The “Great Crossroads” of the 21st century: Putin’s Russia in a multipolar world

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October 28, 2015 – 

crimson alter, PolitRussia – 

Translated for Fort Russ by J. Arnoldski 

“Putin is laying out a multipolar world”

It is traditionally believed that Putin is addressing the Western political elite in his Valdai speeches. This approach makes sense since the “Valdai Club” was created as a platform for communication between the Russian and Western establishments. But this year, the Western orientation of this set up was completely broken. Putin clearly and unambiguously appealed to the entire multipolar world, simultaneously touching on several topics that really concern the most passionate part of the Russian audience. 

Putin is often criticized because he hasn’t created a new state messianic ideology. Critics think that, without such an ideology, the country can’t function normally and, moreover, cannot win at global competition, since Russia allegedly has nothing to offer in exchange for pseudo-liberal values, the primacy of the US, and the cultural domination of Hollywood. They literally require the conjuring of a Ministry of Propaganda from Putin, which would tell citizens of Russia and the world why they live and why they die. We are very lucky that President Putin again and again rejects this poisonous path and does things right.

Imagine that you’re Indian engineer. Are you urgently waiting for some Russian leader to tell you about the meaning of life and offer an ideology that can lead you to a bright future? Probably not. Imagine that you’re a Chinese official. You also probably don’t look at Russia with the expectation of receiving some kind of ideology that will change your life tomorrow for the better. This exercise can be repeated indefinitely.

Our Western opponents are waiting even more than our homegrown turbo-patriots for the appearance of some messianic ideology. It’ll be comfortable for them when they don the mask of defenders of the world from the next “global threat,” no matter what color or size it may be. Any messianic idea, whether red, white, or made of bubblewrap, necessarily leads to the emergence of a global coalition of those who will never be ready for this idea and will die for the sake of not submitting to it. In fact, this is the problem now facing the United States. The opponents of the US on the global stage are not very connected in an ideological terms, but it’s the total rejection of “American values” that is enough to create a very active anti-American coalition. 

Once again, Putin outlined the main value of the ideology which Russia is offering to the world. The messianism in it is 0.0 %. Propagandizing it isn’t necessary, as it is natural. This ideology doesn’t need political officers or PR men. It doesn’t contain promises or recipes for a bright future, nor does it contain any requirements besides one: the freedom for every country and civilization to choose its own path without external diktat and violence.

Against the backdrop of a world upon on which Americans have the exclusive right to impose their political, economic, and cultural standards, the Russian commitment to freedom looks fresh and even revolutionary. A bright future presents itself to everyone differently, and freedom from external interference is the very clear and absolutely universal value that can unite, and is already uniting, different countries, regimes, and peoples. 

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In this context, Putin’s statement concerning an unwillingness to “democratize the USA” – although there are reasons to do so – doesn’t look like trolling, but manifests itself as an adherence to principle. Putin shows that words about non-intervention are not an empty sound, not a diplomatic ploy, and not an element of double standards.

From the point of view of the art of diplomacy, Putin is a lucky guy. Rarely does a world leader get the opportunity to use truth as a weapon. The Anglo-Saxon world is so deeply entangled in its own lies that nothing is needed to effectively discredit it but the truth. The leader of Russia is in a position in which he can afford the luxury of truth. It’s still harder to mess with the deranged part of the American establishment, maybe impossible, but this means that it is possible to publicly speak about how the US supports terrorists, bullies European vassals and lies about missile defense systems. “The king is naked,” the Russian president says, which is a transparent hint that “Uncle Sam” has gone mad and lost his crown. 

In strict conformity with the changing provisions on the global chess board, Putin has placed the necessary emphasis on the situation in Syria:

1. There will be no kind of partition.

2. Moscow itself will find the “moderate opposition,” teach it good manners, and organize “political reconciliation” at best.

3. An agreement with the Americans is likely to be reached in terms of further work in Syria. Along the way, Putin has hinted that the Obama administration is forced to act harshly on the official level while simultaneously apologizing to Moscow. Here is the key quote from Putin: “We suggested that at the first stage a military delegation come to Moscow, and then I said that we are ready to send a delegation of the highest political level headed by the head of state of the Russian Federation…but we were told that our offer was rejected. However, then the American colleagues gave an explanation at the ministerial level that they didn’t understand so well and that the road, nevertheless, is open, and we can walk this path and can and should think about joining efforts.” For those who are familiar with intra-elite conflict in the US, the reasons for this apparent inconsistency are easily explained.

It is significant that Putin’s plan for Syria was supported by the speaker of Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, whose presence in Valdai was a symbol of the evolution of Russian-Iranian relations. Larijani himself is a living illustration of the quality of the Iranian political elite: he is a cyberneticist, engineer, philosopher, intelligence officer, ex minister of communications, ex chairman of the Iranian Security Council, speaker of the Iranian parliament, and politician all in one. Observing the performance of this representative of a “clever theocracy,” who is tearing to shreds American templates on how an Iranian politician looks and speaks, the Kremlin should be congratulated for gaining such a very promising partner with whom we can talk and plan for the long term. Subsequent statements on joint projects for 40 billion dollars and talks on the creation of a Russian-Iranian Investment Bank are the natural results of Russian-Iranian rapprochement. 

On the question of Ukraine, Putin once again stressed that the Kremlin’s efforts to work with Europe are yielding results: 

“They unequivocally support the Kiev authorities, but all the while, in my opinion, they sufficiently and objectively evaluate the situation and they already understand that the problem doesn’t consist of two colors, white and black. It’s much more difficult…”

They will continue to put pressure with the aim of implementing the Minsk Agreements, which for Kiev (and Washington) is absolutely unacceptable. 

Despite the cries of pseudo-patriotic hysterics who would like to see a military conflict with the European Union or at least a mutual trade embargo, which would incredibly gladden the hawks in Washington, the Kremlin is persistently pressing its line in relation to Europe and Ukraine.

Along the way, Putin has buried the hopes of the sect of those who want to “tear them to shreds” and dream about the disintegration of the Russian economy. Despite quite active media hysteria, the Russian leader calmly outlined several key messages: the peak of the crisis has passed, the ruble is stable, inflation is going to fall, and the affected elements of the economy will be restored.

It’s clear that speaking favorably about the prospects of the Russian economy is very unfashionable, undervalued, and quite unpleasant, but experience shows that Putin knows what he’s talking about. This does not mean that there are no problems or that universal prosperity will come tomorrow without effort. Still during the early, acute phase of confrontation with the West, the President predicted two difficult years for the Russian economy, yet Putin sees no clear reasons for panic or pessimism. In this situation, he, as always, sees a reason to work through things. 

In his speech at Valdai, Putin laid out the contours of a new, multipolar world in which Russia will occupy a special place.

Answering a question from a journalist from Xinhua News Agency as to which countries will be the future global leaders, Putin outlined the priorities of Russian foreign policy:

For me it is obvious that Russia has good prospects, a good future, but the development of relations with our neighbors above all means with our closest neighbors and partners: The People’s Republic of China is a great country, like India…And, of course, we can’t imagine development without developing relations with Europe, and, of course, we look forward to developing relations with the US, if our partners will want such.” 

Russia will become a central force which will link East, South, and West. Moscow is not only the Third Rome, but also the “Great Crossroads” of the 21st century. We are ready to cooperate with everyone, but if a fight is inevitable, we will strike first. Putin and a bullet guarantee this. 

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