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Putin: 'Strange' Trendy Elites In The West, Not Traditional Christians, Are Russia's True Enemies

Putin: 'They simply have nothing to offer the world, except perpetuating their dominance'

Vladimir Putin, speaking at a political conference outside Moscow, explained to the academics in attendance that Russia’s struggle with the West was not aimed at all Westerners, but rather a particular group of “strange elites.”

Elites at the heart of liberal ideology are to blame for friction between Moscow and the West, according to Vladimir Putin who spoke at the 19th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club on Thursday. In a speech and open question session that followed, the Russian president spoke for nearly three hours discussing the changing international order, cancel culture, and competition with the West. Liberal ideology, according to Putin, has become unrecognizable.

“In the 20th century, the liberals started saying that the so-called open society had enemies and that the freedom of these enemies could and should be restricted if not canceled,” he said.

“If the Western elites believe they can have their people and their societies embrace what I believe are strange and trendy ideas like dozens of genders or gay pride parades, so be it. Let them do as they please. But they certainly have no right to tell others to follow in their steps,” Putin said before acknowledging that he doesn’t view Westerners as a monolith:

It is simply necessary to understand clearly that, as I have already said before, two Wests – at least two and maybe more but two at least – the West of traditional, primarily Christian values, freedom, patriotism, great culture and now Islamic values as well – a substantial part of the population in many Western countries follows Islam. This West is close to us in something. We share with it common, even ancient roots. But there is also a different West – aggressive, cosmopolitan, and neocolonial. It is acting as a tool of neoliberal elites. Naturally, Russia will never reconcile itself to the dictates of this West.

Taking the current world order to task, the Russian president opened his remarks with a critical analysis of international law which he says has been usurped by Western elites with what they have called rules. “I was tempted to say ‘we are clear about who came up with these rules,’ but, perhaps, that would not be an accurate statement,” Putin said. “We have no idea whatsoever who made these rules up, what these rules are based on, or what is contained inside these rules.

Moreover, the West initially secured itself a huge head start in that system because it had developed the principles and mechanisms – the same as today’s rules they keep talking about, which remain an incomprehensible black hole because no one really knows what they are. But as soon as non-western countries began to derive some benefits from globalisation, above all, the large nations in Asia, the West immediately changed or fully abolished many of those rules. And the so-called sacred principles of free trade, economic openness, equal competition, even property rights were suddenly forgotten, completely. They change the rules on the go, on the spot wherever they see an opportunity for themselves.

The comments closely mirror previous statements by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who in 2019 discussed how the Russian government has perceived conversations playing out on the international stage. “There have been attempts to steamroll multilateral institutions and erode their international mission and to replace the universal norms of international law with a ‘rules-based order,'” Foreign Minister Lavrov said while noting that the term was a neologism that Russians believe was introduced as a form of subterfuge. “This term was recently coined to camouflage a striving to invent rules depending on changes in the political situation so as to be able to put pressure on disagreeable states and often even on allies.”

For Putin, this rules-based order which was prominently pursued by the German Foreign Office is intentionally poorly defined for the purpose of political expediency and “global power” in the affairs of other nations. “I will say that the West has taken a number of steps in recent years and especially in recent months that are designed to escalate the situation,” he said. “As a matter of fact, they always seek to aggravate matters, which is nothing new either. This includes stoking of war in Ukraine, the provocations around Taiwan, and the destabilization of global food and energy markets.”

“This game is certainly dangerous, bloody and, I would say, dirty. It denies the sovereignty of countries and peoples, their identity and uniqueness, and tramples upon other states’ interests. In any case, even if denial is not the word used, they are doing it in real life. No one, except those who create these rules I have mentioned, is entitled to retain their identity: everyone else must comply with these rules.”

According to Putin, the rules are designed to create a global monoculture motivated by the West’s “decaying creative potential” and a desire to impose consumption habits on other nations in order to constrain their independent development:

By imposing their values, consumption habits and standardisation on others, our opponents – I will be careful with words – are trying to expand markets for their products. The goal on this track is, ultimately, very primitive. It is notable that the West proclaims the universal value of its culture and worldview. Even if they do not say so openly, which they actually often do, they behave as if this is so, that it is a fact of life, and the policy they pursue is designed to show that these values must be unconditionally accepted by all other members of the international community.

Drawing a comparison between the impact climate change has on biodiversity, which Putin says is “one of the most dangerous consequences of disrupting the environmental balance,” he accused the West of disrupting the diversity and balance between civilizations, which he believes will be equally costly. “Therefore, I am convinced that sooner or later both the new centers of the multipolar international order and the West will have to start a dialogue on an equal footing about a common future for us all, and the sooner the better, of course,” he said.

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