Experts believe that Putin's speech is reminiscent of Hitler: “He draws attention, for the first time, that the Russians are drunk”

Putin's speech, two years after the start of the war, in addition to the classic threats to the West, also had elements aimed at the Russian people and betraying important problems facing Russia, claims Professor Valentin Naumescu.

Vladimir Putin usually glorifies the qualities of the Russian people PHOTO: EPA EFE

The professor of international relations at Babeș-Bolyai University, former diplomat and president of the European Democratic Culture Initiative Association (ICDE), Valentin Naumescu, analyzed for “Adevărul” the main messages sent by Putin in the speech delivered by Vladimir Putin in front of the Russian Parliament, at two years after the start of the war in Ukraine.

“The homework is not new. He resumes old themes, known from years past, old ideological clichés, the same historical distortions, the same lies, the same imaginings, the same frustrations, the same desire for revenge. There is nothing new thematically. He continues to invent the same so-called aggressions against Russia, to justify the invasion of Ukraine. He says that Ukraine started the war in Donbas, that the United States destroyed the European security order. They are the typical mental, political, discursive reflexes of a dictator”the teacher explained.

Naumescu makes a comparison with Adolf Hitler at the end of the 30s, who always blamed others, and Germany was only, in his view, a peaceful country that had to defend itself.

The messages conveyed can be divided into two broad dimensions: for the external, Western audience and for the internal audience, for the Russian people.

For the West, Putin revived old threats such as nuclear war: “The threats are to weaken, to discourage, to intimidate the Western public opinion, especially the pacifist segment that they hope to take, so to speak, out of the fight, to to disengage him and thus turn him into an opponent of his own government”.

“He has not the slightest intention of stopping the war”

Naumescu argues that Putin has expressed the same unwavering confidence that Russia will win the war and impose its goals, no matter how long this war lasts. “And here, here I think we should believe him, in that it is clear from this speech that we are nowhere near the end of this war. Putin has not the slightest intention to stop the war, to withdraw his troops from Ukraine. The war continues. This year will not end, I pray, without some, shall we say, extraordinary, unexpected, black swan-type events. So normally, as things stand, we'll have continuity for quite some time after the war.”

Messages for the Russian people

The expert revises the messages sent for the internal audience.

“There are some more or less veiled criticisms out there that actually show the beginning or deepening of crises that we could only suspect before this speech and about which we are beginning to have certainties”explains the teacher.

An example of this is the shortage of highly qualified labor. “It is clear that, in fact, what I want to say here is that a lot of educated young people, a lot of educated people, specialists, left Russia at the beginning of this war. Russia is starting to really have a problem in terms of specialized, qualified and safe human resource, we are talking about people up to 40 years old. In particular, they have done everything possible to escape from the Russian “prison” in recent years”explained Naumescu.

Putin also talks about the need to push for technological development. “The message is that they have a big problem with decoupling from Western technologies, which is leading them to a fault line of underdevelopment, isolation and backwardness.

Naumescu is of the opinion that messages must often be decrypted and read exactly the opposite of how they were said: “Because this is the typical language of dictators. When he says, for example, that he is conveying to the Russians that he has confidence in the economic potential of Russia and that Russia will soon be among the top four economies of the world, the actual message or reality is exactly the opposite.”

“Draw attention, public, that Russians are drunk”

He believes that there is a risk of a collapse of Russia's war economy. All resources are directed to the Russian military industry: “These things, of course, in a limited time frame, can mask an economic collapse, because, please, being military contracts, many macroeconomic indicators are somewhat cosmeticized. But economists make it very clear that a war economy cannot last indefinitely. After a few years, it will give way and collapse suddenly. Of course, we don't know when it will happen and how long Russia can hold out. We see various economic analyses, some say one year, others say maximum two.”

Naumescu is of the opinion that Putin conveyed this concern, even if he tried to do it in a triumphalist form.

“Even that call to sports is almost tragicomic – “Put down the booze, take up the skiing, because we need a strong generation ready to fight. It is a call that we know that Adolf Hitler also made. He urged the Germans towards physical education and sports, campaigned for the development of sports in Nazi Germany?“, the teacher explained.

Naumescu draws attention to the fact that we are witnessing a premiere here: “Putin, in his speeches, usually glorifies the qualities of the Russian people. It is the first time in the State of the Nation Address, the speech before the Federal Assembly, that he directly, publicly, points out that Russians are drunk. If Vladimir Putin says this in the official speech, we can realize what the reality is, how terrible the reality is in Russia”.

First in Russia: elections for three days

As for the other messages addressed to the Russian people, Naumescu claims that, in general, there are many promises, and the presentation of the achievements he would have had so far.

Let's not forget that it is the election campaign. It is a speech that takes place 2 weeks before the electoral moment March 15-17. I haven't seen many comments on this topic, but this is the first time that Russia has held presidential elections for 3 days. I'm wodering why? It is obvious that Vladimir Putin would have no problem being re-elected. But this is not the stake of the elections for Putin, the stake is his plebiscite and the demonstration of very strong electoral support. This translated into confirmation of the fact that the Russian people fully support the objectives of the war in Ukraine“, the teacher also said.

For that, Putin needs two things: on the one hand, a percentage of at least 75% for what he got in the previous presidential elections; on the other hand, massive turnout would be needed.

This is the reason why it was extended from one day to 3 days to actually bring the people to vote by the state and political machinery, the party and state apparatus of the Kremlin. People will actually be brought to vote so that the percentage is, well, these numbers look good”, explained the expert.

“Russia no longer has arguments to be treated as a global great power”

Regarding the message for the West, Naumescu noted Putin's willingness to negotiate with the United States of America.

This message is not for the first time, Putin has been repeating it since 2021. He is not even considering a negotiation with Ukraine. Actually, that's what he means, that Ukraine is not in Russia's league. This shows that Vladimir Putin is stuck in the Soviet Union paradigm, stuck with that frustration of the Soviet Union's defeat in the Cold War against the United States and the West. He believes that the historical moment of revenge has come, and he also projects himself in an imaginary, illusory situation, in which Russia would still be a great global power today, negotiating on equal terms with the United States of America. This is no longer sustainable today. Russia no longer has arguments to be treated as a global great power, even if it has nuclear weapons“, the expert also specified.

Naumescu noticed a kind of irritation in the way Putin threatens the world with nuclear weapons. “The fact that the West is going ahead with support for Ukraine and not considering nuclear threats actually bothers him deeply.”