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Vladimir Putin's messages of self-confidence
Ambassador Tran Duc Mau 04:19, 2024/03/03
For him, things are shaping up well with Russia's war in Ukraine and with Russia's efforts to resist all sanctions and confrontations of the West

Russian President Vladimir Putin's 19th annual state-of-nation address was delivered at a special moment and under special circumstances for Russia. It was just a few days after the beginning of the third war in Ukraine and a little bit more days before the next presidential election in Russia which he was widely supposed to certainly win so that he could govern Russia for the next 6 years with the option to expand his reign until 2036. He delivered his address to Russians and the world just after the US and EU imposed new sanctions on Russia and the West for the first time put forward its vague ideas of sending NATO's troops or troops of NATO members into Ukraine to fight against Russia. Therefore, Putin has had to use this year's state-of-nation address to assess the past two years of war in Ukraine, to address the present situation in Russia, and to announce his vision and plan for his next presidential tenure.  

 Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks at an event held in Moscow on January 16, 2024. Photo: AFP/VNA

His messages were simple and easy to understand. For him, things are shaping up well with Russia's war in Ukraine and with Russia's efforts to resist all sanctions and confrontations of the West; Russia's troops are advancing and gaining territories in Ukraine despite Ukraine's fights with money, munitions, and modern high-tech weapons from the West. For him, Russia's politics and society are stable and Russia's economy is strong.

Of course, too, he responded to the West's "ideas play" with the sending of NATO's troops into Ukraine with warning and deterring words and phrases. He warned the West of the catastrophic consequences of militarily direct crashes between Russia's and NATO's troops in Ukraine and made clear that Russia doesn't hesitate, if necessary or being forced, to counter NATO or NATO members with all of Russia's weapons arsenal, including nuclear weapons.

And he promises to make Russia stronger, to improve living and social conditions for Russia, and to reach higher and sustainable economic growth. He ran his election campaign this way too.

He showed his firm self-confidence in finally defeating Ukraine in the war in Ukraine, even if NATO would deploy its troops in Ukraine, in winning the confrontation with the West, and in shaping a glorious future for Russia and Russians. He didn't mention it but the overall impression was that he spoke at the moment before the presidential election like someone who had already won this election.

The major lectures and knowledge for the West and Ukraine from Putin's 19th state-to-nation address must be alarming: Putin has Russia in firm grip, the war in Ukraine will further escalate, the confrontation between Russia and the West will be more hostile and fiercer, Russia will continue to defy the West. The bitter but real final results would be both any peaceful political solution for ending the war in Ukraine and any chance of possible reconciliation between Russia and the West are not visible on the far horizon.

Disclaimer: The reflections expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Hanoi Times.

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