Far from collapsing into an impoverished mess, Russia survived the sanctions onslaught against it to become stronger and more sovereign than ever.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a detailed speech at this year’s Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) where he explained his country’s role in the global systemic transition. He declared that unipolarity is over and that a new multipolar world order has begun, though he cautioned that it’s still being formed and that a lot remains unforeseeable. Nevertheless, the Russian leader is confident that strong, sovereign, and powerful countries will shape its evolving contours.
Fundamental, irreversible, and full-spectrum changes are unfolding at an unprecedented pace, all of which owe their origins to events that predated Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine, he said. The global food crisis, for instance, was caused by the West’s irresponsible fiscal policies, the same as the general economic crisis across the world is too. President Putin said that Western currencies aren’t backed by anything but are simply printed to purchase more goods from the Global South.
Their anti-Russian sanctions have also backfired to cause an estimated $400 billion worth of damages to their own economies, which he predicts will hasten their demise. The US is no longer the global leader yet it and the small circle of other Western states around it remain under the delusions of their own propaganda that claims otherwise. The Russian leader said that it was the belief in their own false narratives about his country that drove their decision to sanction it, expecting that Russia will collapse.
The opposite has happened, President Putin said, since Russia’s economy remains sovereign as evidenced by its food and fuel security among other factors. Supply chains have been damaged but are rapidly being rebuilt and the ruble is still strong. By contrast, the situation in some European countries is uncontrollable and trending towards chaos, he said. In fact, the Russian leader even predicted another wave of populism that will inevitably result in changes within their elite, all to unforeseen ends.
While the West’s global role declines due to the self-inflicted damage caused by its elites’ reckless fiscal policies of endlessly printing money for import purposes without backing it up with anything, Russia will continue strengthening its sovereignty in all respects. President Putin said that sovereignty is holistic and not limited to one or several spheres like the economy, society, military, etc. Even so, economic sovereignty is crucial, and since he was speaking at SPIEF, he outlined his country’s plans in this sphere.
Five principles underpin its future strategy: a commitment to remaining open; full support for private businesses; responsible and balanced macroeconomic policies; social justice; and infrastructure development. A few words will now be said about each of them. Openness will take the form of cooperating with all interested partners on an equal basis in all spheres, with an emphasis placed on creating alternative non-Western platforms such as payment systems and supply chains.
With respect to supporting private businesses, President Putin proposed drastic bureaucratic and legal reforms to that end. He also pledged to redouble the state’s aid to small- and medium-sized businesses, especially in Russia’s regions. Furthermore, he directly addressed big business leaders and reminded them of how important it is for their companies to contribute to improving the lives of the Russian people. President Putin said that doing this and building a glorious legacy is more important than profits.
On the third principle, he once again condemned the West’s reckless fiscal policies and promised that Russia would never replicate them. The Russian leader added that there’s a discernable rise in real-asset economies, or those that are based on something tangible and not just their financial systems. This brought him to his fourth point where he emphasized the need for businesses to contribute to society and especially those within it who are the most vulnerable.
Finally, the last part of Russia’s geo-economic plans is to focus extensively on infrastructure. This will take the form of modernizing existing roads and buildings, especially residential ones, while expanding industrial and science-technological facilities. Import substitution is fine, President Putin noted, but it isn’t an end in of itself since Russia must always strive to become a global leader in everything and not simply replace products from foreign countries.
Altogether, the Russian leader’s speech can be interpreted as a comprehensive debunking of the West’s information warfare narratives about his country. Far from collapsing into an impoverished mess, Russia survived the sanctions onslaught against it to become stronger and more sovereign than ever. It’s now indisputably among the leaders of the ongoing global systemic transition to multipolarity and has set an example for others of the type of strong, sovereign, and powerful states that will shape the future order.