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Russia

Putin The Liar, And The Russians Who Love Him

Evidence is so overwhelming that even Russians can no longer deny the truth that their country is fighting in Ukraine. But Putin offers something better than the truth.

Putin in Moscow on April 16
Putin in Moscow on April 16
Jacques Schuster

-OpEd-

BERLIN — Europeans and Americans have known for a long time that Russian troops are aiding Ukrainian separatist rebels. Europe and the U.S. possess countless statements, photos and video that prove how deeply the Russian army is embedded in this conflict.

The latest evidence comes from a posthumously released report by slain Russian political opponent Boris Nemtsov, which was finally published in Moscow last week. It reveals that Russian troops streamed into Ukraine "on a huge scale" starting last August, and have participated in all essential military actions since then.

Last August alone, 150 Russian soldiers were killed. So now, those in Russia who would like to know the truth can hear it from their very own (politically opposed) fellow countryman. It appears that President Vladimir Putin lies just as well as he rides and shoots.

But the West can scarcely get its hopes up now, even if this is a saddening prospect. The fact of the matter is that, politically speaking, the voice of the political opposition is being heard about as attentively as the orchestrated cultural tripe of the Don Cossack Choir at the Bolshoi Theatre.

The West has deluded itself long enough in believing that Russia would become a democracy after the downfall of the Soviet dictatorship because the majority of the Russian people truly wanted democracy. After the chaotic Boris Yeltsin years, which many saw as humiliating, Russians were longing for order and a return to greatness.

Putin has achieved a kind of cult status with his own people. Not only are a vodka brand, a lollipop, an ice cream label, and a freeze-resistant tomato named after him, but also the youth of Russia is apparently amazed by their all-powerful president.

And we must understand that this is because of, not despite, his actions in Ukraine, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel with good cause characterized as criminal.

More than 90% of 18-to-24-year-olds are celebrating the political strategy of their president. And 70% of all Russians praise him for having made their country, once again, one of the great powers on earth. Caught in this thrill of victory, who wants to hear the truth?

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Why Poland's Break With Ukraine Weakens All Enemies Of Russia — Starting With Poland

Poland’s decision to stop sending weapons to Ukraine is being driven by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party's short-term electoral calculus. Yet the long-term effects on the world stage could deeply undermine the united NATO front against Russia, and the entire Western coalition.

Photo of ​Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Lutsk, Ukraine, on July 9

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Lutsk, Ukraine, on July 9

Bartosz T. Wieliński

-Analysis-

WARSAW — Poland has now moved from being the country that was most loudly demanding that arms be sent to Ukraine, to a country that has suddenly announced it was withholding military aid. Even if Poland's actions won't match Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s words, the government has damaged the standing of our country in the region, and in NATO.

“We are no longer providing arms to Ukraine, because we are now arming Poland,” the prime minister declared on Polsat news on Wednesday evening. He didn’t specify which type of arms he was referring to, but his statement was quickly spread on social media by leading figures of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.

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When news that Poland would be withholding arms to Ukraine made their way to the headlines of the most important international media outlets, no politician from PiS stepped in to refute the prime minister’s statement. Which means that Morawiecki said exactly what he meant to say.

The era of tight Polish-Ukrainian collaboration, militarily and politically, has thus come to an end.

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