MOSCOW, September 19 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin touted traditionalism as the heart of Russia’s national identity on Thursday, lamenting threats like globalization and multiculturalism, the drive for a “unipolar world” and the erosion of Christian values – including an exaggerated focus on the rights of sexual minorities.
“Without the values at the core of Christianity and other world religions, without moral norms that have been shaped over millennia, people will inevitably lose their human dignity,” Putin said, addressing several hundred Russian and foreign officials, scholars and other public figures at a Kremlin-backed conference in northwestern Russia.
In a speech and question-answer session lasting over three hours, Putin lambasted “Euro-Atlantic countries” where “any traditional identity, … including sexual identity, is rejected.”
“There is a policy equating families with many children with same-sex families, belief in God with belief in Satan,” he said at the 10th annual meeting of the so-called Valdai Club, which was broadcast live on Russian television and news websites.
“Any minority’s right to be different must be respected, but the right of the majority must not be questioned,” Putin said.
Putin has been shifting toward conservative rhetoric ever since returning to the Kremlin for a third time in 2012, after a four-year term as prime minister. He has regularly promoted traditional values in public speeches – a move political analysts have seen as an attempt to rally his conservative core constituency in the face of growing public discontent and a slowing economy.
Many of the liberal values he criticized in his speech have come to be associated with the urban middle class that was a driving force behind large-scale anti-Kremlin protests in Moscow after controversial parliamentary elections in late 2011.