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Putin’s re-election furthers new world order

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While African and other leaders in the developing world such as Cuba have lauded Russia’s progressive role in fighting colonialism and apartheid in their countries, President Vladimir Putin has always put Russia first, the writer says. Picture: Valery Sharifulin / POOL / AFP / Taken March 6, 2024

By Wesley Seale

A story is told of how during the height of World War II, a woman, so weak, fainted in the streets of Leningrad, today St Petersburg. Eventually, workers collecting corpses from the streets picked up her body and added it to the pile they had collected that day.

It was only when she woke up and started to moan that a passer-by heard her and assisted her in freeing herself from the dead bodies piled on top of her. She was nursed back to full health, and seven years after the war ended gave birth to a baby boy, Vladimir Putin.

Today, Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, has just been overwhelmingly re-elected, with nearly 88 percent of the vote, for a fifth term. Yet Putin has always understood what had happened to his parents as the personification of what is happening to Mother Russia.

He understands his role in history as the one who has had to rescue Russia from the pile of corpses, nursing her back to health so that she may eventually give birth to something great.

After the humiliation of the fall of the Soviet Union and the continuous cry of the Cold War creed in the West, President Putin persists in ensuring that Russia is respected among the family of nations and that she and Russians claim what is rightfully theirs.

“Together We Are Strong – We are Voting for Russia,” was the official slogan of his election campaign, with the letter “V” serving as the campaign symbol.

The letter “V”, often a sign of victory but also of peace, was first spotted on tanks headed towards Ukraine in 2022. Throughout the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the Russian president has used the phrase: “Together we are strong”.

Even the Russian action in Ukraine must be understood in the light of Putin’s project to restore Russia to its rightful place and his attitude towards the West.

In particular, while he may understand the role he needs to play towards Russia in the light of his mother’s ordeal, his father’s bravery during World War II, fighting against the Germans together with the rest of the West, plays a formative role in Putin’s appreciation of Western betrayal of Russia.

Putin relays how his father, together with a fellow soldier, was ordered to capture a prisoner who may have divulged information to the Germans.

As they had just settled into a foxhole, a German soldier mistakenly came across them, threw a grenade at them and simply walked away. The German was convinced that he had killed Putin senior and his comrade.

Both survived the grenade attack and despite returning after the war with shrapnel in his legs, Vladimir Putin senior could still father a child who would one day remember his efforts in fighting Nazism and fascism with the rest of the Allied forces.

Only for those Allied forces to establish the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation a year after the war ended. An organisation whose primary aim is to humiliate Russia.

In ensuring Russia’s respect among the international community, President Putin has called in favours from countries, especially in Africa. African and other leaders in the developing world such as Cuba have been quick to point out Russia’s progressive role in fighting colonialism and apartheid.

Russia has often sided with the underdogs and the victims of oppression in Africa, the Middle East, and other parts of the developing world. It is for this reason that Putin has ensured that alliances such as BRICS Plus are strengthened, and no doubt his strong re-election will provide the fervent resolve to forge ahead with a new world order.

In this respect, all BRICS Plus countries, and especially the stronger ones such as China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are vital for Putin in building this new world order; one that is multi-polar and free from Western hegemony.

However, Western media has also made sure to highlight opposition to Putin in Russia. The death of Alexei Navalny, especially while incarcerated, cannot bode well for the international community and this vision of a new world order.

Already the perception exists that the governments of the majority of BRICS Plus members are intolerant of domestic opposition.

Despite domestic opposition, Putin’s re-election reaffirms the political stability expected and experienced in the leading BRICS Plus countries. Together, with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Saudi crown prince MBS, and UAE president MBZ, investors and the international community know who will be in charge in these countries in the foreseeable future.

The instability comes in the West. We are unsure of who will occupy the White House by November. While Keir Starmer is most likely to become the new British prime minister, weak European leadership has not assisted in guaranteeing an efficient and effective response to global challenges. This has been especially witnessed in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

At the same time, one cannot but hasten to add how some of Putin’s projects, especially in attempting to advance the Russian cause and to be seen to be assisting advancing economies, have backfired. The (mercenary) Wagner Group is a prime example.

All of this should be a lesson for the rest of us. It would be wise to appreciate that for Putin his country comes first.

Dr Wesley Seale holds a PHD in international relations