Among the many paradoxes we get to experience nowadays, one in particular is striking.
Those who critically reflect on sending new weapons to Ukraine in the face of the bloody stalemate of the two armies, one the aggressor and the other defending themselves, a situation which at this point, as U.S. Chief of Staff Mark Milley suggested, demands not a new escalation of the war with more arms, quibbling between “defensive” and “offensive,” but an international response that would decisively engage with the terms of a possible peace negotiation; those who reflect on the spiral of war that we’re being drawn into, even though we have in our Constitution the principle of the repudiation of war as a means for the resolution of international crises; those who see obvious responsibilities on the part of NATO in this crisis, without trying to justify Putin’s bloody war against civilians; those who are saying all this are not, and have never been, “pro-Putin” – despite cynical accusations bordering on nonsense.
In fact, they see Putin as nothing more than an unscrupulous sovereignist-nationalist drawing from the murky waters of the “great” Russian czarist past, and who, after he managed to lift his people out of the rubble of the implosion of the USSR, has now corralled them into a criminal and suicidal enterprise.
The real Putinians are on the other side, among the right and far-right which is now, unfortunately, governing our country. And we’re not just talking about the “historical” import-escort relationship between Berlusconi and Vladimir.
Nor are we talking about Salvini and the Lega’s attempts to build a monument to itself, if not in Red Square, at least in Moscow’s Metropol hotel; or about Giorgia Meloni lavishing compliments on Putin for his fourth re-election as president, the “unequivocal will of the Russian people”; or about the fascist right wing that in 2014 put up posters all over Rome of Putin as a sailor-macho, toughness personified.
We’re talking here about Senator Lucio Malan, no less than the Senate group leader of Fratelli d’Italia, who spoke on the Senate floor on Wednesday about the “crystal clear” reasons for sending more weapons to Ukraine. It was strange to hear that from him. Because Senator Malan led the Italian delegation of self-proclaimed “international observers,” first in Crimea in 2014 and then in the Donbass in 2015, “invited by the Donbass” and Moscow, who gave their stamp of approval to the elections proclaiming the independence of these territories – the former more “redeemable” than the outrageousness of the latter, because, after the Minsk agreements – which provided for the autonomy of the Donbass regions within Ukraine – it represented a breach in a separatist direction.
Poroshenko in Kyiv banned all such “observers” who endorsed that vote from entering Ukraine. Now, Malan, still banned in Kyiv, who came to Fratelli d’Italia from Forza Italia (he changed his party, but not “the nation,” and certainly not himself), is making the impassioned case for new weapons to Ukraine.
We have questions. Which one is he: yesterday’s “observer” or today’s arms advocate? Or is Malan simply in a war against himself?