Putin’s Valdai Speech: Multipolar Future Has Arrived and Russia is Here to Stay

Oct 5, 2023

The multipolar world that Russian President Vladimir Putin has referred to over the past several years has finally taken shape, international observers told Sputnik.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech on October 5 at the plenary session of the 20th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi emphasizing the tectonic and irreversible shifts taking place in the global order.

Sixteen years ago, at the 2007 Munich Security Conference, Putin told Western leaders that the natural type of international system is multipolarity, clearly showing that Russia would oppose US unipolar dominance. The moment of truth has come, and US hegemony is fading in front of our eyes while a new multipolar world is emerging, per Professor Joe Siracusa, political scientist and dean of Global Futures, Curtin University.

“In many, many ways, the future that Mr. Putin is talking about has already arrived,” Siracusa told Sputnik. “What he’s kind of saying between the lines is it’s already here. Now we have to see it. The world has changed. And the reason he thinks that the Americans, particularly in Washington, make these terrible mistakes is because they do not see that the world has changed around them already. The world, the future is changing in front of them and they fail to see it. He thinks that might be the cause of the conflict.

Putin Outlines Six Civilizational Principles

During his Valdai speech, Putin outlined six principles Russia wants to adhere to and offers other nations to join it.

First, we want to live in an open, interconnected world, in which no one will ever try to erect artificial barriers to people’s communication, their creative realization, and prosperity. There must be a barrier-free environment,” Putin said.

The second principle is the diversity of the world, which should not only be preserved, but should also be the foundation of universal development.

The third principle, according to the Russian head of state, is maximum representativeness: “No one has the right or can rule the world for others or on behalf of others. The world of the future is a world of collective decisions,” the president emphasized.

Fourth is universal security and lasting peace that takes into account the interests of great states and small countries equally. To achieve this, it is important to free international relations from the bloc mentality and the dark legacy of the colonial era and Cold War, according to Putin.

The fifth principle is justice for all: “The era of exploitation of anyone – I have already said this twice – is a thing of the past. Countries and peoples are clearly aware of their interests and capabilities and are ready to rely on themselves, and this multiplies their strength. Everyone must be provided with access to the benefits of modern development,” Putin emphasized.

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The sixth principle is equality: no one should be forced to obey those who are richer or more powerful at the cost of their own development and national interests, according to the Russian president.

“The ‘civilizational model’ referred to in Putin’s speech seems anchored on ‘principles’ – such as non-colonial relations; non-patronizing attitudes; respectful of diversity rooted in the diverse traditions – that will require a huge work to generate new shared international norms,” Paolo Raffone, a strategic analyst and director of the CIPI Foundation in Brussels, told Sputnik. “The Western ‘rules-based liberal international order’ is unilateral, and it could be imposed in a specific time in history leveraging on the power and prominence of a small group of colonial powers that after the liberal model crisis and civil war (1914-1945) has been inherited by a distant but super-powerful country (US). In a nutshell, I can say that the ‘civilizational model’ approach probably aims at structuring a shared world ‘software,’ while the ‘liberal rules-based order’ has been aiming at building an imposed ‘hardware’ defended by ‘rules’ serving the financial and military hegemony.”

World’s Corrupt Elites & Special Interests to Blame for Crisis

Putin does not blame the people of the West or their governments for the unfolding global crisis, but the corrupt elites, or particularly corrupt interests within these permanent elites, according to Siracusa.

“And so, he’s targeted the problem that a lot of the people have targeted, and that is the political elites, the foreign policy elites have targeted Russia, then, of course, China as part of their campaign to keep their people fearful and concentrated,” Siracusa said.

“He’s really telling these other publics to hold the elites accountable. And, of course, the elites that need a war of choice or necessity, forever war to keep going, etc., etc.. I mean, most of America’s great industries, Boeing, Northrop, Raytheon, etc., depend on a continuing war. With whom? Doesn’t make a difference. It’s got a kind of war-like production. That’s been the essence of American prosperity since the 1950s,” the scholar emphasized.

The arrogance of the Western elites reached its highest after the collapse of the USSR, according to the scholar. When the Russian Federation “was prepared to come to terms, to deal with the West, the West, particularly the United States, interpreted this as a weakness, not strength,” and “started to dictate things,” Siracusa pointed out.

Thirty years ago, the US and its satellites embraced hegemony, no one was going to listen to Russia; however, attempts to establish a unipolar order were doomed to failure, since the world is too diverse, the Russian president stressed.

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“The overall speech gave a steady image of Mr. Putin, who also displayed a comfortable situation for Russia,” Raffone said. “I would synthesize it in a few words: ‘Russia has overcome critical challenges, and it is here to stay.’ He stressed that ‘Russia is the largest state on the planet’ and he underlined that ‘while the Russian civilization has no frontiers, the Russian civilization can exist because there is the Russian state.’ This gives the impression of Russian steadiness and projection in the world.”

Russia Open to Dialogue Having Strong Negotiating Position

Despite simmering tension, Moscow has left the door to dialogue open for the West, according to Siracusa: “I think he’s made it very clear to the elites that they’re going to have to change their view on Russia and even China, because the world they’re looking for is one of, he said, cooperation. It’s not a sustained conflict. He made very clear to the elites that they’re going to have to reconsider and rethink their position and that Russia is prepared to sit down with them.”

Suracusa drew attention to the fact that the Russian president “made it very clear to the elites that Russia is not interested in territorial gain in Eastern and Central Europe.”

At the same time, “in a reassuring format that is open to dialogue despite the differences, Mr. Putin’s speech showed moderation matched with the determined willingness and capacity to defend the state interests,” Raffone underscored.

When it comes to Russia’s nuclear capability, Putin did not demonstrate any intent “to deviate from the deterrence approach despite the US not legally abiding to the treaty,” the strategic analyst remarked.

“He explained that the Russian superiority in nuclear weapons constitutes a sufficient deterrent to anybody imagining the use of nuclear heads against Russia or threatening the existence of the Russian state,” Raffone said.

Moscow feels quite confident on the global stage despite last year’s gloomy prognoses in the Western mainstream press. Russia’s economy is up and running, the nation’s defense industry has expanded, and the goals of the special military operation will be accomplished, Putin stated in his speech.

“There is no situation in which, say, today something would threaten Russian statehood and the existence of the Russian state,” the president said.

Russia Showed Alternative Ways for Global Development

Unlike during the post-Cold War period, the world now has alternatives for development, according to Siracusa, outlining Russia’s key role in creating these conditions.

“There are two models out there: the BRICS model, which is kind of one model of multipolarity, and the other one is the G7. That’s the other model, dominating one,” the political scientist noted.

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“So international cooperation begins with harmonious coexistence. And if you’re not prepared to play that game, and if you’re not prepared to leave your arrogance at the door and your misunderstandings at the door, what he’s saying is that it’s a brand new game. And I also think that the future has actually arrived. And now we have to open our eyes and see that the world has broken down into different groupings, regional groupings and territorial groupings that weren’t there before. So we don’t have a unipower. We don’t have superpowers. We don’t have any of that kind of thing. We have a multipolarity which depends on multilateral diplomacy.”

Per Siracusa, a brand new age for diplomacy has come and the Valdai conference made very clear that diplomacy is the major moderating influence. The political scientist believes that Vladimir Putin’s Thursday speech was written in a very plane fashion and that its message is clear and simple: “If you want international cooperation and peace with Russia, you can have it. And if you don’t, you’re going to have a problem,” the scholar said.

“Russia (and China) supported many decolonization processes and national liberation movements,” emphasized Raffone. “The new independent states have been re-colonized using the ‘rules-based order’ but today many are reacting. The large interest for the BRICS+ shows that today many countries and peoples are looking for concrete alternatives to the West dominated world.”

Simultaneously, Putin demonstrated how following into the footsteps of a hegemon could end up for its allies, according to the analyst.

“Mr. Putin has been very gloomy for the European economics perspectives. Much less for the US. The European recession and social difficulties are a fact. The more Europeans will continue to serve the American interests the more gloomy will be their perspective,” Raffone concluded.

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