Putin does not want or intend to negotiate


Is Putin’s State of the Union speech worth commenting on? Do we have to analyze, again, the lies with which the Russian president justifies his war against Ukraine? According to Putin, the West is responsible for everything, the West started the war in Ukraine. With this flagrant distribution of blame, Putin himself sums up his revisionist delusion, which he takes as a fixed point for further consideration.

Once again, Putin claims that his predatory aggression in Ukraine is a defensive war against the West. This is a propaganda narrative that downplays aggression. There are those who only see in this statement the rhetorical means of a dictator who wants to close ranks, who wants to agitate patriotic feelings and promote the mobilization of society and the economy.

Prisoner of his own propaganda

But Putin has long been a prisoner of his own propaganda. With his tsar-like mania, Putin utters entrenched grievances, which are reflected in his people. Because, in Russia, it is not just the power elite in the Kremlin and the military who feel that Russia is a world power in free fall. Amid this complex mood, Putin is applauded for his claim that Russia’s existence is at stake.

After the speech, in which Putin burned more bridges with the West, it became even clearer how difficult it will be to find a common denominator with Russia again, an essential requirement to be able to enter into dialogue with the West.

Before Putin’s speech, observers expected him to officially declare war on Ukraine, announce a new wave of mobilizations, impose martial law, close the country’s borders, and sound the nuclear saber again. Nothing of that. Putin announces that he does not want to continue negotiating with the US a treaty to limit nuclear weapons.

Negotiations on disarmament, peace or a ceasefire – that is the sobering conclusion of his speech – are currently impossible with Putin’s Russia. Perhaps they can no longer be carried out at all with this regime of devotees that the Russian president has gathered around him.

Opponents of Putin and Biden

Putin is strangely vague about the war in Ukraine. However, he hints that the fighting will continue for a long time and that he is therefore counting on a war of attrition.

His geopolitical calculus is obvious: Putin is counting on the election of a US president by the end of next year who is no longer an unreserved ocean liner like Joe Biden. He is counting on a Republican who is no longer willing to guarantee Ukraine’s survival with arms deliveries and dollar transfers to come to the White House instead of the Democrat Biden.

Putin is preparing his country for another, longer and, in all respects, more costly confrontation. He is talking about isolating himself from the West. Meanwhile, US President Biden is traveling across Europe, performing in war-torn Kyiv, performing in Warsaw as the leader of the free world. The political contrast on this day of two presidential addresses could not be greater.