Putin Plays the Victim Card

Vladimir Putin on Wednesday gave his third major speech since the war with Ukraine began, during a meeting concerning “socioeconomic support for the regions.” This address hit all the major points that Russian propaganda has been harping on for weeks: Ukraine is a Western “anti-Russia” project, Ukraine was creating biological weapons with American help, Ukraine did not obey the Minsk agreements and was preparing a genocide, Ukraine was getting ready to join NATO and develop nuclear weapons, etc. Also, in case anyone was worried, Putin assured his listeners that, “The operation is being carried out successfully, in strict conformity with the approved plan.” 

The major concern of this speech was the Western sanctions, and if Putin’s demeanor and language are any guide, the sanctions are working. More than in his previous two speeches, this one was in large part an extended whine—mostly connected to the mean things that the West is doing to Russia. Putin is the victim, Russia is the victim. The whole West is ganging up on them. It’s not nice and it is not fair, etc. The emphasis on victimhood by a head of state who is busy bombing children’s theaters in a neighboring poor democracy would be hilarious if this were part of some satirical film, but unfortunately this tripe comes from the real-life leader of a nuclear power.

Putin also cried that social networks and the Western media were being unfair and “stuffing” people with “a huge number of fakes, propaganda forgeries …” These anti-Russian activities show that the “objectivity and independence” of the Western media is just a “myth.” If someone is hyperventilating about victimhood in the 21st century, the analogy the most dramatic victimhood-mongers always reach for is: “It’s just like how Hitler treated the Jews!” Putin can’t help himself either, and when he complains about the “cancellation” of Russia and Russian culture in the West, he said:

In its attempts to “cancel” Russia, the West tore off its mask of decency and began to act crudely showing its true colors. One cannot help but remember the antisemitic Nazi pogroms in Germany in the 1930s, and then pogroms perpetrated by their henchmen in many European countries that joined the Nazi aggression against our country during the Great Patriotic War.

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