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[COMMENTARY] Has Putin Now Reached, or Is He Very Near to Reaching, the “Nero Decree” Stage of a Dictator’s Descent Into Madness?

[COMMENTARY] Has Putin Now Reached, or Is He Very Near to Reaching, the “Nero Decree” Stage of a Dictator’s Descent Into Madness?

Putin is committing war crimes in Ukraine of a nature and scale that threaten the well-being of not only Ukraine but, as Zelenskyy has rightly noted, the whole world.  Putin has now attacked nuclear power plants, which is strictly and expressly forbidden by the Geneva Convention.  The attacks on nuclear power plants raise the question of whether Putin has now reached, or is very near to reaching, the “Nero Decree” stage of a dictator’s descent into madness.  


Russian forces in Ukraine took control of Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhia, on Friday in a war-crime assault that caused alarm around the world. The US said Russia’s actions risked catastrophe of potentially worldwide dimensions. Luckily there were no elevated levels of radiation.  With the volatility of the battlefield situation in Ukraine, that could change at any time, however. thttps://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/top-wrap-1-europes-largest-nuclear-power-plant-fire-after-russian-attack-mayor-2022-03-04/

The assault on the Zaporizhia power plant renews fears that the Russian invasion could result in damage, either intentionally or by accident, to one of Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors and trigger another disaster like the 1986 Chernobyl accident, the world’s worst nuclear disaster to date, which happened approximately 110 kilometers (65 miles) north of Kyiv.

In addition to the assault on Zaporizhia, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, no longer operational but now in the process of “decommissioning” as of 2021, had, on February 24, 2022, been captured by Russian forces, an adviser to President Zelenskyy in the Ukrainian presidential office, Mykhailo Podolyak, stated.  The danger has to do with the large amount of radioactive nuclear waste at the Chernobyl site. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/chernobyl-power-plant-captured-by-russian-forces-ukrainian-official-2022-02-24/  “It is impossible to say the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe after a totally pointless attack by the Russians,” Podolyak said. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/chernobyl-power-plant-captured-by-russian-forces-ukrainian-official-2022-02-24/  “This is one of the most serious threats in Europe today,” Podolyak said.  Putin’s attack on these major nuclear power plants reflected a “dangerous new escalation” in Russia’s invasion, Podolyak said, during an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting, warning that “imminent danger” persisted and demanding assurances from Moscow that such an assault will not happen again. https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/top-wrap-1-europes-largest-nuclear-power-plant-fire-after-russian-attack-mayor-2022-03-04/

Putin has already caused large numbers of people to flee Ukraine for safety in neighboring countries which have opened their borders to these refugees.  About 1.2 million people have left Ukraine, about 550,000 of whom have gone into Poland.

Putin issued a conscription order that requires any person arrested for protesting the war in the Russian Federation to be sent to the front lines in Ukraine.   This unusually worded conscription order constitutes Putin’s effort to intimidate his own people from expressing their anger at his regime by protesting on a mass scale, which might lead to undermining the stability of that regime.

In addition, Putin’s mobile crematoriums are also part and parcel of his effort to control information that could be used to drum up popular opposition to the war.   If dead soldiers can be immediately cremated, then news of their death can be delayed or even prevented from reaching aggrieved families until a later time determined by the needs of the Putin military machine.  If mothers do not know about their sons’ deaths, they will not raise a hue and a cry that might with reverberation undermine his war of choice.

True to his authoritarian proclivities, Putin has also closed off the Russian Federation to media outside the country.  In controlling what is broadcast on Russian State TV, he is manipulating the minds of his own people on a scale rarely seen today.  Russian State TV often plays the words of people in the US who have been sympathetic to his authoritarian regimes, like former President Trump, FOX’s Tucker Carlson, Mike Flynn, and Ret. Col. Douglas Macgregor.  Putin may be on the verge of declaring martial law in the Russian Federation and closing all of its borders, thus preventing people from fleeing the Russian Federation to other countries.  In light of the foregoing, will Navalny still be able to cause mass resistance/ protests to/against Putin’s regime, undermining it? 

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An angry Putin is also threatening public executions of Ukrainians.   He has also threatened to expand the use of thermobaric bombs, which violate the Geneva Convention. https://twitter.com/saribethrose/status/1499236460578357259?s=20&t=g3YsMkY83Wxo6dHrq7cKSw

Events may be moving toward NATO entering the war directly, given the atrocities that Putin is committing on a daily basis and their potential to endanger the world. .  https://twitter.com/juevelle/status/1499252085233229825?s=20&t=g3YsMkY83Wxo6dHrq7cKSw

Are we not increasingly reaching “a Nero decree” point in this crisis, if we have not already reached it?  If “the worst is yet to come,” we may soon be at the “Nero decree” point in Putin’s mind.   https://twitter.com/SylvieKauffmann/status/1499398371710103557  

Unable to achieve any meaningful victory in Ukraine, given the “boa-constrictor-like” sanctions the world is putting around the Russian economy, Putin the mad bully is now indiscriminately murdering civilians, including large numbers of children, journalists, and senselessly damaging civilian infrastructure and dwellings.  Now with the war-crimes assaults on Chernobyl and Zaporizhia, Putin is endangering, not only the lives of his own Russian soldiers but that of the Ukrainians and people in surrounding countries. 

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