On February 24 (actually, it is February 23, 2022, about 11PM, if to see the TASS link-ZE), Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a new address. TASS publishes the full text of the head of state's speech, which is also posted on the Kremlin's website.
Dear citizens of Russia! Dear friends!
Today, I again consider it necessary to return to the tragic events taking place in the Donbass and the key issues of ensuring the security of Russia itself.
Let me start with what I said in my address of February 21 this year (2022). We are talking about what causes us particular concern and anxiety, about those fundamental threats that year after year, step by step, are rudely and unceremoniously created by irresponsible politicians in the West in relation to our country. I mean the expansion of the NATO bloc to the east, bringing its military infrastructure closer to Russian borders.
It is well known that for 30 years we have persistently and patiently tried to reach an agreement with the leading NATO countries on the principles of equal and indivisible security in Europe. In response to our proposals, we were constantly faced with either cynical deceit and lies, or attempts at pressure and blackmail, while the North Atlantic Alliance, in the meantime, despite all our protests and concerns, has been steadily expanding. The military machine is moving and, I repeat, is coming close to our borders.
Why is all this happening? Where does this impudent manner of speaking from the position of one's own exclusivity, infallibility and permissiveness come from? Where does the disdainful, arrogant attitude towards our interests and absolutely legitimate demands come from?
The answer is clear: everything is clear and obvious. The Soviet Union in the late 80s of the last century (1987- 1989) weakened, and then completely collapsed (1990). The whole course of events that took place then is a good lesson for us today as well; it convincingly showed us that the paralysis of power and will was the first step towards complete degradation and oblivion. As soon as we (Russia, Russians) lost our self-confidence for some time, and that was it - the balance of power in the world turned out to be disturbed.
This has led to the fact that the previous treaties and agreements were no longer in effect. Persuasion and requests did not help. Everything that did not suit the hegemon, those in power, have been declared archaic, obsolete, unnecessary. And vice versa: everything that seemed beneficial to them has been presented as the ultimate truth, pushed through at any cost, boorishly, by all means. Those who did disagree - were to be just broken across the knee (destroyed, attacked, bullied - ZE).
What I am talking about now concerns not only Russia, and makes not only us to be concerned. This applies to the entire system of international relations, and sometimes even to the US allies themselves. After the collapse of the USSR, the redivision of the world actually began, and the norms of international law that had developed by that time - and the key, basic ones were adopted at the end of the Second World War and largely consolidated its results - began to interfere with those who declared themselves the winner(s) in the Cold War .
Of course, in practical life, in international relations, in the rules for their regulation, it was necessary to take into account changes in the world situation and the balance of world power players at the moment. However, this should have been done professionally, smoothly, patiently, taking into account and respecting the interests of all countries and with an understanding of one's responsibility. But no! The state of euphoria from absolute superiority, a kind of modern form of absolutism - took place - and, on the top, (it was happening) on the background of a low level of general culture and arrogance of those who were preparing, adopting and pushing through decisions that were beneficial only to themselves. The situation began to develop according to the changed scenario.
We don't have to look far away in search of examples. First, without any sanction from the UN Security Council, they carried out a bloody military operation against Belgrade, using aircraft and missiles right in the very center of Europe. Several weeks of continuous bombing of peaceful cities, of life-supporting infrastructure. We have to remind these facts, otherwise some Western colleagues do not like to remember those events, and when we talk about it, they prefer to point not to the norms of international law, but to the circumstances that they interpret as they see fit.
Then came the turn of Iraq, Libya, Syria. The illegitimate use of military force against Libya, the perversion of all decisions of the UN Security Council on the Libyan issue led to the complete destruction of the state, to the emergence of a huge hotbed of international terrorism, to the fact that the country plunged into a humanitarian catastrophe that has not stopped for many years, the civil war. The tragedy, which doomed hundreds of thousands, millions of people - not only in Libya - but throughout this region, gave rise to a massive migration exodus from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe.
A similar fate was prepared for Syria. The fighting of the Western coalition on the territory of this country without the consent of the Syrian government and the sanction of the UN Security Council is nothing but aggression, intervention.
However, a special place in this series occupies, of course, the invasion of Iraq, which was also without any legal grounds. As a pretext, they chose "reliable information" allegedly available to the United States about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. As proof of this, publicly, in front of the eyes of the whole world, the US Secretary of State shook some kind of test tube with white powder, assuring everyone that this is the chemical weapon being developed in Iraq. And then it turned out that all this was a hoax, a bluff: there were no chemical weapons in Iraq.
Unbelievable, surprising, but the fact remains as it is. There were lies at the highest state level and (also) from the high rostrum of the UN. And as a result - huge casualties, destruction, an incredible surge of terrorism.
In general, one gets the impression that practically everywhere, in many regions of the world, where the West comes to establish its own order, as the result, are coming out bloody, unhealed wounds, ulcers of international terrorism and extremism. All that I have said is the most egregious, but by no means the only examples of disregard for international law.
In this series, were also promises to our country not to expand NATO even by an inch to the East. I repeat - they deceived me, but in popular terms, they simply blew smoke into our eyes. Yes, you can often hear that politics is a dirty business. Perhaps, but not to such extent, not to this degree. After all, such cheating behavior contradicts not only the principles of international relations, but, above all, the generally recognized norms of morality. Where is justice and truth here? They are just a bunch of lies and hypocrisy.
By the way, American politicians, political scientists and journalists, themselves, write and talk about the fact that a real “empire of lies” has been created inside the United States in the recent years. It's hard to disagree with that - it's true. But it is not necessary to be modest: the United States is still a great country, a system-forming power. All its satellites not only resignedly and dutifully assent, sing along with it for any reason, but also copy its behavior, enthusiastically accept the rules it proposes. Therefore, with good reason, we can confidently say that the entire so-called Western bloc, formed by the United States by its own image and likeness, all of it - actually is the very “empire of lies”.
As for our country, after the collapse of the USSR, with all the unprecedented openness of the new modern Russia, the readiness to work honestly with the United States and other Western partners, and in the conditions of virtually unilateral disarmament, they immediately tried to put the squeeze on us, finish off and destroy us completely. This is exactly what happened in the 90s, in the early 2000s, when the so-called 'collective West' most actively supported separatism and mercenary gangs in southern Russia. What sacrifices, what losses did all this cost us then, what hard experiences did we have to go through before we finally broke the back of international terrorism in the Caucasus. We remember this and will never forget.
Yes, in fact, until recently, attempts to use us in their own interests have not stopped, the attempts to destroy our traditional values and impose on us their pseudo-values that would corrode us, our people, from the inside; the attempts to impose on us those attitudes that they have been already aggressively planting in their countries and which directly (always) lead to degradation and degeneration, because they contradict the very nature of man (a person, an individual - ZE). It won't happen; no one has ever done it. It won't work now either.
Despite everything, in December 2021, we nevertheless once again made an attempt to have an agreement with the United States and its allies on the principles of ensuring security in Europe and on the non-expansion of NATO. Everything has been in vain. The position of the USA does not change. They do not consider it necessary to negotiate with Russia on this key issue for us; pursuing their own goals. They neglect our interests.
And of course, in this situation, we have a question: what to do next, what to expect? We know well from history how in the 1940s and early 1941s the Soviet Union tried in every possible way to prevent or at least delay the outbreak of war. To this end, among other things, it tried literally to the last not to provoke a potential aggressor; it (the USSR) did not carry out or, actually, postponed the most necessary, obvious actions to get prepared for repelling an inevitable attack. And those steps that were nevertheless taken in the end were catastrophically belated.
As the result, the country was not ready to fully meet the invasion of Nazi Germany, which attacked our Motherland on June 22, 1941, without declaring war. The enemy was stopped and then crushed, but at a colossal cost. An attempt to appease the aggressor right before the Great Patriotic War turned out to be a mistake that cost our people dearly. In the very first months of military actions, we lost huge, strategically important territories and millions of people. The second time we will not let such a mistake to take place; we have no right to let it happen.
Those who claim world domination, publicly, with impunity and, I emphasize, without any reason, declare us, Russia, their enemy. Indeed, today they have great financial, scientific, technological and military capabilities. We are aware of this and objectively assess the threats constantly being addressed to us in the economic sphere, as well as we also assess our own ability to resist this impudent and permanent blackmail. I repeat, we evaluate them without illusions, extremely realistically.
As for the military sphere, modern Russia, even after the collapse of the USSR and the loss of a significant part of its potential, is today one of the most powerful nuclear powers in the world and, moreover, has certain advantages in a number of the latest types of weapons. In this regard, no one should have any doubts that a direct attack on our country will lead to defeat and dire consequences for any potential aggressor.
At the same time, technologies, including defense technologies, are changing rapidly. Leadership in this area is constantly changing hands, but the military development of the territories adjacent to our borders, if we allow it to happen, will remain for decades to come, and maybe forever, and it will create a constantly growing, absolutely unacceptable threat for Russia.
Even now, as NATO expands to the East, the situation for our country is getting worse and more dangerous every year. Moreover, in recent days, the leadership of NATO has been openly talking about the need to accelerate, speed up the advancement of the Alliance's infrastructure to the borders of Russia. In other words, they are hardening their position. We can no longer just continue to observe what is happening. It would be absolutely irresponsible on our part.
Further expansion of the infrastructure of the North Atlantic Alliance, the military development of the territories of Ukraine, that has begun, is unacceptable for us. The point, of course, is not the NATO organization itself - it is only an instrument of US foreign policy. The problem is that in the territories adjacent to us, I note, in our own historical territories, an “anti-Russia” hostile to us is being created, which has been placed under complete external control; and it is intensively being settled by the armed forces of NATO countries and it is being pumped up with the most modern weapons.
For the United States and its allies, this so-called 'policy of containment of Russia' (has in it) obvious geopolitical dividends. And for our country, this is ultimately a matter of life and death, a matter of our historical future as a nation (people). And this is not an exaggeration - it is true. This is a real threat not just to our interests, but to the very existence of our state, its sovereignty. This is the very red line that has been talked about many times. They have crossed it.
In this regard, now I will talk about the situation in the Donbass. We see that the forces that carried out a coup d'état in Ukraine in 2014, seized power and who have been holding it with the help of, in fact, decorative electoral procedures, have finally abandoned the peaceful settlement of the conflict. For eight years, endlessly long eight years, we have done everything possible to resolve the situation by peaceful, political means. All (attempts made - have been - ZE) has been in vain.
As I had already said in my previous address, one cannot look at what has been happening there without compassion. It has become simply impossible to endure all this longer. It has become necessary to immediately stop this nightmare - the genocide against the millions of people living there, who rely only on Russia, hope only on us. These were the aspirations, feelings, pain of people that had become for us the main motive for making a decision to recognize the people's republics of Donbass.
What I think is also important to emphasize now - it is the following: the leading NATO countries, in order to achieve their own goals, support extreme nationalists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine in everything, who, in turn, will never forgive the Crimeans and Sevastopol residents for their free choice - reunification with Russia.
They, of course, will try to get also into the Crimea, and in the same way as (they are doing it) in the Donbass, with a war, in order to kill, as punishers (executioners, Russian word "karateli" - ZE) from the gangs of Ukrainian nationalists, Hitler's accomplices, were killing defenseless people during the Great Patriotic War. They now openly declare that they consider to claim a number of other Russian territories.
The entire course of events and analysis of incoming information shows that Russia's clash with these forces is inevitable. It is only a matter of time: they are getting ready, they are waiting for the right time. Now they also claim to possess nuclear weapons. We will not allow this to happen.
As I said earlier, after the collapse of the USSR, Russia accepted new geopolitical realities. We respect and will continue to treat all the newly formed countries in the post-Soviet space with respect. We respect and will continue to respect their sovereignty, and an example of this is the assistance we have provided to Kazakhstan, which faced tragic events, with a challenge to its statehood and integrity. But Russia cannot feel safe, develop, exist with a constant threat emanating from the territory of modern Ukraine.
Let me remind you that in 2000-2005 we gave a military rebuff to terrorists in the Caucasus, defended the integrity of our state, saved Russia. In 2014, we supported the Crimeans and Sevastopol residents. In 2015, our Armed Forces used to put up a reliable barrier to the penetration of terrorists from Syria into Russia. We had no other way to protect ourselves.
The same thing is happening now. You and I (in Russian language it is "to us and to you (plural)") simply have not been left with any other opportunity (choice) to protect Russia, our people, except for the one that we will be forced to use today. Circumstances require us to take decisive and immediate action. The people's republics of Donbass turned to Russia with a request for help.
(2) Note of translator
In this regard, in accordance with Article 51 of Part 7 of the UN Charter, with the sanction of the Federation Council of Russia and in pursuance of the treaties of friendship and mutual assistance ratified by the Federal Assembly on February 22 this year with the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic, I decided to conduct a special military operation .
Its goal is to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years. And for this we will strive for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, as well as bringing to justice those who committed numerous, bloody crimes against civilians, including citizens of the Russian Federation.
With all said above, our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. We are not going to impose anything on anyone by force. At the same time, we hear that recently in the West there has been more often said over and over - that the documents signed by the Soviet totalitarian regime, which consolidate the results of the Second World War, should no longer be carried out. Well, what is the answer to this?
The results of the Second World War, as well as the sacrifices made by our people on the altar of victory over Nazism, are sacred. But this does not contradict the high values of human rights and freedoms, based on the realities that have developed today over all the post-war decades. It also does not cancel the right of nations to self-determination, stated in Article 1 of the UN Charter.
Let me remind you that neither during the creation of the USSR, nor after the Second World War, people living in certain territories that are part of modern Ukraine - no one ever asked how they themselves want to arrange their lives. At the heart of our policy is freedom, the freedom of choice for everyone to independently determine their own future and the future of their children. And we consider it important that this right - the right to choose - could be used by all the peoples living on the territory of today's Ukraine, by everyone who wants it.
In this regard, I appeal to the citizens of Ukraine. In 2014, Russia was obliged to protect the inhabitants of Crimea and Sevastopol from those whom you yourself call “Nazis”. Crimeans and Sevastopol residents made their choice to be with their historical homeland, with Russia, and we supported this. I repeat, we simply could not do otherwise.
Today's events are not connected with the desire to infringe on the interests of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. They are connected with the protection of Russia itself from those who have taken Ukraine hostage and now are trying to use it against our country and its people.
I repeat, our actions are self-defense against the threats posed to us and from an even greater disaster than what is happening today. No matter how difficult it may be, I ask you to understand this and call for cooperation in order to turn this tragic page over as soon as possible and move forward together; not allowing anyone to interfere in our affairs, in our relations, but, on the contrary - to build them on our own - in order to create the necessary conditions for overcoming all problems and, despite the presence of state borders, to let this cooperation strengthen us from the inside as a whole. I believe in this - in this is our future.
I must also appeal to the military personnel of the armed forces of Ukraine.
Your fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers did not fight the Nazis, defended our common Motherland, so that today's neo-Nazis seized power in Ukraine. You took an oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people, and not to the anti-people junta that plunders Ukraine and abuses these same people.
Do not follow their criminal orders. I urge you to lay down your weapons immediately and go home. Let me clarify: all servicemen of the Ukrainian army who fulfill this requirement will be able to freely leave the combat zone and return to their families.
Once again I insistently emphasize: all responsibility for possible bloodshed will be wholly and completely on the conscience of the regime ruling on the territory of Ukraine.
Now a few important, very important words for those who may be tempted to intervene in ongoing events. Whoever will try to interfere with us, let alone will try to create threats to our country, to our people, should know - Russia's response will be immediate and will lead to consequences that you have never experienced in your history. We are ready for any development of events. All necessary decisions in this regard have been made. I hope that I will be heard.
Dear citizens of Russia!
Well-being, the very existence of entire states and peoples, their success and viability always originate in the powerful root system of their culture and values, experience and traditions of their ancestors and, of course, directly depend on the ability to quickly adapt to a constantly changing life, on the cohesion of society, its readiness to consolidate and to gather together all the forces in order to move forward.
Forces are needed always, but strength can be of different quality. At the heart of the policy of the “empire of lies”, which I spoke about at the beginning of my speech, there is primarily brute, straightforward force. In such cases, we say: “Where there is power, mind is not needed.”
However, you and I know that the real strength is in justice and truth, which is on our side. And if this is so, then it is difficult to disagree with the fact that it is strength and readiness to fight that underlie independence and sovereignty, and they (all four together - ZE) make the necessary foundation on which one can reliably build one's future, build one's home, one's family, one's homeland.
I am confident that the soldiers and officers of the Russian Armed Forces devoted to their country will professionally and courageously fulfill their duty. I have no doubt that all levels of government, specialists responsible for the stability of our economy, financial system, social sphere, heads of our companies and all Russian business will act in the coordinated and efficient manner. I count on the consolidated, patriotic position of all parliamentary parties and public/social forces of Russia.
Ultimately, as it has always been in history, the fate of Russia is in the reliable hands of our multinational people. And this means that the decisions made will be implemented, the established goals will be achieved, the security of our Motherland will be reliably guaranteed.
I believe in your support, in that invincible strength that our love for the Fatherland gives us.
++++++ End of Speech ++++++
Notes of Translator
The translation is done with the help of Google, however, it is edited, where the Russian to English is not correct. For example, in the colloquial expression “разбить о колено, через колено – to break in 2 halves over the knee” Google gave the wrong preposition which completely clouded the meaning. The meaning is: “…to raise your left knee (or right) and to break something breakable, like a stick, which you hold in your right hand (or left), with a fast hit over the knee.” I already mentioned in my articles before that Google translation (of 2021-2022 at least: we are not talking here about 20 years ago) mostly does a good job until it is about idiomatic expressions, proverbs, synonyms, etc. In these Google’s translating computer (app) would be making inevitable mistakes. Here we need editing by the fluent and educated native speaker-translator. Why educated? Because an uneducated one would not be able to explain, even if he or she has the knowledge and the best intentions.
Recent talks of Putin with Azerbajan president prove very good and stable, mutually respectful relationship between Russia and Azerbajan, The Azerbajan President expressed gratitude to Russia for helping pacifying the military conflict between Azerbadjan and Armenia in Nagorniy Karabakh area.
In Russian language we have and use both words – “fatherland” and “motherland” (отечество, родина). For “motherland” we use the word “Rodina” (Родина), which has many derivatives: imperfective infinitive-verb “to give birth” (родить), adjectives, adverbial words and phrases. Especially important of these derivatives is an adjective “rodnoy” (родной). I am showing here only masculine form, however Russian adjective has 4 forms: feminine, masculine, neuter, and plural. Russian adjective agrees by Case with the noun it describes.
For example, "rodnaya storona" (родная сторона) means "village, country, place, where a person was born". Because "storona" (сторона) is of feminine gender, the adjective here takes also feminine gender. If I change the case of noun, the adjective will change the ending too, because the noun will change the ending in a certain secondary Case. For example, "On ne bil v rodnoy storone dvadtsat' let" (He has not visited his motherland, the place of birth, for twenty years - Он не был в родной стороне двадцать лет.) The case here is dictated by the preposition "в" which is the Prepositional Case preposition, so the phrase "v rodnoy storone" is in Prepositional Cse.
The adjective "rodnoy" (родной) is also applied when the siblings are of the same biological parents. For example, "rodnaya sestra"(родная сестра) means "the sister of the same mother and father". So, you see, this adjective reflects also blood relations. Or, we will specify that "rodnaya tolko po otsu"(родная только по отцу), if that is the case - only father is the same of the two siblings and this particular sister, but mothers were different. Also, this adjective is very emotional, when we speak about romantic love, and if we apply it, that means, we speak of high emotions when a person feels that the one whom he/she loves is like the same blood, so close to his/her heart. Blood is a physical part of a human body, while soul, emotions are spiritual parts. This adjective brings the two close together.
Russia has a rich and deep culture going with its roots in the past. Russians has the richest folklore. We remember proverbs dated to early middle centuries. We not only remember them - we use them in everyday speech. We support ourselves with the knowledge about the past because for us things are interconnected. We are proud of victories achieved as early as in the early middle centuries, let alone the ones that are in the memory of the general population - for the last couple of centuries.
The strength of a person is in his memory of his/her history. The strength of a person comes from the rich cultural roots and traditions. One has to know his/her roots. There are people, who have been unfortunate and lost both parents in early age. It is more difficult for these people to find strong grounds for creating their own confident Self. Nevertheless, it is possible - through other, common values of humanity or the immediate community in society. It is unfortunate when in the surrounding society or community of people the cultural, historical, traditional values are not taught, not followed, or they are lost in people's minds.
I wish more people of the world who do not know much about Russian culture, or Russian people, learned about our rich, authentic, deep culture and humane values. It is good, useful, interesting, curious, empowering, and enriching knowledge. At any age it is not late to study something good. It will make a life of a person more exciting and meaningful for that person and for other people around.
Dear Reader! I have done all the editing and my Notes by myself. I do not use spell-checking. I did not have time to ask my friends to run through this text. Therefore, if there are any mechanical misprints, I apologize - one pair of eyes can miss them a few times. However, whenever I notice any, I will be correcting them right away on the spot. Trust me, I have been a language instructor for 30 years: I dislike mistakes, spelling or spoken, with all my soul! :D
I am grateful to all visitors of my sites, platforms, and online communities!
I wish to everybody happiness and prosperity!
March 25, 2022