Does Ukraine Exist?

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin attends the Navy Day parade in Saint Petersburg, Russia, July 25, 2021. (Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via Reuters)
Putin doesn’t think so.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE I n mid July, Russian caudillo Vladimir Putin published a remarkable essay in which he argued that Ukraine does not, in some important sense, exist. Later this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will visit Washington to remind President Joe Biden that it does.

Putin’s essay is, in its redundant way, a declaration of war. He insists that there is no such thing as a Ukrainian people (“We are one people,” he writes — in fact, a “triune people,” with the Belarusians also thrown into the mix), that the Ukrainian state is illegitimate and acts against the interests of its citizens because it

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