Putin keeps dragging Russian history into this. In his speech he says the offensive started on the same day as the birthday of a victorious Russian naval commander who lived centuries ago. He is most likely doing this to remind people Russia has been a strong and persevering nation for centuries. This stuff may inspire a history fan like Putin, but it’s doubtful young Russians give a damn about an admiral that’s been dead for hundreds of years.

Western commentators compared the speech to Goebbels ‘wollt ihr den totalen Krieg’ speech in 1943. A staged event where Goebbels tried to galvanize the Germans to fight to the death.

The western media love insinuating Putin is exactly like Hitler. Which is of course not the case. Putin is not a goody-goody, but to compare him to Hitler is silly and actually undermines a correct interpretation of Hitler and his entourage.

What’s true is that the event was obviously staged and that the enthusiasm of the audience felt fake. I saw more fear on the faces of these people than genuine pride or excitement..

Musical performances with lyrics like ‘onwards Russia’ made the whole thing look more like a call for total cringe than total war.