RussiaFebruary 22 2023, 9:58 am

Putin’s State of the Nation Address Doubles Down on Culture Wars- Accuses West of Promoting Pedophilia

On Feb­ru­ary 21, 2023, Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin deliv­ered his annu­al State of the nation address to mem­bers of both hous­es of par­lia­ment, mil­i­tary com­man­ders, and sol­diers at the Gostiny Dvor con­fer­ence cen­ter in cen­tral Moscow. The speech came amid a tense stand­off with NATO over Ukraine, where Rus­sia has mount­ed a large-scale inva­sion since Feb­ru­ary 24, 2022.

Putin used his speech to accuse the West of stok­ing a glob­al war to destroy Rus­sia and its val­ues. He said Rus­sia was defend­ing its sov­er­eign­ty and secu­ri­ty against West­ern aggres­sion and inter­fer­ence. He also praised the efforts and sac­ri­fices of his troops in Ukraine, call­ing them “heroes” who were fight­ing for “the truth.”

One of the most con­tro­ver­sial state­ments that Putin made dur­ing his address was his crit­i­cism of West­ern cul­ture and moral­i­ty. He said that the West was pro­mot­ing the “destruc­tion of fam­i­lies,” “per­ver­sion,” and “abuse of chil­dren” as nor­mal. He specif­i­cal­ly men­tioned pedophil­ia as an exam­ple of how West­ern soci­ety had degenerated.

“Look at what they do to their own peo­ple: The destruc­tion of fam­i­lies, cul­tur­al and nation­al iden­ti­ties, and per­ver­sion that is child abuse all the way up to pedophil­ia are adver­tised as nor­mal­i­ty,” he said.

He also claimed that West­ern coun­tries were forc­ing priests to bless same-sex mar­riages and impos­ing their views on gen­der iden­ti­ty on oth­er nations. He con­trast­ed this with Rus­si­a’s tra­di­tion­al val­ues and respect for fam­i­ly, reli­gion, and nation.

Putin’s remarks sparked out­rage among human rights activists, LGBT groups, and West­ern lead­ers. They denounced his speech as homo­pho­bic, xeno­pho­bic, and inflam­ma­to­ry. They also accused him of using pro­pa­gan­da to divert atten­tion from his own vio­la­tions of inter­na­tion­al law and human rights in Ukraine.

How­ev­er, some ana­lysts sug­gest­ed that Putin’s rhetoric was aimed at ral­ly­ing his domes­tic sup­port base ahead of par­lia­men­tary elec­tions lat­er this year. They argued that Putin was try­ing to por­tray him­self as a defend­er of Russ­ian iden­ti­ty and inter­ests against an exter­nal ene­my. They also not­ed that Putin’s speech reflect­ed his long­stand­ing dis­trust and resent­ment towards the West.


GIOR Analy­sis

Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin has long been known for his desire to become the ide­o­log­i­cal cen­ter of a Glob­al Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive (GNCA) alliance described in a GIOR report as follows:

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.

Oppo­si­tion to “gen­der ide­ol­o­gy” is a cen­tral issue for the GNCA, and the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed in Octo­ber 2022 that Putin had once again deliv­ered a speech in which he exten­sive­ly ref­er­enced so-called “cul­ture war” themes com­mon­ly espoused by rightwing/conservative West­ern ele­ments. In his remarks,  Putin referred to “strange, in my opin­ion, new­fan­gled trends like dozens of gen­ders and gay pride parades.” In Decem­ber 2022, we report­ed that Putin had signed into law the bill expand­ing a ban on so-called LGBTQ “pro­pa­gan­da” in Rus­sia. GIOR first report­ed on the new leg­is­la­tion in ear­ly Novem­ber 2022 when Russ­ian oli­garch Kon­stan­tin Mal­ofeyev told a Duma hear­ing that pass­ing the law would be part of Rus­si­a’s war effort in Ukraine.

We also report­ed just yes­ter­day that in his own recent State of the Nation address, Hun­gar­i­an Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Orban defend­ed his coun­try’s con­tro­ver­sial child pro­tec­tion law, which bans LGBTQ con­tent from schools and media aimed at minors. Orbán jus­ti­fied the law by say­ing that there is no excuse for pedophil­ia, that chil­dren are sacred and invi­o­lable, and that it is the job of adults to pro­tect chil­dren at all costs. GIOR report­ed in Octo­ber 2022 on the role played by the Math­ias Corv­i­nus Col­legium (MCC), a Hun­gar­i­an edu­ca­tion facil­i­ty sup­port­ed by the Orban gov­ern­ment, in dis­sem­i­nat­ing Russ­ian-style anti-LGBTQ propaganda.



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