Time for a new song

The tide is turning in favour of the Ukraine. Winning the Eurovision Song Contest with “Stephania”, essentially a paean to mothers, and sung entirely in Ukrainian, is a further boost to that country’s morale. Public support for the struggle against Russian imperialism remains undiminished, and with Finland announcing its intention to seek membership of NATO coupled with the news of the Russian army sent into the Ukraine suffering huge losses, perhaps up to 15000 combatants, Putin has little to “sing” about. Now is the time for the Russian President to negotiate a settlement with Zelensky, rather than carry on an ill-conceived war that has, so far, brought nothing but civilian suffering, mass destruction of Ukraine’s infra-structure and military losses on both sides. Although Putin controls the Russian media and can dupe his own people into believing Russia is  winning the war in Ukraine, those members of the intelligentsia, who are privy to what is actually happening,  will not be as complacent as Putin would wish, and neither will the families receiving news of their sons’  deaths. 

Putin is not a latter-day tsar or, indeed, a reincarnation of Stalin. He is a mediocre despot, intent upon bolstering his reputation by pathetic macho gestures, ones we have all seen before: Mussolini wrestling a lion cub and Görring keeping lions as pets. This is a throwback to the 1930s when dictators presented themselves as supermen, bare chested, plunging into a frozen lake, helping to bring in the harvest, showing the credulous populace their virility. Get a life: this is the twenty-first century! 

If Putin wants to survive as the leader of the Russian Republic he needs to put aside the “game show” and wake up to reality. He has successfully fooled the West for decades, but now he has revealed his intentions to recreate a semblance of the Soviet Union, a forlorn hope. Look forward, Mr Putin, not back, and reconnect with neighboring countries and the West, to establish meaningful detente. The West has no interest in threatening Russia but will not stand idly by while Russia invades sovereign states in a paranoid bid to compete with the USA. Whether Putin is capable of changing his views, to large extent honed by the KGB and, latterly, the FSB, remains to be seen. Before the annexation of the Crimea in 2014, he may have gone done in history as a positive influence in Russia and international affairs; but after his decision to follow the path of aggrandisement, he will be judged as a despot.

About the Author
Peter John Beyfus is an historian, published author, poet, and a person who prides himself on “thinking outside the box”. I have written many essays on Jewish themes, published in various journals, including ‘Wessex Jewish News’ and ‘Westminster Quarterly’, the magazine of Westminster Synagogue, London.
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