“Strategy of reversal”, “reversal of good and evil”… We decipher Putin’s speech

From the face of Catherine II to Satanism and transience, Vladimir Putin covered a wide range of topics during his address to Moscow’s elite in the Kremlin on the occasion of his planned ceremony to formalize the annexation of four Ukrainian territories. The announcement of the results of the “referendum” and the tribute to the “heroes” who “struggled to protect their faith and language” will finally take up a few minutes of the almost three-quarter hour speech. .

It is enough time to make a preliminary prediction of the fact that “the first article of the UN guarantees the right of peoples to self-determination”. The tone was set, very insulting, more democratic than democratic in the posture of the head of state. For the linguist Véronique Perry, a real “snub” for the international community. Also deciphers for the first act of permanent “reversal of good and evil”. 20 minutes General Vincent Desportes, professor of strategy at Sciences Po and HEC. We invite you to analyze three great rhetorical pirouettes of the Russian president.

To be Russian or not

In front of two giant flags, Vladimir Putin quickly recalled the “thousand-year history” that unites part of Ukraine with Russia. He explained that the separatists are fighting for “their own language” and added, “There is nothing more important for people who identify themselves as Russians than to find their real country.” “His nationalism goes through the essence of language, I’m Russian, so I speak Russian,” and vice versa, explains linguist Véronique Perry. But “everything is patois; considering the size of the country, the unification of the Russians is impossible,” says the Toulouse researcher.

The definition of the Russian people and culture that he defends is very practical for Vladimir Putin, who opens the door to other territories. Indeed, he accuses “Soviet representatives” of “destroying our great country and bankrupting the people” during the collapse of the USSR in 1991. “Putin is remembered by the fall of the USSR. He wants to rebuild and replace Russia,” says General Vincent Desportes. Even if it means “denying any form of change,” according to Véronique Perry. But Vladimir Putin still denies it: he does not want to revive the USSR, “we cannot return to the past, this is not necessary for Russia.” Because the annexation of Ukrainian regions is the “choice” of the residents, and he does not want to be seen as a colonialist.

The Toulouse researcher also points to the fact that Vladimir Putin has challenged “the power of Kiev and its masters in the West”, suggesting that the residents of the four annexed regions “have become our citizens forever”. “He always talks about superiority, but the dominant always applies his culture and language. So does he,” he adds.

Satanism, parent 1 and neocolonialism

Any excuse to make the “Western” look like a “barbarian” sofa is a good one. Faced with the “neocolonialism” of the USA, Vladimir Putin recalls that “the Soviet Union led the anti-colonial struggle camp”. Even in the corridors where negotiations are held to transport grains from Ukraine “under the pretext of ensuring food security in the Third World”, the Russian president declares that “only 5% of Ukraine’s wheat goes to Africa”. “He is in a weak position in the international world. Even his allies in India and China let him go, “recalls Vincent Desportes. “He seeks legitimacy on all levels: ideological, historical, emotional,” Véronique Perry blankly.

For a careless listener, it may be that Vladimir Putin suddenly called the “destruction of family values”, the freedom defended by the West “face to face with Satanism” and “do we want it?” Parent number 1 and parent number 2 in Russia? “. “He plays on the fear of changing the patriarchal order,” criticizes linguist Véronique Perry, who specializes in the discourse on the categories of gender and sexuality. According to General Vincent Desportes, Vladimir Putin wants to “show that this war is a moral, just war and that he is a defender of eternal values wants

War, gas pipelines, nuclear weapons: whose fault is it?

Since he had to turn to the topic of war, Vladimir Putin also rejected the stone in the opposite camp, called on the “Kyiv regime to stop the war it started in 2014” and called to sit at the negotiating table. Vincent Desportes recalls: “He was preparing for his initial position, blaming the aggression on the attitude of the West.” “The West is trying to destroy us, destroy our state”, he even condemns the Russian president. “He justifies the mobilization a posteriori,” explains the professor of strategy at Sciences Po, and “wants to show Russia that the nation is in danger.”

The Russian president, continuing on the injured highway, also rejected Moscow’s suspicions about leaks from the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. For him, it is clear that crime benefits the “Anglo-Saxons”. “By blowing up the international gas pipelines running along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, they have actually started to destroy Europe’s energy infrastructure,” he criticizes. Vincent Portes points out that for Véronique Perry, “paranoia” is also “an attempt to divert opinion in Europe”.

In what Veronique Perry calls a “counter-caricature strategy,” the president increased his advantage by targeting the United States: “What is the only country in the world that has used nuclear weapons twice?” At the same time, he warns that Russia will defend its new territories “with all its weapons.” “Putin is preparing the ground for the use of tactical nuclear weapons,” General Vincent Desportes said, fearing his “last card”. “In general, this is not an exit that brings a peaceful solution closer,” he concludes.

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