Russian native, polticial expert warns of possiblity of Victory Day attacks

FILE - Anna Shevchenko, 35, reacts next to her home in Irpin, near Kyiv, Tuesday, May 3, 2022....
FILE - Anna Shevchenko, 35, reacts next to her home in Irpin, near Kyiv, Tuesday, May 3, 2022. The house, built by Shevchenko's grandparents, was nearly completely destroyed by bombing in late March during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In her beloved flowerbed, some roses, lilies, peonies and daffodils survived. "It is new life. So I tried to save my flowers," she said.(Source: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 3:31 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - A Russian native and expert in politics has warned of several possibilities for Russia’s upcoming Victory Day holiday on May 9, which include attacks on Ukrainian strongholds.

The University of Kansas says May 9 is known as Victory Day in Russia, and in 2022, it marks the day Vladimir Putin had envisioned declaring a symbolic victory over Ukraine. However, thankfully the war in Ukraine has not gone to Putin’s plan.

Valery Dzutsati, a visiting assistant professor of political science at KU, is a Russian native and expert in politics and conflict of Eurasia and Eastern Europe.

“Putin regards May 9 as a nation-building public holiday that trespasses domestic cleavages and Russia’s boundaries. So it holds importance in several domains,” Dzutsati said.

KU said the date commemorates Nazi Germany’s surrender to Soviet forces in 1945.

There are various reasons Dzutsati believes the date to be personally significant to Putin.

“First, domestically, it brings people together since most Russian families have a memory of fallen or war-participant family members,” Dzutsati said. “Second, the holiday is touted as a reminder that Russia led other republics of the USSR to defeat Nazi Germany. Third, May 9 is also used to cast Russia as the great power that determined post-World War II world order.”

The visiting professor noted many possibilities for how Putin may react on May 9. He said these include ignoring the invasion and treating it like just another holiday, using it as a way to mobilize Russians against the new “Nazi” Ukraine, or capturing more territories in Ukraine that could be presented as an additional victory.

“May 9 might become an important date if Putin officially announces a mobilization or takes some other escalatory steps. The state propaganda might simply use war in Ukraine as a rhetorical tool to push more Russian men to sign up for the military service. This would mean a delayed spike in hostilities and casualties in Ukraine sometime in June,” he said.

Raised in North Ossetia - in the southwest of European Russia - KU said Dzutsati earned his doctorate in political science from Arizona State University and his past research includes, “Geographies of Hybrid War: Rebellion and Foreign Intervention in Ukraine,” “Secessionist Conflict as Diversion from Inequality: The Missing Link Between Grievance and Repression” and “Russia’s Syria War: A Strategic Trap?” (co-written with Emil Souleimanov).

KU noted that Dzutsati was a recent goest on the “When Experts Attack!” podcast which discussed Putin and Ukraine.

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