Putin’s Remarks About ‘Woke’ Culture Deserve Serious Consideration

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On October 21, 2021, Vladimir Putin addressed the Valdai Discussion Club, a Russian think tank established in 2004. His observations, especially about “woke” culture deserve attention even though he holds power as an autocrat and likely has permanently disposed of individuals who do not appreciate his rule.

From his remarks, alone, it is clear that Putin does not consider himself a communist, for he identifies himself as a “moderate conservative.” This may explain why leftists were so happy to smear Trump as a Russian stooge and to ascribe to Putin all sorts of election interference in America.

The theme at Valdai was “Global Shake-up in the 21st Century: The Individual, Values, and the State.” America’s Democrats were horrified, with The Washington Post calling the address an attack on Western liberalism. The reason for this horror is clear: As The Advocate explained, Putin opposes the so-called “transgender” movement, which he calls “a crime against humanity.” A closer, less biased reading of the text, suggests that Putin spoke in the tradition of Western liberalism.

Early in his remarks, Putin acknowledged that “we are facing systemic changes in all direction—from the increasingly complicated geophysical conditions of our planet to a more paradoxical interpretation of what a human is and what the reasons for his assistance are.” He’s sufficient au courant of Western thinking to have climbed aboard the climate change express, intimating that “droughts, floods, hurricanes and tsunamis” are the future. The COVID pandemic, too, is “another reminder of how fragile our community is, how vulnerable it is, and our most important task is to ensure humanity a safe existence and resilience.”

Putin took a detour to note that “[e]veryone is saying that the current model of capitalism…has run its course and no longer offers a solution to a host of increasingly tangled differences.” He pointed to the problem of unequal distribution of wealth as a “major and deep” threat to social divisions.” Putin told the Valdai gathering, “Disappointment spurs aggression and pushes people to join the ranks of extremists.”

He also commented that, while the pandemic, theoretically, was “supposed to rally the people” against “this massive common threat,” it has, instead, become “a divisive rather than a unifying factor.” “Where are the fundamentals of Western political thought,” he asked. “It appears there is nothing there, just idle talk.”

Putin, like many conservatives, believes that the pandemic killed globalism. Instead, it “has clearly shown that the international order is structured around nation states.” Acknowledging that, in recent decades, many observers dismissed the concept of the nation-state as “outdated and outgoing,” Putin said, “Only sovereign states can effectively respond to the challenged of the times and the demands of the citizens.”

And then, tactfully, without naming names, Putin attacked the madness that is Biden’s America. “[E]ach state,” he said, should decide for itself how best to deal with crises, “based on its abilities, culture, and traditions.” With this statement, he began the observations that so horrified Democrats and their fellow travelers, for he explained that current cultural developments underway in the West are unacceptable in Russia because Russia has learned from its unfortunate experience with the Bolshevik revolution, a century ago.

Before presenting passages from Putin’s important address to the Valdai Discussion Club, here are a few of his observations that did not mention the U.S., but are clearly directed at it:

The fight for equality and against discrimination has turned into aggressive dogmatism bordering on absurdity, when the works of the great authors of the past – such as Shakespeare – are no longer taught at schools or universities, because their ideas are believed to be backward. The classics are declared backward and ignorant of the importance of gender or race. In Hollywood memos are distributed about proper storytelling and how many characters of what colour or gender should be in a movie. This is even worse than the agitprop department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Countering acts of racism is a necessary and noble cause, but the new ‘cancel culture’ has turned it into ‘reverse discrimination’ that is, reverse racism. The obsessive emphasis on race is further dividing people, when the real fighters for civil rights dreamed precisely about erasing differences and refusing to divide people by skin colour. I specifically asked my colleagues to find the following quote from Martin Luther King: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by their character.” This is the true value. However, things are turning out differently there. By the way, the absolute majority of Russian people do not think that the colour of a person’s skin or their gender is an important matter. Each of us is a human being. This is what matters.

In a number of Western countries, the debate over men’s and women’s rights has turned into a perfect phantasmagoria. Look, beware of going where the Bolsheviks once planned to go – not only communalising chickens, but also communalising women. One more step and you will be there.

Zealots of these new approaches even go so far as to want to abolish these concepts altogether. Anyone who dares mention that men and women actually exist, which is a biological fact, risk being ostracised. “Parent number one” and “parent number two,” “’birthing parent” instead of “mother,” and “human milk” replacing “breastmilk” because it might upset the people who are unsure about their own gender. I repeat, this is nothing new; in the 1920s, the so-called Soviet Kulturtraegers also invented some newspeak believing they were creating a new consciousness and changing values that way. And, as I have already said, they made such a mess it still makes one shudder at times.

Not to mention some truly monstrous things when children are taught from an early age that a boy can easily become a girl and vice versa. That is, the teachers actually impose on them a choice we all supposedly have. They do so while shutting the parents out of the process and forcing the child to make decisions that can upend their entire life. They do not even bother to consult with child psychologists – is a child at this age even capable of making a decision of this kind? Calling a spade a spade, this verges on a crime against humanity, and it is being done in the name and under the banner of progress.

Had Putin said any of this in America, he would have been shouted down and…well, heck, we don’t need to speculate. Just look at what LGBTQ cancel culture is doing to Dave Chappelle. As Putin said, the leftists in the West—in America—have become even “worse than the agitprop department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.”

Although he enjoys the benefits of being a dictator who seems comfortable with using the nation’s wealth to reward his friends and the nation’s police power to destroy his enemies…uh, is it me or does that sound like the Biden administration? But back to the point: Putin is not an Enlightenment-style liberal but, as someone raised and successful within the communist system, he fully understands what it takes to destroy a nation from within to vest permanent power in the hands of a small number of people.

Even if The Washington Post and The Advocate don’t like Putin’s words, the rest of us would be very wise to attend to them.