area, was quickly stopped. by the brave Resistance of the defenders.

This time, the original rhetoric of the aggressor has changed even faster than 82 years ago. At that time it was announced in Moscow that the bourgeois government of Finland had fled to an unknown destination; Today, Putin calls on Ukrainian soldiers to disobey “the government of fascists and drug addicts” and lay down their arms.

It was then that Stalin and Molotov finally had to negotiate with that bourgeois government which, as it turned out, had not fled at all; Today, the Kremlin has already forgotten the stated goal of deposing the regularly elected president of Ukraine. The Foreign Ministry spoke in Antalya with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba and had his press secretary Sakharov explain that “the dismissal of the government in kyiv” was not intended.

Russian troops will not be greeted with bread and salt

All this is clear evidence of Putin’s military failure. The plan to march victorious in Kharkiv, Mariupol and Odessa, greeted by jubilant Ukrainians, has not worked. The Russian troops are not greeted with bread and salt, but with broadsides.

People who were peaceful citizens yesterday are taking up arms to defend their country, and those who cannot do so are fleeing to western Ukraine or to NATO countries, sometimes abandoning theirs in the retreat of “liberators” from the burned houses, preferring difficulties to flight. to brotherly hugs. The number of people fleeing from Ukraine to Europe is approaching three million and could rise to seven million, between 18 and 20 percent of the population.

But like Finnish President Karl Gustav Emil Mannerheim in 1939, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not leave his country at this tragic hour. He continues to rule and speak daily with world leaders, reaching out to the Ukrainian people and inspiring their resistance. This modest and extremely civilized man embodies the indomitable courage of his country, which has elected him President in free elections.

According to NATO experts, the Ukrainian troops are tough and skilled. General staff officers have maintained control, and the encirclement of significant units of the Ukrainian army has not yet been successful. A blitzkrieg, like the one successfully fought by the German Wehrmacht in the western part of the USSR in the summer of 1941, was unsuccessful on the same Ukrainian soil in the spring of 2022.

Russia hits unprecedented sanctions

Military experts are amazed at the low combat effectiveness of the Russian army. It was the same in 1939/40 in the Soviet-Finnish war. As it turned out, the “Red Army” was not “stronger than all those who lie between the taiga and the British Sea”, as the old Soviet war song says, not even the small army of the “kulak-bourgeois ” from Finland.

[Alle aktuellen Nachrichten zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine bekommen Sie mit der Tagesspiegel-App live auf ihr Handy. Hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen]

And, as in the case of the Soviet-Finnish war, support for Ukraine is constantly growing. But unlike the USSR, today Russia must fight its battles alone. Furthermore, her actions are condemned by almost the entire world community, as the United Nations General Assembly vote on March 2, 2022 clearly demonstrated.

Unprecedented sanctions are hitting Russia, which will very quickly lead to the collapse of our economic and financial system, and in the near future will push the country into insolvency. World leaders, President Biden, Prime Minister Johnson, Chancellor Scholz, personally accuse Putin of starting this war and call his actions in Ukraine a “premeditated crime.”

The world has turned its back on Russia, hundreds of foreign companies are leaving the country, hundreds of thousands if not millions of our fellow citizens are losing their jobs. British dockworkers refuse to unload our tankers, they don’t want to touch the bloody oil, they say.

The power-loving elite understood long ago

Western governments are more cautious than corporations, but as in 1939-40, they will have to follow their citizens. Everywhere, ruling and opposition parties compete in anti-Russian rhetoric. Public opinion in most countries of the world is lost to Russia for many years.

These are the consequences of two weeks of war. The Russian “deep people” have not yet grasped Russia’s defeat. The “Z” (“za pobeda” – for victory) is still written on the doors of its foreign car brands. But people feel “that something is wrong”.

Certainly, awareness will come very soon, despite the efforts of official television propaganda. By the way, this propaganda is less and less persuasive. It is clear that the recent brave TV presenters have been caught off guard by events. Especially since they also feel the sanctions personally.

[Alle aktuellen Nachrichten zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine bekommen Sie mit der Tagesspiegel-App live auf ihr Handy. Hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen.]

The educated class and the elite who are close to power have understood this for a long time. They understand that this war will fail, many also understand that almost the entire long reign of Putin has failed. A common thread runs from his declaration of the collapse of the USSR as the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century since 2004 to the war in Ukraine in March 2022.

Now this thread threatens to break at any moment. The policy of “Russian land harvesting” and “Great Russia” revival is undergoing its complete collapse, its bankruptcy, right in the fields of Ukraine.

Russia cannot be governed by a bankrupt politician

Having suffered a complete debacle both at this time in the Ukraine and in his longstanding policy of a Bolshevik-Chekist recreation, Putin must undoubtedly resign. Russia cannot be governed by a bankrupt politician.

The experiment of establishing a “vertical of power”, replacing democracy with autocracy, did not end in the prosperity of the country but in a terrible fiasco. Voluntarily resigning as head of state is Vladimir Putin’s last chance to show personal courage.

This is how the Argentine dictator acted after the failure of the Malvinas adventure. This resignation would clear the difficult and long path for our country towards the restoration of normal life, towards reconciliation with Ukraine and with the whole world.

The escape, even in the manner of the Moscow treaty between Finland and the USSR of March 1940, will not be successful this time. This is where the comparability ends. The international balance of power is much worse for Russia today than it was for the USSR in 1940.

Militarily, it would be possible for the Kremlin to continue the war against Ukraine. But the humanitarian, economic and political damage to Russia increases exponentially every day. The alternatives to the voluntary resignation of the author of this bloody adventure, unusual in the 21st century, are each more terrible than the previous one. One, God knows, would not want to imagine that they could become reality.


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