ANALYSIS: Russia’s Ukraine invasion is not just about borders or power. For Putin, it’s about identity

R/I ~ AA


This is the sort of war the West does not know how to fight.

It is not just about territory, or borders, or resources, or power. It is existential — it is about identity.

Vladimir Putin has made it clear Ukraine is part of the soul of Russia. And he is prepared to crush the souls of Ukrainians to achieve his ends.

Yes, Putin has made security demands, he wants the West out of what he sees as Russia’s sphere of influence. He wants a cast-iron guarantee Ukraine can never join NATO.But it is the “why” that is more important than the “what” here.

Why? Because to Putin, there is no Ukraine without Russia. They are one.Putin said so: there is no Ukrainian sovereignty. Putin sees Ukraine as Russian land essential to Putin’s idea of Russkiy Mir (Russian World). It is about Russian language, culture; it is blood and soil.
It is mythological. Russkiy Mir is holy; central is Russian orthodox faith.
To Russian nationalists like Putin, Ukraine’s capital Kyiv is the mother of all Russian cities.
This is why Putin famously called the collapse of the Soviet Union “the greatest geo-political catastrophe of the twentieth century”. It is oft repeated, not as often understood.


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