Playing to Western Discord, Putin Says Russia Is Battling ‘Strange’ Elites

Oct 27, 2022 · 279 comments
Kris (Princeton, nj)
Putin misfires again! Apparently he has a lot of sympathizers among the progressives in the Democratic Party. He should be courting them.
Kelly (Minnesota)
It is not just the MAGA crowd he's speaking to - although that part is clear. The progressive left has lost its mind - the mental gymnastics required to make sense of whatever word salad is thrown at people lately has become too much... even for many liberals. It seems he might understand us better than we do - we risk loosing everything pandering to an extremely small number of people with thin skin, fickle sensitivities, and endlessly entitled feelings.
Robert O. (St. Louis)
The “Strange” Elites are actually Russian oligarchs with French villas and three hundred million dollar yachts. They make Trump look like a pauper. In fact they own Trump.
Big Bird (US)
I saw the entire speech and the Q&A. It was as impressive, as it was long. No matter what your attitude towards Putin and Russia, one cannot help but walk away thinking that if Biden showed himself capable of sitting their for 4+ hours and speak without teleprompter or notes, he would be reelected with no problems. To say that the speech pandered to republican conservatives of US would be so incomplete, as to be almost untrue. The speech appealed to conservative values of people around the world. Putin called to value the opinions and cultures of all people. If I happened to read the excerpts of the speech pertaining to the issues of other cultures, relegions, and values, I would sooner believe it was delivered by a millennial woke activist, than Putin. Many of Putin's enemies will find, to their shagreen, that the speech was well received not just by our conservatives, but by great many peoples in the World. Where Trump found his supporters among forgotten and abused working class of US, Putin is finding it in the forgotten and abused nations of the World. And there are many...
I.Keller (France)
Putin knows how to fan the flames of division because he has been simply heavily at it since 15 years. Be it in Italy, France, the UK or obviously the USA he invested massively in the "divide to conquer" strategy. And a very effective one in our era of social "medias" and dubious "news" channels. Can't we muster the critical thinking skills to see when we are being manipulated and our values of free speech are being weaponised against us?
Bos (Boston)
In one of the earlier Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, a Vulcan, played by Kim Cattrall, conspires with the rebellious general to sabotage the peace talk. It is a theme as old as warring factions wanting to be the ultimate victor. So, why the surprise if Putin would employ these divide and conquer tactics? What is more disheartening is people like Sanders and Jayapal sabotaging their own party (ok, Sanders is not really a Democrat but he chooses to caucus with them). The former and other progressives joined force to upstage Manchin and President Biden and the latter and her 30 Russian appeasers wrote an open letter to weaken Ukraine and Mr Biden alliance. And their act is so close to the midterm. Those are more puzzling incidents
joe (Ca.)
Putin is meddling in the American election, right in the open, on the world stage. He's pandering to the MAGA crowd, hoping to align them more with Russia than they are with the rest of America. He is manipulating Americans to end their support of Ukraine. Sadly, it has a strong chance of working. Trump's treasonous lies have polarized America, and GOP has built on his foundation of lies with MORE lies in their hard core power grab. Ironically, they cast themselves as the real, patriotic Americans and the rest of America as the enemy even as they tear down American democracy and divide America with their lies. Putin is looks like a "genius" as trump called him, when he is pandering to conservative America as more in alignment with Russia than America itself. He is playing Americans against Americans. Putin does this serve his OWN agenda, his aims in the war, and to further fracture America, it does not make him a friend to ANY American, rather the opposite.
Bogdan (RH, Ontario)
It is perfectly understandable. Putin needs new Elites to battle as his own keep falling from balconies or drowning or having all kinds of odd accidents while doing simple, usually safe activities.
jack sherman (Maine)
@Bogdan Ironic for Putin to demonize "the elites"--when he is the most elite man in Russia--with billions stolen from his people.
b fagan (chicago)
Dmitry Medvedev (Russia's former president, and current deputy chairman of their security council) made the following offer in a media post today: Give Russia the land they want, or Russia will keep destroying Ukraine's civilian power grid. This from the nation going for "traditional, mainly Christian values". We also heard from Putin's buddy Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Chechnya, a mostly Muslim ally of Putin's (since Russia out-terrored them a while back when they wanted more indepencence). What did Kadyrov contribute to Putin's "traditional, Christian values"? He said this about his own Muslim troops in Slavic, Christian Ukraine: "Chechens are participating in jihad ... and if they are destined to fall in the holy war, it is an honor and a great joy for every true Muslim," he said." This is Putin's world of tradition. He says there are two Wests - and he and his buddies hate the West that tries to do things like hold fair elections, and avoid invading one's neighbors.
DKarner (Larkspur, CA)
Christian values?! Amassing $Billions for personal use instead of helping the needy. Zero faithfulness and loyalty to one's spouse. Not raising one's children. Imprisioning or just straightout killing opponents. Kidnapping Ukrainian women and children and giving them to Russians as though they were things rather than people. Cutting off gas supplies to civilians so that they freeze this winter. Withholding harvested Ukrainian grain supplies from starving Africans. Recklessly toying with nuclear power plants. Forcing at least 300,000 Russian men into war without regard for their lives or autonomy. Outright sadism and hatred towards people of other faiths, skin colors, philosophies, and political idealogies. Christian values?! No. These are Hitler's values.
Ma (Atl)
"...the Russian leader sounded like some right wing westerns" Come on nytimes, you can do better than this! Putin is the remnant of the KBG and Soviet communism. He isn't anything close to sounding like 'right-wing' westerners. Or left-wing westerners. He's an evil man murdering innocent civilians in an illegal take over of a sovereign country. Hardly any kind of 'traditional values.'
S. Roy (Ontario, Canada)
Here is a man, who has unleashed unfathomable destruction in Ukraine, who had also decimated places like Chechniya and Syria and occupied parts of Georgia, who has LONG been known for ordering murders and other acts of vengeance against political and other opponents, who now has his back against a wall seems to have run out of options!! This man seems to be insecure and is also rather pathetic in his attempts to display his manliness!! Here is a man looking at a bottomless abyss!! So this man is clutching at straws!! He also thinks that gaslighting will help him and to be fair, a section of his western audience is pliable to his message. If the coming winter is not harsh, chances are that even that pliable audience will not matter much!! Though one cannot think of draining the swamp when one's behind is in the jaws of an alligator, western Europe - particularly Germany - has no one else but only themselves to blame for the fix they are in regarding the energy crisis. They had been warned numerous times for over-reliance on Russian energy supplies and did essentially NOTHING!! The west, collectively, can ALSO be blamed for the Ukraine invasion, even after Putin's malfeasances mentioned above and PARTICULARLY after the annexation of Crimea. Will the west ever learn? Unlikely!!
anonymous (NY)
@S. Roy - I was a small child during the OPEC embargo of late 70s and we didn’t learn then after great losses and suffering …. And oil companies were also warned since the 60s about the scientific connection between fossil fuel emission particulates in the atmosphere and the aggregate global affect on UV Ray conversions that trigger graduation elevation in global temperatures - these theories were conservative and global temperatures are accelerating faster than was projected …. Tons of films have been made about this warning the global population and elites resist forgoing profit in the present to preserve a better future on our planet So Long story short …. Human beings entrusted to govern, elected and not elected alike, the world over. believed that our science would eventually save humanity from these collectivized consequences - their collective arrogance and hubris is A typical and tragic human flaw and failure of character exemplified …
S. Roy (Ontario, Canada)
@anonymous Even though the earlier comment was specifically about Western European apathy to be more energy independent and not about the larger issue of climate change, it is still valid to say that people have not learned about how we are making the climate worse. In this regard it's not just western countries, the rest of the world is at fault as well.
John (Switzerland, actually USA.)
Always bear in mind that every single photograph and video of Mr. Putin is from his photographer, polished and made available by Putin's people. This image of the "lone hero"battling the evils of the world is all a show. You will never see a photo of Putin wetting his pants.
anonymous (NY)
I watched the conference online - it was presentation on economic topics but the questions appeared staged and preselected to reflect only pro Kremlin narratives +this conference was not like the WEF in Davos and felt controlled +censored - they talked about the need to denazify Ukraine +referred to the west as having a colonial consciousness without making the comparison that Russia was treating Ukraine w/ an outdated colonial consciousness as a place to be exploited +controlled in Russia interests at the expense of lives, freedoms of Ukrainians who are facing forced subjugation. Putin just deflects accountability for heinous crimes+ genocide+ claims he was asked to invade by Ukraine by Russians needing his help to denazify Ukraine … Putin then proclaimed he wanted Russia to be a place where scientists would want visas to come and innovate and where artists would want to come to participate+ create art+culture but Putin shows no concern for scientists to innovate and for artists to create on Russian soil there must be laws protecting individuals intellectual property and free speech and human rights … Putin wants to be liked (don’t we all) I would Like Putin a lot more if he stopped behaving himself like a colonial master +dropped the manifest destiny rhetoric + stopped pushing the koolaid that its In Russias best interests to subjugate Ukrainians for Russians long term profit and hegemony … it’s sad human history of demoralization and aggression is repeating itself …
Morgan Rauch (Houston, Texas)
“He doesn’t think he’s been backed into a corner. He thinks he’s a witness to the birth of a new world.” Yep, I believe he is correct. In the U.S. the ideological right has an obsession with the 'other' fueled by power driven politicians. These next two years I believe will be transformative within the United States as the Republicans take over the House, Senate and the politicized Supreme Court all this with lame duck President.
David, GTA (Pickering)
Anyone believing Puten's rhetoric covered in this article after observing all he has done criminally in Ukraine (and in Russia), I would sincerely have to question their wisdom, if not intelligence. Its a good thing no one in the U.S. has fallen for similar deceptive rhetoric among its own... Oh, wait a minute...
David, GTA (Pickering)
From David, GTA: BTW. Apologies for misspelling "Puten's" name. In Canada, spelled as Putin, it would be pronounce like the fave Canadian fries dish - poutine. (That's true. But honestly it was my mistaken spelling [smile])
Mike M (07470)
Ahh to take the measure of the man that Trump regards as a "genius". A man trying to destroy a sovereign nation in multiple ways whether militarily, infrastructure-wise, culturally... So wonderful to hear that he doesn't hate all citizens of the US, just the ones who think that Trump is a horrible, lying, destructive human being. Since he imprisons any political rival who perhaps could threaten his realm the Russian people will be stuck with him until he does. And so will we.
Native Tarheel (Durham, NC)
Putin’s culture war speech might well have been given by Ted Cruz or Ron DeSantis. Perhaps Tucker Carlson wrote it for him.
Anne-Marie Hislop (Chicago)
It that fool Trump gets back into the White House he will play right into Putin's arms. He loves 'strongmen' and is blinded by his need for affirmation and praise. That combined with his isolationist world view would be very destructive, indeed.
Laura (Barcelona)
He is completely out of his mind.
David H (Northern Va.)
@Laura Not really. He views the world through a Russian prism, formed over centuries. Here in the US, we view the world through our own unique prism. Our prism is no more distorted than / is as distorted as Mr. Putin's.
jack sherman (Maine)
@David H oh really? sad you can justify this war--as if anyone's "prism" is okay.
Victor W. Mason (Mamaroneck, New York)
Perhaps someone can inform Vladimir Putin that murder, rape, genocide, theft and mass bombardment of civilians are not yet listed by the UN human right charter as "traditional values."
Jerry Mander (Ohio)
Why it's as if Putin has been watching a lot of Fox News.
McFly (NYC)
“Strange Elites” ahem, NYT editorial board, I think he means you.
Canadian (Canada)
Of course he's spouting the "I'm against the elites" nonsense, the unfortunate reality is that the elites like him, one of the wealthiest men on the planet, or the New York tycoon in orange are feeling intense social and economic pressure and want someone to blame, and they are very adept at convincing masses of people that the blame lies with your local Democratic mayor rather than with an economic system that perpetually geysers money out of the hands of many and into the hands of fewer and fewer. He'd love nothing more than to have his best orange dupe buddy back in and to have an effective governor like Joe Biden hamstrung for the next two years.
stephan morrow (nyc)
This reminds me of the dying days of the Roman Republic where the elites and their factions are more invested in going for each others throats than protecting Rome from external pressures or attacks. Divisiveness here is dangerous while there is nothing of the like e.g. in China. We need as much solidarity as we can muster in spite of all the fragmentation of info being fed to us by all sides. Empires crumble from within. To add: I'm a Russophile (having loved working on Bulgakov (playwright of the revolution), Dostoevsky (his Possessed was onto the corruption of ideologues way before the murderous Bolsheviks too over) and Gogol - the most powerful satirist of all time ) but when Putin crossed an internationally recognized border that was it for me. The Ukranians are willing to sacrifice their lives to stop his uncalled for aggression and dying for their country's freedom – that's undeniable. I wonder if we have the same will in our own military at this pt and how many of the lumpen who clamor for equity would do that? Just wondering. The Ukranians are reminding us of what 1776 was like and who stepped up to the plate for their beliefs. S.M. Artistic Director Great American Play Series
AKJersey (New Jersey)
Putin is subjecting the entire civilian population of Ukraine to a game of Russian Roulette! These are War Crimes, and the surviving population will be traumatized for the rest of their lives.
David H (Northern Va.)
@AKJersey Maybe its time to take a hint and bring an end to the war. A cease fire and negotiations would be an excellent start.
jack sherman (Maine)
@David H have u been paying attention at all? Putin has refused any negotiations.
kallikaknj (North Jersey)
We have a name for those with whom Putin feels kinship: Republicans. Dems should use this tactical blunder by the wannabe Tsar as a cudgel against the Trump-McCarthy-Carlson Axis of Evil every moment up to November 8.
Nunyo Demasio (New York)
Putin sounds like he'd fit in well among today's Republican officeholders. Yet another reason to vote blue.
Leslie (Arlington Va)
Perhaps there is no one more qualified then Putin when it comes to the topic of "Strange" elites.
D.Harlem (NYC)
Thanks Republicans for enabling and encouraging our foreign enemies to being our morality judge? A man like that, no morals, no ethics, misogynist, racist, homophobic, paranoid, incompetent and, sounds like I'm describing modern day republicans. So again I say, thanks trump et al for allowing our enemies a foot in the door as republicans did in 2016 and continue to do. I call that treason. Republicans show more love for Putin than our own country.
Rick Sacks (Toronto)
Who cares what Putin says. He invaded a sovereign country. That's all we need to know. Who cares what he is afraid of. NATO? Please. Divisions in the US? Nice, a strategy to divide the US. Wow, wish I could have thought of that. And just by the comment section, his transparent strategy is working. Happy Halloween. The guy is a lawn ornament ogre with bad wiring, dangerous to trick or treaters.
Daphne (Petaluma, CA)
Putin's dream is to unify the old USSR, and in recent years, he has used the military to that end. Ukraine is simply the only country that has fought back with enough internal strength to pose a problem for him. I visited the old USSR on a university tour with other Americans and Canadians. The undercurrent for the entire time was fear. The Intourist guide warned us not to communicate with residents in the cities we visited (Moscow, Kiev, Tblisi, and others) because those people could land in prison for associating with us. By 9 a.m. there was no bread left at the bakery, no fish at the market, and people walked away from the lines with empty bags. We saw communism in action with armed guards everywhere, and residents who lived in constant fear. Putin would have that USSR again, and that is why we and other countries who value democracy need to support Ukraine.
Marcus Brant (Canada)
A great tragedy impacting the besieged people of Ukraine is that the West lost its moral imperative while recoiling from Russia’s unjust war. The invasions of Iraq, predicated on lies of WMDs, and the ancillary carpet bombing of Afghanistan following 9/11 hardly gilds western governments with beatific goodness. Indeed, one must ask how many people around the world watched and n horror as we decimated the Middle East? I know I did from the security of my Rocky Mountain home far from the frontline. Sickeningly, Putin has attempted to hoist us by our own petard presumably on the assumption that all nations are entitled to atrocious military adventurism from time to time without too much opposition. What he fails to recognise is that the world is much changed since then even as he spews historical drivel to justify his war. Democracy is self forgiving because as administrations change, sins of the predecessor are expunged. Tyrannies like his are monolithic but tend to collapse with predictable carnage when their excesses become intolerable. Iran is a prime example. The Cold War produced an unmagnanimous victor in the West, but a victor no less that Russia cannot hope to challenge in its delusions. As Putin seethes in isolation, the iron curtain drawn once more, the deadly absurdity of modern geopolitics leaves a world tainted and a human population horribly contemptuous and indifferent to the squalid reality that freedom is just another word with nothing left to lose.
timothy schuyler (Earth)
@Marcus Brant Excellent comment Marcus.
Lil50 (NOLA)
That "American exceptionalism" that the right loves to extol is elitism, no?
JLD (Columbus, Ohio)
Putin would much prefer an entire world ruled by autocrats who keep a tight rein on their citizens, as he does in Russia. Hence his bromance with Trump. Many on the right feel the same way and support any autocrat who will work to undermine liberal values, hence their support of Putin. People in the West have fought long and hard to get the government's knee off of their necks, but today the right is resurgent and our freedoms are most definitely on the line. We are unfortunately living in interesting times.
Mika (Greenville)
Sinister speech and his rhetoric echoed by Tucker Carlson yesterday. However, oversight of humanitarian and military aid shouldn’t be dismissed as “Anti-Ukraine”. Potential graft is not “overwhelmingly” supported by the American people. More oversight could be good for both America and Ukraine.
AGideon (Montclair, NJ)
@Mika "More oversight could be good for both America and Ukraine." We know that this isn't what they mean when McCarthy, Carlson, Putin, Green, etc. are promoting their GOP agenda. ...Andrew
Greg (Lyon, France)
Putin is facing claims of duplicity when backing "right-wing Westerners". At one time, in the 1990s and early 2000s it was the American "right wing Westerners" (read neocons) that plotted to keep Russia on it's knees and to destroy the new-found and developing relationship between the new Russian Federation and the West. Between 1995 and 2021 they used NATO expansion as their tool to destroy Russian trust and provoke Putin. Now, in 2022, Putin seems to be promoting that same radical group. Whoa!
Marcus Brant (Canada)
I’ve been in and around the Rossiya Mir for many years, speak the language, understand the culture, and I realise there is not much that is admirable about it. Russia is what I call a half country with a half people. To explain, this is a land not predicated on the equanimity of the people but of the security of a highly exploited society which is precarious as a result. Both state and people suffer from the expedient delusions of greatness and of relative happiness when, in fact, they have neither. There’s a mutual deception at play where the state orders happiness or risk repression and a whipped population complies from behind pandemic scale alcoholism and low expectations. Putin raised the retirement age to 67 when average life expectancy is 65, causing mere, commonly slurred, grumblings. By evoking Russian concepts of volk, Putin speaks to an older crowd, his generation, where he feels his power base lies. He and his ilk are Soviet dinosaurs for whom Russian greatness will founder on a decadent, westernised youth in their designer clothing and wireless earbuds who do not recall or have any interest in history as opposed to modernity. This is Putin’s ephemeral attempt at tsardom and restoration of what passes for order in a land built on brutality and the popular reconciliation thereof. Unfortunately, his delusion is outmatched by his violence. As a student of history, he should realise that evil always fails in the end, albeit with associated tragedy.
T H Beyer (Toronto)
There can be no mistaking the role Donald Trump played in enabling Putin to hone his insidious burrowing into U.S politics to shape his propaganda. Who, then, is responsible for enabling Trump? The answer ought to make every U.S. voter vehemently shun Republican candidates.
Mark (Taiwan)
If this is Putin's way of trying to win friends and influence American politics, then count me in. I like what he says in this four hour show of political genius, common sense, complete mastery of history, and deadly articulation skills. If Trump were president, I am near dead- certain in my heart that the world would be at peace, NATO would be shriveled, Russia would not feel threatened, and of course, the world's economy would be booming. 90 per cent of the world's population would not feel threatened by laws undermining traditional family values...
Morgan Rauch (Houston, Texas)
@Mark Hell yea! But what do we do about those who do not hold traditional family values?
Mark (Taiwan)
@Morgan Rauch freedom of speech means freedom from persecution from the government. Gender confusion in your own family has to be treated differently than at the ballot box or PTA meeting. You can oppose the influence of bad ideas , but show respect for people as humans.
Carolyn Nafziger (France)
Ironic - is Putin himself not an elite? "a group or class of people seen as having the greatest power and influence within a society, especially because of their wealth or privilege" The very meaning of the word is being twisted around.
Michael Prapuolenis (Chicago)
Interesting that Putin can speak to our population but will not allow us to speak to his. A sign of authoritarians is that they alone can speak, all others are silenced or falsely discredited. Sounds a lot like our current republicans.
Grabski (Morris County, NJ)
Looking ahead to 11/8, it does appear that the obsessions of liberal Western elites are about to be swept from the American political scene.
jack sherman (Maine)
@Grabski Don't count on it. the polls mean notning==as we found out the hard way with trumps win. here in AZ---the democrats are ahead in this deeply red state--which Biden won BTW.
JT (Texas)
The good news is this is not a binary choice. We can hate Russia/Putin AND our western elites/governments/institutions.
AGideon (Montclair, NJ)
@JT Confidence artists and grifters thrive by the false choices with which they fool the gullible. ...Andrew
Gordy Thomas (Vietnam)
If he means the European banking elite behind the E.U. Ponzi scheme which is salivating over Ukraine's resources, he has a point.
jack sherman (Maine)
@Gordy Thomas he has a point?? sounds like a QAnon theory.
Victor Nowicki (Manhattan)
Judge the Bear not by what he says, but what he is doing....Just a remainder that all talk is cheap...
Greg (Lyon, France)
You may not like Putin, but some of what he says about the US is the truth, if you bother to read some history. Read the pronouncements of the NATO summits from the mid 1990s to 2021 which show how the US pushed hard for NATO expansion into Eastern Europe. This was a clear violation of a commitment made to Gorbachev by the US and Western European leaders in 1990 (read US National Archives at GWU). Read the "Wolfowitz Doctrine" which was aimed at keeping the fallen USSR on its knees in order to maintain US world domination, this becoming a principle reason to reject detente with the new Russian Federation. Read how the Clinton Administration embarrassed Yeltsin in the mid to late 1990s. Read Bush (neocon) Administration provoked Putin at the 2008 NATO Summit pushing for NATO expansion into Ukraine and Georgia and read how Putin responded with a clear warning. Read how the US Congress in the 1990s came to support NATO expansion against the advice of US foreign policy experts and against opposition from the Pentagon and the US academic community. Having done this reading, then think about how the US would have responded if Russia had developed a strong military alliance with one the US neighbours and started arming and training the military in that country. All it takes is a little reading and thinking.
Stephanie Pfeiffer (Taipei, Taiwan)
Not all you say is uncontestable, for example, claims of hard promises to not expand NATO are debatable. NATO never threatened to invade or attack Russia. No western countries wanted to do that. But Putin's own actions reinforce the need for NATO.
csh10 (Indiana)
Thank you, Anton Troianovski, for this analysis of Mr. Putin's "brief" remarks at an annual foreign policy conference. It is hard to remain completely neutral in any open conflict. So we can assume that what we receive as news from the war in Ukraine is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. However, it is relatively difficult to interpret the present Russian action as other than an attack on civilian infrastructure, while the Russian military forces are having a rough time of it against the Ukrainian army. The basis for this shift in Russian tactics is not difficult to understand, even though it is criminal. To see that the US is experiencing what are apparently sharp divisions does not require genius either on the part of Mr. Putin or his advisors. Nor does it require deep insight on the part of the West to gain some understanding from the number of rather competent Russians who have left Russia. Expressing disagreement is slightly more difficult in Russia than in the US. Impartial and cold analysis leads us to understand that Mr. Putin is facing serious difficulties. Things are not working as he supposed they would. The Ukrainians are real people, not puppets, as he claimed. Maybe the KGB is not the place to train a military commander.
David H (Northern Va.)
The Russians do not know what to make of liberal democracies. It is an experience that is unknown to them. The social and political chaos, unpredictability, inconsistency and volatility is frightening to them. Russians prefer strong central leadership and are more than happy to exchange a (more or less) completely predictable and uneventful life for circumscribed freedoms. Same applies to those who live in China. I suspect that much of Mr. Putin's commentary -- as reflected in his reference to the "new centers of the multi-polar world" -- reflects consternation over the refusal of the US in particular to recognize the reality of geopolitics. We enjoy spheres of influence throughout much of the world; there are areas under our de facto control where the Russians and Chinese don't mess around militarily. Yet we do not reciprocate, oddly enough. Ukraine is in Russia's backyard; Taiwan, in China's. That we do not afford that same geopolitical privilege to Russia and China that they afford to us is, simply put, the reason there is a war in Ukraine and the reason China is, according to Antony Blinken, now on an accelerated timeline to seize Taiwan.
pmg (NC)
@David H Your point seems to be two-fold: that the Russian and Chinese people prefer autocracies, and that since the US has countries we directly control (ummmm... Canada? Mexico? the UK, with whom we have a "special relationship?" This part isn't clear to me), then both China and Russia should be given what they want, since what they want is right next door -- Taiwan and Ukraine, respectively. Plus. we should get that this is a reality of geopolitics. Got it. Sort of....
Thomas (Europe)
@David H Nope, the US, Russia and China don't "own" any part of the world. Ukrainians are free to chose what is best for them and who they want to be allied with. Given the brutal behavior of Russia in history, it comes as no surprise that its most vocal opponents are former countries of the Eastern block and Soviet Union like Poland or the Baltic countries who rushed to join NATO, not because the US forced it upon them, but because Russia is not a reliable partner. There is no equivalence between freely joining a western democratic alliance in which people democratically choose their leaders and being forced to live with Russian or Chinese troops on your territory and puppet governments who receive orders directly from the Kremlin. Last time I checked, the governments of Canada, Germany, Mexico or France are not manipulated from Washington, DC.
David H (Northern Va.)
@Thomas History and geopolitics can be difficult to grasp, alone and most certainly together.
Will (UK)
I watched nearly all of it, and, if you assume all independent news sources are "tools of Western elites" it was a most reasonable assembling of myriad "nuggets" of complaints you may find in those sections of our media that chime with his views. Simply, in its treatment of most real facts - it could have been TFG, with a slick veneer of intelligence, of reason. We should be worried enough US voters, apparently (reasonably) worried about inflation, will know the GOP will make it worse... As a by-product of trashing (small l) liberal democracy. The early turnout of voters seen in reports, I really hope, are informed ones...
Les McQueen (Mount Victoria, Australia)
Err.... what's an elite? Am I one? A retired postman with very "left wing" liberal values. Abortion, gayness and gender fluidity will not be compulsory. Gun control, universal taxpayer funded healthcare and public education and subsidised public transport are good things to strive for surely. Please get out and vote, for Ukraine and the rest of the civilised world's sake as well as your own. Good luck my American chums.
Bill D. (New Jersey)
@Les McQueen I used to be what was called a moderate. I voted for whomever I liked at the time. Unfortunately, I have been pushed to the left by the new GOP and it's radical drivers. And I resent it. I'm livid.
Grabski (Morris County, NJ)
@Les McQueen States have begun to make abortion experience a mandatory part of ob-gym trainings People who choose to not wear “Pride” colors are subject to dismissal from work (see the USWNT soccer) Schools have closets where pupils can change into clothing which matches their “gender identity.” Keeping it a secret from parents is mandatory America will be voting against the current things. After which, the elites will say it’s the end of democracy Oh wait: losing a fair elections and calling it the death of democracy is the new current thing
Martina (Chicago, Illinois)
Let me translate what Putin's four hour speech says and intends: Putin: Translation: 1. "traditional Christian values" = "gay parades" are verboten in Russia and should be in USA 2. "aggressive, neocolonial = Russia's colonizing and West" Ukrainian destruction 3. no need for "nuclear = Expect Russia to use them weapons" in Ukraine 4. Ukraine intends a "dirty = Next week see Russia's "dirty bomb" bomb" in blow up Ukraine 5. the "West's elites" in control = Putin's "elites" and America's "elites" like billionaire Musk have common interests The "beauty" of Putin's speeches is his "doublespeak." When he said last February "we will not invade," he meant "yes, tomorrow, we will invade." And when he says that Russia holds true to "traditional, mainly, Christian values," what he means is "look all you Republican Christian Evangelists, you and us Russians and I are all one and the same" and we despise "gay parades" too.
David Parsons (San Francisco)
Despite his Tucker Carlson-adopted verbiage, Putin is pointing out something that is widely known. Russia has no future under Putin, no economy, no customers, with technological talent fleeing while master marbles player Putin sends boys and old men to the front line of a battle no one wants. But the Russian ruble remains stable, as war sanctions could be seen for decades prior. The people financing Putin's war in the Ukraine, the pro-Brexit misinformation campaign, and Trump's Insurrection and the EU and US insurgency are the same. You do have the Christian Nationalists, purportedly run by Putin and the Russian Orthodox church, which embraces the Russian Imperial Movement - neo-Nazis that train other neo-Nazis over Europe and the US. They are also killing and torturing people in the Ukraine. Seditious politicians involved in the Insurrection are also part of Christian Nationalism, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Kris Kobach, etc. The Calvary Church, QAnon, and other violent antisemitic, homophobic, misanthropic, and misogynistic groups align with a complete distortion of Christianity. The cabal of Christian nationalists, Iranian mullahs, Syrians, corrupt alt-Right Libertarians, et al., do not understand is that their alliance is built on sand - as the fundamental White Replacement Fear and Return of Religious Wars doctrine would immediately cause all Elements to turn on each other.
Rob (Canada)
@David Parsons The largest country in the world with immense natural resources and a population large enough to provide a home market launch pad for international business, yet Russian median income is at the US poverty line.
Gerry (Devon UK)
@David Parsons Pro Brexiters are not supporting Putin by the UK breaking away from the EU they forced fuel supplies to be bought from other directions the UK when the invasion started of Ukraine in February was only buying 5% of its fuel from Russia which was part of the Europe Fuel Pot the UK quickly stopped that 5%,blame France and Germany they have been slow to even try to stop buying Russian Fuel and they are still Buying which helps Putin Finance his war ! China buys all Putin can supply so does India.
Jean (Canada)
Russia trolled the internet to influence the 2020 and 2018 elections in favour of U.S. the oligarchs running their puppet GOP politicians. Now, Putin openly takes sides with the likes of Trump and his American gangsters. It’s really strange that anyone in the US would be favour of Russia since it is the antithesis of freedom and democracy. It’s people are poor, devoid of personal and political agency and have only one media channel controlled by the Russian government. How does this happen? It is the culture of hatred that Obama denounced in one of his famous speeches. Right wingers will favour the their enemies’ enemy, even to the extent of their own demise. For example, the GOP and famously, Donald Trump, believed Russian intelligence over its own CIA information. It’s crazy.
Mark Lindamood (Richmond, VA)
Stop complaining about Putin’s manipulation of right wing Americans. Instead, ask why right wing “Americans” are so easily manipulated not only by Putin, but by American Republicans. Democracy in America is now fighting alone in a tag-team match against our Republican Party and Vladimir Putin’s war goals in Ukraine. Kevin McCarthy has very clearly stated that “America’s” return favor to Putin will be withdrawal of “American” support for Ukraine’s survival. Why is the US Republican Party so intent on destroying American democracy, to the extent that actively soliciting support from Putin, whose “traditional values” are so literally murderous, is an effective political strategy? How did so much of America become so horribly undiscerning, so willing to help murder Ukrainian citizens?
Martin c (California)
@Mark Lindamood I have been asking this to myself alot lately...the picture is really clear. Am I missing something?
Steve Singer (Chicago)
I am convinced that the Russian Federation government has list its mind and soul. It will NEVER recover from its open criminality, which flared quietly inside its borders for a long time: - Putin’s political rivals poisoned, imprisoned or assassinated; - theft and corruption on a massive, mind-boggling scale; - technical obsolescence, a consequence of an uncompetitive economy. It’s an empty shell. Putin’s Russia is a huge Potemkin Village.
Nyer (NYC)
"Western discord" is essentially a media creation that the media then refers to as if it's a fact and which the media uses in the laziest of ways to purportedly explain complicated and nuanced geopolitical issues in a simplistic -- and bogus -- trite term.
Chaks (Fl)
Putin finally came clean. He has been using social media to manipulate Western voters , he is now offering it as a Russian foreign policy goal. Putin knows he is losing the war and he had to come out lying again like he usually does. In today's speech, he says he doesn't plan or need nuclear weapons. Few weeks ago Putin said he wasn't bluffing when he said using all weapons at his disposal, nuclear weapons included. The difference here is the audience this speech is targeting. You can't be talking of Christian values and the use of nuclear weapons in the same speech and call yourself Christian. Putin is a liar, manipulator who even as president still functions as the. KGB agent, he used to be.
AGideon (Montclair, NJ)
@Chaks "You can't be talking of Christian values and the use of nuclear weapons in the same speech and call yourself Christian." Here in the US we've people claiming Christian label and values while supporting serial adulterers and liars, those they call murderers of children, people that turn away the poor and/or ill, worshipers of Mammon, etc. I'd opine that Putin knows the GOP and other Christian Nationalists well. ...Andrew
The Lone Protester (Frankfurt, Germany)
And we thought Putin was trying to influence the 2020 elections!! Apparently he is trying to woo MAGA Republicans to his cause (i.e., against liberal democracy) with his absence of brotherly love and other of his Russian Orthodox views. Some PAC needs to print up a bunch of "Putin Wants You" posters for rapid distribution next week in MAGA strongholds.
NeilDSmith (USA)
The stories about Western discord and lack of support started the moment Russia invaded and haven't stopped. I guess if you repeat it long enough eventually it will come true. Useful idiots. No one likes the war except, perhaps, the Russians. They could stop it. But they won't. Why would they when the Western media continuously report that time is on the side of the Russians. It has always been clear that the West will not really save Ukraine. NATO won't send troops and air power. As Russian terrorism destroys the power systems in Ukraine, the media frets about nuclear weapons as if these conventional ones are somehow harmless. News of every Ukrainian advance on the battlefield is accompanied by a warning that Putin will do something awful when he loses... as if the atrocities committed in occupied areas are somehow harmless. NATO should kick Russia out of Ukraine and end the nonsense, but they won't. Why not?
Lewis Sternberg (Ottawa, ON.)
Whoever put into Putin’s head that ‘traditional Western values’ included autocratic rule by unelected depots?
greg (Upstate New York)
I will tell you what is strange. It is strange that when Russia was building productive economic relations with the EU and the United States this lunatic, megalomanic decided to start a war in Europe and upset the order of the Western World, impoverishing his own people, murdering masses of civilians and gutting his own dysfunctional national military. What is even more strange is that his people, the children and grandchildren of ancestors' who lost tens of millions to starvation and WW2 have not dragged him from his crystal palace and given him a well-deserved Mussolini treatment.
David H (Northern Va.)
@greg The Russians did not decide to start a war in Europe. The war effectively had been started decades ago by the US and NATO, when we began arming Ukraine to the teeth and staging military maneuvers on Ukrainian soil for the sole purpose of provoking Moscow. The Russians merely responded to American provocations. Sure, it was their choice. They warned us, over and over and over again, but we dismissed their concerns. Moscow had tried everything to persuade us to back off. We asked them to back off from Cuba in 1962. They did so. Why did not we return the favor? The problem with us Americans is that we think that the rest of the world views reality through the same prism that we do. Nothing could be further from the truth. All we needed to do was respect Moscow's geopolitical space and this war could have been completely avoided.
greg (Upstate New York)
@David H That is an interesting take, David. I guess following this thinking we would be justified sending missiles into the population centers of northern Mexico because we have been telling them to stop sending migrants over our border into our country for the past decades. And now we could threaten to use nuclear weapons against Venezuela and Italy would be justified in ...right?
Turbobob (Albany NY)
@David H you sound very much like an apologist for Putin and his regime being forced to invade another sovereign state and kill and plunder their people because they felt threatened. Putin is a frightened megalomaniac , a paranoid autocratic madman bent upon absolute power, despite the consequences for his own people who he conscripts to fight a war they have no interest in fighting. He is a clear and present danger to the survival of democracy here, and everywhere else in the world.
dre (NYC)
Putin's values are dictatorship. You'll shut up, agree with me, believe my lies and do as I say, or die in a prison or just be executed. Trump and his toads love Putin. It's self evident why. No sane person can explain it of course, but just the reality. Egomaniacs through history. And how people can follow them always defies comprehension. But it never ends. Hope sanity somehow wins out this November. Hope enough who actually believe in a measure of decency and principles (actual traditional values) vote. We know the repubs only want fascism. We have to try and stop them. At least try.
Oscar (Leipzig)
I encourage NYT readers to look up a book called "Manufacturing Consent"
Kevin (oslo)
We'll go with democratic values, rule of law values, civil liberties values, and the values expressed in the Bill of Rights over the "Christian" values Putin cynically clings to. A corrupt and murderous thug who isn't man enough to face up to truth or his own terrible mistakes (crimes) has no moral authority. None.
Pete in Downtown (back in town)
That picture of the bombed-out Ukrainian apartment building tells us everything we need to know just where Putin and his war criminals are battling those "elites". Yes, I am sure that these "elites" lived in precisely those buildings now damaged or destroyed by Russian bombs. The scary part is that he might even believe his own lies by now. Conjuring up hidden "elites" as the enemy that needs to be defeated by any means necessary is a tactic employed by the Nazis with known results in Germany in the 1930s. I guess Putin learned from the worst.
Joe No (NYC)
What a coward and a fink - trying to justify an evil, unjust war that is bringing misery to millions through a bunch of obviously idiotic nonsense. Putin will go to any lengths to rationalize his evil - because he’s so completely inept and unable to manage Russia’s affairs without resorting to violence. Any American who falls for this is plainly ignorant of our history and blind to what makes this country great. It’s sad to see that so many are falling for it but still a great thing that the vast majority are not.
Teamco (New York)
Wait. What? I thought Putin said this war was about the deNazification of Ukraine. So now it's broader and really about, “There are at least two Wests . . . One, is a West of “traditional, mainly Christian values” for which Russians feel kinship. But “there’s another West — aggressive, cosmopolitan, neocolonial, acting as the weapon of the neoliberal elite,” and trying to impose its “pretty strange” values on everyone else. One, is a West of “traditional, mainly Christian values” for which Russians feel kinship. But, he said, “there’s another West — aggressive, cosmopolitan, neocolonial, acting as the weapon of the neoliberal elite,” and trying to impose its “pretty strange” values on everyone else. He peppered his remarks with references to “dozens of genders” and “gay parades.” Putin has more faces than he's got fingers and toes. And his speech was a blatant a seduction, telling the GOP what they want to hear- that he is on board with white Christian nationalism. Of course that sentiment is even more hollow than it is blatant. Putin is simply about trying to resurrect the Russian Empire last lost during the downfall of the Soviet Union. It's Vlad doing what Vlad does. Trying to divide his enemies, and interfering in US election politics. He really does have his finger on the pulse of the US culture wars.
Kate (Chicago)
Invading neighboring countries to annex them isn’t “neocolonial”? Maybe he’s admitting he’s just plain colonial.
Socrates (Downtown Verona, NJ)
Putin is working to strengthen Russian-Republican political alliances. Tucker Carlson can’t wait to be Putin’s lead propagandist championing ‘traditional’ Russian-Republican values. This is your 2022 Republican Party.
David H (Northern Va.)
@Socrates "Putin is working to strengthen Russian-Republican political alliances." And the USG is working to strengthen movements inside Russia opposed to Kremlin rule. It's an old game. And unfortunately, the Russians are better at it than we are.
Stephen Boyington (Derry, NH)
He had the GOP at 'Hello'.
me (monroe, ar)
Pie this guy, along with Tucker!
Kevin C. (Oregon)
Desperate Putin now thinks he's Tokyo Rose.
Diego C. (Orlando, Fl)
The world MUST get rid of Putin before Putin gets rid of the world.
Kathleen-Marie (Chapel Hill NC)
More Putin tactical talk. He likes talking into a mirror I think, a classic tactic to make the audience disappear out of his head and prevent them from interacting with him. He has a technique of erasing real people and populating his suspected audience with his own image and thus making us all "his own." In his head he believes everyone agrees I guess, sees himself bowing to himself in accord. Maybe Moscow will have a wake up call one a.m. about how helping people, not just ourselves to more of the pie in the sky, is what "nations do." Real nations like Ukraine. I wonder how many ships of grain will get out of the Black Sea this week? And what in the world are the Iranian troops doing in Crimea? So many shams and meanwhile the RF goes on widening the moat around the Kremlin to keep the real world out of their minds and hearts. Brave men, women and kids in Ukraine. The RF already shot the lead conductor in I think it was Kherson (or Crimea) because he refused to cow down and play in a sham celebration Russia wanted to hold. First make serfs out the common people, then enslave them, then execute them if they resist or don't "perform" as expected. Given the way of the Russian, the Gulag would become the economy of choice. Those that failed to produce for any reason would be executed for lack of conformance. Stalin used the tactic on the Poland people when Hitler and he divided up Poland to begin WWII. A shame too the RF is looting UA cities as they retreat.
Galfrido (PA)
I would not be surprised if Putin used a nuclear weapon or a dirty bomb right before the midterms. He wants to see our country unravel and will find ways to try to make democrats look incompetent or evil or both.
joes1960 (Commack NY)
No one is putting this in its simplest terms. Putin is saying "we ideologically align ourselves with your conservative/right wing....everything is the fault of ..wrong because of democrats/left wing liberals....they our are common enemy"..
Tom (San Diego)
Keep poking around and you might actually find somebody to blame.
Arthur Mullen (New Haven, CT)
Mr. Putin is afraid of / attacking the West for our "strange" pluralism / equal rights / dozens of genders / pride parades, because that's exactly what makes our society stronger / more united / unbeatable.
Greg (Lyon, France)
Putin: “I am therefore convinced that sooner or later, the new centers of the multipolar world order and the West will have to start a conversation of equals.” Brings to mind the US "Wolfowitz Doctrine" and the US "Project for the New American Century" of the 1990s which basically advocated keeping the fallen USSR on its knees and taking the opportunity of a fallen Russia to assert American world domination by the exercise of American military might. Pushing the US-led NATO into eastern Europe was an instrumental part of that plan, and the the former Russian satellites in eastern Europe were ready and willing. Obviously Putin was not too keen on US hegemony in that region.
Curious (Marfa, Texas)
Yep, got to watch them elites. Speaking of elites, how did all of those ‘elite’ oligarchs make so much money? And about how much of their vast wealth finds it’s way back to help Russian citizens?
c harris (Candler, NC)
The western corporate news has reached a level of irrelevance with their misreporting the politics of the Ukraine war. As the world is becoming unnerved by the USs blasé statement that Ukraine must decide on whether serious negotiations to end the fighting there can begin. At the same time the Azov Battalion/Zeleski gov't put out a decree that it was illegal for Ukraine to negotiate with Putin. The US economic war against Russia has caused serious collateral damage across the globe. Sanctions have completely thrown the international energy markets into chaos. Suffice to say that a vast majority of the world's gov'ts are in full throat that the war must be ended at all costs.
Tony c (MT)
“First they came for the Ukrainians, and I was not Ukrainian so I did not help……” Putin is a murderer, an autocrat, an a thug. He must be stopped.
Gary (Halifax)
Two things are happening at once: The centrist consensus, or what's left of it, is about to lose to an even more strange right-wing faction; and the centrist consensus is undeterred in spending its political capital on promoting foreign wars, as if we were still in the 20th c., when America could afford such dangerous and expensive follies. The elite's refusal to see any connection between these two phenomena is, one must admit, rather odd.
Stephanie Pfeiffer (Taipei, Taiwan)
European unity and the ability of democracies to exist isn't a genuine strategic interest of the US?
Eddie B. (Toronto)
It is not easy for one to see how thick the "fog of war" has become, on both sides of the battle field, until an article like this counters some of the misinformation that one is routinely fed. There is no doubt that Russians are not receiving the facts regarding the Ukraine war. Mr. Putin is obviously bending over backward to explain why his little "special operation" now is a big war against "western alliance". And, even more baffling to the average Russian must be why Mr. Putin and his generals were so bad in reading the tea leaves that they had to recruit new soldiers so late in the game. In the west we are told that Putin has been isolated and has effectively become irrational. But now, according to this article, he just conducted a four-hour press conference, answering tough questions from the media. We were also told that Russia is running out of soldiers and military equipment. But, then, the article contradicts that by the news that in recent days "the Kremlin [has] dispatched thousands of soldiers to Belarus". That suggests Russia is opening a new front in the war, which is surely atypical of a country badly in need of soldiers and weapons. Also, regarding China, we were told that China is all but sitting on the fence, giving Russia little concrete political or military support. That seems to be also another exaggeration, in light of China's foreign minister offering "full-throated endorsement of Mr. Putin’s leadership", as the article reports.
Greg (Lyon, France)
@Eddie B. "There is no doubt that Russians are not receiving the facts regarding the Ukraine war" Remember the Vietnam war?
john (nyc)
When will Joe Biden give a four hour Press Conference with open questions and answers?
dutchiris (Berkeley, CA)
From Elon Musk with his mega billions to Vladimir Putin with his insidious play for our right-wingers, powerful men are muscling into our democracy and endangering our freedoms. Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of our liberties, but when it is abused by bullies on the fringe of treason, we could lose everything we love and trust. So far, Elon Musk has done nothing with Twitter that we can point to that is dangerous, but his promises to change the rules to favor those who sow the seeds of chaos is alarming. Will he allow Putin a voice on Twitter that will match Trump's?
B (CA)
Make no mistake when Vladimir Putin talks about “traditional values” he is promoting a white, Orthodox, anti-semitic, anti LGTB, and racist view of the world that is coveted in Russia. The difference is that in Russia those groups are routinely harassed, disappeared, and outright murdered.
Jules (California)
Elites? Isn't Putin a billionaire, or close to it?
Smoog (Downunder)
@Jules well over a billionaire. Just his 200,000 Square foot "country cottage" on the Black Sea cost $1.4 billion alone. By conservative estimates Putin is worth at least $200 billion, making quite possibly the richest man in the world.
Northern D (Canada)
Putin's Christmas wish is to have Trump back. He knows that he can easily manipulate Trump. Trump will blame Biden and the Ukraine for all the economic downturns currently happening in the US and most Western nations and his supporters will believe all of it. It will be like Trump is wearing an ear piece with Putin's voice telling him what to say. Putin is smarter than Trump and he knows what motivates Trump's self-serving ego.
Andy (Yarmouth ME)
It’s sort of a Rorschach test. If “I’m only murdering Ukrainians who are neither Western nor elites because I hate Western elites” makes sense to you, then you’ve gained a valuable insight about yourself. Personally, I’m reassured to know that Putin’s rationalization makes absolutely no coherent sense to me.
WinTeca (Earth)
His "traditional values" as amply demonstrated over the years are: hypocrisy, delusion, corruption, deceit, manipulation, violence, indifference to the value of human life including that of his own countrymen and women. When he looks in the mirror, one wonders what he sees.
Hank (california)
Putin is campaigning for the Republicans in the midterms, because he believes they will present less resistance to his war aims. A proud moment indeed for the Grand Old Party of Lincoln.
Smoog (Downunder)
@Hank I feel putin is desperately wanting the republicans to win because he has finally realized he's losing the war in Ukraine. The only hope he now has to keep his position (and quite likely his head) is for the GOP to win the midterms and subsequently cut off funding to Ukraine, thereby forcing Zelensky into gifting large swathes of his country to Putin.
Tim Clark (Los Angeles)
Sounds like Putin is trying to piggyback on the GOP's Culture Wars.
Horace Fundt (Planet Rayon)
I can think of no one more appropriate to be a standard bearer for today's American churches.
Roberto (Big Sky)
Putin, a military failure losing his war. Trump, a political failure who lost an election. Bookends.
gw (usa)
Putin is no Christian. If he ever actually read the words of Jesus, he'd know he's the opposite of Christ. In the most literal terms, the Anti-Christ.
Space Needle (Seattle)
The devolution of the GOP into a Russia- aligned, autocratic white Christian nationalist party has been the most radical shift in US political history. Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan are rolling in their graves as today’s GOP and its media organs rapidly descend to align with every autocratic leader on earth - openly praising Putin, Orban, the Le Pens, and Modi - while actively undermining every global institution such as NATO that stands in their way. Trump’s capitulation to Putin and Fox’s praise of him are only the most obvious signs of this alignment. Putin’s speech showed how deeply the American right is aligned with authoritarian goals, and how attacking “cosmopolitanism” is a shared strategy. The American right actively attacks the same sectors and groups Putin does - homosexuals, academia, the press, the arts, reproduction freedom, “urban elites”, Jews, immigrants, ethnic and religious minorities… There’s no daylight between the GOP and Putin. All of this is happening openly - US GOP senators meeting in Russia, Carlson meeting with Orban discussing a global “conservative movement”, Trump favoring Putin over the US intelligence agencies. So Putin’s speech merely reflects reality: the GOP - predicted to win one or both houses of Congress - is ideologically, strategically, and organizationally collaborating with an authoritarian/fascist state to undermine Western democracy. And they are poised to implement all of this in the very near future.
jrgolden (Memphis,TN)
@Space Needle you are giving Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan too much credit. Especially Nixon.
RLG (Simsbury, CT)
The Russian version of morality Putin espouses was responsible for more pogroms than any country in Europe.
@RLG The meticulously planned Holocaust that Germany unleashed during WW11 was far worse than Russian pogroms. Antisemitism has historically existed in Europe for a very long time. Russia was not alone in this hatred although it is no excuse for what Putin is doing.
Wiley (Bermuda)
Putin and Trump; a pair of self congratulatory braggarts who know no limits to their falsehoods and delusions of grandeur. These guys use Christianity to strangle hope, freedom and human rights. If it wasn't for their wealth they would both be impounded by now.
Anush Apetyan (Look me up)
The following is from Newsweek, hardly an extremist publication. "He was asked about whether he believed if the likelihood of the use of Russian nuclear weapons against Ukraine has risen, and what more NATO needed to do to deter Russia from using nuclear weapons. Zelensky replied that NATO should "eliminate the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons." "But what is important, I once again appeal to the international community, as I did before February 24—we need preventative strikes, so that they'll know what will happen to them if they use nukes, and not the other way around," he said. "Don't wait for Russia's nuclear strikes, and then say, 'Oh, since you did this, take that from us!' Reconsider the way you apply pressure. This is what NATO should do— reconsider the order in which it applies pressure [on Russia].""
Kerm (Wheatfields)
Doubt Putin would ever release a nuclear bomb into Ukraine. Why? Just Think a Moment. Fear is the world order, and there is nothing new about the order.
Steve (Providence, RI)
Putin should join the Republican party. A man who is a billionaire from stealing from his citizens and he has the nerve to complain about "elites".
Provodniza (NY)
@Steve As a citizen of Russia, I declare that Putin is the best president
Michael (Barcelona)
Putin is engaged in a war to reconstitute the Soviet empire but the west is “neocolonial.” Right-wingers can’t string together one sentence without contradicting themselves.
Maurice Wolfthal (Houston)
The "traditional, mainly Christian" values that Putin espouses are those of the Crusaders and the Inquisitors. Charlemagne is no doubt his role model. Crowned Emperor by the Christian pope, he launched wars against heretics in his own land, and waged war against neighboring countries, urged on by Church leaders. When the pagan Saxons refused to convert, he massacred thousands of war prisoners at the battle of Verden.
M Ford (USA)
Putin made it clear his fight was with far left extremism. This is a direct attack against the left in the United States. It should sound familiar because Putin certainly isn't the first person to make these observations. I voted for Trump, and even I'm worried that won't be enough to win the battle against the destruction of our democracy and the return of fascism. The backlash against far left extremism in the West is causing a return of the same old problems it caused before, with the rise of Nazism and totalitarianism to defeat it.
David Parsons (San Francisco)
Strange Elite Elon Musk told political scientist and president of the Eurasia Group Ian Bremmer he had spoken with Putin and the Kremlin directly about Ukraine. He also told him what the Kremlin’s red lines were. The former official at the U.S. National Security Council specializing in Russian and European affairs said, "It’s very clear that Elon Musk is transmitting a message for Putin. There was a conference in Aspen in late September when Musk offered a version of what was in his tweet — including the recognition of Crimea as Russian because it’s been mostly Russian since the 1780s — and the suggestion that the Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia should be up for negotiation, because there should be guaranteed water supplies to Crimea. He made this suggestion before Putin’s annexation of those two territories on September 30. It was a very specific reference." Musk inserted himself in China's geopolitical concerns on October 10, 2022. The question is: why is Musk involved in US, EU, NATO, and Ukraine national security through SpaceX, Starlink, all given contracts from Russian Agent Orange Trump's Space Force? Why is strange elite Peter Thiel working with the CIA through In-Q-tel? Thiel's company Palantir accelerated the NSA global spy network, including building key software to use XKEYSCORE in the NSA's arsenal. Palantir Technologies had a secret plan to deepen its relationship with the UK’s National Health Service without public scrutiny.
Texan (Texas)
For all the Times commenters who come here over and over to blame “woke” Democrats & people trying to carve out an identity to survive in this ever more hateful world—Does this give you insight into pressures people feel to survive? Maybe the problem is the global hate network of the right rather than the young person wondering about gender or someone who sees police rousting a homeless person off the street rather than arresting the corporate criminal.
mag (montana)
putin is engaging in some fascinating dog-whistling to american conservatives here... ...imagine a future, some decades from now, where american moderates & american liberals look back on a time, say around 2021-2022'ish, when american conservatives of a certain stripe attempted to thwart a president election and to overthrow their own government, only to follow up a couple of years later by developing a kinship with Putin -consuming even his pro-war rhetoric and his debasement of Christianity of its attending principles... ...this from a group that has been lecturing the rest of us about family values and love of country for the last 50 years
worker33 (tulsa)
…this is how the world ends, not with a bang, but a slow ebbing tide eroding the shoreline
PC (Aurora, CO)
Interestingly enough, my Better Half turned me onto this: “Amerika”, with Kris Kristofferson, Robert Urich, Sam Neill, Ivan Dixon, etc. She says she saw it back in the 1980’s and liked it, and has been thinking about it since Trump’s first term. I believe the media critics panned this multi-episode series (YouTube) but to me it’s prescient. I often loathe those who believe in conspiracy theory. Strangely enough I find myself being drawn into conspiracy thinking myself especially if Trump gets re-elected. I’m, for all intents and purposes, Democrat, but I now understand my Republican friends….I’m afraid. History can turn on a dime, even before you know it. I really dislike them for it.
phil (san francisco)
By what metric does Putin not consider himself "elite"?
Carl (Arlington.p, Va)
Gee, maybe we should amend the Constitution so this wonderful man can just be our president, instead of running it from the outside. Seriously, if our country was still sane, this would be the biggest wakeup call ever.
This is actually a very lucid and coherent speech by Putin. Deep down every republican knows they would rather embrace a Putin like character in USA as long as that person imposes a white Christian ethno religious ideology. This speech is an open invitation to the republicans to drive a knife into the heart of US democracy.
Alan Singer (HI USA)
The economic elites have used cultural issues to distract voters, for more than 40 years. They have succeeded and created mass death.
Eddie B. (Toronto)
Clearly Putin wishes that Trump was in the White House at this moment. And, it will be naive to think that he will NOT do everything in his power to make that happen in 2024. But, rest assured he has a plan to fix that problem. Most likely, he wants to keep the Ukraine war going on past the 2024 election day. That would give Republicans a lethal weapon to wield against Democrats in their 2024 election fights. First, they will use it as a clear case of Democrats' incompetence. They will tell the public that if they were in charge, they would have imposed some kind of peace on both sides of the conflict in no time. They will also use the war as the stark example of Democrats' failure in conducting US foreign policy and why they should not be trusted with such critical tasks. Next, by November 2024, the cost of the Ukraine war for the US will be well above $100 Billion. Republicans will exploit that fact by telling the US public how careless Democrats have been in spending the taxpayers' money and how those billions could have been utilized toward their welfare.
AG (Tallahassee)
As if the Republicans were ever big spenders when it comes to “welfare.”
Roderick O'Connor (Japan)
I think what is most pertinent in all of this is the continued and ubiquitous failure to recognise that this war must end. Forget about who started it, who is going to end it and when? As with all war, it is costing lives, creating chaos and hardship, ruining lives and wrecking homes. It needs to stop. It is also contributing to the world economic crisis. For sure the war has caused this economic maelstrom but sanctions have exacerbated the problem. It's time to face reality and stop viewing Putin and Zelensky as heroes and villains. It is time to stop talking about winning this war at all costs. There are no winners in war, everyone suffers, even those who survive the conflict will have experienced some sort of loss.
Graf von Growl (Mid-Atlantic)
Putin is the villain; he invaded Ukraine and won’t stop there.
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
Putin is right in that his movement has common cause with American, Italian, Serbian and French conservatives. Putin is hitting on a fact that there are large percentages of European/Whites that want a homogeneous society based on a strict conservative interpretation of Christianity, strong leadership and a traditional role for women. The sooner that everyone understands this, maybe a more sustainable political arrangement can be made.
Chris (DC)
@Practical Thoughts With whom? The Devil? And what of those who don't fit into this "arrangement." Or don't want to?
David (Brisbane)
Putin is saying nothing new. Only an obvious thing well understood by everyone in the world – that the West’s pretence to global hegemony far outlived its real power. Putin just urged the Western elites (again) to check their mailbox and to get the memo. The sooner they get this reality through their heads the better it will be for everyone.
Adam (Brooklyn)
Putin's insight into the GOP is right on the money: They have no scruples dealing with dictators, even those trying to destabilize the United States. Putin can do business with the GOP: He can weaken NATO, democratic institutions, ideals and norms.
David (NY)
If Putin put the same effort into uniting Russia as he did into trying to divide America then Russia would be on its path to reclaim its greatness. This man’s obsession with America has held his country back for decades.
Michael (Boston)
Putin is using the same language the the other party here has used for decade. The elites. Putin is singing to the other party choir, they wants us to be like Russia. Yes, this is happening. Yes, this is happening in our country. Yes, it is can happen here, it has in our history. Our Civil War is just one time it has.
Robert O (St. Louis)
The cozy relationship that Trump and many Republicans have with Putin should be a warning sign for those who value democracy. The relationship is clearly based on a mutual affinity for authoritarian rule with the spoils going to the rulers.
CBK (Mt. Pleasant, MI)
Interesting that Putin and David Brooks use the same term--"elites" to justify their strained logic of being Trump enablers without saying so out loud. In the real world, no two people are more "elite" than they.
JH (Ohio)
I am no fan of Putin, but it's time for the US to set aside the comic-book rhetoric of good vs. evil. The Biden administration should seriously pursue diplomacy to end this war. Too many lives have been lost, and we (i.e., all of us on Earth) are getting perilously close to nuclear disaster.
Phil (USA)
Where would Putin and Russia be without dirty money? Hearing these types of conservative people preach about conservatism and traditional values is laughable. It is like getting a lecture on marriage faithfulness from Donald Trump.
Jim R (Omaha)
His speech sounds a lot like the ads for right wing candidates for our State Board of Education here in Nebraska.
b fagan (chicago)
Putin's battle is with the mean old world that doesn't join him in wanting to bring back the Soviet Union. He invaded a neighbor without provocation. His troops are committing war crimes. His citizens are dying in the Slavic nation next door because he sent them to a place that doesn't want to be part of Putin's recreated empire. Putin is destroying a neighbor while mouthing things about "sovereignty". Putin is also leading to a worse life for his own citizens, since he's accelerating the trend away from fossil energy he thought would be a sufficient blackmail tool to prevent European nations from resisting his assault on Ukraine.
Shanan Doah (U.S.A.)
winning over his citizens? In Russia? That is why his intent is on capitalizing on political divisions in the United States.
padem (nyc)
Populist resentment is an old reliable tool of unscrupulous leaders, now including Trump, Bannon, Erdogan, Putin and so many more little wannabe actors like JD Vance. This playbook is a sacred script passed from hand to hand. Certainly the far right wing is in conversation throughout Europe as well as in Fox TV land. I However Putin doesn't attack capitalism (he doesn't care about social injustice) but the current culture of capitalism. He calls it cosmopolitanism, which is a good thing, even if he means it as an insult. But the consensus of the "cosmopolitan" chattering class does impose modern, self congratulatory moral consensus on alot of people who understand morality in different terms. The arrogance of the university professors and certain "left" wing "anti-racists" is inherently divisive and off putting. It is sad that progressive ideals can be distorted in this way. A little humility would help build trust and strong enough to withstand Putin's undermining.
Joe (California)
Cobbling together a new empire, treating one's European neighbors like a chess board, sending hundreds of thousands of young men to misery and death in an unnecessary war while sitting comfortably in a palace and pontificating -- these seem awfully elitist to me, things only a rich playboy could possibly have the time to do. I guess it takes an elitist to know an elitist.
Curious (Marfa, Texas)
Excellent reporting. A key take away here is that China is doubling down on its support of Putin. Just shows how much our supportive dealings with China over many decades, from the time that Nixon and Kissinger opened up relations with China, have meant little. Just one way long term traffic.
Bob (NC)
Putin sounds like he is trying to win the republican nomination for president. He knows that winning in Ukraine depends on him burnishing his support among republicans. So he is telling them what they want to hear, regardless of what he believes. Just like trump and the rest of them.
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
If he could run in the USA, he would be a leading contender in the GOP. He is seen by them as a symbol of virtue, strength and solidarity. 70 million Americans would vote for Putin over any democrat. That’s where we are at.
Curious (Marfa, Texas)
A key take away here is that China is doubling down on its support of Putin. Hopefully this will inform our leaders, both political and in business.
Dr.Jeff (Alaska)
“In the United States,” he said, “there’s a very strong part of the public who maintain traditional values, and they’re with us. We know about this.” - Putin The old divide and conquer approach at its least refined. Putin has realized he cannot win through out right military conquest. His options are limited. But he knows losing means having his forces routed and pushed out of Ukraine. Right up to the border. Ukraine won't risk a wider conflict by pushing into Russia proper and alienate his western support. Risk to Putin is humiliation. So he can attempt to escalate with nuclear weapons but that risks bring the war into the homes of the Russian people. There currently exists is angry dissent within Russia. Fighting to stay in power while fighting on the Ukrainian front is not advantageous. This leaves his only other option, stalling for time to allow a power change in the United States. If Trump and his cohorts ascend to power again, he can ferment more division and weaken the NATO alliances. Weakening the resolve of the west is what he has claimed would be his most effective strategy.
padem (nyc)
@Dr.Jeff I guess it was Lenin who said,"the capitalists will sell us the rope we'll use to hang them." Open society is worth defending but it is easily weaponized into a tool of self destruction.
Mike Lowe (Oregon)
If we feed and nurture every person in the USA and try to help others around the world, I guarantee these Trumpers will realize what the rest of us are fighting for. This whole problem of authoritarianism always comes down to haves and have nots. Half of this country has not and are upset. An authoritarian strong hand always eases those down and out of luck. The answer is to just give money to everyone. That's it. Give money, and food, and toys to everyone. I'm not talking about the government explicitly. Some people would earn more than others naturally, but in this beautiful world we'd share with our neighbors. I loathe how simple world peace is but so hard to reach.
sid (nyc)
These are antisemitic Troups.
Dearson (North Carolina)
Putin is expert with the strategy of divide and conquer. It would be interesting to know if he includes the Trump gang and the Fox syndicate among the "elite".
Mitch Gitman (Seattle)
So Vladimir Putin would have us believe he is the modern-day standard bearer of Christianity? Sorry, this guy's the very embodiment of the imperial authoritarianism which Jesus stood up against. At least the Romans did their part to advance human civilization. Sadly, not only does Putin have at his disposal his own nation's seemingly limitless supplies of the finite resource that is fossil fuels; he also has at his disposal other nations' endlessly renewal resources of cynicism, apathy, and amoral self-interest. Just ask yourself. Do you honestly believe that, if the Russians detonated a small nuclear bomb in Ukraine, India and China would stop buying Russian oil?
Steve (Providence, RI)
@Mitch Gitman He is the standard bearer of modern Christianity. The phony and hypocritical one that elected Donald Trump in America.
kglen (Philadelphia)
So suspicious. Coming from a man with holiday homes and super yachts all over the world. I'm channeling trump here. It's a vast right wing conspiracy. HRC was right all along. .
CraiginKC (Kansas City, MO)
"'In the United States,' he said, 'there’s a very strong part of the public who maintain traditional values, and they’re with us. We know about this.'" Sadly, Putin is right about this. From Tucker Carlson to a major portion of the Republican Party, Putin has clear allies in the U.S. This perverse and cynical ideological union made Donald Trump Putin's ideal representative in the U.S., explaining the lengths Russia went to in promoting his candidacy. Both Putin and Trump share their calculated manipulation of a value system they couldn't care less about for the simple purposes of maintaining power and enriching themselves and their cronies. From the perspective of even a decade ago, the GOP-Putin symbiosis would have appeared unthinkable.
kglen (Philadelphia)
This is just so weird? I can't wrap my mind around it. I know you're right. But it makes no sense.
b fagan (chicago)
@CraiginKC - along with that shared characteristic you point out, there's another one - people like that, who aren't good at making things but are good at breaking things, tend to blame others for the damage. Russia has already been offering itself as an alternate to The West he's so jealous of. Nobody wants it.
C (North Carolina)
@CraiginKC Sadly, his gambit for Americans to demonize one another is clearly working.
Radagast (Bayville NJ)
And where will Putin stop if he succeeds in Ukrainian territory. We have seen this before in world history. Propaganda is a powerful weapon.
Jt (LA)
Makes sense. America is the real threat, so he’s sowing division to divide and conquer. If the United States pulls out then Ukraine loses its main backer. Putin’s people don’t need to be won over, they’re either cowed or buy into it already.
Art (Canada)
Putin is making the most of our hyper connected world by identifying with the world’s conservatives. Make no mistake he’s desperately looking for allies after the debacle of twenty four February, and this gambit of throwing his weight behind traditional values against western elites and cosmopolitans reeks of death.
Ed (Honolulu)
He makes some good points even if he is Putin.
Joe No (NYC)
Please. Don’t fall for it. Putin does not share any of our values - traditional or “elite” American as you may be. There is no freedom of assembly in Russia, nor freedom of speech. There’s certainly no right to own a gun. There is no free enterprise - anything of value is taken by the government. Americans believe in human rights, individual freedom, and broad political engagement. It’s what makes our country great. Is America perfect? Not at all. But our system allows for rigorous debate and correction to policy. None of that exists under Comrade Putin - he’s as bad as Stalin. Do not for one minute be fooled.
FG (california)
Putin can't be trusted at all. Zero credibility. He holds the Russian people hostage with a repressive police state. If any group in USA supports him they should emigrate to the gulag. They will find no freedom there. Those in USA who appreciate a 'strong leader' reject everything this country was built on from the start. We were the original anti-king nation.
Maggie F (California)
This is direct messaging to western nations to sow discord at home. It is propaganda in its most obvious form.
T Thu (Stamford, CT)
Why is not Belarus not yet sanctioned and it’s economybrought to ruins
Navneet (Boston)
As a gay immigrant from a very conservative country, there is a reason I immigrated to part of west "Putin" hates. Boston has given me amazing life with amazing accepting Americans. It's sad that party of Bush Sr has morphed into fans of Orban and Putin.
Hz (Brooklyn)
He said neoliberal elites. No fan of Putin here but when he’s right he’s right.
Joe No (NYC)
The difference is we have a system that course corrects. Be very careful about siding with despots and dictators. He’s not saying any of this because it’s “true” or reality; he’s trying to divide us so he can take Ukraine. It. Is. That. Simple.
Stacey CT (Connecticut)
@Hz Actually, you do kinda sound like a Putin fan. By the way, what exactly do you feel he’s right about? All you’ve given us to go on is the meaningless phrase “neoliberal elites.”
mb (-)
The psychopath is a very trustworthy person and the world believes in his good intentions. A little over a thousand murders more and he'll probably be a really good person. He destroys human beings, cities, schools, hospitals, no matter what arguments he has. Criminal war, that's is. Is it necesary to the World continue knowing what this murderer thinks? Or maybe because he (it) wears a suit? Or because we are all aware of what he says or does?
Simon Harding (Portland)
Transparent enemy propaganda. He should be disregarded. We should take the gloves off and take him and his war criminal army down. The sooner the better. The US and European governments should call it that and do so loudly.
Provodniza (NY)
@Simon Harding it seems to me that Russia will sweep you out of its way faster
Richard Newman (Toronto)
If Chinese leadership weren’t so nihilistic, there might be some hope for the world.
GraceC (Asheville, NC)
What is "strange", is to think that invading a sovereign country, destroying it's infrastructure, murdering it's people etc. etc. etc. is in any way going to unite mother Russia. ??? Violence begets violence as only the history of Russia can attest to with many horrific examples dating back to to the Czars. And then there is Stalin who starved or killed 10 million of his own people. The list goes on....Putin is simply a powerful lunatic.
Messolonghi (Berlin, Germany)
The pathetic appearance of a failed warlord in his parallel universe who brought the world to an abyss with his all-out attack on Ukraine. His preposterous war logic of irredentism further elaborated, a justification of his killing of thousands of innocent people in Ukraine in front of blank-faced gentlemen in suits sitting on chairs where the desecrated bodies of war victims in Ukraine should have their place. With one sentence, this man could stop the killing. Incapable of correcting his mistake and his war logic, can be the only conclusion from watching this performance. Revoltingly history presents itself once again as the acting of the bravest of people having to sacrifice their lives to end this logic for the freedom of others.
Counter Measures (Old Borough Park, NY)
Putin and Trump! Make Animosity Great Again!
Rob F (The Mountains)
According to Putin LGBTQ people and their pronouns are responsible for the invasion. Republicans see his point.
Sandra Campbell (DC)
@Rob F Brilliant and concise summary.
BF (Neptune, NJ.)
He is a vacuous piece of absurdity. A zero as a leader. Yet, he tries to portray himself as a thoughtful world leader for the ages. A giant, sad, pathetic joke. His speech in February, just prior to the latest invasion, revealed his imperialist motivations - if we hadn't recognized them before (i.e. his statement years ago paraphrasing - "greatest catastrophe of the 20th century was the fall of the Soviet Union"). But as much as he craves the bling, the members of the "CIS" - the "Stans" don't think much of him as evidenced by the take-down remarks by the Pres of Tajikistan and failure of the other "Stans" to support him at the UN. The US can only help by giving Ukraine every, single bit of air defense armaments needed to stop the air attack. Their ground troops can take care of the Russian mercenaries & Wagner criminals and thus discolor the really filthy person here: Putin.
Mother Mary's son. (planet Earth)
I don't want to hear from this war criminal whose military has raped, tortured and murdered innocent Ukrainians. He invaded Ukraine and has destroyed a lot of its infrastructure. I don't want to hear a word from him. He is a liar. I'll let intelligence entities keep an eye on him.
jean (denver)
Gee, I don't remember killing children as a traditional Christian value or divorce. Putin, the manipulator!
Clearwater (Oregon)
Great, he just gave cover and plenty of soundbites to those members of the GOP and Trump who worship him from afar. Support Zelensky and Ukraine at all costs I say. Putin is no different than Hitler with his Lebensraum. He's a monster who lies with every breath he takes and expels.
Stan Smart (Cincinnati, OH)
His comments are hilarious, unfortunately his Russian subjects will buy this baloney! Meanwhile we dither and send Ukraine too little armament and I fear, too late.
Wiley (Bermuda)
@Stan Smart I don't think his subjects have a choice unfortunately.
So is Putin saying he can't win? I think Putin needs to do what George Washington (you now Washington the man our capital was named after) would do; go to the front lines and lead his troops into battle (I would suggest he ride a white horse, but that may be a bit much). That's what Washington did during the whisky rebellion (Look it up). So to all you Putin lovers, why are you so enamored with this thug? The man is a coward; conscripting his fellow country men, really. At least Washington delt with the troops he had. What the US and Europe are doing is absolutely what needs to be done. If Kevin McCarthy wants to help Putin that will be recorded in history as a cowardly move but it may take a while for history to catch up. Also, let's not forget the Saudis, we now know who they want to win this war. Biden is doing a masterful job.
Kathleen-Marie (Chapel Hill NC)
@JEH I agree, Biden also watches and learns. I feel like he knows more than he says sometimes, he understates just the opposite of the Kremlin. I think Putin may becoming a tool of the Kremlin as a whole as far as governing Russia. He can't be elected again as I understand it, and I think they are rewriting the bylaws of the constitution they have in Moscow. There is a Kremlin Security Council that will appoint the President after Putin steps down. Guess who is the head of the Committee already? No more fake elections or referendums there, just the Emperor himself. Someone said he was an empty suit when Yeltsin stepped down, appointed by the Duma. The President of Russia may be a tool of the Duma and/or the oligarchs of Moscow. Maybe we can as a United Nations use some of the Russian sanctioned rubles to begin rebuilding Ukraine and benefit the EU energy needs. A whole new horizon at the expense of Moscow. I think the sanctions will prevail. Russia sometimes revolts on the popular level too, if the government doesn't come through for them. Perhaps we can trust the merciful and good nature of most people more than we are doing, being supposedly duped by the speeches made by imperialistic leaders. As they see it.....but the truth will prevail as it always does just let the blood bath end before winter I wish. UA should not surrender and Crimea also is part of the honorable country of UA. The Kremlin isn't hypnotizing the world as they believe.
DrLin (Berkeley)
Putin must have taken lying lessons from trump or did trump take them from putin.
Mr. Weiss (CA)
Clever guy.
KCMO voter (kansas city, mo)
Putin is trying to get his true love ( djt) elected in 2024.
kls (Bay Area)
I hold traditional values. I don't lie. I don't kidnap children. I don't rape women. I don't kill my adversaries. I am not responsible for the death of tens of thousands, the destruction of countless cities, and the flight of millions from their homes. You, sir, are no traditionalist, except for carrying on the traditions of murderous megalomaniacs who, since time immemorial, have wreaked havoc and misery on humanity.
Provodniza (NY)
@kls are you talking about the USA?
Henry P. (NW England, sometimes NYC)
Putin is saying that his fight is not with Trump or Tucker Carlson as well as people desperate or stupid enough to hang on their every word. Understood.
Danny, king of... (Corona)
Traditional value number one? Peace. Go back to Russia. Negotiations on rebuilding Ukraine and economic integration of Russia and Ukraine can then begin. Traditional value number two? Democracy. No more veto power for individual members of Security Council of UN. Ukraine decides on it's application process for EU, NATO... Russia decides on their application process. Traditional value number three? Freedom of speech. Hands off your media. call them elite if you want to but hands off. Hands off NGOs. Traditional value number four? Children. Don't steal them. Don't starve them of food, education, culture or safety. Believe me there are more values and America, Scandinavia even, are not perfect but it is you, Putin, who has bombed apartment blocks Playgrounds and even hospitals in Ukraine so check your cry baby rant about Traditional values. Really don't like NYCs Halloween parades? Don't really understand the Easter parade do you? Scared of gender bending? That's silly but OK. You don't get to start wars and then cry victim because you don't understand others. Grow up and withdraw and the world won't punish Elba.
Patrick J. Balcazar (San Juan PR)
I would never say that what Putin says in a speech is authentic or factual. However, I am seeing that his comments are gaining ground among people who "read" the news. Very disturbing to see that what he says is gaining ground in the West.
shimr (Spring Valley, NY)
People like Putin, who have neither shame nor conscience, who have no boundaries to the evil they do, and whose main concern is themselves and the hell with the rest of humanity--have one startling advantage whenever they have to explain what they are doing and why. They can lie freely, openly, and constantly. And to make certain that the public accepts their lies as the truth, they do not present evidence, but rather they use vicious punishment. Do not contradict me if you wish to avoid imprisonment and torture. And to make certain the truth is rarely heard, Putin places all public media under his iron control with only his version of truth. Propaganda is used to present only Putin's truth.
Belasco (Reichenbach Falls)
Here's a thought for both foreign and domestic policy discussions for all sides. Let's dispense with the "disinformation" discussions and "fake news" labels and go right to a discussion of the intellectual strength of the claims and arguments made. This used to be called the "market place of ideas" and it was an important cornerstone of the intellectual life and freedoms guaranteed in Western culture. So no more talk of this one "echoing the talking points" of that one. Get right to the meat of the issue what is the validity of what is being said. And while we are at it stop banning RT (the Russian network) and CCTV. I'm an adult I can assess other views. Censorship is what the other guys do if I remember correctly. That and pressure private sector social media to do their censorship and dirty work for them. Isn't that why we are so terrified of Chinese investment and Chinese social media companies - they will do what their gov tells them to do? Let's walk this all back to the era of the market place of ideas. That's what real democracies do. I am not afraid of my being exposed or my fellow citizens being exposed to "disinformation". I do however despise censorship and all its variations. "The West" can do better. It's legacy demands as much.
JH (Ohio)
@Belasco Well said!
Anush Apetyan (Look me up)
@Belasco Yes, but if we were not censored, we might learn from those who make sense, realize how our thoughts are shared commonly and that's a danger for those who have the upper hand.
Stephanie Pfeiffer (Taipei, Taiwan)
You don't quite understand how social media is not working as a free marketplace of ideas. It's doing something else. Max Fisher describes how the platforms' design is changing our brains and behavior in the Chaos Machine, which summarizes recent research. He shows how the algorithms themselves not only promoted extremist thinking, but also literally built ties between organisations that were not previously connected, generating events on the ground. Your intellectual maturity or critical thinking skills cannot counterbalance it. Interviews are online if you don't have time to read a book. Best wishes
David Parsons (San Francisco)
Putin: "One, he said, is a West of “traditional, mainly Christian values” for which Russians feel kinship." How does that explain the terrorism, war crimes, kidknapping of children, torture, a deadly Insurrection, and other atrocities aligned with QAnon, domestic terrorists, anti-Semitism, racists, homophobia, xenophobia, misogeny, and alt-Right wing Fox, Twitter, Parler, 8chan, 8kun, talking points. Of course, everything Putin's Russia is about is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. Putin allied with Iranian mullahs, who kill and torture young girls if they fail to wear a piece of cloth over their face, have lost any moral authority whatsoever with their own depraved behavior. Putin: “there’s another West — ...cosmopolitan,... and trying to impose its “pretty strange” values on everyone else... the ex-KGB agent hasn't been getting the news at home or abroad. It is the alt-Right MAGA followers of Russian Agent Orange trying to impose their "strange beliefs upon others, rather than just live and let live. Religious freedom [Establishment Clause] means every American is free to live according to their own religious beliefs, but not impose their own religious beliefs upon others - either in law or society. The Right to Privacy protects American citizens against undue government intrusion into fundamental personal issues and decisions. As usual, Putin and the Iranian mullahs have corrupted views, which is why they have decimated their people for years.
Willis Harte (Iowa City, IA)
I am not interested in what the septuagenarian homicidal psychopath doing his best to undermine the world order to cover for his own incompetence and depravity has to say about anything. As someone who used to live in Russia, I want him and his sick vision of humanity (to say nothing of his vile plans for Ukraine) destroyed for all time, and soon.
Andrew Donaldson (Philadelphia)
That’s some grand talk from a war criminal.
Martin (Germany)
"Putin Says Russia Is Battling ‘Strange’ Elites"... ...says the oligarch of all Russian oligarchs, which are - to my mind - the strangest "elites"!
Kathleen-Marie (Chapel Hill NC)
@Martin Talks about himself really. But maybe it is code, he wants out, wants help and he is fighting the Kremlin? Wants to retire to Crimea and he's getting the Iranian Army in to be his Pretorian Guard? One rumor I heard is that the man has ballistic weapons in Crimea and that all he needs is to get the warheads there from Russia so he can threaten what Israel maybe? Or even Iran itself, certainly Turkey? I think he is trying to make some kind of "move," but he loves stealth from the KGB days. Cares nothing about his own people or other nations or the poor and starving of our world today. 21st century is leaving him behind maybe. Maybe he wants his cruiser with the ballistic rockets and radar bunkered in around Kherson or Odessa. But we already got the Snake Island back, and Kherson soon. He's like a dying animal trying to defend himself by attacking everyone maybe. Maybe his last birthday hit him hard. Ukraine shouldn't have to suffer more, at his hands or any others. Hope the country knows how much we in the USA, UK and EU admire the UA people and their leaders, ministers and the President there. We hope for all their children and elders in UA. And their democratic way, capitalistic economy, free press too. It beats tyranny. Sic semper tyrannis. We won't stop fighting for the free world anywhere in this century. New nations won't be fooled by Kremlin deals either. What is said one day by the RF may not be heard again ever. Their colors fade.
Louis (FL)
So let me get this right, this is the same guy who named Russia's hypersonic nuke "Satan II" ...and actually threatened the west with it...says that he cares about the world because he's a Christian?
Htb (Los angeles)
Say what you will about liberal elites. At least they don’t drag people into the woods and shoot them like Putin’s soldiers.
Kathleen-Marie (Chapel Hill NC)
@Htb Right. Young men turned into murderers by their superiors. Not soldiers really, just criminal forces at work. One man said to his wife or mom or someone at home that seeing the forest floor littered with dead civilian humans (near Izium I think} was the most sadly disgusting thing he never imagined. Liberals are rarely elites anyway in the true sense of it all. I heard Putin watches T.V. all night, the news over and over on various channels or modes, or his computer I guess since they only have the state T.V. now. He and Trump could have pizza over zoom at midnight and take turns bragging about what they've done or said or how they walked out on real meet ups with the world's heads of state. With Trump I never could remember who was on what committee or in what post, it changed daily almost. At least we still have a government in D.C. Thanks to Biden who won the election fair and square. I don't think it is the liberals who are elite and/or that people don't want governing them. With Trump people were trying to decide between Costa Rica and /or British Columbia or Alberta. I could never believe Trump got elected, I think it was a nightmare. Like he tarnished the oval office almost. Didn't deserve the desk even or any walk about.
Greg (Lyon, France)
@Htb Remember My Lai, the massacre by US troops?
John Brown (Washington D.C.)
@Htb No. We prefer drone strikes. The remoteness of the death doesn't absolve the immorality. But go on thinking our policies are pure.
Aaron (San Francisco)
We should just cut out the middle man and have Putin host Tucker Carlson Tonight beginning next week, right on time for Trump’s return to Twitter. There’ll be enough hot air to keep Europe warm and toasty this winter.
Wondering Woman (KC, MO)
@Aaron Great comment.
Chris (USA)
He’s a ruthless dictator with plenty of blood on his hands. And he has a point about Western liberal elites. Tricky.
Treetop (Us)
@Chris What point? He is just saying anti- gay messages to his far-right admirers around the world.
DG (SoCal)
The little man Putin is so afraid of the West he strikes out like a toddler throwing a tantrum.
Joanne P. (NJ)
Lol…cosmopolitan? We all know what that means. And yes, those “Christian” values! Don’t kid yourself. Like Trump and Kanye and their ilk, Putin know exactly who he is trying to appeal to. And like Trump, he is cynical enough to accuse others of being Nazis.
charles corcoran (stillwater mn)
Putin-speak. Let's get real and keep our eye on the crosshairs. These dudes know only violence. We must stand tall and in their face!
Ian d Quan-Soon (New York City)
Putin and Trump, both cut from the same cloth. They crave attention and wish to suck up all air in the room. Putin, apparently bored with life in a largely poor medieval country, craves attention on a world stage. He howls at the moon.
Other Voices (Los Angeles)
"traditional, mainly Christian values", huh. Do you mean "Christian" brotherly love like that shown to your mainly Christian neighbors in Ukraine? You know, like mass murder, rape, rubbling of cities and towns and etc. More projection from the post-truth KGB thug Putin.
Anush Apetyan (Look me up)
@Other Voices Interestingly, after the US engineered coup in 2014, Ukrainian church removed itself from the Russian Orthodox jurisdiction. To remove Ukraine from Russian sphere, removing the church was seen essential.
John Brown (Washington D.C.)
@Anush Apetyan After the US engineered coup im 2014 the west was on a collision course for war with Russia. Crimea was only the first domino.
Qcell (Hawaii)
@Other Voices say what you want about Putin, he is not using nuclear weapons because he is already achieving his goal to destroy Ukraine pieces by pieces. American weapons for Ukraine wins battles but helps destroy Ukraine because the war is fought on Ukrainian land. The only way to beat Putin is to take the battles to Russia. Unfortunately, the USA will never do that. In that case, Ukraine will eventually be reduced to a ruined country with a ruined economy with the help of American weapons.
Jason (Los Angeles)
Projection of military power and defense of existing national borders to preserve stable markets and international trade is a fundamental tenet of globalism. Globalism has hurt many Americans very badly, in numerous ways. Putin can appeal to those Americans, because he is correct, NATO and Western prohibitions on Russian expansion are part of the globalism system.
Anush Apetyan (Look me up)
@Jason If the goal is to use American military power for international trade that enriches you, it is best to keep the populace as docile as possible. Narcotics, crime, loss of an ethical core, a destruction of a sense of community (endless immigration), all may come in handy in keeping the crowds docile.
Kevin Wineman (Saint Paul)
Putin doesn’t need to worry about his own citizens. Their votes don’t count in Russia and he has them mostly intimidated, fleeing, or both. It’s the American money, military hardware, and military know how that he fears. He’s getting his rear-end kicked and he knows it. He is a hero to many in the GOP, not to mention Tucker Carlson, so I get his strategy.
John (Chicago USA)
Putin clearly trying to split his U.S.enemies and cultivate the USA element that is oaky with authoritarianism. In other words the trumpys. He is losing the war. (He knows that in a non-nuclear conflict the NATO alliance would destroy Putin's corrupt and decayed military.) He seeks relief from courting the the republicans that like dictators, white dictators.
Christine (Seattle)
@John - I don't know - is he losing? I think he is playing the long game. Feeding the flames of division in the US and getting Trump back in office is one key phase of his plan. The ultimate prize may be Ukraine... and more.
Joe No (NYC)
He’s losing badly. Just listen to how desperate his rhetoric is becoming! Putin is fine. Six months at best.
Annie (NH)
Do they realize they are being used and exploited?
Charles (New York City)
I detest Putin, but he’s not wrong about Western elites and the new cultural orthodoxy they’re pushing on people.
John Brown (Washington D.C.)
@Charles This is true. He is not wrong. And this election is a referendum on the elites.
Marcus Brant (Canada)
Putin is expresses no regrets for the Ukraine war, not even those encased in body bags, have simply ceased to exist, or return missing limbs and minds. There’s no pity for bereaved families, no support, no truths for his own people. There is no stranger elite than the oligarchy over which he is capo a capo. If this is the most dangerous decade since WW2, the danger is focussed directly on him. As the old saying goes, one can’t lie to all of the people all of the time and he will answer to them when reality catches up with spin. Iran, his only real ally, has a regime in downfall mode and Putin’s will face something similar. Russian history decrees it so.
Chris Morris (Idaho)
And apparently at least half the US electorate are with Putin on this. The party that doesn't believe in democracy and voting is using democracy and voting to destroy democracy and voting rights in America. Ironic, ain't it?
Anush Apetyan (Look me up)
@Chris Morris "And apparently at least half the US electorate are with Putin on this. " I would say much more than half, though I don't think they would vote based on that, they have other things to worry about.
Christian (Puerto Rico)
This is the actual quote from Putin’s speech. “at least two: the West of traditional, primarily Christian, values, freedom, patriotism, rich culture, now Islamic values too - a significant part of the population of many Western countries professes Islam. This West is close to us in something, we have many common, even ancient roots. But there is another West - aggressive, cosmopolitan, neocolonial, acting as an instrument of neoliberal elites. It is with the dictatorship of this West that Russia, of course, will never accept. **note the comma after the word Christian** and also he also mentions Islamic values. So sad to see our mediums of information continuously and unrelentingly engaging in “misinformation” I’m an American, disgusted of the continuous hypocrisy and cynical lying from our elites and publications. If you really want to know what the man said, go and READ FOR YOURSELF. The speech it’s actually very moderate, and in it, we can find the common sense values that can bring resolve to the ongoing global crisis that we’re facing. Sadly we have grown indifferent, intolerant, and indignant of certain different opinions.
Treetop (Us)
@Christian Just try to reconcile the moderate “common sense” values of Putin with the massive number of war crimes that are his main strategy in war: bombing civilians including children and hospitals, widespread rape and torture, mass graves found after the Russians retreat. Is that the moderate values you admire — after all, look at what he does, not what he says.
Anush Apetyan (Look me up)
@Christian Bravo! (taking a screenshot before it's gone.)
E. Hart (NC)
This is a propaganda speech with hidden messages and referrals all throughout it. Trump is great at doing this too.
Lew Fournier (Kitchener, ON)
Strange use of the word "elite" by Putin, reputedly one of the world's richest men. Russia is all but owned by the oligarchs, every one of whom are his pals. Imagine how much better equipped his armies would be if his "elites" had not robbed Russia blind.
The Lone Protester (Frankfurt, Germany)
@Lew Fournier But he is only warning against "western" elites who hold some "pretty strange" values, like liberal democracy, and brotherly love as demonstrated by bombing "brother" countries as Ukraine was at the beginning of his war.
Tim C (Boston)
This is a normal form of political warfare, especially in wartime. Go back and look at Wilson’s speech to Congress calling for a declaration of war against Germany. Our beef was not with the German people but rather with their leaders (I.e, elites) who were not representing their interests. Also see GWB’s speech to the nation on the decision to go to war vs. Iraq, March 17, 2003.
MG (Toronto)
He knows the far right support Russia and see Ukraine as a Biden family pet project. So yeah, he will stoke the divisions that exist in America for his own benefit... (as usual).The real prize for him will be if Trump runs and wins in 2024.
Ck (Boulder, CO)
Putin’s words are Trump’s words - word for word.
Leo (Seattle)
I’m sure this message plays well with the Trump supporters (and let’s not confuse them with conservatives-they are something altogether different), and also serves the interests of Russia. But what exactly is it that Trump supporters want? If they think the country would be better run by an uneducated class with little or no tech knowledge, there are already many other countries that are like that. How is that working out for them?
Lan Sluder (Asheville, NC)
It's obvious: Putin is in bed with the U.S. and Euro alt-right. Peas in a pod.
Steve (Santa Cruz, California)
The Russian and Belarusian alliance is puzzling and disturbing at the same time. My guess is that we need to hear more from expert commentators about what is possible here!
Jebadiah McScroungalotte (Not NYC)
Putin isn’t wrong- there are “two Wests” growing in America. The extreme right that controls the Republican Party, who would do anything to serve Putin including selling out their country and it’s national defense secrets if they think they can make a quick buck. And the rest of America who believes in democracy, law and order, the sovereignty of states and the right for countries like America and Ukraine to exist without capitulating or selling out to fascism and authoritarianism. We the People get to choose which one wins this November. If we choose republican, it will be the last time we get to make that choice.
Jason (Los Angeles)
@Jebadiah McScroungalotte One version of the 2 Americas, divided into Blue and Red -- Democrats and Republicans. For many of us, the 2 Americas are: (1) globalists (Democrats, mainstream Republicans, consumer corporations, American Chamber of Commerce, Academia and the White people it has trained, and (2) nationalists, those Americans who are opposed to globalism and globalism.
Jck (Portland, ME)
@John Brown If the GOP does win big it’s democracy that will lose, badly. There’s nothing strange, or elitist, about being one of the millions of American independents or Democrats who will vote to keep it.
JK (The OP)
Much of Western World too unfortunately
Mad Dog (Nowhere, Upper Peninsula Oblast)
Where are the moderates and pragmatists when we need them?
See also