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Vladimir Putin’s new “information operation” in the Ukraine war

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President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly tried to justify his war in Ukraine. Now he is leading a new fairy tale.

So now the existence of Russia is threatened. Vladimir Putin and his cronies are once again promoting a dizzying narrative designed to justify and relativize Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, apparently in an effort to further shift the narrative in the now year-long campaign against the neighboring country.

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The questionable doomsday scenario that the Russian President is now drawing is probably based on two goals. First: Convince the Russians of the need for war (). Second: to prevent further military aid to Ukraine from the West.

Consequently, in the (ISW), which has always scrutinized the Kremlin’s war strategy, one “information operation” the speech, “who misinterpreted Russia’s war in Ukraine as vital to the continued existence of the Russian Federation” represent.

Vladimir Putin and the alleged threat

It is . In the course of the war, which was marked by numerous failures for Russia, the Russian president repeatedly denied actual responsibility for the invasion and presented his imperialism as a reaction to an alleged threat from the collective West.

Also the newest “information operation” follows this fairy tale, which Putin prominently placed in his State of the Union address on February 21. During his two-hour appearance before the Federal Assembly, the Russian President repeated many well-known allegations and also accused the West of threatening Russia’s existence.

Since then, several well-known pro-war advocates have jumped on Putin’s narrative, the ISW noted. Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian president and now deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, raved in an essay for the pro-Kremlin newspaper “Izvestia” also from an alleged existential question for his country. Most recently, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed on state television that Western arms aid determines how far the Russian troops can deal with the alleged threat “push back” must – as if it were necessary to defend Russia against invaders.

“Both Putin’s and Medvedev’s comments relate to an information operation that portrays the war in Ukraine as existential to the continued survival of the post-Soviet Russian Federation”according to the ISW analysis, “which is probably an attempt to portray the war as a higher stake for Russia and the West than it actually is.”

Because neither Ukraine nor its Western supporters have called for the dissolution of the Russian Federation or even its destruction. The goal of military aid has so far been defined as enabling Ukraine to retake all of its territory from the Russian occupiers. According to the US think tank, Putin’s statements were also aimed at deterring the collective West from further arms aid – after all, Russia must defend itself against the alleged threat, if necessary with all means.

“These statements are likely to discourage the West from providing long-range systems to Ukraine”by suggesting “that providing such systems will prolong the war because it ‘forces’ Russia to take over more Ukrainian territory to be ‘safe’.”

Against this background, the US think tank also classifies the recent statements by the Russian President on state television, according to which the Russian people as “ethnic group” threatened and already plans for the destruction of the Russian Federation in its current form “on paper” exist. Consequently, according to Putin, he had no other choice “new start”- Suspend nuclear disarmament agreements to ensure the country’s security in the event of an alleged concerted action by the West.

Although it is not yet possible to predict what Putin announced during his state of the nation address, experts believe they are a sign of longer-lasting fighting. “This element with the ‘New Start’ suspension is a sign that it’s going to be a long war and long conflict”, “and that Russia has no interest in de-escalation and, above all, no interest in diplomatic solutions”.

At the same time, Putin is exacerbating his war rhetoric with his tale of a threat to his existence, says political scientist Gerhard Mangott from the University of Innsbruck. “In any case, that was Putin’s most direct nuclear threat today. ‘It’s about the state existence of Russia’. Exactly this formulation is in the nuclear doctrine and is stated as a condition that Russia uses nuclear weapons in a conventional war”.

The Russian President had repeatedly threatened a nuclear escalation, apparently with the aim of preventing Ukraine’s supporters from further military aid: Observers have always been saying whether a possible use of nuclear weapons could be of strategic use for Russia on the battlefield at all – apart from the political consequences that such an event would probably result in.

“If a state can use its nuclear arsenal to put others under pressure, then any kind of foreign policy becomes impossible”wrote historian Timothy Snyder of Yale University in a recent , accordingly “Collapse before the Russian nuclear talk” would also be wrong from a strategic point of view. Supporting Ukraine reduces the likelihood of nuclear war, Snyder says “by showing that nuclear blackmail doesn’t work.”

Source: Stern

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