Putin's Big Speech Notable for What He Didn't Say

In 'Victory Day' address, Russian leader doesn't declare victory or escalate war plans
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2022 6:11 AM CDT
Updated May 9, 2022 6:45 AM CDT
Putin's Big Speech Notable for What He Didn't Say
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on during the Victory Day military parade marking the 77th anniversary of the end of World War II in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 9, 2022.   (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Monday is the annual Victory Day in Russia, and the world paid close attention to Vladimir Putin's address to his nation. But coverage is emphasizing what the Russian leader didn't say in regard to his invasion of Ukraine, rather than what he did:

  • Putin did not "announce plans to intensify the war against Ukraine or order a mobilization of men to fight as Ukrainian officials had feared," per the Washington Post.
  • "No talk of mobilization. No declarations of victory in Ukraine. A reference to casualties, but no change in terminology: this is still a 'special military operation,'" not a war, per the BBC. "Is Putin happy to keep everyone guessing, or does the lack of detail reflect Russia’s setbacks on the battlefield?"

  • Putin "did not try to frame any part of the Ukraine war as a 'victory,' offering no signal of an imminent end to the conflict,'" per the New York Times.
  • He "did not mention Ukraine by name in his speech and offered no indication of how long the war might continue," per Reuters. Nor did he mention Mariupol, site of perhaps the fiercest fighting of the war.
  • So what did Putin say? He repeated his rationale that Russia's invasion was purely defensive, and he continued to insist that Russia is fighting Nazism.
  • "You are fighting for the Motherland, for its future, so that no one forgets the lessons of World War II,” Putin told Russian forces. “So that there is no place in the world for executioners, punishers, and Nazis.”
  • The invasion was necessary to avert "a threat that was absolutely unacceptable to us (that) has been methodically created next to our borders," he said, per the AP. “The danger was rising by the day,” he said, adding that “Russia has given a preemptive response" that was "the only correct decision by a sovereign, powerful, and independent country.”
(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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