This inaccurate interpretation of the facts reinforces the notion that Russia isn’t a reliable negotiator, has ulterior motives, and is hellbent on saber-rattling nuclear war with the West.
President Putin clarified on two occasions that his country’s “security equation” proposals to the US and NATO aren’t tantamount to the so-called “ultimatum” that the Mainstream Media (MSM) and the Alt-Media Community (AMC) have both curiously misdescribed it as. The prevailing but ultimately false narrative is that Russia imposed a package of demands on its counterparts that it knows would be absolutely unacceptable for them to agree to. This inaccurate interpretation of the facts reinforces the notion that Russia isn’t a reliable negotiator, has ulterior motives, and is hellbent on saber-rattling nuclear war with the West. The MSM perceives this in a negative light while some very misguided but influential figures in the AMC seem to approve of this delusional perception for whatever their radical ideological reasons may be. They’re both wrong, though, as President Putin made abundantly clear.
The Russian leader said on 21 December that “We already see that some of our ill-wishers, let me say directly, are interpreting them (these drafts – TASS) as an ultimatum from the Russian side. Is it an ultimatum or not? Certainly not.” He then followed up a few days later on 26 December by explaining that “We did not suggest [those guarantees] to blackball or stop something, in the context of this diplomatic process, but to achieve a diplomatic negotiations result that is legally set, as I said already, within the framework of the documents that we proposed. And we will work toward it specifically.” To paraphrase the gist of his statements, President Putin believes that only “ill-wishers” deceitfully describe his country’s “security equation” proposals as an “ultimatum” because Russia sincerely hopes to strike a diplomatic deal with its counterparts.
No objective observer should have ever considered the MSM to have any “well wishes” towards Russia, but the AMC is an altogether different story since many of its members – both regular folks and influencers alike – present themselves as friendly towards Russia. This raises the question of why they insist that its “security equation” proposals constitute an “ultimatum” despite President Putin himself clarifying twice that this is the completely wrong way to interpret his country’s diplomatic outreaches. It can’t be known for sure since each individual who propagated this false interpretation of the facts should ideally account for why they did so themselves if hopefully pressured by their audience to do so, but it’s likely connected to the wishful thinking fantasies that have regrettably pervaded the AMC in recent years and become the standard of “political correctness” within it among many.
In particular, there’s this totally discredited theory that President Putin is playing “5D chess” against the West whereby it’s presumed that he’s “always winning” against them even if it looks like Russia suffered some comparative setbacks or is pragmatically reaching out them to strike a compromise like its latest “security equation” proposals aim to do. Believers in this cultish theory are also convinced that the Russian leader secretly supports whatever they do even when he says the opposite in public. A perfect case in point of this is his very proud displays of philo–Semitism, which the AMC’s “5D chess” cultists ridiculously interpret as him “tricking the Zionists” since they think he “secretly hates them” and is “allied with the Iranian-led Resistance” in order to “liberate Palestine” sometime “in the coming future”. Similarly, “5D chess” cultists also think that he vehemently hates the West and wants to destroy it.
In reality, President Putin extensively elaborated on his country’s pragmatic foreign policy during a briefing in late November to his Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This complemented what Foreign Minister Lavrov said a month prior in November when describing his country’s foreign policy as non-ideological. In other words, it is categorically false to claim that Russian foreign policy is formulated under the influence of blind ideological hatred of the West or anyone else for that matter like many in the AMC unfortunately think. Those whose perceptions of its policies have been perverted through that false paradigm wrongly consider its “security equation” proposals to be an “ultimatum” since they can’t countenance for ideological reasons that the country sincerely wants to clinch a deal with the West. As a result, they inadvertently function as “ill-wishers” by trying to discredit President Putin’s own words.
The lesson to be learned is that even the most “well-intended” members of the AMC can unwittingly work against the interests of the same country that they claim to support if they get carried away with their ideologically driven wishful thinking. They might truly believe in their own minds that they’re “reading Putin’s thoughts” and “articulating them to his audience”, but this is nothing more than a delusion, one which becomes collective the more that other cultists pick up and amplify these false assessments. It’s one thing to have a contrarian opinion about a country’s policies and another to openly contradict its head of state when he passionately clarified the intentions behind the most significant security proposal in three decades on two separate occasions. Genuine friends of Russia would reconsider their views after this happened, while “ill-wishers” will double down due to their delusions.