In the midst of the war with Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s speech on Monday was both predictable and fearful, with international observers fearing the announcement of an escalation of the conflict. It did not happen.
In the conflict in Ukraine, the date of May 9 was predictable and frightening. On the Russian side, it is a day celebrating the end of World War II, with a military parade and a speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin. But for several days, it was feared that the head of the Kremlin would make serious statements, escalating the current war in Ukraine.
But the Russian president gave a shorter-than-usual speech, with the usual propaganda justifying Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, but he didn’t mention a possible nuclear attack, nor did he talk about war or an extension of the conflict, just calling for the world to avoid. war.
“There was no breath”
“It’s hard to parse a speech that is only 10 minutes long, completely hollow,” Josephine Staron, director of studies and international relations at think tank Sinopia, said on BFMTV. You talk about a “classic” speech that has no surprises. However, “we got used to Vladimir Putin’s longer speeches, and expected them to last at least 20, 25, 30 minutes.” For his part, journalist and geopolitical specialist Bernard Guetta declared on the France Info website, “It is a rhetoric that says nothing.”
Apart from “recalling the fact that Russia has no choice, that the Motherland must be defended, that pro-Russian separatists and Russian forces are fighting on their own land … This does not go further. It has nothing to do with February 24, the first day of the Russian invasion For Ukraine, BFMTV’s International Politics columnist Patrick Seuss abounds. “There was no breath, there was no narrative.”
On February 24, during his speech announcing the invasion of Ukraine, he was even more ferocious, threatening for example “those who try to interfere with us” with an “immediate” response from Russia, with “consequences you did not know before”. This time, he addressed himself above all to the Russian people, declaring assistance to the families of soldiers killed at the front, and declaring that “everything must be done for this world war.” [en référence avec la Seconde Guerre mondiale, NDLR] It won’t happen again.”
“play with us”
For Helen Blanc, a political scientist and specialist in the Russian world, “People fantasized a lot about the current May 9,” anticipating strong statements, and perhaps the Kremlin played on this expectation.
“When we know Vladimir Putin so well, we know that he blows hot and cold and that he enjoys scaring us while at the same time reassuring ourselves sometimes, like today,” she says. “He has a lot of fun with us, he plays with us (…) above all, he wants to show us that he is the real boss and that he is the master of the game.”
However, the political expert notes that the Russian president had a less militaristic appearance than usual at this type of meeting. “I remember the old marches that lasted not an hour but two and sometimes more, there were situations with all the officials of the system” such as soldiers and key ministers … “there is true that they were rather simple.”
“Is it fatigue, fatigue, or is it part of a strategy that we don’t know about? All hypotheses are open,” says Josephine Staron.
The war will go on for a long time.
If the possibility of a nuclear attack is not touched upon, Vladimir Putin has shown that he wants to continue this war, evoking an “absolutely unacceptable threat” that “is taking shape, right on our borders”, and renewing his accusations of Nazism in against Ukraine.
“He didn’t announce anything specific, but he also didn’t announce the end of the fight, the end of the attack,” confirms Josephine Staron whose scenario that “appears to take shape is that everything continues as it has so many times.” Weeks, it won’t change (…) It doesn’t look like a real turning point in the war in Ukraine, it’s going on, and it will continue.
“We tell ourselves the war will go on for a long time. For me it was rhetoric of war without uttering a word of war,” said General Jerome Belistrandi, BFMTV’s defense advisor. He also notes that Vladimir Putin, in his speech, “strongly insisted on Donbass. Does this mean that the war objective will be limited to Donbass? There is a lot of ambiguity.”
“The message that we Westerners have been waiting for did not happen,” summarizes Patrick Seuss, recalling however that “Ukrainians who have been bombed and Russian aggression, May 9 is like May 8 and no doubt 10.”