From nuclear holocaust to playing hockey: Five takes from Putin’s Valdai talk

From nuclear holocaust to playing hockey: Five takes from Putin’s Valdai talk
Vladimir Putin showed up at the Valdai Club on Thursday to discuss some of the hot topics for Russian and international politics. Here are the five top takes from the event.

The Valdai Club holds an international forum each year in Sochi, and some of the most senior world politicians and leading experts gather to take part in the discussions. Putin often participates, and this year the Russian president gave a somewhat grim warning to anyone, who would seek Russia’s destruction.

Any aggressor should know that retribution will be inevitable and he will be destroyed. And since we will be the victims of his aggression, we will be going to heaven as martyrs. They will simply drop dead, won’t even have time to repent.

Putin was speaking of a possible nuclear holocaust. Russia is currently upgrading its nuclear deterrence, saying it is necessary to keep in check the US development of anti-ballistic missile technologies. Within months, world’s first hypersonic glider warhead will enter service in the Russian military, the president announced.

We know for certain, it’s an obvious fact and our colleagues realize it, that we surpassed all our competitors in this area. Nobody has precise hypersonic weapons. Some plan to test theirs in 18 to 24 months. We have them in service already.

Another serious and far less hypothetical issue he discussed is the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who many people believe had been murdered on an order from Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. Putin said Russia was in no rush to spoil its relationship with Riyadh over a crime that is yet to be proven. He also pointed out at Western hypocrisy, since when Russia was accused by London of poisoning former double agent Sergei Skripal, its allies took no time to punish Moscow.

There’s no proof in regards to Russia, but steps are taken. Here, people say that a murder happened in Istanbul, but no steps are taken. People need to figure out a single approach to these kinds of problems.

Putin also addressed the tragedy in Kerch, a city in Crimea, where what appears to be Russia’s bloodiest-ever school shooting had happened a day before the Valdai Club meeting. A college student used a homemade bomb and a hunting rifle to kill 20 people before committing suicide, according to investigation. The Russian president implied that the shooter was inspired by the 1999 Columbine shooting in the US and that it was a sign of a failure to adapt to globalization.

We collectively react badly overall to the changing conditions. We fail to create a necessary, interesting and useful content for the youths. They grab on to this surrogate heroism. And tragedies like this one happen.

The event wrapped up in a humorous manner, as Putin said he was eager to get some me-time with a stick and a puck.

I would like to wrap up the meeting because I want to play ice hockey before my flight to Uzbekistan.

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