Brussels 11.06.2022 President Vladimir Putin compared himself to the country’s Emperor, Peter the Great (pictured), in a speech marking the 350th anniversary of the figure’s birth.
Putin made the comments while visiting a multimedia exhibit about the 18th-century tzar, who led a conquest of the Baltic region while at war with Sweden. Putin remarked that Peter the Great viewed the land as rightfully Russian, drawing a connection to the current war Russia is waging against Ukraine.
“He was returning it and strengthening it,” Putin said, according to Russian media. “Well, apparently, it has also fallen to us to return and to strengthen.” Putin also underlined that when Peter founded the city of St. Petersburg, “none of the countries of Europe recognized it as Russian.”
“It is impossible — do you understand — impossible to build a fence around a country like Russia,” Putin added. Putin has repeatedly attempted to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine since the Feb. 24 beginning of the war, which has since resulted in thousands of deaths and millions of displaced people. Shortly after he launched the invasion, Putin said he was “forced” to attack Ukraine due to Western “intransigence” over security issues.
The Russian president’s comments occurred after the war in Ukraine surpassed 100 days last week.
“Peter the Great fought the Northern War for 21 years. It would seem that he fought with Sweden and rejected something there. He didn’t reject anything! He returned,” the head of state explained.
Putin noted that the fate of modern Russia also fell to “return and strengthen” its sovereignty and territories.