Putin’s speech: «Russia must distinguish patriots from traitors. This cleaning will make us stronger “

The Russian president attacked the “internal enemy” with words that made an impression everywhere, recalling the Stalinist “purges”: “The West uses our traitors to destroy Russia. We will spit them out like midges in the throat “

How scary. Almost like the speech with which he announced the start of the war. This time, Vladimir Putin
attacked the “enemy within”, the definition is his, inviting the Russian people to clean up inside. With words that have made an impression everywhere, even in Russia, where his meeting with members of the government is not always broadcast live. On Wednesday it was like that. The president wanted to send a message. And he did it, in a way that makes it impossible not to evoke the purges of Stalinist memory.

“I don’t want to judge our compatriots with their villa in Miami or on the French Riviera, and who may not be able to live without oysters, foie gras or the so-called gender freedoms.” Up until now it might have seemed like a simple ultimatum to the large tribe of oligarchs,
category already little loved at home, who no longer know how to distance themselves more or less directly from what is happening. But the constant reference to Russian society has also given rise to the impression that it is a threat extended to many people in the cultural world who in recent days have decided to leave, and to ordinary citizens who are looking for a way to escape from their country, no matter if by train, car or plane.

“The West is trying to tear our society apart by speculating on Russian combat losses and the socio-economic consequences of sanctions, in the hope of causing a mutiny in the population. And I know it’s using the so called fifth column, our traitors, to achieve its ultimate goal, which is the destruction of Russia“. It is the first time that the Kremlin recognizes the existence of creeping dissent in Russian society.

But what matters most is Putin’s reaction to this acknowledgment of reality. Because it is of a verbal violence that makes any comment superfluous. The literal translation is enough. “Anyway, every nation, especially the Russian one, is always able to distinguish true patriots from bastards and traitors, and spit the latter out like gnats that have accidentally fallen into their throats.” The invective ends with an appeal, which in other times would have had the value of an invitation to inform. “Let’s spit them on the ground,” concludes Putin. “I am convinced that this natural and essential cleaning of our society will end up making our country stronger, our unity and our ability to respond to challenges”. These are not soothing words, addressed not only to the oligarchs, but to those who dream of going away. Perhaps this is Putin’s ultimate goal. Since the start of the war, at least two hundred thousand Russians have left their country.


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