The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has celebrated former tsar Peter the Great on the 350th anniversary of his birth and drew a link between what he depicted as their dual quests to reconquer Russian territory.
On Thursday, Putin mentioned that after seeing an exhibition dedicated to the tsar, “Peter the Great waged the great northern invasion for 21 years. It would appear like he was at war with Sweden. He took something from them. He did not take anything from them. He returned [what was Russia’s].”
In an attempt to justify his war in Ukraine, now on its 107th day, Putin compared Peter’s campaign with Russia’s present-day military endeavours.
Moreover, the Russian leader mentioned in the statement, “Apparently, it also fell to us to return [what is Russia’s] & empower [the country]. And if we proceed from the reality that these necessary values form the basis of our presence, we will certainly succeed in solving the tasks we face.”
Putin has now been in power for over 23 years. He has recently tried justifying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where Russian troops have destroyed cities, killed thousands, and tortured and raped many people, forcing millions of people to flee their homes. Putin has painted a picture of shared history between Russia and Ukraine that denies Ukraine’s national identity.
Before Putin visited the exhibition, Russian state television showed a documentary celebrating Peter the Great for his military escape in which he expanded Russian territory by conquering lands in Sweden and the Ottoman Empire while modernising the Russian army and navy.
Furthermore, “It is impossible – do you understand? – impossible to build a fence across a nation like Russia. And we do not intend to build that fence,” Putin highlighted.