Putin’s spin. As noted by the EU’s East StratCom Task Force, “through the illegal annexations, the Kremlin attempts to convince the world of a role reversal, where its disinformation portrays Ukrainian forces as the invading force instead of being the liberators, to whip up patriotism among the Russian people and justify the ongoing ‘partial’ mobilisation.”
- To that same end, it also spreads “lies that Russian forces are fighting against the collective might of NATO, not just Ukraine”.
- Also, the “irresponsible nuclear hot talk” aims “to [deter] Ukrainians from getting what is rightfully theirs and to deter the West from supporting Ukraine’s self-defence efforts.”
It is a real trap: Russia, i.e. the aggressor, is trying to dictate its conditions for peace by trying to keep illegally occupied territories. There is already a precedent: Crimea, 2014.
A tempting “peace”. Stirring up the nuclear threat may help Russian propaganda make inroads into the so-called pacifist world. In Italian politics, this idea proves attractive to Giuseppe Conte’s Five Star Movement, which has often shown ambivalence regarding supporting the Ukrainian resistance in the name of “pacifism”.
- Yesterday, Mr Conte told Avvenire that “the obsession with a hypothetical military victory over Russia […] is not worth the risk of escalation with an insane resort to nuclear warheads and unconventional weapons as well as the risk of a severe economic recession.”
It is actually about survival. Issues that will have to be tackled in a future negotiation include Ukraine’s territorial integrity, human rights violations, and imbalance in nuclear armaments between the two countries.
- Also, it’s worth noting that the Five Star Movement and the like don’t condemn Russia’s war crimes with the same energy they devote to opposing military aid.
Anti-American sentiment? In this war, a specific “pacifist” movement seems to possess anti-Americanist undertones. It avoids lashing out against Russia’s invasion the same way it did with the US presence in Iraq or Vietnam.
- It would be unfair, though, not to recognise the importance of peace caravans that brought aid to Kyiv and advocated for the victims.
A shock to democracy. NATO’s eastward expansion occurred as the result of the State’s free will, a reason for “pacifists” to doubt Russian propaganda. The nightmare of a Slavic democracy on Russia’s doorstep has contributed in pushing the Kremlin to wage war.
- As journalist Giancarlo Loquenzi recalled, “if Russia stops fighting, it is the end of the war; if Ukraine stops fighting, it is the end of Ukraine”. But it would not look good for Western democracies either.