Putin’s Attack on Ukraine Is an Attempt to Delay His Own Inevitable Demise
Vladimir Putin is an older man, afraid of dying and trying to go back in time. His blood is paid for the Ukrainians and Ukraine. Invading their country in an attempt to avoid his own inevitable end is what he does.
The reality of death is becoming more apparent as we get older. As it approaches it’s natural to want to reverse time. Sometimes we feel nostalgic or a little bit sad about the future. We do silly things to show that we still have a lot of years before death comes. It is funny to try and keep our fingers crossed against the inevitable. You can dodge reality.
However, a dictator of limitless power who’s been at the helm for decades thinks that he is capable of doing anything.
Putin fears death—like any 69-year-old. However, his fear is acute. To ensure that they do not have any disease, he has the visiting officials perform a faeces test. COVID-19 requires that officials isolate the visitor for at least a few days before they can see him. Those who don’t, like the visiting French President Emmanuel Macron, are seated down the other end of an absurdly long table. Is Putin immune-compromised? Maybe. He’s clearly petrified and paranoid of death. He is desperate to reverse the clock with his extreme botox treatment, giving his skin the appearance of wax melting.
He can project his fear onto entire countries, unlike the rest. In his embarrassing ramblings about Ukraine he never talks about The future—he wants to escape the future and what it brings. He “justifies” his invasion through the desire to return the past: take Ukraine back to the 19thHis youth, the Soviet Union and his century. He rambles menacingly about restoring the glories of the Russian Empire, picking apart Lenin’s creation of Soviet Republics, undoing the revolution against his satrap Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. One plausible rumour about Putin’s invasion plan is he wants to cancel all Ukrainian laws passed since the revolution of 2014. Another, more symbolic rumour is that Putin will attempt to restore Yanukovych’s power. It would be as though the past seven years have never occurred. As if he’s still 62.
To stave off death and replenish himself the aging tyrant needs a youthful blood sacrifice—Ukraine. Ukraine is a very old idea. This dream was carried forward by Ukrainians in the Soviet Gulags as well as the Russian Empire prison camps. But it’s most recent iteration of independence is also its longest: thirty years. It is a nation of youth.
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Putin referenced a Russian rape joke in which a sleeping beauty is sexually assaulted, when he was meeting President Macron. Conflating Ukraine and Sleeping Beauty, he put himself in the role of the rapist: “Whether you like it or not my beauty, you will need to put up with all I do to you.” The choice of fairy tale was telling. Even though the castle surrounding her grows with rusty and ivy, Sleeping Beauty is never bored.
In his replies the 44-year-old Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky quipped “Ukraine is indeed a beauty but she’s not yours.” Replying to Putin’s historical fantasies he replied that instead of history lessons Ukraine thinks about its present and its future. Ukraine is more than death to the Kremlin. Putin plans to murder him. Putin plans to kill Ukraine, his young and abused slave-bride.
Imagine how easy it would be for Putin, with Russia’s vast oil riches and talented people, to build a nation Ukraine wants to live in! Instead, Putin created a country filled with murder, fear and death. This is the situation that Ukraine was trying to escape. The Soviet writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn once found a metaphor for the Kremlin’s system in the title of one of his novels: Cancer Ward. It is still a powerful metaphor. Cancers are determined to spread. They want to metastasize across Europe and elsewhere.
Putin’s diagnosis is terminal. What will it do? Ukraine is fighting to the death—and choosing life.