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Vladimir Putin summons the memory of German tanks in Stalingrad


Even with an anachronism, the point is perfectly clear: “Unbelievable but true, German Leopard tanks are once again threatening us on Ukrainian soil. » It does not matter if the commissioning of the Leopard tank dates back to 1965, the essential is said: for Vladimir Putin, the Ukrainian army is indeed the heiress of the Wehrmacht, and contemporary Germany is hardly better than its Nazi version. .

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The message is even clearer from Volgograd, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory of Stalingrad, the former name of this city in southern Russia. Throughout the celebrations, Thursday, February 2, the Russian president drew the parallel. “Today we see sadly that Nazi ideology – in modern form – is once again creating direct threats to the security of our country, and that we are once again compelled to repel the aggression of the collective West. »he launched from the podium, facing veterans and officials.

The Head of State spoke for the first time about the deliveries of heavy armor announced in recent weeks by several Western countries, including the German Leopard 2s. And, unsurprisingly, he brandished the threat: “We won’t send our tanks to their borders, but we have something to respond to and it won’t be limited to tanks. » Asked a little later to find out if this should be seen as a new allusion to nuclear weapons, the Kremlin spokesman contented himself with warning that Moscow would use “the full potential”.

Role of the victim

The reference to Nazism to discredit the adversary is not new either in Putin’s discourse – the “denazification” of Ukraine and the “genocide” allegedly committed there were even used as a pretext for the launch of the “special military operation” on February 24, 2022. But never before has Vladimir Putin forced the comparison so much.

The goal is twofold: it is not only a question of reassuring the Russians as to the ineluctable nature of victory, but also of placing Russia again and again in the role of the victim. Thursday morning, the Ministry of Defense still proclaimed: “The blitzkrieg war attempt launched by the West against Russia in 2022 has failed. »

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The link made between the two conflicts, which was displayed in large letters in the streets of Volgograd, also implies an ever greater glorification of the Soviet past, military glory overwhelming other aspects. The day before Vladimir Putin’s arrival, a bust of Joseph Stalin was unveiled in the city, installed 100 meters from the monument to the victims of political repressions during the time of the USSR. During the parade organized Thursday morning, the local police officers had dressed in uniforms of the NKVD, the former political police.

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