Vladimir Putin’s address at the Valdai Discussion Club, 24th October 2014 – I’m posting this one year later, to the day.
10 Highlights of the Message Vladimir Putin Sent to the World via Valdai Club:
1) On the information war:
The global information space has been upset these days by wars. The only correct view and interpretation of events is aggressively imposed by the USA and its allies in the MSM, certain facts are manipulated or ignored. We have all become accustomed to labeling and creating the image of an enemy. The authorities in countries that seemed to have always appealed to values of freedom of speech, the free flow of information, as we often heard about have now abandoned them. Now, they try to prevent the dissemination of objective information. On top of that, they declare any other point of view different from their own to be hostile propaganda, which must be fought against and obviously, not by democratic means.
2) On the refugee crisis:
Today, hundreds of thousands of migrants attempt moving but not integrating into a different society, without profession, not knowing the language, the traditions or culture of the countries, to which they move. And the indigenous people speak angrily about this foreign intervention, a deterioration of the situation with crime, the amount of money spent on refugees from the budgets of these countries. Of course there are many people who sympathize with the refugees and want to help them. The question is how to do that without prejudice to the interests of the indigenous population in the countries, whiere the refugees are resettled? The shock of such a massive and uncontrolled collision of different lifestyles can lead to, and is leading to, the growth of nationalism and intolerance, the emergence of permanent conflict in these societies.
3) On the support of terrorism:
In recent years, the situation got worse. The number of insurgents has increased and weapons that were transferred to the so called “moderate opposition” are in the hands of determined known terrorists. Entire gangs, with “the music and the orchestra” came over to their side. The problem is not in the lack of military capacity, the USA has the largest one. It is always difficult to play a double sided game: to fight with some terrorists and to use others “as a battering ram to overthrow regimes they find undesirable”.
4) On the “moderate” terrorists:
There is no need to play on words and divide terrorists into “moderate” and “immoderate”. What separates them? I would like to understand the difference. Perhaps, according to some experts, moderate bandits decapitate people in a moderate and gentle way. In fact, we now see a real tangle of terrorist organizations. Yes, sometimes they are rebels of the “Islamic State”, “Al-Nusra Dzhabhat”, all sorts of other heirs and factions of “Al-Qaeda”, they even fight each other. But then, they fight for money, for their share of the money, for the sources of the income flow, for the territory of the income flow – that’s what they fight for, not for ideological reasons. But the essence and methods they have are the same – they terrorize, murder, transform the people into a downtrodden, intimidated, docile mass.
5) On the sanctions wars:
The reality of the today’s global economy is trade and sanction wars. Moreover, sanctions are also used as a tool to disadvantage the competition, to oust or even ban rivals from markets. As an example, I recall an epidemic of penalties imposed by the United States, affecting European companies as well. Feeble pretexts are used: those who dared to attempt to break the unilateral US sanctions are sternly punished. Let me ask, is this how one should deal with their allies? No, it’s how you deal with vassals, who dared to exercise their discretion. They get punished for bad behavior.
6) On missile defense testing:
Recently, the first tests of a US missile defense system took place in Europe. This means that when we disputed with our American colleagues, we were right. They tried to mislead us, to say it more clearly – deceived us and the entire world. It was not a hypothetical Iranian nuclear threat, which has never been the case, in an attempt to destroy the balance, to change the balance of forces in its favor, in a way that will allow them not just to dominate, but to be able to dictate their will to all – to their geopolitical rivals and allies. This is an extremely dangerous scenario for everyone, in my opinion, including the United States itself.
7) On the actions of the West in the Middle East:
The international community must be wondering: isn’t it time to coordinate our actions in the conflict zones with the people who live there… the ones who know what’s taking place in their own countries?
8) On Russia’s operations in Syria:
After the request of Syrian authorities on giving them support, we decided to launch a military operation in that country. Once again: it is completely legitimate. Its sole purpose is to promote peace.
9) On the settlement of the Middle East conflict:
What do we think must be done to support a long-term settlement in the region, its social, economic and political revival, to ensure, and above all, to liberate Syria and Iraq from terrorists and prevent them from spreading their activities to other regions? What is necessary is to unite all the forces, the regular armies of Iraq and Syria, the Kurdish militia forces, the various opposition groups that are truly ready to make a contribution to defeating the terrorists. To coordinate the actions of regional and extra-regional countries confronting terrorism…
10) On the political process in Syria:
It is obvious that military victory over the rebels in of itself won’t solve all the problems but it will create the conditions to be able to achieve the main objective – to start a political process with the participation of all the healthy patriotic forces within Syrian society. Syrians must decide their fate for themselves, at their own accord, with the respectful assistance of the international community and not under external pressure through ultimatums, blackmail and threats.