Destinations Magazine

Russia and Ukraine: Putin’s People

By Stizzard
Russia and Ukraine: Putin’s people Watching from below

A GOVERNMENT television channel dubbed Vladimir Putin’s latest state of the nation address “A Message from Above”. Dmitry Kiselev, Mr Putin’s chief propagandist, even likened it to speeches by Roosevelt, Churchill and De Gaulle.Mr Putin’s sermon had both messianic and defensive overtones. He called Crimea a sacred place, rather like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “It was in Crimea, in the ancient city of Chersonesus or Korsun, that Grand Prince Vladimir was baptised before bringing Christianity to Rus…this allows us to say that Crimea and Sevastopol have invaluable civilisational and even sacred importance for Russia. And this is how we will think of it—from now and forever.” Andrei Kuraev, a Russian Orthodox deacon, noted in his blog that, although Mr Putin’s statement had little basis in religion, it resembled Mussolini’s 1930s assertion that “Ethiopia, from now and forever, belongs to Italy which has become what it was during the time of Julius Caesar.”In fact, remarkably few Russians are even aware of Vladimir’s baptism in Crimea. For them the peninsula is linked to hedonism rather than spirituality. It was a…

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