Most important decade since end of World War II: Putin’s speech at Valdai club

In his speech, Putin underscored that Russia does not oppose Western elites and does not aspire for hegemony in the new multipolar world

MOSCOW, October 27. /TASS/. The age of Western global dominance is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, and the world has the most important decade since the end of World War II ahead, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during the Valdai Discussion Club meeting Thursday.

In his speech, Putin underscored that Russia is not opposing Western elites nor does it aspire for hegemony in the new multipolar world. He juxtaposed true integration to Western “neo-colonial” globalization, and called for “building a symphony of human civilization.” Answering the questions from the participants, Putin said that he saw no point in relocating the Russian capital or nationalizing businesses, and made a couple of jokes about nuclear war and freezing Germans.

Here are the principal points of the president’s speech and his key answers to questions.

On Western policy

The West lays claims to all of mankind’s resources, while its proposed “rules-based order” is designed to allow it to live without any rules at all. The West is incapable of ruling mankind alone, but is desperately trying to do that, and “most nations of the world no longer want to tolerate that.”

The West amplified its power over the world in its game, but “this game is, without doubt, dangerous, bloody and […] dirty”: “it denies the sovereignty of countries and peoples, their identity and uniqueness, and it disregards the interests of other states.”

The West must remember that “one who sows wind, shall reap the whirlwind.” The West and other centers of a multipolar world will have to begin an equal conversation about the future, and “the sooner, the better.”

On the crisis of modern liberalism

Contemporary liberalism has morphed beyond recognition into absurdity, when alternative points of view are being declared subversive, and any criticism is perceived to be a “scheme by the Kremlin”: “This is ridiculous, this is how far things have gone off the rails.”

This “American-style” neo-liberal model of the world is suffering “not just a systemic, but a doctrinal crisis”: “They simply have nothing to offer the world except their dominance.”

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The West’s belief in its infallibility is dangerous, because it is one step away from the “desire of the most infallible to simply destroy those they don’t like, to ‘cancel’ them, as they say.” But history will set everything straight and will “cancel” those who somehow believed that they were entitled to dispose of world culture at their own whim.

Global civilization is based on traditional societies with their traditional values, which, unlike neo-liberal ones, are unique to every country. The West is entitled to have “dozens of genders and gay pride parades,” but mustn’t seek to impose it on others.

On Russia and the West

Russia has not considered and does not consider itself to be the West’s enemy, and has reached out to live in peace back in the day, but it was met with rejection.

There are “at least two different Wests” – the traditional one, with an extremely rich culture, and the aggressive and neo-colonial one, whose diktat Russia will never reconcile with.

The West was unable to “wipe Russia off the geopolitical map,” and it will never be able to,” just like nobody can dictate to Russia what sort of society to build and on what principles.

“Russia is not challenging the elites of the West. Russia is simply defending its right to exist and to develop freely. At the same time, we are not going to become a new hegemon of some kind.”

Moscow is also not going to impose its values: “Unlike the West, we do not interfere in someone else’s yard.

On today’s significance

The world stands at a historic juncture, facing “probably, the most dangerous, unpredictable and at the same time crucial decade since the end of World War II.” The importance of today is that all countries now have an opportunity to choose their own, original development path.

The new world order must be based on law and justice and be free and fair. Global trade must benefit the majority, not individual corporations.Technological development must reduce inequality instead of increasing it.

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The world also needs new, independent international financial platforms to replace those discredited by the West as international reserves: “First, [the West] devalued them through inflation in the dollar and euro zone, and then it went full on and pocketed our gold and foreign exchange reserves.”

A multipolar world is a reality, and effectively the only chance for Europe to restore its political and economic capability, which is “seriously limited” today.

On the nuclear threat

“As long as nuclear weapons exist, so will the threat of them being used.” Situations, in which Russia might use its nuclear weapons, are all written down in its doctrine.

Moscow was never the first to talk about the use of nuclear weapons, it only “responded by hinting” to remarks made by Western leaders. Russia believes that the West is deliberately blackmailing it. For example, no one in the West reacted to claims made by “a girl a bit out of her mind” Liz Truss, the UK ex-Prime Minister.

There is no military or political sense for Russia to strike Ukraine with nuclear weapons, and “today’s fuss around nuclear threats” only aims to pressure Moscow’s allies, along with friendly and neutral states.

Russia welcomes the IAEA’s plans to send a mission to check the reports about a “dirty bomb,” and this “must be done as soon as possible and as broad as possible,” because Kiev is doing everything to cover up its tracks.

On Moscow’s special operation in Ukraine

If Russia had not launched the special military operation, the situation would have become increasingly worse and future casualties would have been higher for Moscow. Meanwhile, Putin disagreed that the enemy in Ukraine was underestimated.

The main goal of the operation remains to help the people of Donbass. Russia could not simply recognize the republics’ independence: “They cannot survive alone, this fact is obvious.”

The events in Ukraine can partially be interpreted as a civil war, because Russians and Ukrainians are a single people, whose people found themselves in separate states.

“Russia, who created today’s Ukraine, can be the only true, serious guarantor of Ukrainian statehood, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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Moscow is still ready for negotiations with Kiev, but Kiev decided not to continue them. Washington should give Kiev a signal that problems must be resolved peacefully.

On the situation in Russia

The events in Ukraine showed that Russia is a great country that proved itself to be much stronger in the face of the West’s sanctions than anyone thought, even Russia itself. The peak of the sanctions-induced difficulties in the economy is now behind us, and not a single official is disappointed with their actions over the past year.

Because of the special military operation, Moscow has suffered losses, human losses first and foremost, but there are also “huge gains”: “What is happening will, undoubtedly, eventually benefit Russia and its future.”

Russia has an almost complete consensus regarding the need to combat external threats. “Those holding totally pro-Western views” comprise a fraction of society.

On relations with India and China

Russia treats China as a close friend, and their leaders have similar relations. However, back in February, Putin did not warn Chinese leader Xi Jinping about the upcoming military operation.

Russia and India have never had “difficult issues”: “We have always only supported each other.” When New Delhi asked to increase fertilizer shipments, they increased more than tenfold.

An appeal to average Europeans

“Fight to increase your salary. […] Don’t believe that Russia is your enemy or even adversary. Russia is your friend.”

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