Information about a possible successful counter-offensive of Ukrainian troops in the southern direction was and is still being rejected by russian politicians and propagandists as some kind of alternative reality – this cannot be, simply because it can never happen. And even after the forced recognition by the russian Ministry of Defense of an “offensive attempt,” we see how nervously moscow reacts to the very chance of losing control over the Kherson region, and this, I think, indicates the importance of the region for the kremlin, writes Ukrainian journalist Vitaly Portnikov for ru.krymr.com.
Kherson region, I am sure, is essential for putin’s survival. The region of survival of his plans for a naval blockade of Ukraine. The region of survival of hopes that it will be possible to occupy the entire Ukrainian south and cut off Ukraine from the sea. The region of survival for the occupied Crimea. Let’s stop at the last one.
When in 2014 the decision was made in the kremlin to occupy and annex the peninsula, I, among other experts, asked simple questions. Does Vladimir putin really not understand that Crimea is not an island and has never existed in its history without an inseparable connection with the mainland? Does Vladimir putin really not understand that the land connection will not be replaced by any bridge? Doesn’t Vladimir putin really understand how the 21st century differs from Catherine’s past in Crimea?
And it’s not even that the empress first established control over the mainland around the peninsula – the current southern lands of Ukraine, and only then targeted Crimea itself. The fact is – over the course of several centuries, both the amount of population and its economic needs have changed. Simply put, Crimea will not live without water from the Dnipro river. putin did not seem to understand all this.
We have repeatedly had the opportunity to see that the russian authorities had problems with the ability to ask questions about the consequences of their actions. But when they understood, they drew conclusions, it seems, by no means in favor of common sense. Because common sense could whisper the seditious idea that the occupation of Crimea – despite the increased rating of Vladimir putin – was initially a banal political stupidity.
And the desire to prove that this is not stupidity, but a political success, led to the decision to occupy the entire Ukrainian south. To restore, so to speak, the historical connection of the Crimean Peninsula with the mainland – only in the opposite direction. Include the mainland itself into russia. That is why, in recent months, we have been hearing talk about the possibility of holding “referendums” in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions on joining russia.
And that is why moscow does not even want to hear that they can lose the battle for Kherson. And even more so, the battle for New Kakhovka. The battle for the Dnipro water. That is why it is now important for russian propaganda to “ignore” the statements of Ukrainian politicians that Kyiv will continue to strive to restore the country’s territorial integrity, to de-occupy the south.
In the virtual political reality of the kremlin, russia has “come forever” and will not give up its “region of survival”. But this is the reality of the past. A reality that allowed aggressive empires to seize foreign lands and dictate their own rules. And the war that russia started against Ukraine is a war of the 21st century. I am sure that in this war, the aggressor is starting to lose.