RussiaOctober 28 2022, 9:02 am

Putin Makes New Pitch for a Global National Conservative Alliance

Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladamir Putin has once again deliv­ered a speech in which he exten­sive­ly ref­er­enced so-called “cul­ture war” themes com­mon­ly espoused by rightwing/conservative West­ern ele­ments. In his keynote speech yes­ter­day at the 19th Annu­al Meet­ing of the Val­dai Dis­cus­sion Club in Moscow, Putin assert­ed the exis­tence of a West­ern “neo-lib­er­al,” cos­mopoli­tan elite that stands in con­trast to the tra­di­tion­al val­ues of both Rus­sia and the West:

You just need to clear­ly under­stand that there are, as I said before, two West – at least two, and maybe more, but at least two: the West of tra­di­tion­al, pri­mar­i­ly Chris­t­ian, val­ues, free­dom, patri­o­tism, the rich­est cul­ture, now, Islam­ic val­ues ​​too – a sig­nif­i­cant part of the pop­u­la­tion of many West­ern coun­tries pro­fess Islam. This West is close to us in some ways, we have many things in com­mon, even ancient roots. But there is anoth­er West – aggres­sive, cos­mopoli­tan, neo-colo­nial, act­ing as a tool of the neo-lib­er­al elites. Rus­sia, of course, will nev­er put up with the dic­tates of this West.

Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ing has exten­sive­ly cov­ered the Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign cen­tered on the “Great Reset” con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry, a  grow­ing online con­spir­a­cy pushed by rightwing US and Euro­pean extrem­ists that claim a glob­al elite is using the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic to dis­man­tle cap­i­tal­ism and enslave human­i­ty. (It is also notable that Putin includes “Islam­ic val­ues” as part of the tra­di­tion­al forces oppos­ing the glob­al, elitest West, a devel­op­ment that will be cov­ered in future GIOR report­ing). Putin goes on to link “tra­di­tion­al val­ues” with nation­al sov­er­eign­ty, fur­ther refer­ring to “Eura­sia”:

Tra­di­tion­al val­ues ​​are not some fixed set of pos­tu­lates that every­one must adhere to. Of course not. Their dif­fer­ence from the so-called neo-lib­er­al val­ues ​​is that in each case they are unique, because they fol­low from the tra­di­tion of a par­tic­u­lar soci­ety, its cul­ture and his­tor­i­cal expe­ri­ence. There­fore, tra­di­tion­al val­ues ​​can­not be imposed on any­one – they must sim­ply be respect­ed, care­ful­ly treat­ed with what every nation has cho­sen for centuries.This is our under­stand­ing of tra­di­tion­al val­ues, and this approach is shared and accept­ed by the major­i­ty of human­i­ty. This is nat­ur­al, because it is the tra­di­tion­al soci­eties of the East, Latin Amer­i­ca, Africa, Eura­sia that form the basis of world civilization.

“Eura­sia” is a nod to the idea that Rus­sia is at the heart of a Eurasian empire defy­ing West­ern deca­dence, a view espoused by US sanc­tion ide­o­logue and Russ­ian con­fi­dante Alexan­der Dug­in. (Some­what omi­nous­ly, Putin also said, “A nat­ur­al part of Greater Eura­sia could also be its west­ern tip – Europe.) Putin returns to the theme of “can­cel cul­ture,” an idea often espoused in US rightwing cir­cles. Refer­ring to a ‘move­ment to remove celebri­ty sta­tus or esteem from a per­son, place, or thing based on offen­sive behav­ior or transgression:”

And now what is hap­pen­ing? At one time, the Nazis reached the point of burn­ing books, and now West­ern “guardians of lib­er­al­ism and progress” have fall­en to the pro­hi­bi­tions of Dos­to­evsky and Tchaikovsky. The so-called can­cel cul­ture, but in fact – we have already talked about this many times – the real can­cel cul­ture mows down every­thing that is alive and cre­ative, does not allow free thought to devel­op in any of the areas: nei­ther in eco­nom­ics, nor in pol­i­tics, nor in cul­ture. The very lib­er­al ide­ol­o­gy today has changed beyond recog­ni­tion. If ini­tial­ly clas­si­cal lib­er­al­ism under­stood the free­dom of every per­son as the free­dom to say what you want, to do what you want, then already in the 20th cen­tu­ry lib­er­als began to declare that the so-called open soci­ety has ene­mies – it turns out that an open soci­ety has ene­mies – and the free­dom of such ene­mies can and should be lim­it­ed, if not abol­ished. Now they have reached the point of absur­di­ty, when any alter­na­tive point of view is declared sub­ver­sive pro­pa­gan­da and a threat to democracy.

GIOR report­ed last Jan­u­ary on what we described at the time as anoth­er some­what over­looked speech by Putin at the Val­dai Club, char­ac­ter­ized by a Russ­ian aca­d­e­m­ic as the “first major and strong call for rein­vent­ing Russ­ian ide­ol­o­gy for Rus­sia and the world.” We also not­ed that in his speech, Putin was close­ly mir­ror­ing rightwing themes that dom­i­nate the so-called “cul­ture wars” in the US, such as a pas­sage where he assert­ed that “social progress” advo­cates are adopt­ing Marx­ist ideas in their fight against racial dis­crim­i­na­tion. We also report­ed in May on Putin’s Vic­to­ry Day speech, in which he returned to many of these same themes, includ­ing the West­’s alleged “can­cel­la­tion of mil­len­nia-old values.”

An ear­li­er GIOR report on the “Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive” move­ment doc­u­ment­ed Putin’s desire to become the ide­o­log­i­cal cen­ter of a new con­ser­v­a­tive alliance cen­tered on nation­al sov­er­eign­ty, cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty, and oppo­si­tion to glob­al insti­tu­tions. That report iden­ti­fied Hun­gary as the cen­ter of that alliance:

Russ­ian Pres­i­dent PUTIN has expressed an inter­est in Rus­sia becom­ing the ide­o­log­i­cal cen­ter of a new glob­al con­ser­v­a­tive alliance, and Euro­pean far-right lead­ers have tak­en pro-Russ­ian posi­tions based on a sim­i­lar ide­ol­o­gy. Hun­gary is at the cen­ter of a devel­op­ing alliance between Euro­pean far-right nationalists and Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tives that Rus­sia could poten­tial­ly exploit for use in infor­ma­tion war­fare. This alliance oper­ates under the rubric of “Nation­al Con­ser­vatism,” cen­tered on nation­al sov­er­eign­ty, cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty, and oppo­si­tion to glob­al insti­tu­tions and rep­re­sent­ing a poten­tial­ly rad­i­cal change for the US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment away from long-held Rea­gan-era philosophies

Read the full report here.

In his cur­rent speech, Putin points to what he calls the Hun­gar­i­an attempt to “con­sol­i­date the com­mit­ment to Euro­pean Chris­t­ian val­ues ​​and culture:”

Out of habit, Wash­ing­ton con­tin­ues to call the cur­rent world order Amer­i­can-style lib­er­al, but in fact, every day this noto­ri­ous “order” mul­ti­plies chaos and, I might add, becomes more and more intol­er­ant even towards the West­ern coun­tries them­selves, towards their attempts to show any inde­pen­dence. Every­thing is sup­pressed right on the vine, and they impose more sanc­tions against their own allies – with­out any hes­i­ta­tion! And they agree with every­thing, low­er­ing their heads low. For exam­ple, the July pro­pos­als of the Hun­gar­i­an par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to con­sol­i­date the com­mit­ment to Euro­pean Chris­t­ian val­ues ​​and cul­ture in the EU treaty were per­ceived not even as a fronde, but as a direct hos­tile sab­o­tage. What is this? What does it mean? Yes, some peo­ple like it, some peo­ple don’t.

GIOR report­ed ear­li­er this week on the role of US aca­d­e­mics pro­mot­ing Russ­ian-style cul­ture war themes in East­ern Europe using a Hun­gar­i­an edu­ca­tion facil­i­ty as a base.

For the full tran­script of Putin’s speech, go here.


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