Russia is not an enemy of the West – Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared on Thursday that Russia is an “independent” civilization that does not consider itself an enemy of the West. Instead, he is concerned about the “aggressive” and “neo-colonial” liberal elite in charge of the bloc.
“In the current conditions of a tough conflict, I will say some things directly,” Putin told a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club. “Russia, being an independent, original civilization, has never considered and does not consider itself an enemy of the West.”
Hatred for American, British, French or German people “are the same form of racism as Russophobia and anti-Semitism,” he added.
Putin went on to describe the West as two entities. On one hand, the traditional, primarily Christian West “is close to us in some ways,” he said, noting that “we have in many respects common and ancient roots.”
“But there is another West – aggressive, cosmopolitan, neo-colonial, acting as an instrument of neo-liberal ideas. It is precisely with the dictates of this West that Russia, of course, will never put up with,” he continued.
While Putin undoubtedly sees the conflict in Ukraine as an existential struggle against the West – describing his forces as fighting the “entire Western military machine” and blaming the derailment of peace talks and sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines on the “Anglo-Saxons,” he has drawn a distinction between Western elites and Western society before.
Speaking at a ceremony following the accession of four formerly Ukrainian regions into the Russian Federation last month, Putin declared that “the Western elites target all societies, including the citizens of Western countries themselves.”
While the West expands primarily to secure its “mercantile interest,” he stated at Thursday’s meeting, it also pushes its cultural exports on an unreceptive world. “If Western elites believe they can launch new trends like dozens of genders and gay parades, they have the right to do so,” he said. “But they don’t have the right to demand that others follow the same direction.”
Putin also condemned the “pure Satanism” of Western liberal culture in his speech last month, noting that “many like-minded people in Europe and the United States” feel the same way.
The Valdai Discussion Club is an annual international event in Russia conceived as a platform for floating ideas that the host nation considers important to discuss with other global players. The forum was created in 2004.