Putin: liberal democracy is over
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Interview with the Financial Times, on the eve of the G20 in Osaka. Sovereignties are born because globalization has consumed the middle class. In the West there is "a rift between the people and the ruling class". The most important thing is to be able to guarantee "stability, as long as possible". The models are China and the 20 year reign of the "tsar".

Moscow (AsiaNews) - On the eve of the G-20 summit in Osaka (June 28-29), President Vladimir Putin gave a long interview to the Financial Times, which can be considered a balance sheet of his long hold of power. In these 20 years, Putin has become convinced that liberal democracy has now exhausted its task of guaranteeing personal and social freedoms to all. Today the world asks for stricter and more formulated rules on the individual needs of peoples and nations, what is being termed as illiberal democracy.

According to his most classic definitions, the Russian president recalls that "the cold war was a negative event, but at least there were rules, which all the protagonists of international relations had to respect in one way or another".

Instead today the rules have been smashed, and the world has become overly fragmented and unpredictable, "which is very important, but also very unhappy". For this reason, Putin's desire is that all the G-20 greats can agree, "at least with the intentions, to establish some common rules, to follow ... all the rest are details".

The Russian leader is skeptical about the possibility of this agreement on the common rules, but "at least in the general discussions and bilateral meetings we hope to lay the foundations for a positive evolution of international relations".

The interview focuses on energy policies and agreements on nuclear proliferation, on which Putin shows himself to be prudent and careful not to offend the sensibilities of either Arabs or Americans, expressing a compliment to Trump, "a talented man, who has a special sensitivity about what the voters expect from him ", beyond the solutions to the problems on which Russia and America often do not agree.

On the globalization of the last 25 years, Putin recognizes above all the great intuition of the Chinese, who have been able to "exploit globalization to pull hundreds of millions of citizens out of poverty"; in America it resulted in "the advantages of the main companies and their managers"; everywhere the middle class has been squeezed out in the division of the cake.

This explains the emergence of "sovereignties" that look at the disappointed expectations of the populations of their own countries, while in Russia "we have always put our interests first". In short, populism is a phenomenon that takes Putin as its main example.

After a long examination of the various issues open on the international scene, the interview focuses on the very concept of democracy. Putin points out that the models of democracy are different all over the world, even between America and Europe, and one cannot expect to impose a single model all over the world, much less in Africa or in Asia.

Starting from the striking example of Venezuela and its problems, in which Putin denies any interference, the Russian president finally returns to the "tragedy of the collapse of the Soviet Union", compared to the model of the single Chinese party, which has managed not to lose control of society or the economy. The most important thing, according to Putin, is to be able to guarantee "stability, for as long as possible", as the Chinese have done and he himself has tried to do in Russia.

According to the Russian president, the West today suffers precisely from this instability, in the "rift between the people and the ruling class", while those who govern must find ways to "give people a stable, normal, safe and predictable life, with hopes for improvement ".

For this reason he goes so far as to affirm that "the liberal idea today has exhausted its task ... many elements are not realistic, starting with multiculturalism and unregulated reception of migrants".

Western leaders, starting with Merkel, have made "glaring mistakes," which they must somehow be remedied: "many Western leaders I spoke to tell me they cannot apply stricter rules, and I tell them: change your laws”.

In short, Putin brings together politicians from around the world, to make the rules of democracy less permeable and ductile, and to impose solutions to social, economic, moral and family problems that prevent the ruin of contemporary society.