Putin’s “Victory Day” speech is bullshit long, short on victories

“Victory Day”, the Russian national holiday of May 9 that marks the surrender of Nazi Germany in World War II, is a much bigger deal in Russia than is VE Day (May 8) in the United States, and it’s not just because it’s celebrated on a different day due to the time zone difference. It’s like Memorial Day, Veterans Day and a small part of Independence Day concluded together, plus of course all the fascist nationalism Vladimir Putin can add. Many Western analysts expected Putin to use the vacation as a sorry to announce an expansion its “special military operation” against Ukraine. Some even predicted that he could formally declare war on Ukrainewhile others suggested it could declare victory in the eastern parts of Ukraine which, according to him, were indeed Russian, even though Ukraine is still holding out a lot.

Instead, Putin claimed the war (but don’t call it that!) was absolutely necessary for Russia’s survival, because it thinks Ukraine is full of “Nazis” (it isn’t) and the The US and NATO were planning to invade Russia through Ukraine perhaps (even they are not), and now the US and NATO have not, thanks to Putin’s strategic genius, cheers, as CNBC explains:

Putin said the Russian invasion of Ukraine was necessary because the West was “preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea,” according to comments translated by Reuters.

It is unclear whether Putin was referring to Russia or the territory that Moscow considers Russian. This includes Crimea, which it annexed to Ukraine in 2014, and the eastern Donbas region, where Donetsk and Luhansk are located, two self-styled pro-Russian “republics”.

Putin then allegedly held a banana to his ear and insisted on keeping it safe from attack by the tigers.


In his speech, Putin explicitly he compared the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the struggle against Germany 76 years ago, telling Russian troops that they were “fighting for the motherland, for its future, so that no one forgets the lessons of World War II”. Fools us, we thought the lesson of World War II was that the world should be wary of nationalist megalomaniacs bent on expanding their territory.

And despite the increase in Russian attacks in eastern Ukraine, including the near-total destruction of the port city of Mariupol, Putin did not use the speech to brag about how marvelously the “special military operation” is going. No “Mission Accomplished” banner behind him, not even in Russian.

A New York Times Speech analysis noted that instead of doubling down or declaring victory, Putin

he remains wary of asking too much of regular Russians. The only political announcement Putin made in his speech, in fact, was aimed at assuming the pain directly caused by the war: a decree to provide further aid to the children of killed and wounded soldiers.

Not that it said exactly how many of these children would need help. Maybe people would think it was only 20 or 30.

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said if someone acts like the Nazis, it would be Putin, who is “repeating the horrific crimes of the Hitler regime today”.

“On the day of victory over Nazism, we are fighting for a new victory,” Zelensky said as he walked alone through the streets of Kiev, in front of government buildings protected by barriers and barbed wire.

Here is the video, with English subtitles:


Also, like Rachel Maddow noticed on his MSNBC show last night, The Russians who ran the schedule on smart TVs were greeted with a surprise: The hackers had changed the menus to display the message “You have the blood of thousands of Ukrainians and hundreds of dead children on your hands. The TV and the authorities are lying. No to war”. Reuters notes that the messages appeared shortly before the Victory Day parade in Moscow.


Youtube

Also, the pro-Kremlin Lenta news site was defaced by two of his own employees, who filled the homepage with headlines like “Vladimir Putin turned into a pitiful and paranoid dictator”, “War makes it easier to cover up economic failures” and (our favorite) “Zelensky turned out to be cooler than Putin”. Gizmodo reports that the two rogue reporters

The Latvian-based independent news site Meduza had reportedly moved out of Russia and feared they might need a new job or even political asylum.

One wonders if those former Lenta employees are good at writing about it dicks in the sky, weed guard alligators in the bathrooms, or Holes for vegan children. We would like to help if we can.

[CNBC / Reuters / NBC News / NYT / Gizmodo / NBC News]

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