‘No one can sit out the coming storm’: Putin’s milestone Valdai speech
Western hegemony should be replaced with an actual order respectful of all, the Russian leader said
The world is entering a decade of tumult as the pursuit of a more just world order clashes with the arbitrary hegemony of the collective West, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, addressing the annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club.
Putin’s speech ranged from biodiversity to “cancel culture,” the nature of what the West has to offer and Russia’s response, followed by hours of answering audience questions. Here are six key points from his opening remarks.
The West stokes conflict to preserve hegemony
From inciting conflict in Ukraine and provocations around Taiwan to destabilizing the world food and energy markets, the US and its allies have been escalating tensions around the globe in recent years and especially in recent months, Putin said.
“Ruling the world is what the so-called West has staked in this game, which is certainly dangerous, bloody and – I would say – dirty. It denies the sovereignty of countries and peoples, their identity and uniqueness, and disregards any interests of other states,” the Russian president explained. In their so-called “rules-based world order,” only those making the “rules”have any agency, while everyone else must simply obey.However, the West has “no constructive ideas and positive development, they simply have nothing to offer the world except the preservation of their dominance.”
Rules for thee but not for me
The West insists its culture and worldview should be universal, Putin said. While not saying it outright, they behave as if these values must be unconditionally accepted by everyone else.Yet when some other countries, notably China, began benefiting from globalization, the West “immediately changed or completely canceled” many of the rules it long insisted were set in stone and sacred, Putin said, with free trade, economic openness, fair competition and even property rights “suddenly forgotten at once, completely.”“As soon as something becomes profitable for themselves, they change the rules immediately, on the go, in the course of the game.”
What multipolar world should look like
In a truly democratic multipolar world, any society, culture and civilization should have the right to choose its own path and socio-political system. If the US and Europe have that right, so should everyone else. Russia also has it, “and no one will ever be able to dictate to our people what kind of society we should build and on what principles.”
The biggest threat to the political, economic, and ideological monopoly of the West is that alternative social models may arise in the world – and would be more effective and more attractive.
“Above all, we believe that the new world order should be based on law and justice, be free, authentic and fair,” the Russian president said.
“The future world order is being formed before our eyes. And in this world order, we must listen to everyone, take into account every point of view, every nation, society, culture, every system of worldviews, ideas and religious beliefs, without imposing a single truth on anyone, and only on this basis, understanding our responsibility for the fate of our peoples and the planet, to build a symphony of human civilization.”