Putin insists U.S. respect ‘multipolar’ world and tell Kyiv to seek peace

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Russian President Vladimir Putin recited familiar complaints and criticisms of the hegemonic “Western elite” while offering an ideological pitch to Asian leaders and to conservative groups in the United States and Europe during a major foreign policy speech on Thursday.

Putin also blamed the West for the war in Ukraine that began with a full-scale invasion in February and insisted that Washington could end the conflict by instructing the Ukrainian government to seek peace.

In the speech, delivered to the annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow, Putin portrayed Russia as a champion of rising nations in a new multipolar world, and demanded that the United States and other Western powers begin to be respected as equals. And looking for common ground with the right wing in the West, he described Russia as a defender of traditional Christian values ​​as society has lost its way.

“I am convinced that sooner or later the new centers of the multipolar world order and the West will have to start an equal conversation about a common future for us, and the sooner the better, of course,” said Putin. He added that he believed the West was losing its dominance and was “quickly becoming a minority on the world stage.”

In fact, Russia is deeply isolated as a result of Putin’s brutal invasion, and his attempt to illegally annex four regions of Ukraine in violation of international law. Earlier this month, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly not to recognize Putin’s annexations and called on him to reverse course. The results were 143 to 5 with 35 abstentions. The four countries to side with Russia were Belarus, Nicaragua, North Korea and Syria.

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Ksenia Sobchak, a Russian star linked to Putin, fled using an Israeli passport

The Kremlin boasted that future generations will “read and re-read” the speech, but on Thursday, Putin spoke to a diverse crowd of guests from India, Pakistan, China and Indonesia as well as fringe pro-Kremlin politicians from Moldova asked him magnificent questions. for his vision for the post-conflict, post-American hegemony world. There were few Westerners in the audience.

Despite making the competition with the West a cornerstone of his foreign policy and daily talking points, Putin insisted that Russia does not fundamentally see itself as an enemy of the West but instead opposes Western efforts to create ” strange” and “neoliberal” values ​​in other societies in the world.

These alien values, according to Putin, include the “cancellation of culture,” “dozens of gay parades” and the right to express gender identity.

On Thursday, Russia’s lower house of parliament unanimously adopted a law that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among Russian citizens and imposes heavy fines for mentioning the LGBTQ+ community in public.

“There are at least two Wests,” Putin said. One is the West of “traditional values, mainly Christian, freedom, patriotism, the richest culture” to which Russia is close. “But there is another West – aggressive, cosmopolitan, neocolonial, the one that acts as a tool for the neoliberal elites,” he continued. “And Russia, of course, will never tolerate this exact order of the West.”

A ‘Russian’ arrested by Norway was at a European seminar on hybrid attacks

In the nearly three-hour speech and question-and-answer session, Putin made a number of far-fetched claims, including that the West started the war in Ukraine.

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“Unlike the West, we do not climb into someone else’s yard,” Putin said, claiming that Moscow does not interfere in the affairs of other states.

In the last 15 years, Russia invaded two of its neighbors, Ukraine and Georgia, intervened militarily in Syria, and spent millions to give political favor in Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro and other countries.

Putin once again criticized US President Donald Trump’s ordered assassination of Qasem Soleimani, a top general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, whom the Pentagon blamed for attacks on US citizens. “They killed Soleimani on the territory of another state and said: ‘yes, we killed him,'” Putin said. “What is that? What world do we live in?”

Russia has been accused of orchestrating attacks on many critics of the Kremlin abroad, from the murders of Chechens in Germany to the poisoning of former secret service agents and defectors in London. Putin’s main critic, Alexei Navalny, is imprisoned in Russia after surviving a poisoning attack.

“Whatever comes from Russia is always labeled as ‘Kremlin conspiracies,'” Putin said. “But look at yourself! Are we that powerful? Any criticism of our opponents is seen as ‘the hand of the Kremlin,’ but you can’t just blame everything. [us.]”

In recent years, Putin’s government has become increasingly repressive, cracking down on political opposition figures, journalists, activists and scholars – labeling hundreds as “foreign agents.”

Russia’s systematic attacks exploit the fragility of the Ukrainian power system

The panel’s moderator, political analyst Fedor Lukyanov, pressed Putin on whether Moscow had underestimated its adversaries in Ukraine, an implicit reference to the battlefield setbacks suffered by the Russian military in recent weeks and the general pace of the war now in its ninth month despite the initial Kremlin expectation that he would quickly capture Kyiv.

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“The society does not understand – what is the plan in this operation?” Lukyanov continued, referring to the brewing discontent with Moscow’s military strategy and an unpopular mobilization campaign that has conscripted 300,000 or more but sent nearly hundreds of thousands more fleeing the country to avoid being sent to fight.

Putin rejected the criticism. He said that the balance on the battlefield would have been worse for Russia in the future given Western supplies of weapons to Ukraine and “the construction of fortified areas.”

Putin also repeated Russia’s unsupported claims that Ukraine was preparing to use a “dirty bomb” containing radioactive material. Western leaders have dismissed this charge as false and a possible excuse for Russia to escalate the war through its own use of such a weapon.

In previous comments, Putin has often said he is prepared to use “all available means,” hinting at Russia’s massive nuclear arsenal, but insisted on Thursday that Russia had never openly threatened to use nuclear weapons and had no need to she did that in Ukraine.

Putin repeated his false accusations of state-sponsored “Nazism” in Kyiv, and insisted that the US could end the war. “Those implementing the policy in Washington can solve the Ukrainian problem very quickly through diplomacy,” he said. “They just need to send a signal to Kyiv to change the attitude and try to hold peace talks.”

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