Putin, the Emperor of the West
The Russian 'tsar' speaks of a 'defensive' and salvific war to build a new world led by Russia. Moscow sees itself as the 'true West', the one of traditions. To survive, the Russian president hopes for favourable political changes in Europe and the US.
Milan (AsiaNews) - There was certainly no need to listen to Vladimir Putin's long and rancorous indictment at Moscow's Valdaj club on October 27 to understand that Russia's war is not aimed at regaining Ukraine, but at defeating the West and the entire world. The 'bunker tsar' has promised that he will devote himself to this purpose for the next decade, in his words 'the most dangerous in world history'.
Perhaps also to disprove the constant rumours about his imminent demise, mirroring the return of his long-time friend Berlusconi, back in the forefront of Italian politics: the vodka toast sent on his birthday is a clear signal of good wishes to himself, to remain in power until at least the age of the 're-neo-senator'.
The theme of the Putin conference could not have been more explicit, speaking of 'the world after hegemony: justice and security for all'. The 'defensive' and salvific war is aimed at building a new world led by Russia, a new West enlightened by the East. Putin's relationship with the West is dominated by a real obsession, that of the 'so-called West of the unipolar world', which wants to 'erase Russian culture' and even its sporting achievements.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced the leader's speech as 'an epoch-making text, which will be analysed for many days', even though nothing of what he proclaimed differs from the daily pounding of rhetoric that has been pouring out since 24 February, and in fact long before. These are themes that Putin has been reiterating at least since the 'Munich speech' 15 years ago, and in essence they echo the dream of the 'Third Rome' of five centuries ago.
If Moscow is the only true Rome, then Russia is the true West, and the Kremlin tsar is its emperor, flanked by a patriarch who actually wants to be the pope. "It did not occur to anyone, not even during the Cold War, to deny the culture and achievements of its adversaries," Putin thundered, referring more to the refusals of world sports federations to the participation of Russian teams and champions, far more symbolic than Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky themselves, though cited as examples of 'cancel culture'.
It is the heresy of the Anglo-Saxons, who do not recognise true faith and authentic values, imposing sodomite degradation and arrogating to themselves the right to admit or exclude those who do not conform. "Some Ukrainian printers refuse to print the books of Russian authors in the Russian language", recalling in this "the burning of books by the Nazis, in what claims to call itself a liberal society".
"False liberalism" is one of the definitions of heresy, not by chance condemned by Patriarch Kirill even before Putin came to power, when as metropolitan he inspired a new law on religious freedom in 1997 that limited the activities of non-Orthodox denominations, and banned altogether those of the "extremist sects", i.e. all religions that could not prove to have been present in Russia for at least 15 years (after 70 years of State atheism).
The 'defence of traditions' is Russia's atomic-spiritual weapon against the world that has fallen into Satan's hands, 'in which every point of view is considered a lie and propaganda', to assert the dominance of total relativism, while 'traditional values cannot be imposed, they can only be respected'. The supreme example of this degeneration, according to Putin, is the MeToo movement, a 'contemporary form of ostracism against important public figures', inventing against them absurd accusations of violence and harassment in order to eliminate those who do not suit power.
The list of Western heresies is long, and Putin started with the 'ecological' one, now providentially put on the back burner because of the Russian world war: 'The reduction of the multiformity of nature is the premise of the reduction of diversity in geopolitics and world culture', without, however, going into detail about any real problem of ecology, climate change and environmental protection.
Resentment over 'the collapse of the USSR, which destroyed the world balance of political forces, allowing western states to proclaim the unipolar world order' is certainly not be absent. Fortunately, 'all this now belongs to the past, we are at a crossroads of history: the most important and unpredictable decade since the end of the Second World War is opening before us'.
The decade actually looks much shorter, as Russia wants to continue to be 'friends of Western countries', which it does not consider its enemies. Putin is especially looking ahead to 2024, when his umpteenth term of office renewal (fifth or sixth, calculating the four-year governmental term) will have to be matched by the election of a new US president to replace the current 'servant of Satan' Joe Biden.
The prospect of the return of Trump, or at any rate of an isolationist US president, begins in a few days in the mid-term elections on Capitol Hill in Washington, from which the Russians hope to be able to count on new majorities, more reluctant to finance the defensive war in Ukraine.
The USA is not the only country with which they want to 'renew friendship': Bolsonaro's Brazilian sovereignty could be confirmed, and the Kremlin is in any case pleased with the sovereignist victory in Italy, beyond the declarations of support for the Ukrainians, accompanied moreover by not a few winks to the Russians.
Putin tickles that part of Western, and particularly European, public opinion that nevertheless exudes great sympathy for Russia, speaking of the "continuous growth of pressure and the creation of hotbeds of tension on our borders", as in the recent news of the deployment of 150 NATO tactical nuclear weapons in the countries of "encirclement". The aim is to 'make Russia increasingly vulnerable, and turn it into a docile instrument of its own geopolitical ambitions'.
The Atlantic Alliance is in a sense Putin's best ally: its enlargement to Sweden and Finland, and its assistance to Ukraine, are the best demonstration of the 'invasion of the West' that forces Moscow to keep up its defensive force, mobilising its entire population and keeping its own atomic weapons, 'which we have no intention of using', at the ready.
The 'civil war in Ukraine', as Putin called it, because 'Russians and Ukrainians are one people', is also a European war in the proper sense, beyond the bombastic definitions of the global West. In it, the European crises of the last decade and more, where precisely the globalist system has produced a series of contradictions, are re-proposed in increasingly intense dimensions, as Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev, president of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, points out on Radio Svoboda: "The financial crisis of 2009-10, which stressed the entire economic system of the European Union, and today is renewed in the energy issue; the migrant crisis, which in 2015 was partly a consequence of the war in Syria, and now sees the exodus of Ukrainians in more than double the size of the Syrians; and the feeling of the imminent end, spread by the pandemic of the last few years, and today renewed by the nuclear threat."
Putin knows that the Europeans only want to get out of the nightmare, and do not realise that they are fully involved in the war. The political and social developments of the coming months, if not years, should lead to a gradual detachment of Europe from the US and Ukraine itself, beyond formal support, in order to restart a real relationship with Russia.
Washington looks at the war with a world outlook, Europe looks at itself with terror, and Russia is well aware that it has no outlets in Asia, where the empire is increasingly firmly in the hands of the emperor of Beijing.
It is no coincidence that after his confirmation in power, with the liquidation of the non-aligned, Xi Jinping took care to reassure the United States of their common desire for universal peace, without denying the possible use of force to annex Taiwan. Kremlin rumours say that the Chinese leader has instead postponed further talks with Putin, anxious to have assurances and protections, while giving Foreign Minister Lavrov a pat on the "greatness of Russia" that will be assured by the Chinese.
Between the two true superpowers of East and West, Russia relies on the divisions and weaknesses of Europe, its true political and geographical territory. The entire cultural, economic and religious history of the 'third Rome' is inextricably bound up with Europe, and the much-vaunted 'traditional values' are certainly not Confucian ceremonies or Hindu ascetic practices, even though Russia has absorbed some of Asia's inspirations.
The Orthodox Church is a European Church, linked to the apostolic origins of Rome and Constantinople, and from Christian, secular and multiform Europe must come the response that Putin awaits, perhaps with the outstretched hand of the Argentine pope of early Rome, to save the Ukrainians from tragedy without humiliating the Russians, in a new Europe of peace.