Putin humiliated Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye – DW – 30/09/2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin during the signing of agreements on the accession of part of the Ukrainian territories to Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin during the signing of agreements on the accession of part of the Ukrainian territories to RussiaPhoto: Grigory Sysoyev/AP Photo/Photo Alliance

Vladimir Putin disarms, at least in words. After the recent speech on mobilization, steeped in aggression and hatred towards Ukraine, the speech of the President of the Russian Federation on the day of registration of the annexation of four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine looked almost mediocre.

Donbass is secondary to Putin – unlike Crimea

The accents of the President of Russia came as a surprise. Putin was fifteen minutes late, showing contempt for the Russian elites gathered in the Kremlin’s Georgievsky Hall. The gloomy faces with which former President Dmitry Medvedev, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and others awaited him contrasted sharply with the words about the “historic event” that propagandists spoke enthusiastically on state television.

In his speech, Putin made his words of duty regarding the admission of the Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye to the Russian Federation. “In one fell swoop,” as Putin once put it, he called their shared history with Russia and moved on to his favorite subject, dealing with the West. Two-thirds of the speech was devoted to the Kremlin’s earlier reproaches against the United States and Britain. Nothing new was said. Putin’s speech was reminiscent of the ordinary political information of the 1980s, the time in which the Russian leaders still live.

Roman Goncharenko
Roman Goncharenko

And it’s all? No long historical digressions, which the President of the Russian Federation loves so much? By giving them so little attention, Putin has essentially humiliated the Donbass and the rest of the occupied territories. He made it clear and cynically clear that to him they are secondary and not as sacred as the Crimea used to be. This is only a springboard for further offensive, a pawn in the global confrontation with the West. last now residents of Donbass it should become clear why Russia did not annex the region as Crimea in 2014, but spent eight years watching what happened behind the backs of “tractor drivers and miners”, whom Putin then spoke of, providing them with weapons, money and empty weapons. hopes, but no more. The Kremlin was so profitable back then. And now it has become profitable to formalize the annexation without even waiting for the full occupation along the administrative borders.

The war is entering a new, more brutal phase.

What does all this mean? Putin wants to sit down at the negotiating table with Kiev and leave the occupied territories to himself, what did he say in plain text? Will the nuclear threat be canceled? Nothing like this. The Kremlin head gave up neither his aggressive plans nor his willingness to threaten an atomic bomb and go to the end. Putin is well aware that he has crossed the red line and that negotiations are dead. Against the background of their army’s recent defeats in Ukraine and dissatisfaction in Russian society in connection with the mobilization the president of Russia decided not to escalate and somewhat weaken the military frenzy. It is much safer to stigmatize the West than to promise to smash Washington, London or Kiev, so hated by the West, to ash.

After the formalization of the annexation war in Ukraine enters a new phase. It promises to be long and brutal, as was evident from the shelling that day in Zaporozhye, the Dnieper and Nikolaev. Putin is preparing to move forward, but so far prefers not to give up his plans.

Author: Roman Goncharenko, columnist for DW

The commentary reflects the author’s personal opinion. It should not coincide with the opinion of the Russian editors and Deutsche welle generally.

Also see:

Petro Poroshenko: ‘It won’t save Putin’s ass’

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By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at