Putin thinks Putin thinks every Russian speaker wants to be Russian

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Alfredo Valenzuela I Sevilla, (EFE).- Historian Xosé Manoel Núñez Seixas told EFE that “one of the big mistakes” is that Putin he thinks all Russian speakers are Russian, because “not all Russian speakers (in Ukraine) want to be Russian”. All this on the occasion of the presentation in Seville of his latest book, “Return to Stalingrad” (Galaxia Gutenberg).

The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army “helped to increase the feeling of a Ukrainian homeland in the Russian-speaking regions of the country far more effectively than all the cultural policy deployed by the government of Kyiv in thirty years”. This is underlined by the author, professor of contemporary history at the University of Compostela and winner of the National Essay Prize.

“For part of Russian nationalism, Ukraine is part of Russia” and that’s what Putin believes, but “this Russian perspective that this war is for liberation from fascism and Nazism is less and less believed within Russia itself,” he added. added. Núñez is the author of “Return to Stalingrad”, a study in comparative history on the memory of the German-Soviet war, which he described as “a war within another war”, alluding to the Second World War .

A current historical issue

A topical historical question because, according to Núñez Seixas, in recent years the policies of historical memory have been exacerbated. ukrainian parliament endorse the “decommunization” measures which included the dismantling of monuments and symbols of a Soviet character.

Historian Xosé Manoel Núñez Seixas told EFE that “one of the Putin’s Big Mistakes is to confuse Russian-speaking with Russian. EFE/Cabalar/File.

The historian recalls Putin’s speech from May last year which made direct allusions to those who review history by pointing directly to Ukraine and the Baltic countries. He admits that “nobody, not even the greatest specialists in Russian affairs, could have thought then that an invasion would take place and that it would end “in a war of this type”.

Putin believes he is affirming the memory of the Great Patriotic War, as the German-Soviet war which followed the German invasion of June 1941 is still called in Russia. also evoking Saint Michael the Archangel, one of the protectors of the country, is now used in Russian recruitment centers.

Red Army coercion

Of the defenders of Stalingrad, even considering the share of coercion that the Red Army has always exercised, Núñez Seixas underlined that they were much more motivated than those now called upon to go and fight in Ukraine. Then the Russians were attacked and although the Germans were received in some parts of the USSR as liberators from Stalin’s yoke, the invaders soon proved to be “even worse than Stalin”.

Concerning the historical condition of aggressor and attacked, the author recalls that the Soviet Union, before being “attacked” in June 1941, was an “aggressor” invading Poland in September 1939. At that time, the Baltic countries were annexed in August 1939. the following year and attacked Finland in the winter of 1939.

Walter Benjamin International Essay Prize

“The Russian official memory presents the Soviet Union’s collusion with Hitler only as a tactical alliance, as if it were a simulation of a temporary friendship to gain time, but that did not force him to invade Poland, annex and attack other countries.” .the historian. With “Return to Stalingrad” he won the 5th Walter Benjamin International Essay Prize.

Núñez Seixas’ new essay, which bears the subtitle “The Eastern Front in European Memory, 1945-2021”, offers a comparative view of the memory of the German-Soviet War in terms of public memory, monuments, commemorations, literature and cinema of what was the greatest confrontation on earth in history. ECE

Web editor: Luis Ortega


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