Putin’s most recent annexation is bad for Russia’s as well.
Today, Vladimir Putin declared the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, which he does not fully control, which did not vote to join Russia, and which have seen widespread killings and deportations ever since Russia invaded the country in February. The Russia’s president is also declaring war with this remark. But this conflict extends beyond Ukraine alone.
Putin’s war—war—is Russia’s also an assault on a specific conception of global governance and international law, one that is shared not only by Europeans and North Americans but also by the majority of the rest of the world and even the UN. One fundamental tenet of the current international order is that stronger nations shouldn’t be able to annex smaller nations, and that mass killings of whole people are unacceptable.
Because boundaries have importance on a global scale and cannot be altered by force or at the whim of one tyrant. This notion was previously contested by Putin in 2014 when he grabbed Crimea. He also organised a fake referendum at the time, although he succeeded in persuading many foreigners that it had some legitimacy. Despite the punishments that followed, he was mostly ignored by society. With Russia, trade and diplomatic relations persisted.
This time, no one, anywhere, believes the illegitimate elections Putin organised in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson to be legitimate. He is even unable to pretend as much. The simulation was carried out: Armed men went door to door collecting fictitious votes, and some persons who had been rendered poor by the war were paid to cast their ballots.
However, nothing even faintly like a genuine vote could have ever taken place in areas where hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been evacuated, deported, or murdered, where brutal combat is still ongoing, and where an active resistance is fighting. In Lyman, a strategically crucial city in the Donetsk region, the Ukrainians said they were encircling and cutting off a sizable contingent of Russian forces while Putin was speaking in Moscow.
In these circumstances, Russia’s actions demonstrate disdain for not just international attorneys in European capitals but also for Chinese politicians who like discussing sovereignty and African diplomats who concur that boundaries matter, even when they are arbitrary. Putin will now assert that Ukrainians are protecting their own territory
The people in the upside-down world he has created are in some way hostile to Russia. In order to scare Ukraine and the West, Putin will even raise the stakes by threatening to use nuclear weapons against Russia if Ukraine uses self-defense, reiterating a threat He has done this several times since he began his invasion.
Tom Nichols: The time is running out for Russia
Additionally, this annexation is a declaration of war against the democratic world and a disdain for democracy itself. Putin has been using bogus parties, phoney opponents, and election manipulation as a tactic to subvert democracy for decades. He and his spin doctors long pushed a system of “managed democracy” that gave some room for public opinion,
guaranteeing that he constantly maintained power while doing so After making his declaration today, he stopped acting fake or playing games. This purposeful farce makes fun of the concept of voting, referendums, and public opinion. This is also part of the point—nothing about this conduct has any credibility. There is no such thing as validity in his universe. Only harshness is important.