Message to the West in Russian President’s Valdai speech

The “Valdai Club” is now of a special value. This expert platform has long established itself as a think tank that is sensitive to changes in the geopolitical situation and is distinguished by its deep analytical study

Message to the West in Russian President's Valdai speech
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This year’s theme is “World Beyond Hegemony: Justice and Security for All”. The peculiarity and undoubted value of Valdai is the participation of the Russian President in it, whose speeches each time become the subject of close attention and discussion by the world media and political circles.

But this time, international tensions, reaching an unprecedented level, made Vladimir Putin’s speech especially impatient. Moreover, the Kremlin stressed the day before that the speech of the Russian president would be extensive and very important. And the organizers of the forum are ready to explain to foreign participants the causes and consequences of the events taking place in Russian-Ukrainian relations. Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov noted that “Putin’s speech will be ‘read and re-read.’ And he knew exactly what he was talking about.

In his speech, the President masterfully uses language as a tool for political self-determination and struggle. In his speech, the collective West is presented as an opponent, and in fact the rest of the world is presented as real and potential subjects of cooperation.

It is important to note that there is no aggressive component in the rhetoric towards the West, but there are elements of disappointment, regret and condemnation. The words that the collective West is “playing a bloody and dirty game”, is helping to foment war, is aggravating relations, making systemic mistakes, and is contributing to the intensification of the energy and food crises – all this is not a figure of speech, but an experienced and felt reality. It is no coincidence that the speech noted that all proposals from Russia to strengthen confidence-building measures were rejected without discussion. Expressions about a doctrinal crisis, when the West has nothing to offer the world but its domination, and also about the current liberal order, which multiplies chaos, “cancels” other cultures, and prevents the preservation of cultural diversity, look epic. And the coming decade has been characterized as the most important and unpredictable since the Second World War.

In this context, the special operation of the Russian Federation in Ukraine looks like a forced reaction to the challenges of the anti-Russian policy of the West, which has become especially clear since 2014, in which Kyiv is assigned the role of an instrument, Russia is the target, and Donbass is the victim. But Russia and Donbass, as the course of the special operation shows, did not fit the roles imposed on them, they play by their own rules.

The speech of an experienced politician on the international platform cannot be imagined without a rhetorical arsenal indicating ways to solve the problem. What are they? First of all, it is noteworthy that the Russian president rejects the policy of confrontation. However, he does not accept the principle of “making any concessions” for the sake of compromise. It is now obvious that Russia’s current foreign policy is aimed at creating new, more just, equitable, mutually beneficial spaces where conditions favor it. In this sense, the symbol of “tomorrow” is Asia as part of Greater Eurasia, where gigantic reserves and opportunities are concentrated and where there are prospects for building a new world order, new centers of world development with new financial platforms and transport corridors.

An important postulate was the idea of ​​relying on traditional values, preserving the diversity of cultures and caring for the identity of peoples without imposing alien standards. At the same time, traditional values ​​are interpreted not as a set of rigid postulates, but as a unique combination of cultural and behavioral norms and rules that “cannot be imposed, but can and should be respected.” In this sense, it seems to the speaker that a dialogue with the West is also possible, but in its traditional dimension as a part of Greater Eurasia (already as a periphery?!). Speaking about the future, the President used the image of “blooming complexity of cultures.” It seems that the forum participants, most of whom are representatives of Asia, perfectly understood what was at stake.

More than a hundred experts, politicians, diplomats from the CIS countries, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Africa (41 countries in total) listened to the words of the Russian president, with the participation of representatives of a number of Western states.

The other day, news feeds reported that Riyadh and Tehran supported Moscow’s actions in order to “put a black eye on the United States” (the decision to reduce oil production by OPEC+ countries). It seems that the Valdai Speech is a black eye for the collective West.

De facto, it becomes clear that in order to get out of the critically tense situation of the coming decade, huge efforts will be required to create a new world order. And this process will obviously be difficult, painful and slow. But its contours are already being outlined.

Tamara Guzenkova, Izvestia newspaper

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