Vladimir Putin speaks at the accession ceremony of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhie and Kherson
Russia’s online portal for state television programming smotrim.ru has put up the full address by Vladimir Putin earlier this afternoon to the joint session of Russia’s parliament in the St George’s Hall of the Kremlin. The speech was indeed substantive and very important, as had been tipped in advance by the presidential team. It was followed directly by the signing of papers incorporating into the Russian Federation the four territories of Ukraine which have just completed their referendums on accession: the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Lugansk People’s Republic, the Kherson oblast and the Zaporozhie oblast.
In what follows, I will direct attention first to how this speech broke new ground in Vladimir Puitn’s description of Russia’s difficult relations with the world’s powers that be which first took concrete form in his speech to the Munich Security Conference in February 2007. I will be brief. I will not attempt to summarize passages or go into great detail, because the speech itself will very quickly be made available in English on the presidential website and will be carried in full on Johnson’s Russia List.
Next I will offer what the text does not provide: my observations on how it was delivered, that is to say, the state of mind of the speaker, and on how it was received by the audience, judging by facial expressions of the ministers and other high officials in the front rows who were given greatest coverage by the cameras.
Finally, I have a word to say on what this speech means for Russia’s backers in the ongoing showdown with the Collective West, China, India and Iran, and what it means for the further conduct of the war in Ukraine.
For the main part, the speech was a comprehensive denunciation not only of the United States as global hegemon, a theme which goes back to Putin’s remarkable talk in 2007, but a denunciation of the Collective West which the United States directs. The elites of this Collective West, and in particular the elites of Europe, in their various vassal states, come in now for special mention as willing collaborators in the plunder of the world that Washington oversees, even at the expense of their own peoples, as we see today in the ongoing destruction and de-industrialization of Europe that follow from the anti-Russian sanctions demanded by the USA and their resultant energy crisis and rampant inflation. In passing, Putin characterizes these elites as traitors to their countries. On the upside, he notes that there are in all of these countries people of good will and common sense who understand matters in the same way as does Russia, and he claims that their numbers are increasing all the time.
It also is worth remarking that Putin speaks of Germany, Japan and South Korea as ‘occupied countries,’ meaning of course the large American forces based in these countries since the end of the Second World War and Korean War. In light of all the discussion in the West of whether Russia will or will not use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, he points out that the only country to have used nuclear weapons was the United States, in its attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, to which he adds that these bombings were not for military purposes in the ongoing campaign, but to inspire fear in the world and in the Soviet Union in particular. Moreover, he mentioned the US and Allied bombing of Dresden, Cologne and other German cities as having had shock value rather than military utility, all of which reduces to zero U.S. credibility today as a teacher of civilized morals to Russia.
Talking points from the civilizational conflict with the West which have been delivered by Putin in various forums and conferences over the past year are also set out here. Russia stands by its traditional values and will not accept the gender games and aggressive secularism that are promoted by the neoliberal elites of the West.
More importantly, he explains that the Collective West is guided by the principles of colonialism, which legitimize the robbery of the national wealth of countries in the rest of the world.
The United States and Collective West are in open conflict with Russia for its insubordination, for its insistence on being itself and not following a diktat from anyone. The Collective West is intent on Russia’s destruction, its break-up into smaller units easier to control and colonize. The spoliation of Russia by the West at the time the country was flat on its back in the 1990s amounted to 1 trillion dollars.
Putin characterized the information war and lies propagated by the West about Russia as worthy of Goebbels, following the principle that the more outrageous is the lie, the more it is repeated, the greater the likelihood it will be believed and accepted.
The speech had very little content drawing on current events, aside from the referendums in the respective territories which have now become ‘subjects of the Russian Federation.’ He did mention the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines in one sentence, as the work of the ‘Anglo-Saxons,’ which in the context we may take to mean the United Kingdom. It will be interesting to see in the coming days whether Russian diplomats put forward this allegation in international forums like the United Nations.
As for the speaker, he was in top form. His delivery was self-assured and smooth. He looked radiant and in good health.
Judging by the faces of those who were repeatedly captured by the cameramen, the mood of the audience was predominantly, almost exclusively somber, similar to when Putin delivered his announcement on recognition of the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics in the days leading up to the 24 February launch of the ‘special military operation.’ I call out in particular Prime Minister Mishustin, chief of the presidential administration Kiriyenko, speaker of the Federation Council Matviyenko, Speaker of the State Duma Volodin, former president and head of the Security Council Medvedev, head of the Just Russia party Mironov, head of Foreign Intelligence Naryshkin, head of the foreign affairs committee of the Federation Council Kosachev, minister of foreign affairs Lavrov. The weight and responsibility before history for the fate of the country at this critical time could be read on all these faces.
Curiously, the party leader of the Communists, Zyuganov, was not picked out by the cameras; presumably, he would have been in a more celebratory mood. And the only major Russian politician who surely would have smiled broadly, Zhirinovsky, has been dead now for six months. Oh, yes, there was on the dais one man who was clearly in very good spirits: the leader of the Donetsk Republic, Pushilin.
Where does the campaign in Ukraine go from here? There was absolutely nothing in Putin’s speech to answer that question. The only mention of Kiev in this connection was his insistence that Russia stands ready to enter into negotiations on condition that the status of the four new ‘subjects’ of the Russian Federation not be discussed, since their fate was solved now once and for all.
For the world at large, Vladimir Putin has set out a broad and vastly damaging condemnation of the Collective West which no one can ignore. He has thrown down his gauntlet.
From the beginning of the ‘special military operation’ there has been speculation among expert observers of all political stripes that Russia would never have dared to invade Ukraine had he not had the backing of China’s president Xi. It was assumed by others that the stress of the war and of the sanctions imposed by the West has made Russia a junior partner of China, with all the loss of independence that implies. However, I would maintain that with this speech the Russians have both the Chinese and the Indians by the tail, not the other way around. There is no way that either of these great powers can walk away from Russia without losing all credibility in the Global South as champions of a multipolar world and challengers to the rapacious collective West.
©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022
20 thoughts on “Vladimir Putin speaks at the accession ceremony”
Thank you. Russia has achieved at least one of its objectives.
Putin is not the propagandist here, IMO. At least not compared to his western counterparts. From Iraq 2003, through the Arab Spring, Douma, Russiagate, Afghanistan, and the Ukraine war, Putin has been much closer to the truth than Lindsay Graham, John McCain, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, the New York Times, etc.
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Thank you for this.
It really does feel like the end of the US empire.
I think the start was the 2016 election when intelligent people started pushing obvious lies in a desperate hope that we would believe them.
The Afghanistan withdrawal confirmed it.
Destroying Europe because US can’t bare to see China and Russia stand up for themselves is pretty much the end.
Give it another 12 months and it will be Canada, NA and Australia alone with populations that support US.
For now but what happens in 10 years or 20? What happens after a potential ‘victory’, seeming more likely to be a frozen conflict with an armistice rather than a settled treaty. The proxy war is won but Russia still has a population a fraction that of China’s without the enormous ethnic diaspora to use in gathering influence and with an industrial capacity a fraction of China’s.
The PLA haven’t fought a war since the border war with India in the 50s. I think it may be that Russia is more assertive self-confident and pro-active because the neocons made them like that. Meanwhile China knows that all it needs to do is wait since everyday it grows stronger and every day the US grows weaker. It doesn’t even need to directly confront the US or through proxies. This is it’s “peaceful rise” strategy. Indeed they’ve already crossed the point past which the US would dare to engage it in a shooting war. So it may look like Russia is dragging them around but that’s just because of the policies of the neocons right now in 2022. Long term Russia is still the junior partner.
The Russians wanted to join the West and assumed that is what would happen with the end of the Soviet Union but the neocons didn’t want peace with Russia, it’s mere existence and influence inside the Western alliance was not tolerable to them so they looted the country and corrupted it’s nascent democracy. The by no means inevitable but very reasonable ‘immune response’ to this parasitism by the oligarchs in the form of Putin and in the form of the statesman he became is still a response to this posture by the West. This is totally invisible to most people in the West who aren’t provided with any context and are just fed the line that the Russians were never able to be negotiated with, that Putin is irrational and that this all just happened because we weren’t belligerent enough towards Russia rather than the result of a policy of unpeace that was a defacto second cold war.
It’s also a class-based and public trust issue. Across the West you can tell who will understand this by their class and disposition towards the elite. The poorer and more disenfranchised, the more they see this. The middle but particularly the upper middle classes are totally deluded and seem to think the West and Europe in particularly is all-powerful.
I don’t find Russia’s claim to these territories (Outside Crimea) to be particularly iron-clad. Even in Donetsk it was 50:50 ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians and many who are counted as ‘Russian speakers’ are ethnic Ukrainians who consider themselves as such. We may want to hand-wave the costs to the Ukrainian people and nation at the hands of what they consider as their former colonial power as purely just based on the context and the brutal ethnic civil war and war crimes of Ukrainian nationalists but the punishment is to people who never had a choice. The Ukrainians didn’t choose this anymore than the people of the West chose their supposedly ‘democratic’ governments.
But the anger I have for my peers across the West, particularly young women who have such ignorance of geopolitics or the neocon agenda who enabled this war, a war fought with other people’s lives and another country’s territory is deep. It reminds me of the Adam Curtis short “Oh Dearism” about the ignorance of the people and the lies of omission from the media to contextualise events.
Things just happen according to the Western media. This war just came out of nowhere, Putin was just crazy. 500lb bombs just fall on Gaza, like rain. Nothing to be done, oh dear.
For me it is the likelihood that so long as China remains a developing and energy-hungry power, and is able to get plentiful energy at competitive prices from Russia, it will not only maintain a stable partnership with Russia, but will jealously guard Russia’s position as secondary only to its own national interests. In short, China will never allow a hostile power to gain control over its energy supply, which comes principally from Russia.
At the same time, although the Chinese military is large and increasingly capable, its long-range nuclear arsenal remains limited compared with that of Russia. It just makes sense to maintain and strengthen an alliance in which both countries can count on the Russian nuclear deterrent.
China and Russia differ ideologically, and have been uneasy companions in the past – however, of all the white races, the Russians culturally are the most like Asians, socially and philosophically. China will never get a better bargain or a more reliable and capable partner; in return, economic forays against Russia will eventually flicker out as China rolls over the west, either subordinating or crushing America’s vassals as the situation dictates. At the same time, the west cannot pursue a campaign of strangling sanctions against China – can’t even make it work in Russia, and its exposure to Russia is tiny by comparison; consequently, anything Russia is denied by western dog-in-the-mangerism can be obtained through China.
I’m not saying Putin’s speech was about gender only but he definitely mentioned it (referencing the need to stick to traditional representations of parenthood). I read many Russian sources making fun of the way “the West” is strangely obsessed with gender. Autocracies are often concerned with normative views of human sexuality, it is a novel thought. Men be men and go to war and women will bear children.
Well, Putin is not an autocrat. But he does reflect very traditional, Russian values. Thankfully, his popularity in Russia also reflects how Russians, generally speaking, think on these things as well.
Check out the Global Times response to Europe. The U. S. has a very full plate indeed.
Thank you, Doctorow.
Your description of the Russian officials – their facial expressions and reactions – bring back childhood memories of my interest in politics as I watched (as just some examples) Richard Nixon delivering his energy crisis speech under the weight of Watergate, Gerald Ford’s speech as President, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill”, Ted Kennedy, etc.
Because back then, in some ways those speeches mattered, if only because they came from American leaders who clearly (sometimes) were in full possession of their minds and some of these minds sometimes were very considerable minds (like Putins’s), could think and reason and make decisions sometimes at variance of the “Deep State” (or whatever you call it) that controls Western governments.
And today? Ha! It’s a joke, a badly run low budget movie or TV comedy show that doesn’t know it’s a comedy. Watching and listening to US leaders who are clearly mentally diminished and controlled by their neocon warmongering advisers. America has “leaders” who clearly are NOT in full possession of their mental faculties and even if they were, their original mental faculties began at such a comparatively low level one wonders if it would make much difference.
It’s good to know Russian leadership at least not yet as decayed to the level of the West.
Herrn Doctorows Informationen sind unersetzlich. Sie schließen die schmerzhafte Lücke, die die Märchen unserer westlichen Medien bei uns hinterlassen. Heute Nacht konnte ich nicht gut schlafen und so habe ich mir die Rede Putins, die bei RT online verfügbar war angehört. Putin in Höchstform! Ich hatte es auf diesem Blog schon einmal geschrieben. Für Rußland ist ein zweites Jahr 1380 angebrochen. Die barbarischen Mongolen, das ist heute die angloamerikanische Welt, muß besiegt werden. Es geht um Alles! Als Deutscher werde ich Rußland und den Russen immer dankbar sein für ihre Unterstützung der deutschen Wiedervereinigung am 3. Oktober 1990.
Mr. Doctorow’s information is irreplaceable. They fill the painful gap that the fairy tales of our Western media leave with us. Tonight I could not sleep well and so I listened to Putin’s speech, which was available online at RT. Putin in top form! I had written it before on this blog. A second year 1380 has dawned for Russia. The barbaric Mongols, that is today the Anglo-American world, must be defeated. Everything is at stake! As a German, I will always be grateful to Russia and the Russians for their support of German reunification on October 3, 1990.
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