On December 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a state-of-the-nation address in which he defended conservative values; speaking from the ornate Kremlin Hall in Moscow, he vowed to continue defending Russia’s traditional values.
Russia has faced severe criticism from countries all over the world for its recently enacted anti-gay laws; in the last few years, Putin has increasingly promoted legislation that aligns with the morals of the Russian Orthodox Church, seeking to strengthen his supporter base.
In the seventy-minute speech, he scolded more liberal countries for no longer distinguishing “good and evil,” and expressed regret about their “review of norms of morality.” He called Russia’s traditional values the foundation of its greatness, a barricade against “so-called tolerance—genderless and infertile.”
“This destruction of traditional values from above not only entails negative consequences for society, but is also inherently anti-democratic because it is based on an abstract notion and runs counter to the will of the majority of people,” Putin said.
Quoting Nikolai Berdyaev, a Russian philosopher of the early twentieth century, Putin claimed that conservatism is not the enemy of societal progress, but instead “prevents it from falling backward into chaotic darkness and the state of primitive man.”
Putin’s audience, which was made up of religious leaders, judges, lawmakers, and federal and regional officials, responded to his statements with fervent applause.