I stopped watching Russia’s premier political talk show “Evening with Vladimir Solovyov” about two years ago, because it had gone completely stale with the same guys and gals chewing the cud show after show about Ukraine’s imminent collapse. However, I tuned in last night and was surprised to hear some rather good commentary on Putin’s Address to the Nation.
As one analyst remarked, the foreign affairs section was notable as much for what Putin did not say as for what he did. No country was named. It was all rather abstract except for the specifics of the Belarus assassination plot. The idea was to leave the US and the Collective West guessing about Russia’s next moves. Not a word about Biden and the proposed summit. Not a word about the intended use of the troops massed at the Ukrainian border. Not tipping his hand in any way. At the same time, the intent of the segment on foreign affairs, just as in the all of the speech devoted to domestic issues, was to calm the Russian public, to say in effect, don’t worry, don’t be alarmed by the news, everything is well under control. We are ready for anything sent our way!
Incidentally, in the morning yesterday, hours before Putin went on air, the Russian news wires carried a quote from Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov that the Federation Council (upper house of Parliament) is expecting a message from Putin directing them to vote without delay on any legislative resolution authorizing the President to send the armed forces into action outside the borders of the Russian Federation. Zyuganov said he would vote for such a resolution. That shoe did not drop during the Address to the Nation. But when/if it comes the Russians will be doing exactly what US law requires in the States – receiving from Parliament authorization for what is, in effect, a declaration of war. Given that such formal declarations have for decades been dispensed with in America while the White House pursues war by stealth in various hot spots across the globe, should Putin put military action in Ukraine to a vote, he will show which country in fact is a Rechtsstaat, or nation under law, and which is, as the title of one of books by Robert Kagan, Neocon theorist and husband to incoming Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, says outrageously, the Dangerous Nation.
©Gilbert Doctorow, 2021