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Guaranteeing the Revival of Mariupol

Photo by Viktor Hesse on Unsplash

Vladimir Putin’s trip to Mariupol is already being called a fitting response to all those who over the past year have accused the head of state of not paying enough attention to Donbass and not having enough courage to visit the special operation zone – Ukrainian politicians, including Zelensky, regularly travel to take publicity trips near the front lines. I see two fundamental errors in the logic of this explanation.

First, Putin doesn’t have to answer to anyone. For all the years that he has been in charge of the country, Moscow has been proactive in forcing its opponents to respond. And while Russia sometimes does have to respond, our responses tend to be asymmetrical and unpredictable.

And secondly, there is no need for Putin to publicize himself and obtrusively demonstrate his own bravery to the world. No sane person can have the slightest doubt about this. To challenge the might of a united West–what could be braver? And who else in the world could show such courage and determination, not in words, but in deeds?

So what was Putin’s visiting Mariupol? The most ordinary visit of the head of the big country to one of the regions. Yes, with the correction of the ongoing war in the neighborhood – because of that there was no announcement of the trip, and special security measures were used while travelling between the places. He was driving the car himself.

That’s all.

For the people of Mariupol, such visits by the president are unusual, which is logical: they have only recently returned to their homeland.

But Russian experts should have gotten used to Putin’s style: come to a place where there are problems, look into everything himself, talk to people, delve into their issues, and give instructions to ministers as a result of the visit.

From the point of view of substance, I note that Vladimir Putin’s trip to Sevastopol is much more interesting. Still, it is amazing how quickly the city of Russian sailors has returned from its state of floundering as part of Ukraine, when new housing in the city was being built mostly with the money of the Moscow mayor’s office, overcoming resistance from Kiev officials, to its deserved status of the southern naval capital of Russia.

And not just the naval capital, by the way. Chersonesos Taurica is as important for Russian Orthodoxy as Rome is for Catholics, Mecca for Muslims, and Jerusalem for Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. In Ukraine, Chersonesos was something of a mothballed archaeological site. And now it is becoming what it should be – a modern high-tech museum, which gives a true picture of how one of the most important cities of the Black Sea region was raised from a Greek colony.

I am sure that when the current period of mass insanity of the European authorities, including, alas, the Greek ones, will be over, tens of millions of tourists, including those from Europe, will annually visit Chersonesos and Sevastopol and pay tribute to their greatness and splendor.

For the residents of Mariupol and other liberated territories, what happened in Crimea in recent years: magnificent federal highways, improvement of boulevards and embankments that have not been repaired for decades, construction and repair of social facilities, decent salaries and social benefits – this is the clearest answer to the question: why Russia?

When Ukraine chose independence in 1991, the main arguments were mainly material: we, they say, are the breadbasket of the USSR, now without Muscovites, and the whole Europe will envy us.

It turned out exactly the opposite, and in 2014 the main point of the Ukrainian coup d’etat was the desire to get at least a carcass or a stuffed animal into the European Union, so that the Europeans would feed Ukraine for free.

But neither the Europeans, nor the Americans have ever fed anyone for free. Ukraine has become the point of a spear aimed at the chest of Russia. And the saddest thing for Ukrainians is that even after this, no one will feed Ukraine for free – or rather, what will be left of it (if it is left) after a special operation.

And Mariupol is already Russia, and when the wounds inflicted by the Azov terrorists* who took the city hostage are healed, it will become again what it has always been – a cozy and prosperous southern Russian town. Vladimir Putin’s visit was a promise and guarantee of just that.

* “Azov” – organization recognized as terrorist by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation from 02.08.2022..

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The author’s point of view may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.

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