I’m reclaiming land for Russia like Peter the Great, says Vladimir Putin

Russian leader gives hints of his war goals by comparing his invasion of Ukraine to the 17th-century monarch’s conquests.

; HISTORY CORRESPONDENT and RUSSIA CORRESPONDENT

9 June 2022 • 8:06pm

Vladimir Putin on Thursday offered the clearest summation yet of his war goals as he compared himself to Peter the Great “reclaiming” territory for Russia.

At a meeting with young entrepreneurs and scientists, the Russian leader sought to draw a flattering comparison between himself and the 17th-century monarch, who founded St Petersburg – Putin’s birthplace.

“Peter the Great waged the Northern War for 21 years. You might think ‘he was fighting with Sweden, seizing their lands…’ He wasn’t capturing them. He was reclaiming them,” Putin told the scientists.

He went on to imply that he believed swathes of Ukrainian land would soon be annexed by Russia in a similar fashion and that it would eventually be recognised as such.

“When Peter the Great laid the foundation of a new capital in St Petersburg, none of the European countries recognised this territory as Russian. Everyone recognised it as Swedish,” he said.

“But along with Finno-Ugric peoples, Slavs lived there from ancient times. Why did he invade it? To reclaim [our lands] and strengthen [the state]. That’s what he did. It seems that it’s our turn now to return [the land] and strengthen [the state].”

He was speaking at an exhibition in Moscow dedicated to Peter the Great, named Peter I: The Birth of the Empire.

Peter the Great Exhibition
Actors perform at a ball during the Peter the Great exhibition in MoscowCREDIT: Anatoly Maltsev/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

While Putin has used false claims about Nazismand dubious security concerns about Nato to justify the war in Ukraine, his critics have long suspected it is motivated by nostalgia for the Russian empire.

The remarks also suggest that Putin is in no hurry to end the invasion until he has claimed substantial land in Ukraine as his own, or at least wants Kyivand the West to believe this is the case.

Putin has at times justified the war as a “special operation”, limited to “liberating” the Russian-speaking people in the eastern Donbas region

Western officials suspect that the Russian leader is not being given the full picture about the chaotic, incompetent performance of the Russian army in Ukraine as they are afraid of reprisals.

On Thursday night, a report in French magazine Paris Match claimed that Putin’s aides collect his urine and stool samples during trips abroad so that they cannot be analysed to reveal potential illness.

Citing “Middle East” sources, the magazine said that during a trip to Saudi Arabia in 2019, Putin’s faeces were collected in special containers, packed in a suitcase and sent back to Moscow.

Peter the Great
Peter the Great ruled Russia between 1682 and 1725, and was obsessed with turning the country into a major European power CREDIT: Olga Maltseva/AFP via Getty Images

Of the multiple Russian monarchs to earn the epithet “the Great”, Peter did perhaps the most to shape modern Russia. Initially, he continued the policies of his predecessors, pushing Moscow’s control further south and east, encroaching into the then-Ottoman oriented lands around Crimea and the Sea of Azov.

However, he was obsessed with turning Russia into a maritime and European power, like its European rivals, and he wanted access to the Black Sea.

That campaign failed, but he turned his eyes to the Baltic and capturing lands that Sweden had annexed from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, while Russia was weakened by a period of internal strife known as the “Time of Troubles” which followed the descent of Ivan the Terrible into madness.

Peter declared war on Sweden, triggering what became known as the Great Northern War, a 21-year conflict that would prove terminal for the Swedish Empire but foundational for Russia.

He was left in control of most of the Gulf of Finland, including modern-day Estonia and the future site of St Petersburg. Russia was also declared officially an empire and elevated to the status of a European great power.

Ironically, however, Peter the Great is credited with doing more than any other Russian leader to make Sweden a European nation, rather than an imperial possession of Moscow.   

He travelled extensively in Europe, often in disguise, and saw Europeanisation as the only path out of backwardness for Russia.

Culturally, he forced his nobility to become European. Russian-style clothing was banned from his court, while men were ordered to cut off their long, Asiatic beards or face a hefty tax. He also forced them to be educated, especially in science and maths.

He also embarked on extensive civil service reform and only once this was complete did he return his focus to Muslim lands, conquering swathes of the Caucusus from a declining Persia.

4 comments

  1. Putler’s Holocaust will continue; for years if allowed by civilisation. When the demonic nazi toad dies, some other genocidal monster will continue. It’s what RuSSian people want. They live for mass murder, torture and theft; it makes them happy. Especially when it’s being done to Ukrainians.
    RuSSia requires complete de-nazification.
    RuSSians are still allowed to live beautiful lives in the west. This must now be stopped. All Russians in Brighton Beach, Miami, London, Montecarlo, Limassol etc must be deported, their banks frozen and all assets seized.
    Huge US corporations in Russia must all be completely shut down. No RuSSians can ever work for an American, British, Australian, Canadian or EU registered company again. Well of course the last one is a fairy tale as we know, but those few countries with integrity must act decisively.
    On the military front, the Budapest signatories, Pribaltika, Czechia, Slovakia and Poland are not doing anywhere near enough. Ukraine has no realistic hope from anyone else, so they are the ones that must take this on.
    In particular, Germany must be forced to pay Ukraine for the Holocaust they financed; not once, but twice.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The EU is still trading with RuZZia; a total disgrace. 
    Supported economically by Russia lackey rulers of France, Germany, Italy, Hungary and politically by disembalmed putinoid trash like Noam Chomsky and Henry Kissinger, as well as the kremlin’s influential far right media and political shills in the US: the entire Trump wing of the GOP, plus Tucker Carlson, Michael Savage, Alex Jones, Candace Owens, Laura Ingraham etc, RuZZia is actually doing quite nicely. 
    This demonic war will go on until orc mothers decide that they love their children more than they hate Ukrainians.
If the orcs are ordered to return to the hellhole they came from, there will be peace. If the defenders lay down their weapons, there will be no Ukraine.
    If Germany, France and Italy had not funded this war, it would not have started.
If the EU would stop trading COMPLETELY with the orcs, the war would end more quickly.
If ALL travel to Europe and North America was denied to ALL Russians, the war would end more quickly.
If ALL offshore Russian property and cash assets was seized and given to Ukraine, the war would end more quickly.
If the US, UK and Poland would put boots on the ground and planes in the air, the war would end.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Many despots see themselves for what they are not, and what they truly are is always the complete opposite of their fantasies. Hitler thought that he was a sort of tool of providence, a Percival of the German people, the savior of Aryan blood. He even thought of himself as an artistic virtuoso and military genius. We all know the truth about his delusions of grandeur, and how all that ended. Because of him, Germany is committing self-immolation and is once again romancing an evil dictator, but not a German one, but, in keeping with its self-destruction, a little Mongol one called Vlad Putin.
    Here too, Putler thinks of himself as another “the Great”. Vlad Putin the Great. Sounds perverted in the ears of anyone with a lick of common sense. There is pure fantasy at play in Putin’s warped and twisted, dark mind. Instead, he will forever be known as a madman, a criminal, as the person who threw Russia years back into the past and the destructor of relations between the ruskies and the rest of Europe and in particular Ukraine. In Ukraine, the ruskies and mafia land will be hated for generations to come. Rebuild Peter the Great’s empire? What an insane thought! He and his mafia land will be lucky not to fall apart like the previous ruskie empires have. All that will be his legacy and no “the Great”.

    Liked by 3 people

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