Russian President Vladimir Putin again attacked Western liberalism in a fiery address on Thursday, blasting so-called cancel culture and advances in gay and transgender rights.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin stressed that his country should adhere to its own “spiritual values and historical traditions,” while steering clear of “sociocultural disturbances” in the West.
Some Westerners believe “the aggressive deletion of whole pages of their own history, reverse discrimination against the majority in the interests of minorities . . . constitute movement toward public renewal,” Putin said. “It’s their right, but we are asking them to steer clear of our home. We have a different viewpoint.”
Putin, who told the Financial Times of London newspaper in 2019 that liberalism had become “obsolete,” has loudly advocated for what he considers to be traditional family values. In his Thursday remarks, he said the notion that children are “taught that a boy can become a girl and vice versa” is monstrous and “on the verge of a crime against humanity.”
He also suggested that transgender rights supporters were demanding an end to “basic things such as mother, father, family or gender differences.”
The authoritarian leader has sought to portray himself as a symbol of virile masculinity – for instance, by being photographed shirtless on horseback – while ramping up a state-led pressure campaign on sexual minorities in Russia