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  • Writer's picturePeter Pomerantsev

What lies behind Russia’s acts of extreme violence? Freudian analysis offers an answer

The blowing up of a Ukrainian dam echoes a traditional cycle of destruction and self-destruction marking the country’s history

Russian president Vladimir Putin appears to be waging a campaign of destruction for its own sake in Ukraine. Photograph: Ramil Sitdikov/AP


Beneath the veneer of Russian military “tactics”, you see the stupid leer of destruction for the sake of it. The Kremlin can’t create, so all that is left is to destroy. Not in some pseudo-glorious self-immolation, the people behind atrocities are petty cowards, but more like a loser smearing their faeces over life. In Russia’s wars the very senselessness seems to be the sense.


After the casual mass executions at Bucha; after the bombing of maternity wards in Mariupol; after the laying to waste of whole cities in Donbas; after the children’s torture chambers, the missiles aimed at freezing civilians to death in the dead of winter, we now have the apocalyptic sight of the waters of the vast Dnipro, a river that when you are on it can feel as wide as a sea, bursting through the destroyed dam at Kakhovka. The reservoir held as much water as the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Its destruction has already submerged settlements where more than 40,000 people live. It has already wiped out animal sanctuaries and nature reserves. It will decimate agriculture in the bread basket of Ukraine that feeds so much of the world, most notably in the Middle East and Africa. To Russian genocide add ecocide.


Read the full story in the Guardian.

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