What if 'Putin Were a Woman'? Boris Johnson’s Statement Sparks Debates

Published June 29th, 2022 - 06:43 GMT
Putin woman
(Shutterstock: Marco Iacobucci Epp)
Vladimir Putin had ordered his troops to begin operations against Ukraine on the 24th of February, 2022.

As western leaders wrapped up their meetings for the G7 summit in Schloss, an interview given by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the German press included a comment on the gender of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a main factor pushing him to invade Ukraine more than four months ago.

In the remarks Boris Johnson gave to German journalists, he explained that he believed toxic masculinity was one of the things that drove Vladimir Putin's decision to wage the war against Ukraine in February 2022.

Boris Johnson continued by saying that Putin was "a perfect example of toxic masculinity", and that if the Russian President were a woman, he "would not have embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has."

While some online commentators voiced their agreement with Boris Johnson's remarks, others highlighted the fact that a former female Empress of Russia, Cathrine the Great, had embarked on wide invasions and successfully expanded areas under Russian control in the 18th century, including Ukraine, suggesting that gender is irrelevant to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russian invasions ordered by Cathrine the Great had expanded Russian territories by 200,000 sq mi, as her army took control of Crimea, Northern Caucasus, Right-bank Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Courland (part of modern-day Latvia).

Supporting this view, some social media users shared results of older studies that concluded that female rulers are "27% more likely to wage wars" than their male counterparts. One tweet referred to the UK's former prominent Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, often dubbed as "the Iron Lady".

Other commentators argued that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a by-product of Russian nationalist aspirations shared among many people, not just President Vladimir Putin.

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