Early in the morning, President Vladimir Putin appeared on Russian television to denounce “terrorism”.
e referred to the truck bomb that damaged the strategically important bridge connecting occupied Crimea to Russia proper.
As if to offer a case study in what psychologists call “projection,” he had already launched “revenge” missile attacks, apparently targeting civilian infrastructure like pedestrian bridges and parks, and electric power stations across Ukraine.
The rush-hour raids on major cities appear to be designed to incite fear and panic rather than achieve a military objective. This is a classic definition of terrorism.
Russian media, which had denounced the attack on the Kerch Bridge as Islamic State-style “terrorism,” immediately switched lanes to hailing the demolitions of bridges in Ukraine as a triumph of Putin’s “military special operation.”
But the revenge airstrikes are a clear symptom of impotent rage at battlefield setbacks rather than a new strategy for Russian victory.
A truly confident Kremlin leader would certainly have looked scornfully at the failure of Ukraine’s attack to cut off Russia’s supply route via the US
But that this symbol of Putin’s restoration of the Russian empire could even be hit was a severe blow to the Russian president’s self-esteem and security.
Putin knows his war has gone wrong and the hawks are circling. Previously passive public opinion was shaken by retreats and the need to replace casualties with new conscripts.
Hitting waves of Iranian-made shahid – “martyrs” – suicide drones is his way of showing that even if he can’t beat the Ukrainian army, he can wreak havoc on the civilian population there.
This is all too horribly reminiscent of how Hitler reacted to the impending military defeat in 1944.
The Nazi leader found solace as the Allies approached Germany in the ability of his V2 supersonic missiles to hit London without warning, but also without affecting the British war effort.
Just as a suicide bomb in the Middle East is seen by some as a “weapon of the weak,” Putin’s rain of terror cannot hide Russia’s retreat on the ground.
Of course, for Ukrainians in target areas, there’s a limit to how much comfort there can be in recognizing that Putin’s anger is a sign of weakness. But terrorist bombs can only increase dislike of Russia.
Hitler continued to fire V2 rockets until 1945, long after his military downfall was clear. He still fantasized about launching long-distance versions against New York in his Berlin bunker.
Putin still has a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons. President Joe Biden has warned of how close Armageddon could be.
Nuclear strategists may be comfortably debating whether Putin is “escalating to de-escalation,” but there’s no sign that the Kremlin is trying to find a compromise solution under the guise of rocket fire.
Dmitry Medvedev, the “interim” President of Russia from 2008-12, acting as his master’s voice, called for regime change in Kyiv after news of the recent airstrikes broke.
Whatever Putin’s wave of terror is intended to signal, it is not a willingness to compromise. But its roar, fire, and rage hide weakness. If Putin threatens to play Samson, won’t the survival instinct kick in even among the Kremlin nutcases? (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd. 2022)
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/horribly-reminiscent-of-hitler-putins-revenge-for-bridge-strike-causes-carnage-but-attacks-on-civilians-only-highlight-his-weakness-42056415.html Terribly Hitlerian – Putin’s vengeance for bridging causes carnage – but attacks on civilians only emphasize his weakness