Below is our translation of another article by Ivan Danilov with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
Putin’s explosive interview with the British paper Financial Times at the Kremlin the day before the Osaka G20 conference, arguably has caused an even bigger media splash than his monumental 2007 speech at the Munich Security Conference and the heads of media moguls and Western politicians are exploding like never before. Perhaps the most iconoclastic segment was the following:
“I am not trying to insult anyone because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia. But we have no problem with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish,” he said. “But some things do appear excessive to us. They claim now that children can have five or six gender roles.” “Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that,” he added. “But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.”
Western social media users and commentators have lost their user privileges and their jobs, and some have gone to jail for saying things less inflammatory than this, for example, in the Land of the “Free.” Yet the Western world breathed more freely after this no-holds-barred interview went to press. Westerners have felt this kind of liberation only temporarily on those rare occasions when a bold candidate stood up for the people and then was elected to high office, only to have this same leader compelled to his knees before powerful Establishment figures upon assumption of the office. The Establishment brings everyone down to its own sleazy level. No hero can survive the smears in the West. There is no such thing as a powerful personality any more. They all go in the meat grinder once they start to make waves. That’s why more than one conservative activist has commented, only half jokingly, “I want Putin for president.”
Slowly but surely, Putin is asserting himself not only at home but throughout the world. He took the reins in Syria and got the US-backed terrorists on the run. He is quite likely the reason there has been no war in Iran, at least so far. And now the British have even given him a platform to argue his case.
Major humiliation from Putin: he seems to be winning the media war
by Ivan Danilov
June 29, 2019
Vladimir Putin's interview with the Financial Times flagship of the world financial press literally blew up the global media field. Traditionally, traders, financiers and officials of economic ministries and departments of various countries usually watch the interviews of political leaders in financial media, but in this case, the theses of the Russian leader went far beyond financial issues and now we can safely predict that this interview with Putin will be a source of hard-hitting and pithy quotes for the widest western audience. Firstly, the Russian leader has demonstrated a level of political incorrectness that no Western politician can afford in the modern world. Secondly, Putin’s interview looks like an indictment of “global liberalism,” which shocked many in the West. And most importantly: the Russian president made a powerful bid for global ideological leadership. Millions of people around the world now have a politician who does not hesitate to say things that are forbidden to mention, and a politician who professes altogether classical values that have been strictly prohibited in the West.
If we summarize the reaction of the Western media (at the time of writing this column), we see that in the western media world, three theses of the Russian leader aroused the most interest. This is quite noticeable in the headlines: "Vladimir Putin says liberalism is outdated” and praises Donald Trump as a" talented person" (British The Telegraph), "Putin assesses Trump as talented,” says liberalism is “outdated" (the American political publication The Hill), “Western liberalism is outdated, warns Putin on the eve of a meeting with Teresa May” (British The Guardian).
Almost all media (and there are a lot of reactions) are writing about “outdated liberalism” and only Euronews is interested in at least something other than criticism of liberalism and the assessment of President Trump’s political talents, and reports with reference to Reuters news agency: “Putin said that (shrinking. - Ed.) oil production has helped stabilize world markets."
From this brief study, two important conclusions can be drawn. First, there can be no question of any media isolation of Russia or the transformation of Russia to a secondary (and uninteresting) regional player. On the world stage, there are only three political leaders whose interviews with a foreign publication will immediately become top news on all continents, and they are Putin, Xi and Trump. The second conclusion: the Russian leader delivered a verbal strike at the sore spot of Western political discourse. The topic of criticism of modern Western "liberalism" has turned out to be so painful that it is absolutely impossible to ignore it.
Aside from the issue of the Donald Trump’s political talents, the Western media is generally extracting two quotes from the whole interview: “there is a modern so-called liberal idea, which, I think, has simply completely outlived itself. Regarding some of its elements, our Western partners have admitted that they are simply unrealistic: multiculturalism is one of them, for example. When the problem of migration began, many admitted that yes, this, unfortunately, does not work and we need to remember the interests of the indigenous population, and "this liberal idea implies that you [immigrants] don’t need to do anything at all. Kill, rob, rape - you have nothing to worry about, because you are an immigrant, we need to protect your rights. What rights? You break the law, you get punished. Therefore, this idea itself has become obsolete and contradicts the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population." From the standpoint of the editors and journalists working in the western media, these quotes are probably evidence that Vladimir Putin is the enemy of all that is good and enlightened in the western (liberal) world, but now we have a case where all the anti-Putin Western media efforts are engaged in improving the image of the Russian president.
If you look at the reaction of ordinary social network users, it is easy to notice that Putin had said out loud what many in the West would like to say, but cannot, for fear of losing their job, their reputation or even their freedom. Moreover, the Russian president was the only European politician who could afford such statements, and this interview shows that he is much freer in his statements than a certain Donald Trump, who (despite all his extravagance and flamboyant rhetoric) is obliged in most cases to demonstrate a respectful attitude towards liberal ideology and its values. From the entire interview, the Westerner will most likely remember a simple principle: where there is Putin, there is freedom, and he will note for himself that the Russian president is telling the truth that hurts the sensibilities of the Western political establishment.
When the western expert community recovers a little from the shock, it will surely accuse Putin of allegedly being the ideological inspirer or even the secret leader of the right wing (as well as the far right) everywhere and of the nationalist and the anti-Establishment movements of the planet. But even that would rather benefit his international image.
The main reason for the painful reaction of our Western partners lies in the fact that Vladimir Putin gave an ironic and rational explanation for the political phenomenon that tormented the consciousness of Washington, London and Brussels experts.
In their world, history should have ended a long time ago in accordance with Fukuyama’s forecasts, but instead, Brexit happened, Trump was elected, and the European Union plunged into a systemic crisis such that its continued existence after regular elections to the European Parliament has been called a genuine success. Of course, the public is allowed to believe in "explanations for the plebeians." This is along the lines of, for example, "Russian hackers bought advertising on Facebook and that’s why Brexit happened." But for their personal understanding, the expert community would like to hear something more reasonable, while no one has the courage to admit the obvious systemic problems. But Putin has the courage to do this, and his precisely articulated wording "the contemporary modern so-called liberal idea, it <...> has simply become obsolete itself" is, in fact, the correct answer to the main question of the modern Western world.
Even if Western politicians and experts do not want to accept this explanation, the reality will not change. Conservative and populist revenge is not just inevitable, it is already gaining momentum around the world, and instead of coarse “liberal idealism” (which declares humanism, but behaves like a cannibal), pragmatic realism, which is so beneficial to Russia and which is so disliked by many Russophobes in the West, will gradually come to dominate. This does not mean that Western partners in particular will love Russia in general and Putin in particular, and this is not necessary. It does mean, however, that at last there is a chance that world politics will be discussed by leaders for whom their real national values and interests are more important than ideologies.