In his speech, of 21.04.2021 Putin made a very sharp cultural reference which, if unfolded, offers some major insights as to current events and what is likely to unfold.
First, some background. In February of 2021 Josep Borrell, EU's chief diplomat, made a trip to Moscow which was roundly declared a disaster. While in Moscow, Borrell demanded that Russia release Alexei Navalny, who had just serving out his sentence for a previous fraud conviction. In return, Borrell was shown a video montage of human rights atrocities perpetuated by European police against demonstrators in a number of EU countries and was told that such behavior was unacceptable, implying that the EU was in no position to lecture Russia on human rights.
His trip coincided with the expulsion of a group of European diplomats who had interfered in Russia's internal affairs by becoming involved in political protests there, this being inconsistent with their diplomatic status. Thereafter, minister Sergei Lavrov declared that although relations with the EU are almost dead, Russia will continue to develop its relations with individual European nations. Then, a little less than two months later, several European countries, all of them formerly part of the East Bloc but now part of NATO, started expelling Russian diplomats on a thought-up pretext.
And then came Putin's speech of 21.04.2021, which contained the following passage: "We want to maintain good relations with everyone who participates in the international dialogue. But we see what is happening in real life. As I said, every now and then they are picking on Russia, for no reason. And of course, all sorts of petty Tabaquis are running around them like Tabaqui ran around Sheer Khan – everything is like in Kipling's book – howling along in order to make their sovereign happy. Kipling was a great writer." Upon hearing these words, much of the Federal Assembly he was addressing smiled and laughed. Putin's arrow found its target.
What does this all mean?
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