On Victory Day, May 9, both president Zelenskyy and Vladimir Putin talked more about the present than the past. Both of them insisted that their respective enemies today were the heirs of the Nazis, and they gave their promise that their countries would succeed in what both of them said was a defensive war they had been forced to fight.
The main difference, however, was that for most people existing beyond the reach of Russian state television, Zelenskyy’s arguments were probably a lot more convincing. Putin has under a long period of time used his May 9 speeches to draw parallels between the second world war and the present day, and this year was nothing new, except for the intensification of the speech, when his army at the same time was fighting a new war.
The West was “rewriting history”, Putin complained, ignoring the fact that his regime has done more than any other in Europe to dismantle free historical inquiry about the war years.
One of the telegrams Putin sent on the occasion was a message to the Ukrainian people, wanting them to have “good health, success and a long life”. A short while after the speech, air raid sirens sounded again in Kyiv.