The sign in Kaluga, Russia says "Crimea Today - Rome Tomorrow! Happy Victory Day of May 9!" (Image: KP-Kaluga, May 2015)
The non-stop drumbeat of chauvinism and alleged superiority of Russia coming from the top of the Kremlin and amplified by the Russian media has been resonating with the Russian populace and creating horrific visions of the future for the entire world, the visions where Russia is an all-powerful global aggressor and the world is bent to Putin’s power.
An especially poignant and unmasked example of this effect is the banner ostensibly commemorating the World War II Victory, in the above photograph. The banner says: “Crimea Today – Rome Tomorrow! Happy Great Victory Day of May 9!” The idea of connecting the Allied Victory in the World War II with Hitler-like Anschluss of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula by Putin’s military is sacrilegious to the spirit of the allied sacrifice, but extending it to call for a continued aggression toward other European countries is unthinkable. But it is “thinkable” in Russia!
The words “Crimea” and “Rome” rhyme in Russian, the slogan is short and catchy. The banner is huge and is placed along of a well-traveled city road. Someone clearly expended significant marketing effort and money to devise, design, manufacture and place it.
This banner is located in the Russian provincial city of Kaluga, which is about 100 miles (180 km) from Moscow. It is part of a series of celebratory banners including the one in the photograph below, which displays victorious battles of the Moscow Princedom, Russian Imperial and Soviet armies over the history. This banner would not be surprising, if it also did not include the Battle of Debaltseve in Ukraine with the Russian army’s supposed “victory” dated 19 February, 2015.
While talking into TV cameras for international audiences, Putin insists that Russian army is not fighting Ukraine in Donbas, this propaganda effort targeting Russian domestic audience clearly states otherwise.