Cover Osteuropa 7/2021

In Osteuropa 7/2021

Putin’s Negative Ukraine Policy
Backgrounds and Analogies

Jan C. Behrends

Deutsche Fassung


Putin’s statements on history are more than a soliloquy. Texts such as “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians” serve to legitimize his rule and to canonize the Russian leadership’s image of the world. Putin repeats imperial visions of bygone times and merges them into a historical panorama. He does not see Ukraine as a sovereign nation-state, but as part of an “anti-Russia project” of the West, which is striving to undermine Moscow’s historic position as a great power. Putin’s argument ties into Russia’s negative Ukraine policy, which seeks to prevent other nations from engaging in nation and state building in its domain. Putin thus harkens back to the imperial thinking of the 19th century, which at the time was directed against the Poles.

(Osteuropa 7/2021, pp. 77–84)