Putin’s tennis propaganda stunt shows his desperation

The protesters in the video sent a salute to Alexander Zaldostanov, leader of the Night Wolves, an ultra-nationalist Russian biker club.

Zaldostanov, who rode alongside Putin in a motorcycle parade in 2011, led a group of Russian “volunteers” during the Russian occupation of Crimea and the 2014 separatist riots in eastern Ukraine.

The US, European Union and Canada have already imposed sanctions on Zaldostanov and the Night Wolves as an organization for their support of Russia’s criminal aggression.

But despite having a local chapter with close ties to Moscow headquarters, the Night Wolves have not been placed on Australia’s sanctions list.

The main risk with this incident, however, is that it will be disproportionately inflated and give Putin a propaganda victory. If Australia goes down too hard, it will face accusations from Kremlin mouthpieces that our defense of free speech and multiculturalism is hypocritical.


the herald Strongly condemns Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but there must be room for the legal expression of different views.

This incident should not obscure the fact that Russia is only pulling such stupid stunts because it is losing the larger propaganda war.

Putin’s indiscriminate attacks on Ukrainian civilian targets have shown the world that he despises human life.

As a result, Putin suffered a major diplomatic defeat this week when Germany withdrew a veto on exports of its cutting-edge Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Germany has resisted sending these and other heavy weapons to Ukraine because of its close trade ties with Russia and a confused foreign policy still hampered by its Second World heritage.

But even Chancellor Olaf Scholz decided this week that Russia has gone too far and must be defeated. The tanks, to be supplied by Germany and half a dozen other European countries, will be on the battlefield in a matter of months and could play a crucial role in Ukraine’s spring campaigns to retake its territory.

In a fit of anger, Putin sent another wave of more than 50 deadly rockets into Ukraine on Thursday, killing 11 people.

The best way for Australia to show its support for Ukraine would be to increase its military aid.

Dutton has urged the government to offer a new package beyond the $475 million previously announced.


Although NATO announced its new weapons package last week, Australia hasn’t offered anything new since October.

Defense Secretary Richard Marles is traveling to Europe next week where he will be briefed on the situation on the ground. He should come back and show that Australia is playing its part.

Many Australians will find the action of tennis an annoying distraction. They wish the players and fans would not bring their political feuds here to Australia.

Certainly there is a delicate balance between sport and politics that is constantly being tested.

But as a country, Australia must make it clear that it supports Ukraine in its fight for freedom and that another aid package is overdue.

Bevan Shields sends out an exclusive newsletter to its subscribers each week. Sign up to receive his note from the editor.

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/putin-s-propaganda-stunt-at-the-tennis-show-his-desperation-20230127-p5cg15.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_politics_federal Putin’s tennis propaganda stunt shows his desperation

Callan Tansill

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