The sum of all Dima's and Vova's anxieties

Dmitry Medvedev and Putin’s speeches regarding border correction seem strange and absurd. However, they perfectly illustrate the Kremlin rulers’ state of mind and international policy plans.

Miedwiediew kitel stalina marynarka
style="font-weight: 400;">Dmitry Medvedev recently delivered a lecture on Russia’s borders during the World Youth Festival in Sochi. On the 71st anniversary of Stalin’s death, he appeared on stage wearing a costume modeled on the USSR leader’s uniform jacket. Sochi, March 5, 2024. Broadcast frame

During the World Youth Festival in Sochi, former President of Russia and Vice-Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev participated in a program called the Knowledge.First, Matarhon (Znanie.Pervye), which, in theory, was intended to be an educational speech. Medvedev made an unusual appearance by wearing a blue outfit modeled on Joseph Stalin’s characteristic uniform jacket. He spoke on the 71st anniversary of the Soviet dictator’s death.

During a lecture by former Russian President Medvedev, a map showing the partition of Ukraine was displayed. The map depicted Poland receiving its western part, Romania gaining the Vinnytsia region, and Russia receiving the entire east and part of the center of Ukraine. This projection, full of bizarre fantasies, was accompanied by Medvedev’s statement that Ukraine does not exist because it is a part of Russia.

 – The territory on both banks of the Dnieper is an inseparable part of Russia’s historical and strategic borders, said Medvedev.

It was not a satirical program. Medvedev has become known for making absurd statements and aggressive attacks on Western countries, with a particular emphasis on Poland lately.

Last year, former President Medvedev wrote an article in Rossiyskaya Gazeta in which he referred to Poland as a historical enemy and threatened that Polish policy would result in the extinction of Polish statehood. A month after the start of the aggression against Ukraine, Medvedev accused Poland of pathological Russophobia in an entry in the Telegram messenger. In early 2021, he wrote a text titled “America 2.0 after the US elections,” which questioned American democracy and world leadership following the elections.

Nevertheless, Medvedev’s freelance journalistic creativity should not be taken lightly. While it reflects Russia’s internal situation and is directed towards its people and elite, it also exposes the Kremlin’s dreams and intentions in a slightly distorting mirror. Furthermore, it serves as a testing ground for the West’s perception of Russia and aims to create a sense of fear toward this country.

Moreover, Medvedev’s words must be read backward. If he claims that the West is fearful of losing in Ukraine and Russia is prepared to engage in a prolonged conflict, the opposite is likely true. It shows that the Russian elite is keen to bring the war to an end, but only on the absurd terms outlined by Medvedev.

Ukraine as a burning sensation in the throat

If it were not for the fact that Medvedev has his place at the top of the Kremlin’s pyramid of power, regime propagandists like Vladimir Solovyov or Olga Skabeeva could be concerned about their position in the hierarchy of the propaganda machine. All because Medvedev can play the role of propaganda agitator well. During a recent TV appearance, he struggled even to say Ukraine. It seemed that whenever he pronounced this word, he experienced a painful sensation as if his throat was burning.

And no wonder. After all, contrary to the words announced (including by Medvedev himself) over the last two years, the invasion did not go as smoothly as expected, and its goals were not achieved. It is evident even in the triumphant map displayed behind the former president’s back during the last show. The map displayed Russia extending beyond the Dnieper and into Moldova. However, today, Russia is stuck in the mud behind Avdiyivka and Robotyne.

Medvedev said that the conflict in Ukraine is a civilizational war for the West. These words should also be read backward. There’s no other way to correctly interpret his statements, such as the West’s goal is to reduce Russia to the size of the historic Principality of Moscow. Or the thesis that Ukraine is a battering ram against Russia. Because yes, it is a civilizational war, but for Russia. Only with an extreme bending of facts, logic, and a hefty dose of turbo-cynicism could it be differently concluded that the West’s goal is to expand the zone of democracy, and this is a painful process for authoritarian Russia.

We could think this way except for a fundamental fact: Russia invaded Ukraine. It was not the other way around. The former Russian president, one of the essential elite power figures, drew the partition maps of Ukraine. The current President, Vladimir Putin, has decided to subjugate Ukraine’s territory and admit it to the Russian Federation.

The world far from the reality

In the Kremlin’s language, a land grab is a justified, even highly desirable action. Medvedev says, “We don’t need other people’s land, but we will not give up ours.” Perversity? Not necessarily because the Kremlin operates under a different kind of logic. When Putin and his claqueur Medvedev declare that Russia has no intention of pursuing expansionist goals or annexing Ukrainian land, they are nothing but dishonest and hypocritical.

In his lectures, Medvedev clarified that Russia sees Ukraine as its territory. He argues that as a superpower, Russia has the right to establish strategic borders that define its zone of interests, which are not necessarily the same as country borders. Following in Putin’s footsteps, Medvedev has outlined Russia’s ideal neighboring countries: they should be state-owned and not aligned with Moscow’s enemies.

These are not novel beliefs. For years, Putin’s regime has portrayed a world divided into spheres of power and a Russia surrounded by ideal and friendly neighbors, such as Belarus. Medvedev’s points of view are the same and repeated opinions. However, they are presented more aggressively. Shows like the recent one with Medvedev during the World Youth Festival in Sochi give the impression that Moscow is determined in its strategies towards Ukraine and the West.

It was not the first time such lectures included elements addressed to specific countries, such as Poland. This particular remark is about how Russia will subjugate the East of Ukraine, and then Warsaw will conquer the Western Ukrainian territory. According to Medvedev’s maps, even Romania would get a part of Ukraine, with Vinnytsia included. Medvedev also focused attention on Germany, referring to overheard conversations of Bundeswehr officers and threatening Berlin if a long-range missile was delivered to Ukraine.

You have to be afraid

The vision of a significant European conflict, Russia’s war with NATO, and the threat of the use of nuclear weapons will soon be developed in parallel with Medvedev’s stories about Russian spheres of influence and the conquest of Ukraine. Moscow will also emphasize that it is willing to overturn the international order completely.

Growing concerns have arisen regarding Putin’s recent statements about the German unification treaties. The German political establishment is significantly worried about the possibility of Putin propagating the idea of recreating the GDR, even if only through rhetoric and propaganda. The threats of nuclear conflict or a major confrontation with Russia through hybrid means compound this concern. These means are being used to destabilize the unity of the West and demobilize European societies.

The shocking statements made by Putin and Medvedev are part of a game that Russian regime officials play to intimidate others. They may act so convincingly that Western societies start believing in Russian madness. However, Russian leaders do not always act in their roles; they may also have other motives.

It’s true that when Kremlin rulers carry their roles, there is often a lot of cynical manipulation involved, almost like a theatrical performance. The main issue here is that the Kremlin elite truly believes in the vision of the world they have created, which is a strange mix of delusions, fears, complexes, historical stereotypes, and lies. By fully embracing their roles, they have accepted their version of reality. As a result, negotiating with Putin and the Kremlin will be difficult, if not impossible.

The Kremlin speaks a language that is incomprehensible to the Western world. Its tone is frightening and often used to intimidate others. Communicating with a world based on paranoid dreams can be challenging, especially since Moscow’s leaders believe these dreams will come true.

Michał Kacewicz/

Translated by PEV

The opinions and thoughts expressed in the text reflect only the author's views.