In his Federal Assembly address, President Putin emphasized that Russia is not only an independent nation-state but also a distinct civilization with its own identity, which is in conflict and actively opposes the values of ‘western civilization.’
by Pepe Escobar, originally posted at The Cradle, reposted by author’s persmission
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s much awaited address to the Russian Federal Assembly on Tuesday should be interpreted as a tour de force of sovereignty.
The address, significantly, marked the first anniversary of Russia’s official recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, only a few hours before 22 February, 2022. In myriad ways, what happened a year ago also marked the birth of the real, 21st century multipolar world.
Then two days later, Moscow launched the Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine to defend said republics.
Cool, calm, collected, without a hint of aggression, Putin’s speech painted Russia as an ancient, independent, and quite distinct civilization – sometimes following a path in concert with other civilizations, sometimes in divergence.
Ukraine, part of Russian civilization, now happens to be occupied by western civilization, which Putin said “became hostile to us,” like in a few instances in the past. So the acute phase of what is essentially a war by proxy of the west against Russia takes place over the body of Russian civilization.
That explains Putin’s clarification that “Russia is an open country, but an independent civilization – we do not consider ourselves superior but we inherited our civilization from our ancestors and we must pass it on.”
A war dilacerating the body of Russian civilization is a serious existential business. Putin also made clear that “Ukraine is being used as a tool and testing ground by the west against Russia.” Thus the inevitable follow-up: “The more long-range weapons are sent to Ukraine, the longer we have to push the threat away from our borders.”
Translation: this war will be long – and painful. There will be no swift victory with minimal loss of blood. The next moves around the Dnieper may take years to solidify. Depending on whether US policy continues to cleave to neo-con and neoliberal objectives, the frontline may be displaced to Lviv. Then German politics may change. Normal trade with France and Germany may be recovered only by the end of the next decade.
Kremlin exasperation: START is finished
All that brings us to the games played by the Empire of Lies. Says Putin: “The promises…of western rulers turned into forgery and cruel lies. The west supplied weapons, trained nationalist battalions. Even before the start of the SMO, there were negotiations…on the supply of air defense systems… We remember Kyiv’s attempts to obtain nuclear weapons.”
Putin made it clear, once again, that the element of trust between Russia and the west, especially the US, is gone. So it’s a natural decision for Russia to “withdraw from the treaty on strategic offensive weapons, but we don’t do it officially. For now we are only halting our participation to the START treaty. No US inspections in our nuclear sites can be allowed.”
As an aside, of the three main US-Russian weapons treaties, Washington abandoned two of these: The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty was dumped by the administration of former president George W. Bush in 2002, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was nixed by former president Donald Trump in 2019.
This shows the Kremlin’s degree of exasperation. Putin is even prepared to order the Ministry of Defense and Rosatom to get ready to test Russian nuclear weapons if the US goes first along the same road.
If that’s the case, Russia will be forced to completely break parity in the nuclear sphere, and abandon the moratorium on nuclear testing and cooperation with other nations when it comes to the production of nuclear weapons. So far, the US and NATO game consisted in opening a little window allowing them to inspect Russian nuclear sites.
With his judo move, Putin returns the pressure onto the White House.
The US and NATO will not be exactly thrilled when Russia starts testing its new strategic weapons, especially the post-doomsday Poseidon – the largest nuclear-powered torpedo ever deployed, capable of triggering terrifying radioactive ocean swells.
On the economic front: Bypassing the US dollar is the essential play towards multipolarity. During his speech, Putin made a point to extol the resilience of the Russian economy: “Russian GDP in 2022 decreased only by 2.1 percent, estimates of the opposing side did not become reality, they said 15, 20 percent.” That resilience gives Russia enough room to “work with partners to make the system of international settlements independent of the US dollar and other western currencies. The dollar will lose its universal role.”
On geoeconomics: Putin went all out in praise of economic corridors, from West Asia to South Asia: “New corridors, transport routes will be built towards the East, this is the region where we will focus our development, new highways to Kazakhstan and China, new North-South corridor to Pakistan, Iran.”
And those will connect to Russia developing “the ports of the Black and Azov Seas, it’s necessary to build logistics corridors within the country.” The result will be a progressive interconnection with the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) whose principals include Iran and India, and eventually China’s mega-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
China’s plan for global security
It’s inevitable that apart from sketching several state policies geared towards Russia’s internal development – one might even compare them to socialist policies – a great deal of Putin’s address had to focus on the NATO vs. Russia war till-the-last-Ukrainian.
Putin remarked on how “our relations with the west have degraded, and this is entirely the fault of the United States;” how NATO’s goal is to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia; and how the warmongering frenzy had forced him, a week ago, to sign a decree “putting new ground-based strategic complexes on combat duty.”
So it’s no accident that the US ambassador was immediately summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs right after Putin’s address.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Ambassador Lynne Tracey in no uncertain terms that Washington must take concrete measures: among them, to remove all US and NATO military forces and equipment away from Ukraine. In a stunning move, he demanded a detailed explanation of the destruction of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, as well as a halt to US interference in an independent inquiry to identify the responsible parties.
Keeping the momentum in Moscow, top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi met with secretary of Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, before talking to Lavrov and Putin. Patrushev remarked, “the course towards developing a strategic partnership with China is an absolute priority for Russia’s foreign policy.” Wang Yi, not so cryptically, added, “Moscow and Beijing need to synchronize their watches.”
The Americans are doing everything to try and pre-empt the Chinese proposal for a de-escalation in Ukraine. China’s plan should be presented this Friday, and there’s a serious risk Beijing may fall into a trap set by the western plutocracy.
Too many Chinese “concessions” to Russia, and not as many to Ukraine, may be spun to drive a wedge between Moscow and Beijing (Divide and Rule, which is always the US Plan A. There’s no Plan B).
Sensing the waters, the Chinese themselves decided to take the offensive, presenting a Global Security Initiative Concept Paper.
The problem is Beijing still attributes too much clout to a toothless UN, when they refer to“formulating a New Agenda for Peace and other proposals put forth in Our Common Agenda by the UN Secretary-General.”
Same when Beijing upholds the consensus that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Try to explain that to the Straussian neo-con psychos in the Beltway, who know nothing about war, much less nuclear ones.
The Chinese affirm the necessity to “comply with the joint statement on preventing nuclear war and avoiding arms races issued by leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states in January 2022.” And to “strengthen dialogue and cooperation among nuclear-weapon states to reduce the risk of nuclear war.”
Bets can be made that Patrushev explained in detail to Wang Yi how that is just wishful thinking. The “logic “of the current collective western “leadership” has been expressed, among others, by irredeemable mediocrity Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary-general: even nuclear war is preferable to a Russian victory in Ukraine.
Putin’s measured but firm address has made it clear that the stakes keep getting higher. And it all revolves on how deep Russia’s – and China’s – “strategic ambiguity” are able to petrify a paranoid west flirting with mushroom clouds.
“…Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Ambassador Lynne Tracey in no uncertain terms that Washington must take concrete measures: among them,…”
On the evening of July 23, 1914, which was almost a month after the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife by a young Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia, the Serbian foreign ministry received an ultimatum from Baron Giesl von Gieslingen, the ambassador of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Serbia.The demand was that Austrian officials should take part in the investigation into the assassination and in the hunting down and prosecution of the ring-leaders on Serbian territory.
The difference in Lavrov’s demand is that it doesn’t explicitly required investigation on territory of the US, but assumes investigation in it’s sphere of influence – without of participation and/or influence of US!
Austro-Hungaryian demand was less harsh – to be allowed to investigate together with Serbian authorities. It was one of six demands. The rest was accepted by Serbia, immediately. Alas, we all know what happened next.
I wonder, what else Lavrov demanded from the US that was not published.
Obrigado, Pepe, as always.
No doubt Putin launched into a clear demarcation of civilizational red lines he has mentioned before, always worth drilling them to the short term memory Collective West.
It is evident the new multipolar world is defined by its high speed interconnectivity.
High speed roads, trains, networks, and economies, the speed allowing for an accumulative volume of trade unseen in the traditional routes.
Putin has his finger on the pulse on one arm of the multipolar world, and Xi on the other, Russia and China marching more and more in lockstep toward their new creation. Definitively Russia turned east, once and for all, toward the rising sun, as darkness covered the “civilized” West.
China still has some latitude to play fool, they are not under the same existential pressure Russia has been put under. Regardless, they are very aware they come next, Russia is just an obstacle on the road for the criminal empire, China is in the crosshairs.
Putin’s ability to size up the moment is one of his best qualities.
His speeches are concentrated, essential reality.
Calling the ugly US ambassador for a dress down was Lavrov’s cherry on the top.
Yes lady, make no mistake, we are at war, and your mercenaries and junk hardware, are legit targets.
Putin’s speech flattened Biden’s, a run of the mill, foaming-at-the-mouth empty tirade, so stupid Polish politicians left the grounds grunting about the Biden “saying nothing.” And the “suspension” of START put the Eurocowards in suspension, the entire Eurostan presstitutes highlighting Russia’s move.
Suddenly the Netherlands acknowledge Russia’s existence, the Prime Minister stating “it was necessary to adjust relations with Russia,” that “… “Russia will not disappear anywhere. It will always be the biggest country in the world, it will always stay on the map… No matter what we think, it is there. We will have to somehow build our relationship with it.”
It looks like Putin’s speech had a sobering effect on Eurostan’s Russophobia binge.
It also marks the opening of a new phase in the SMO, already pushing Russian troops toward Kupyansk, Liman, and Seversk.
On a bad note, Putin’s ceremony was marred with a public temper tantrum by the head of Wagner PMC, engaged in an ugly kerfuffle with Shoigu/Gerasimov, which he has extended to the public arena, a dispute over ordnance Prigozhin claims the MoD is denying to Wagner.
An event as such would have never happened during the Great Patriotic War, Stalin would have shot Prigozhin and his entire PMC for breaking military rules. This is a direct consequence of Russia flirting with liberalism in areas such as the military, where private enterprises have no place. Prigozhin is a show off, a big mouth now threatening with a rebellion (and he has the means), and using the bodies of his private army to shame the Russian MoD, blaming them for their demise.
I saw this one coming long ago.
Russia is playing with fire, allowing a man like Prigozhin to go on a roll pretending his PMC is the sole liberator of Ukraine.
He can easily change sides, after all, he’s only a businessman.
C’est la vie.
I fully agree with your concerns about Prigozhin. The Kremlin will eventually have to clip this now rogue actor’s wings.
But, is he the real head of this private army, or merely its public face? And if not, who is? Perhaps he, whoever he is, could clip Prigozhin’s wings before he is publicly identified himself and has his wings clipped as well.
The Wagner Group is accomplishing much in the fighting in Ukraine. The danger comes if it goes political. That the Kremlin cannot and will not allow.
“𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘳𝘦-𝘦𝘮𝘱𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘢𝘭 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢 𝘥𝘦-𝘦𝘴𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘜𝘬𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘦. 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘢’𝘴 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘯 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘍𝘳𝘪𝘥𝘢𝘺, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦’𝘴 𝘢 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘬 𝘉𝘦𝘪𝘫𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘢𝘺 𝘧𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘢 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘱 𝘴𝘦𝘵 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘯 𝘱𝘭𝘶𝘵𝘰𝘤𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘺.”
The Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, has pre-empted such scenario when he wrote on his Telegram page today that “Russia risks being torn apart if it stops a special military operation (SMO) before victory is achieved.” I’m sure that the Chinese understand that is the official position of the Kremlin.
The neo-cons in Washington still dream that they are protected by the big expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. Sorry, Reagan’s missile shield was never implemented. Now, Russia has, among other dangerous weapons, the Sarmat missile with unlimited range and it cannot be stopped. Please stop pushing Russia or we’ll all die. Not with a whimper, but with a Big Bang.
Everyone misunderstood China’s position. President Xi is as much a legalist as Putin who will first create a law that justifies his next steps.
There is no international body beyond the UN that has the ability to unify national govts to take concrete actions. The time is not right to form another body that’s independent from western coercion and infiltration. So China must work within UN to continue to gather the Global South into unified actions to defend their sovereignty and independence.
This is an official Chinese govt statement that Lira referenced in his Saker post.
This important Chinese govt statement has been totally suppressed outside of Chinese state media. Gee I wonder why.
@ Tayo on February 22, 2023 · at 4:25 pm EST/EDT
“The Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, has pre-empted such scenario when he wrote on his Telegram page today that “Russia risks being torn apart if it stops a special military operation (SMO) before victory is achieved.” I’m sure that the Chinese understand that is the official position of the Kremlin.”
It seems the Kremlin has designated Medvedev to mark the red lines in the geopolitical sand for the Collective West to understand Russia’s long term goals and strategic reach.
I sure hope Pepe digs further into this “peace drive” initiative the Chinese are pushing, apparently with Russia’s nodding. It is unfolding right after Munich’s “Kristallnacht” with Euronazi jackals and hyenas howling for Russian blood, after rabid dog Biden hateful foaming-at-the-mouth in Kiev and Warsaw, after the Bucarest Nine demanded from Biden the US defeat of Russia, and after the entire Euronazistan called for Russia’s strategic defeat.
Timing is perfect for a “peace drive,” right?
Surferket makes a good point,
when he states ” China must work within UN to continue to gather the Global South into unified actions to defend their sovereignty and independence.”
There is legitimacy at working within UN parameters. International law, trampled upon for decades by the empire and its minions, is still a recourse for those who don’t want to see the planet turned into a Wild West.
It is also true, as Suferket also states, that “President Xi is as much a legalist as Putin who will first create a law that justifies his next steps.”
Russia is a master of riddles (remember Churchill?), and China a master of paradox, both countries are supreme strategists, we wonder what are they trying to justify, and what would those “next steps” be.
A “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma?”
“There will be no swift victory with minimal loss of blood.” Rather eternal defeat and limitless amounts of blood – suffered and shared by all.
Article written by Alexey Dobrinin, Director of the Foreign Policy Planning Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, a vision of the nascent multipolar world, and of the confrontation between Russia and the Collective West, focused on the civilizational underpinnings outlined by Putin “as a methodological basis for understanding, describing and constructing multipolarity.”
Worth the time.
Image of a multipolar world
Civilizational factor and Russia’s place in the emerging world order
The ideological crisis in relations between Russia and the West, which entered a hot phase with the start of a special military operation in February 2022, has returned the question of the future of the world order and the principles of international relations to the headlines and political science discussions. Let’s try to look at this topic through the prism of foreign policy planning. To begin with – a few installation quotes…
@ peter mcloughlin on February 23, 2023 · at 7:32 am EST/EDT
“There will be no swift victory with minimal loss of blood.” Rather eternal defeat and limitless amounts of blood – suffered and shared by all.
Agree with the quote, not with the statement that follows.
Bottom line, in Ukraine, humanity is facing a crossroads, one is the path to slavery, exploitation and subjugation of people under the guise of “democracy and freedom,” the other path offers hope for the creation of a new paradigm in which countries are participants of an international order based on a leveled ground for their development, not dictated by a Hegemon and their allies in their “garden.”
Nothing is eternal, except Allah (SWT), God, The Most High, however called.
There is no such a thing as “eternal defeat,” and in this realm, everything is finite, there are no “limitless amounts” of anything.
Check your conceptual framework.
What you offer, is a bleak view of the future.
Hope is faith, faith is hope.
One doesn’t exist without the other.