President Vladimir Putin hails Russia's 'defence of traditional values' in his state of the nation speech
Mr Putin criticised the West's more liberal attitudes toward gay rights and US attempts at intervention in Syria
Thursday 12 December 2013
President Vladimir Putin has painted a picture of Russia as the world's last bastion against countries bent upon destroying traditional values in his annual state of the nation speech at the Kremlin.
In a ceremony full of pomp and circumstance, Mr Putin made a particularly thinly-veiled attack on the West's more liberal attitudes toward gay rights, saying Russia would defend against “genderless and fruitless so-called tolerance” which he said allows “good and evil” to be equal.
“In many countries today, moral and ethical norms are being reconsidered; national traditions, differences in nation and culture are being erased,” Putin said, speaking in a gilded Kremlin hall packed with hundreds of officials, journalists and other public figures.
“They're now requiring not only the proper acknowledgement of freedom of conscience, political views and private life, but also the mandatory acknowledgement of the equality of good and evil, which are inherently contradictory concepts,” he said.
In contrast, more and more people around the world are supporting Russia's “defence of traditional values,” the president argued. In addition to a recent blasphemy law, Russia passed a controversial law against “gay propaganda” in June - a vague term for behaviour seen to “promote” homosexuality to minors. Activists say the law in essence condones homophobia and violence.
The passing of the law has also cast doubt on the treatment of LGBT spectators and athletes at the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, where Russian officials have said repeatedly that the “gay propaganda” law will be enforced.
Russian Orthodox spiritual leader Patriarch Kirill sat front and centre in the first row for the speech, which took place on the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution.
Mr Putin also took a swipe at the United States for its perceived imperialist foreign policy and meddling in Russia's sphere of influence, noting that Russia does “not aspire to be called some kind of superpower.”
“We do not infringe on anyone's interests, we do not force our patronage on anyone, or try to teach anyone how to live,” Mr Putin said, in an apparent reference to criticisms he has made previously against the US.
Mr Putin also said Russia had facilitated “international law, common sense and the logic of peace,” in an apparent reference to his role in averting US intervention in Syria, a deal that resulted in Forbes magazine naming the Russian president the most influential person in the world, ahead of US President Barack Obama.
The latest disagreement between the former Cold War foes has involved restive Ukraine, where the capital has been beset by three weeks of anti-government protests after President Viktor Yanukovich abruptly reversed course on an expected Association Agreement with the European Union. US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland handed out cookies to protesters in Kiev's Independence Square on Wednesday as lawmakers said they would adopt sanctions against Ukraine if violence against protesters escalates.
Meanwhile, Mr Putin met with Yanukovich last week to discuss a deal on trade and economic cooperation that could alleviate financial woes of Ukraine.
“We're not forcing anything on anyone,” Mr Putin said about Russia's Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan and the possibility that Ukraine will join it. Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov also admitted on Thursday that Moscow had acted “harshly” but within the law in forcing Ukraine to choose between East and West.
In his speech, Mr Putin notably did not mention the amnesty legislation that he introduced to the parliament on the occasion of the constitutional anniversary, which could pardon thousands of non-violent prisoners including two Pussy Riot members jailed for their “punk prayer” in a Moscow cathedral. Instead, he dwelled extensively on issues of healthcare, education and housing, and said that parts of the constitution need to be changed, especially as regarding municipal governance.
In continuing the theme of Russia-under-siege, Mr Putin blamed internal ethnic strife on an “amoral internationale” made up of “out-of-hand, overbold immigrants from some southern regions, corrupt law enforcement officials who protect ethnic mafias, and so-called Russian nationalists, so-called separatists, ready to turn any tragedy into an excuse for vandalism and bloody rows.”
The statement was an obvious reference to the anti-immigrant rioting that has gripped various Russian cities this year and struck Moscow in October after an Azerbaijani immigrant was accused of killing a Russian man during an argument.
- 1 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 2 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Oscar Pistorius was 'gun-toting', 'trigger-happy' and 'combustible' claims Reeva's mother
Eleven members of same family hospitalised after eating deadly pufferfish
Phone-hacking: The Piers Morgan connection - Mirror admits some stories during Morgan's tenure may have been obtained by illegal means
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...