Putin's 'New Russia'

On October 22/2 November 1721, the Russian Empire was proclaimed. The first emperor was tsar Peter the Great. The meaning of the transformation of the kingdom into an empire was that Peter carried out a number of reforms, in particular, "cut a window to Europe," that is, Russia gained access to the ice-free ports of the Baltic Sea and seized a number of territories near the new capital of the empire, St. Petersburg. Later the Russian Empire gained access to the Black and Caspian Seas. After the conquest of the Far East it gained access to the Pacific Ocean. The status of the empire strengthened with its access to each new sea. The Russian Federation declared itself the legal successor to the Soviet Union, which was itself the heir of the Russian Empire. Both appropriated the "historical rights" of the Russian Empire.

To understand what is happening, it is necessary to recall the promulgated goals of the Russian Federation's war in Ukraine.  In the sixth month of the Russian Federation's "special military operation" in Ukraine, we can see that one of its two declared goals, "demilitarization" failed: instead of "demilitarizing" Ukraine, the number of weapons and ammunition in that country increased by many orders of magnitude thanks to Western assistance. What happened to the second goal of the "operation" -- "denazification"?  After the genocide of the civilian population carried out by the Russian army, the level of "Nazification" -- defined as opposition to Putin's Russia -- on the territory of Ukraine increased significantly thanks to the actions of its "liberators." The Russian Federation, which has monopolized the definition of who is a Nazi, has exposed the weakness of its moral character with respect to the civilian population of Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine has been going on much longer than its initiators had hoped. Under what circumstances can it end? The Russian Federation can end hostilities if it completely captures Donbass and Novorossiya. The capture of Novorossiya, literally the new Russia, is a project to "liberate" Ukraine from a number of territories that were part of the Russian Empire. The cities of Dnepr, Kherson, Melitopol, Mariupol, Berdyansk, Nikolayev, Zaporozhye, Tiraspol, which is on the territory of Moldova, already occupied by Russian troops in Transnistria, were once part of Novorossiya, a province of the Russian Empire. Their capture is the goal of the "liberation" war. "Liberation" is accompanied by the creation of a new region of the Russian Federation with the old name of the territory of the Russian Empire, called Novorossiya.

But the Russian Federation is not the Russian Empire, but a new state created in 1991 after the collapse of the USSR, which included the Russian Federation as one of the Union republics. Putin's claim to Novorossiya means appropriating the rights of the new country, the Russian Federation, to the territory of an entirely different country, a country that no longer exists, the Russian Empire. According to Putin, Ukraine is an artificially created Soviet state. But is Russia a naturally created state? There are 190 peoples living on the territory of the Russian Federation. Russia's seizure of Siberia, the Far East, Kamchatka, and Chukotka is called in Russian history the "development" of these lands inhabited by 189 non-Russian peoples. As in the period of the Russian Empire, the "development" and "annexation" of lands by the Russian Federation takes place in Ukraine. This time it is the former lands of the tsar, which are "mastered" by the new tsar, called the “president.” Novorossiya is conquered by the new autocrat, who believes that he is not fighting, but only "returning", "collecting", "developing" and "liberating" the lands of the former empire for the sake of strengthening his new empire.

According to Putin's ideology, "natural" Novorossiya supplants "artificial" Ukraine.  One of the goals of the Russian Empire's colonization of the new lands is to provide access to the sea and to prevent Ukrainian rivals from reaching the sea. Already, the Russian Federation has blocked Ukraine's access to the Sea of Azov by seizing the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk. The Russian Federation is faithful to its imperial concept of seeking access to the sea in all places it considers strategically important. It also has access to the Mediterranean Sea, as it has the Tartus naval base in Syria at its disposal.

The key to understanding Putin's goals in the "special military operation" is his desire to correct "historical anomalies," primarily to "master" those areas of Ukraine that had something Russian in their name: Novorossiya and Kievan Rus, called the "mother of Russian cities," and to prevent Ukraine's access to the Black Sea. In general, a natural phenomenon is taking place in Ukraine: the first act of "development" of the lands by the empire. What comes next? The next, post-Ukrainian phase of the war is bound to come, for the Russian Federation is the legal successor of the USSR, and there are still many "unreleased" Soviet territories in various places. The Russian Federation also faces the challenge of "reclaiming" the "occupied" lands of the Russian Empire. The USSR and the Russian Empire left the Russian Federation with many problems of "mastering," "conquering," "liberating," "annexing" and "gathering" the lands that belonged to the two empires, the Soviet and Russian. The new Russia is not a new country, but a Russian Federation burdened with the great historical tasks of conquering territories.

Image: Public Domain

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