Mahatma Gandhi Speech

Mahatma Gandhi’s “The Salt March” Speech

Review of Mahatma Gandhi’s “The Salt March” Speech


“Non-violence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.”


Mahatma Gandhi’s “Salt March” speech, delivered in 1930, stands as a monumental moment in the Indian struggle for independence from British rule. This speech was not just a call to action but a powerful symbol of non-violent resistance and civil disobedience. Gandhi’s speech catalyzed the famous Salt March, a 240-mile trek to the Arabian Sea, where he intended to produce salt without paying the tax, defying the British Salt Laws.


Gandhi’s rhetoric in this speech was deeply rooted in simplicity and moral clarity. He emphasized the unjust nature of British rule and the salt tax, which he saw as exploitative to the poor. His language was direct yet infused with a profound sense of peace and non-violence, which became the hallmark of his resistance movement. Gandhi’s ability to connect with the masses was evident in his speech, as he used symbols and actions understandable to the common man.


The speech was a masterful blend of practical action and symbolic gesture. Gandhi did not just speak about resistance; he laid out a clear, actionable plan that ordinary people could participate in. This approach made the movement inclusive and gave a sense of empowerment to the common people who were otherwise marginalized.


Gandhi’s speech and the ensuing Salt March had far-reaching impacts. It drew international attention to the Indian independence movement and highlighted the effectiveness of non-violent civil disobedience as a tool for social and political change. The speech was not just about the injustice of a tax but a broader statement against colonialism and oppression.


In essence, Gandhi’s “Salt March” speech was a pivotal moment in Indian history. It was a blend of ethical leadership, strategic planning, and mass mobilization, all of which played a crucial role in India’s journey to independence.



Key Quotations from Gandhi’s “Salt March” Speech


  1. “We want to change the system that oppresses us.”

   – This quote encapsulates the broader goal of the Indian independence movement, highlighting the desire for systemic change.


  1. “Non-violence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.”

   – Here, Gandhi reaffirms his unwavering commitment to non-violence, which was central to his philosophy and approach to resistance.


  1. “The salt tax represents an inhumanity that we must fight against.”

   – This quotation directly addresses the salt tax while symbolizing the broader struggle against the injustices of colonial rule.




Rhetorical Review of Gandhi’s “Salt March” Speech


Analyzing Mahatma Gandhi’s “Salt March” speech reveals a masterful use of rhetorical devices that not only strengthened his message but also galvanized a nation into action. Here are some key rhetorical devices used in the speech:


  1. Ethos (Ethical Appeal): Gandhi’s personal credibility played a significant role in the effectiveness of his speech. Known for his commitment to non-violence and truth, his character lent ethical appeal to his words. By embodying the principles he advocated, Gandhi’s ethos was a powerful tool in persuading his audience.


  1. Pathos (Emotional Appeal): Gandhi effectively used emotional appeal to connect with his audience. His references to the hardships faced by the poor under British rule, especially regarding the salt tax, evoked a sense of injustice and empathy. This emotional connection motivated people to join his cause.


  1. Logos (Logical Appeal): Gandhi’s speech was logically structured, presenting a clear argument against the British Salt Laws. He detailed the unfairness of the tax and its impact on ordinary Indians, using reason and logic to make his case against British policies.


  1. Anaphora (Repetition): The repeated use of certain phrases or structures in Gandhi’s speech helped to emphasize key points and make them more memorable. This repetition reinforced his message and created a rhythmic, persuasive flow in his speech.


  1. Symbolism: The salt tax itself was used as a symbol of the broader oppression and exploitation under British rule. By focusing on this specific issue, Gandhi was able to represent the larger struggle for independence and justice.


  1. Direct Address: Gandhi’s use of direct address engaged his audience, making them feel involved and responsible. This technique helped in mobilizing the masses and making them active participants in the movement.


  1. Imagery: Gandhi’s speech painted vivid pictures of the struggle and the non-violent resistance. This use of imagery made his message more relatable and impactful.


  1. Call to Action: The speech was not just descriptive but also prescriptive. Gandhi provided a clear and actionable plan, which was crucial in mobilizing the masses for the Salt March.


Through these rhetorical devices, Gandhi’s speech transcended mere words, becoming a powerful tool in the Indian struggle for independence. His ability to combine ethical appeal, emotional resonance, logical arguments, and a clear call to action made this speech a cornerstone in the history of non-violent resistance.


I Have a Dream

I Have a Dream

“I Have a Dream,” delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, is one of the most iconic and impactful speeches in American history.

The speech, set against the backdrop of the Lincoln Memorial, begins with King’s acknowledgment of the Emancipation Proclamation, which had freed millions of slaves a century earlier. However, he quickly points out that African Americans were still not free from segregation, discrimination, and poverty. King’s speech is a vivid portrayal of the struggles faced by Black Americans and a call for an end to racial injustice.

King employs the metaphor of a “bad check,” saying that America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” However, he refuses to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. This metaphor underlines the broken promises made to African Americans.

Central to his speech is the famous refrain, “I have a dream,” which he uses to express his vision of a future where people will not be judged by the color of their skin but by their character. He dreams of a day when his children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by their race. King’s dream extends to different aspects of life, including freedom, justice, and brotherhood.

The speech is also notable for its hopeful tone. King talks about his belief that one day, freedom and equality will be a reality in America. He urges the audience to continue to fight for a just future but to do so with dignity and discipline, avoiding physical violence.

He concludes by looking forward to a day when all Americans can join together as equals, singing the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Key quotations from the speech include:

  1. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
  2. “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
  3. “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low…and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”

These excerpts and the speech as a whole have continued to resonate throughout the decades, symbolizing a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement and the ongoing struggle for racial equality in America.

“I Have a Dream” Rhetorical Review


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is a masterful example of various rhetorical devices that enhance its persuasive power and enduring impact. Here are some key rhetorical devices used in the speech:

  1. **Repetition**: King uses repetition for emphasis and to reinforce his message. The most famous example is the repeated phrase “I have a dream,” which helps to create a rhythmic pattern and reinforces the central theme of his vision for America.
  1. **Anaphora**: This is a specific type of repetition where the same phrase is repeated at the beginning of successive clauses or sentences. King uses this effectively with phrases like “Now is the time” and “I have a dream.” This technique builds momentum and helps to underline important ideas.
  1. **Allusion**: King alludes to numerous historical documents and events, such as the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Emancipation Proclamation, to strengthen his argument by reminding his audience of these foundational promises of freedom and equality.
  1. **Metaphor**: Throughout the speech, King uses metaphors to illustrate complex ideas. For instance, he compares segregation to a “dark and desolate valley” and racial justice to a “sunlit path.” He also uses the metaphor of a “bad check” to describe the unfulfilled promises of freedom and rights for African Americans.
  1. **Pathos**: King appeals to the emotions of his audience, using vivid imagery and expressive language to evoke feelings of injustice and the potential for a better future. This emotional appeal is crucial for inspiring his audience and garnering support for the civil rights movement.
  1. **Ethos**: King establishes his credibility through his status as a minister and a civil rights leader, and by aligning his arguments with widely respected texts and ideals, like the Bible and American democratic principles.
  1. **Imagery**: The speech is rich with vivid imagery, which helps to paint a clear picture in the minds of the listeners. Examples include the “red hills of Georgia” and the imagery associated with the dream segments.
  1. **Parallelism**: King employs parallel structure in his sentences, which adds rhythm and makes his arguments more compelling and easier to follow.

These rhetorical devices are skillfully woven throughout King’s speech, contributing to its powerful impact and its status as one of the most influential speeches in American history.

On Ancient Art

Wangechi Mutu: KEY IDEAS

Art is in fact an ancient language; it is a sort of transmission code.

It is our way of sending messages to others across time. Like the rock and cave paintings that reach out to us from pre-history

Our bodies were our first museums. We used our bodies first to carry our art with us.

Art is also a way of us feeling at home in new environments – through that ancient language.

These ancient art forms show that we are all related that we all share a common ancestry back to the beginnings of art in Africa.

Africa: where art originated.

Donald Trump in Las Vegas

Donald Trump expressed deep concern over the current state of the United States, particularly the rise in crime rates, during his speech.

He held the Democrats responsible for this increase, blaming their policies for enabling criminal behavior.


– Trump criticized the Democrats’ approach to law enforcement, particularly their support for defunding the police and limiting their authority. He stressed that this weakens the police force and hinders their ability to enforce law and order.


– He emphasized the link between drug trafficking and crime, stating that strict drug policies are necessary to curb crime rates. He accused the Democrats of being too lenient on drug offenses.


– Trump called out the media, particularly what he referred to as the “liberal, fake news media,” for their criticism of his strong stance on law and order.


– He cited crime rates in cities like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Washington DC as evidence of the Democrats’ failure to maintain law and order.


– He called for the restoration of “qualified immunity” for police officers, a policy that shields them from lawsuits, and urged the return of surplus military equipment to police departments.


– Trump lamented over the state of the US border, criticizing the Biden administration for reversing the progress made during his presidency. He called for the deportation of criminal illegal aliens and non-citizens.


– He advocated for the election of “America First Republicans” at every level, arguing that they are the key to restoring law and order, and specifically endorsing Sheriff Joe Lombardo for governor and Adam Laxalt for senator in Nevada.


– In conclusion, Trump argued that law and order are essential for maintaining the “American promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and vowed to fight against the “radical left assault on law and order.”


Speech of the Week

Speech of the Week: David Malpass, President, World Bank Group and Giorgia Meloni, Prime Minister Italy


In the phrase of the moment, the financial markets are in “febrile mood”. Perhaps not surprising then that a speech from one of the world’s leading bankers contains the words “crisis”.

However the speech by David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, to the Stanford Institute for Economic Research (SIERP) at Stanford University this week titled  “The Crisis facing Development” stood out for its clarity and perspicacity. If you really want to know what’s going on in the world, at the macro-economic level, this was a pretty good place to start. Moreover, David Malpass provided a high level overview not only of the main financial forces at work in macro-economics, but also gave an insight into a number the primary causes of disruption (and indeed concern) in the world at large today .

In fact, the speech was littered with insight which told a different world story from the comfortable world vision of the head of the world bank. For example:


  • There has been a 4% decline in global median income, the first since 1990
  • There are devastating flows of arms into Africa
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and limited and high-priced natural gas supplies, means the closure of coal-fired power plants are being postponed across the world. Indeed coal mining has accelerated.
  • China’s economy is tanking, forecast is down to 2.8% from 5% in April


And how about this for a bombshell: 

“Capital does not flow well from rich to poor countries. Quite the contrary: capital generally flows from poor to rich countries.”

In general, however the speech paints a stark picture of the difficulties we face. Apologies for the lengthy quotation, but there’s no sugaring this:

“The developing world is facing an extremely challenging near-term outlook shaped by sharply higher food, fertilizer, and energy prices, rising interest rates and credit spreads, currency depreciation, and capital outflows. Under current policies, global energy production may take years to diversify away from Russia, prolonging the stagflation risk….

These shockwaves have hit development at a time when many developing countries are also struggling in other areas: governance and rule of law; debt sustainability; climate adaptation and mitigation; and limited fiscal budgets to counteract the severe reversals in development from the COVID-19 pandemic, including in health and education. The human consequence of these overlapping crises is catastrophic.”

And there’s more, a perfect storm is brewing:  

“A series of harsh events and unprecedented macroeconomic policies are combining to throw development into crisis. This has consequences for all of us due to the interlinked nature of the global economy and civilizations around the world.”

Of most concern, it seems that global inequalities are growing. Indeed it appears the very structuring of the banking world itself is causing the imbalance to worsen:

“The regulation of banks has the explicit bias that debt of advanced country governments is considered zero risk while other debt, especially that of small countries, developing countries or new entrants, is treated as risky and requires bank equity capitalization.

The challenge for development is whether global capital will be enough to fund the capital needs of the advanced country governments and have enough left over for the investment needs of developing countries.”

The money is going to the richer countries, who are deemed better risk and withheld from poorer nations, even though “poor countries have lower levels of capital per worker than rich countries – and therefore higher potential returns to added capital”


And the tragedy is that many of the poorer developing countries are also having the bear the brunt of climate change:

“Droughts are taking a toll in the Horn of Africa and in South America, affecting food production and hydropower generation and throwing nine million more people into severe food insecurity across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia alone. Developing countries are being hit by more frequent and more severe climate-related disasters. Man-made greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change, which in turn is having tragic impacts on development in multiple ways.”


On the macro-economic front, the truth is that the shift in economic policy that was brought about by the global financial tsunami in 2008, and which led to a change from “monetarism to post- monetarism” in Malpass’ terms, has created a situation in which the current tools aren’t fit for the current challenges. We’ve got the wrong system in place for the current troubles:


“At the core of the macroeconomic crisis facing development is the sea-change in fiscal, monetary, and financial regulatory policies of advanced economies since the 2008 financial crisis. Monetary policies over the last decade have been guiding capital to well-capitalized segments of the global economy – to governments, bond-issuing corporations, and wealthy individuals – at the expense of broad-based growth and development.”

The money is flowing to the wrong places. And Malpas goes on to say:

“Starting in 2008, advanced economies adopted wholly new monetary policies to combat the global financial crisis. Central banks set interest rates to zero or below and bought bonds financed by their own accumulation of excess bank reserves. These crisis-focused activities helped contain the impact of the financial melt-down. But as Larry Summers said in 2021 “…the beginning of wisdom is seeing that the quantitative easing prescription makes little sense today”.

Quantitative easing and “low for long” are now not the solution.

David Malpas does offer some solutions: clear shift in policy towards increased production; With inflation high, look beyond interest rate hikes; create the conditions for supply to increase in response to price increases; in the advanced economies, reduce the size of government current spending and target more to the poor and vulnerable, reducing non-productive demand and taking pressure off inflation; and reduce the maturity of the central banks’ current and future bond holdings.

But if one is honest, to a good speech, the solutions were rather less convincing than the problems.


Giorgia Meloni: a new Prime Minister in Italy


Sometimes a speech is of note simply because it has been made. This was case with the victory speech of Giorgia Meloni, the new Prime Minister of Italy: a speech from the first female Prime Minister of Italy. Of course she is also leader of a far right party – Fratelli d’Italia, or Brothers of Italy – and any time a right wing party gets voted into power there’s going to be massive attention.

Meloni understood this – and her victory speech was all about the right noises:


“This is a night for pride for the Brothers of Italy…. We will govern for all Italians, with the aim of uniting the people, exhalting what unites them rather than what divides them.”

But what was interesting about this speech, and the coverage it received, was the links to another, more famous speech by Georgia Meloni back in 2019 and which has received much world attention.

Probably because that speech was a barnstormer, in which Meloni rounded on the woke and the establishment:

“I think it is unenlightened when a state which is usually willing to sponsor any old thing, even exhibitions featuring a crucifix immersed in a beaker of pee, is ashamed to sponsor an event such as this.”

The speech is known for her close in which she quotes the English writer G.K. Chesterton, saying:

“ ‘Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer.’ That time has arrived. We are ready.”

But even more interesting than Meloni’s knowledge of arcane areas of English literature, was her statement that we have become the perfect slaves at the mercy of financial speculators and that because of this identity is lost:

“I can’t define myself as an Italian, as a Christian, a woman, mother. No!”


Now take a look at the way she has revolutionised (literally?) that statement for a crowd at the “Vox” rally in Spain earlier this year (for full effect watch on YouTube):

“I am Giorgia.

I am a woman.

I am a mother.

I am Italian.

I am a Christian.

You can’t take that away from me!”


In such rhetorical refashioning are populist politicians and indeed populist movements created! In the sea change of style between these two statements (which effectively say the same thing), one understands the whole of political speech making to the crowd and what populist declaration is all about – and maybe all speech making. Across the ages. With her new language Meloni is now a politician;  a leader. The first female Prime Minister of Italy.


Who said the study of rhetoric was dry, fusty and for the Ancients!


Speech of the Week

Speech of the Week


Covering speeches made during the week commencing Monday 19th September 2022


The week began with a funeral, which can often be the setting, or at least inspiration, for a great speech.

One thinks of Pericles and his Funeral Oration on the Athenian Dead for instance; and to some extent Gettysburg Address also feels like a funeral oration.

The funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was no exception in eliciting oration.

On a day of sadness and splendour that stopped all the clocks in many countries around the world there many speeches.

And in Westminster Abbey, an address by the head of the Church of England the Archbishop of Canterbury: an opportunity for beings temporal to be prompted by matters spiritual

As the Archbishop reminded that leaders that:

“People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer.

But in all cases, those who serve will be loved and remembered

When those who cling to power and privileges will be long forgotten.”

Overall, however, this was not a moving address.

Although it was interesting for the way it closed and how this close was set up.

The Archbishop recalled the Queen’s rallying call in her speech to the United Kingdom at the height of the Covid pandemic, when she quoted the refrain from a WWII a song:

“We will meet again”

The Archbishop then used this same phrase to end his speech.

This close would not have been nearly so successful had he not mentioned this line earlier.

Thus, it’s a useful insight into how to close out a speech.

First come up with the ending and then engineer a line or section earlier in the speech that will give it force and play

Such that the ending feels inevitable and therefore satisfying and complete.

UN General Assembly.


Indeed, the Archbishop’s remarks may have still been ringing in the ears of the world leaders as they addressed the annual jamboree of rhetoric  that is the United Nations General Assembly, which was dominated, without surprise, by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As the UK Prime Minister, Liz Truss, remarked, this was,

“the first time in the history of this assembly

we are meeting  during a large-scale war of aggression in Europe” 

And President Biden also commented bleakly:

“This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right

to exist as a state plain and simple

and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people

whoever you are,

wherever you live,

whatever you believe,

that should not that should make your

blood run cold.


A telling phrase.


President Macron, France

President Macron of France addressed the Assembly with passion and a wide ranging  call for unity and solidarity, commenting that:

“Today we need to make a simple choice – basically that of war, or that of peace”

And indeed he went on to chastise those in the international community who were “choosing neutrality…. And to stay silent”

Overall Macron’s speech was clear and content largely expected, however President Macron did sum up with what feels like unique succinctness, how this conflict is new and different and dangerous – a hybrid modernisation of war:

“It takes the form of a

territorial invasion

linked with a hybrid modernized war that

uses energy prices, food insecurity,

nuclear safety, access to information, and

population movements as weapons for

division and destruction

And that is how the war

undermines all of our sovereignty.”

Suddenly one realises that all significant wars are about testing something new, introducing new ideas, whether that is a new siege engine or motorised cannon, tank, gas, drone – the list will of course develop. But here, as Macron explains with perspicacity, there is new weaponry at play which Russia has been developing quietly in recent years and this “hybrid modernisation” is so difficult for the West to counter.

There was a slightly uneasy moment in the speech five minutes in when Macron realises – after haranguing Russia and Putin and saying there was no middle ground (“war or peace”)  – as the consummate politician that he is, that he also has to mention his acts of “engaging in dialogue with Russia since the start of the war” – and one recalls that rather painful photograph of Putin and Macron sitting at opposite ends, of a very long table.



President Biden

President Biden’s address to the General Assembly was also unequivocal in its condemnation of Russia. And the language he used was also perhaps unusual for a President –  see his comment about “blood runs cold” for example – perhaps uncovering a very real sense of alarm at the recent statements by Putin about the nuclear option. Something in that phrase “blood runs cold” revealed a wider, United States, concern; a genuine alarm.

A little later in the speech there was a telling section on the United States’ relationship with China – an issue that always haunts the background of geo-politics today.

President Biden started this section by saying:

“Let me be direct about the competition

between the United States and China”


And then proceeds to speak elliptically about the competition!


“As we manage shifting geopolitical trends the United States will conduct itself as a reasonable leader; we do not seek conflict, we do not seek a Cold War.

We do not ask any Nation to choose between the United States or any other


(unlike China….Ed)

but the United States will be unabashed

in promoting our vision of a free open

secure and prosperous world

and what we have to offer communities of Nations.

Investments that are designed not to foster dependency

(unlike those from China…. Ed)

but to alleviate

burdens and help Nations become self-sufficient


Partnerships not to create political


(unlike China! ….Ed.)

but because we know our own success

each of our successes increased when

other nations succeed as well

when individuals have the chance to live

in dignity and develop their talents

everyone benefits….. living up to the highest goals of this institution,

increasing peace and security for everyone everywhere”


The rhetorical technique at play here is a form of antithesis (is that now known as “the inside out raincoat” in the US?) but it’s still so effective today as a way of making a point without actually stating it.


President Zelensky, Ukraine

Of course in sharp contrast to such rhetorical finessing, the speech delivered to the UN General Assembly by President Zelensky via video link.

In fact, President Zelensky made use of the fact he was speaking via video link, rather than in person, in three ways which structured and indeed transformed/elevated his speech:

First,  he made it very clear that there had to be a vote among UN member states to allow him to contribute in this way. As he said:

“Finally I want to thank

101 countries that voted for my video

address to take place…

not simply because of the format

but for the principle involved.”

But then Zelensky uses the issue of the vote to name and shame those who voted against (and indeed his whole speech could have been nicknamed “Crime and Punishment” – with its deliberate and delicious twist for Russian audiences).

“Only seven countries voted against:

Belarus, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea

Nicaragua, Russia and Syria


Seven who are afraid of the video address.

Seven who respond to principles with a red button.

Only seven.”

Seven neatly named and shamed.

Second, Zelensky using the setting of his video ad specifically his dress to make a point which would have been difficult in words: whereas the speeches by other world leaders to the UN General Assembly where clearly set piece speeches. Microphone, multiple teleprompters, flawless presentations against a back drop of marble, Zelensky’s speech was utterly the reverse. He was seated against a simple backdrop and wore a short sleaved, almost battle dress green T-shirt. (NB Ghandi knew the power of dress, always appearing in traditional costume which infuriated Chrichill such that he called him a “fakir”).

He was telling the audience he was at the front line; his words were authentic.

Indeed Zelensky’s speech was drastically different in tone, brutally direct.

Which brings us to his third master stroke: he used his remote location to highlight the irony of those who were actually in attendance – the Russians.

So Zelensky begins by talking of the Russian predilection for castration. Ands then as if turning to the Russian delegation, whom he knows are present in the UN General Assembly, he says:

“Please, representatives of Russia, why are the Russian military are so obsessed

with castration?”

Named and shamed again.

Now his graphic description list of brutalities continues and we are left in no douibt who (in the room) are responsible:

“There is a family

that died under the rubble of a house

after a Russian airstrike –

father, mother, six and eight year old girls along with their grandparents.

There is a man who was strangled with the Rope

There is a woman with broken ribs and wounds on her body.

Bodies burned and left in the street…..”

One feels he could go on; and he is profoundly convincing, precisely because his words ring with the bell of personal experience. We understand his version of “Crime and Punishment”.

Of course Zelensky is also on a mission to gather international aid and support – and, like President Macron, for Zelensky neutrality is not enough. In fact it’s a sham, as fake as a Russian referendum.

And he explains vividly why:

“There will be no vaccine against radiation sickness”.

It’s a remarkable and arresting phrase.

A put down of western complacency that “science” will find conveniently a solution to all problems.

And above all a reminder, indeed a warning, that Putin is capable of using weapons of mass destruction. Few actually believed he would launch a full scale military invasion of Ukraine. But he did….


President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.


Which of course brings us to the true speech of the week – by Vladimir Putin, President of Russia.

 A rare public address delivered on 21st September, two days before President Biden addressed the UN General Assembly.

And, of note, the text of the speech was published in full, in English, by the Kremlin.#

Putin’s speech starts defensively, explaining the difficulties that Russian troops have faced:

“Over the previous eight years, the Kiev occupation regime created a deeply echeloned line of permanent defences. A head-on attack against them would have led to heavy losses, which is why our units, as well as the forces of the Donbass republics, are acting competently and systematically, using military equipment and saving lives, moving step by step to liberate Donbass, purge cities and towns of the neo-Nazis, and help the people whom the Kiev regime turned into hostages and human shields.”

This is a close as President Putin gets to admitting that all is not going to plan; his explanation is that the troops are simply taking this slow and steady.

President Putin also claims that Kiev had originally wanted a negotiated settlement with Russia but were ordered not to pursue this:

“But a peaceful settlement obviously did not suit the West, which is why, after certain compromises were coordinated, Kiev was actually ordered to wreck all these agreements.”


Repeated reference to neo-Nazis, threats to the motherland, the Kiev regime as a puppet of the west’s ambition – all of these are used as defence of the “special military operation”.

But then the two big statements of the speech. First Putin announces partial mobilisation of troops:

“More precisely, I find it necessary to support the proposal of the Defence Ministry and the General Staff on partial mobilisation in the Russian Federation to defend our Motherland and its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to ensure the safety of our people and people in the liberated territories.”

Of note, President Putin does not own the idea of mobilisation, he suggests he is simply following advice.

Then the second big reveal: nuclear (which he does own).

“I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have. In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff.

The citizens of Russia can rest assured that the territorial integrity of our Motherland, our independence and freedom will be defended – I repeat – by all the systems available to us. Those who are using nuclear blackmail against us should know that the wind can turn around.”

It seems significant that Putin ends his address on the nuclear threat. And that he chooses to use the phrase  “I repeat” for emphasis here. And of course, even more significant that he should state: “I am not bluffing”.

He wants his speech close to carry as much threat/weight as possible.

The structure of the speech suggests that it is really about a justification for partial mobilisation. In other words the speech would not have been made in this manner and direct to the Russian people, if Putin had not had to announce his Executive Order for partial mobilisation.

The speech is about mobilisation, not about stating his nuclear options.

The nuclear threat is kept right to the end, until after this mobilisation is announced in the speech, such that Putin is able to close on a very strong note. He wants to direct attention away from the mobilisation and towards the shock of a nuclear threat.

And thus the threat, like the direction of the wind, has turned towards the UN in New York – and many of the speeches of the first days of the General Assembly, suggest the speakers felt the breeze.

The general response among speeches was to seek resolve and unity in the face of Russian aggression.

When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II addressed the United nations in 1957, she stated:

“Common ideals and hopes, not formal bonds, unite.”

That is why, at the heart of the United Nations, there is not a legislature, but a speaking chamber.

If speeches do anything, they seek to illuminate common ideals and hopes.