No menu items!

“The world is in for an unpredictable decade.” What Putin warned the West about at Valdai

By Lina Belova

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a speech at the plenary session of the Valdai International Discussion Club, the main topic of which this year was the discussion of the “world after hegemony”.

Reflecting on the issue, the head of state noted that humanity today faces two options: either an accumulation of problems or a concerted effort to find solutions that, while “not ideal, work.”

Read also: Check out our coverage on curated alternative narratives

I have always believed and still believe in this power of common sense, so I am convinced that sooner or later, both the new centers of the multipolar world order and the West will have to start an equal conversation about a shared future for us.

And the sooner, the better, of course, the Russian leader emphasized.

PATH 1 – DEGRADATION, ABOLITION CULTURE, AND CHAOS

Putin drew attention to the fact that in the world, there is a degradation of world institutions, the erosion of the principle of collective security, and the replacement of international law with specific “rules”.

The latter is not only not formulated but also boils down to one thing: “so that global authorities have the opportunity to live without any rules at all, and they get away with everything.”

So far, events are developing according to a “negative scenario” and have developed into a “large-scale systemic crisis” in the economic and humanitarian spheres, the Russian president said.

In recent months, the West, where “there is no unity, ” has taken several steps to exacerbate the situation in the world.

This is the incitement of war in Ukraine, provocations around Taiwan, and destabilizing the world’s food and energy markets.

The latter, of course, was not done on purpose but due to several systemic errors—<… > Plus the destruction of pan-European gas pipelines. In general, this is outrageous,” the head of state said.

Power over the world is something that the West has put on the line in its game, Putin continued. Still, this game, in his opinion, is “dangerous” and “bloody” since it denies the sovereignty of peoples and “does not put the interests of other states in anything.”

For the same reason, Russia’s proposals to build confidence and a collective security system were again thrown aside.

But in the modern world, it’s unlikely that it will be possible to ride this out. He who sows the wind, as they say, will reap storm. The crisis has taken on a global character, the Russian leader said.

The West argues that its culture must be universal and insists on the unconditional acceptance of its values by all members of the international community.

There is a direct mercantile interest in this: by imposing their values, Russia’s opponents are trying to expand their markets.

However, the desire to restrain the free development of other civilizations leads to a loss of creative potential in the Western countries themselves.

The West is characterized by a persistent delusion of superiority that supports the notion that all vast territories on our planet should develop and evolve toward current Western systems, Putin quoted Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn as saying in a speech at Harvard.

This “delusion,” according to the president, has acquired “ugly forms” since the culture of abolition does not allow any free thought to develop, and confidence in one’s infallibility is a “dangerous state.”

He recalled that even at the height of the Cold War, “it never occurred to anyone” to deny other peoples’ art.

“The Nazis have reached the point of burning books, and now the Western parents of liberalism and progress have slid down to the bans of [writer Fyodor] Dostoevsky and [composer Pyotr] Tchaikovsky,” the president said, noting that liberal ideology “has changed beyond recognition.”

Putin added that it had reached the point of absurdity when any alternative point of view is declared subversive propaganda and a threat to democracy.

Whatever comes from Russia is recognized as “the intrigues of the Kremlin,” but the Russian leader considers it abnormal.

Are we that omnipotent? he asked. – What nonsense! What a slip! At least move your mind! Tell us interesting things. Put your point of view conceptually. You can’t blame everything on the Kremlin’s machinations.

In this context, he recalled the words of one of the characters in the novel “Demons” by the writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, the nihilist Shigalev: “Coming out of boundless freedom, I conclude with boundless despotism.”

This, according to Putin, is what Western countries are now coming to.

“History will put everything in its place and ‘cancel’ not Dostoevsky, [poet Alexander] Pushkin, and Tchaikovsky, but those who are trying to ‘cancel’ them,” Putin concluded.

But it’s not just about culture – for the survival of Western civilization, as the philosopher Alexander Zinoviev wrote, it is necessary to use “the whole planet as a medium of existence, all the resources of mankind.”

Putin agreed with this quote and lamented that Russia’s opponents consider themselves “exceptional” and everyone else to be “second class.”

As an example, he cited the assassination of the Iranian general of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qasem Soleimani, behind whom stood the team of former US President Donald Trump.

They took him; Soleimani was killed, an Iranian general. They killed him and said, yes, we did it. What is this anyway? Where do we live?

PATH 2 – MULTIPOLARITY, INTEGRATION, AND DIALOGUE

In Russia, for a thousand years, a “unique culture of interaction” has developed between all world religions – there is no need to “cancel” anyone here.

It is essential to treat each other with respect, Putin urged.

In this sense, the problem with the West is that it has nothing to offer the world other than to maintain its dominance.

At the same time, real democracy in a multipolar world, according to the president, implies the ability of any people to choose their path.

If the United States and the EU have such a right, then there are Asian countries, Islamic states, the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, and, of course, Russia.

No one will ever be able to dictate to the Russian people what kind of society and on what principles should be built,” the president said.

In his opinion, development should occur “in the dialogue of civilizations” and be based on spiritual and moral values.

Moreover, the Russian leader recognizes a person’s highest dignity and spiritual essence as a common foundation for such interaction.

The West’s attempts to “bring everyone under one umbrella” and “newfangled trends” in the form of gay parades into the minds of citizens are doomed to failure.

Now more and more countries are denying Washington groundless demands. The only chance for Europe to restore its subjectivity is multipolarity.

Russia is not interfering in these issues; it will not do this. Unlike the West, we do not get into someone else’s yard, but we expect pragmatism to prevail, Putin said.

Despite the conditions of a brutal conflict, Russia, being an original civilization, does not consider itself an enemy of the West, Putin drew attention.

He also declared the existence of at least two Wests: the traditional one, with the most affluent culture, and the aggressive, colonial one, with the dictates of which Moscow “will never reconcile.”

Russia does not challenge the elites of the West; Russia defends its right to exist and free development. At the same time, we are not going to become some hegemon. We are not proposing to replace unipolarity, bipolarity, tripolarity.

This would be a new dead end, the Russian leader explained.

The new world order must be based on law and right, accessible and just.

Technological development should not increase global inequality but, on the contrary, reduce it.

This, according to Putin, is how the Russian Federation implements its policy, creating entire industries in other states.

If liberal globalization is depersonalization, then integration is the joint development of common strategies that benefit everyone, the president concluded.

At the end of his speech, Putin warned that the world is waiting for the “most unpredictable decade” since the Second World War, where “the upper classes cannot, and the lower classes do not want to live as before.”

However, tectonic changes do not depend on the actions of the Russian Federation in Ukraine – they would occur regardless of the special operation, which only highlights some events most vividly.

The change of milestones is a painful process but inevitable. [Our task] is to build a symphony of human civilizations, he concluded.

Earlier, Putin, in response to questions from forum participants, said that he considers Russia the only guarantor of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Check out our other content