When Putin Finally Gave Up on The West

Eric Zuesse

Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, first took office at the very start of the 21st Century, when he hoped and intended for there to emerge a real partnership between Russia and the rest of The West. He then interpreted The West (U.S.-and-allied countries) to be motivated by basically benign intentions, which he shared himself. He considered himself to hold Western values, in the best tradition of The Enlightenment. However, continued Western criticisms against Russia’s Government, while he continued to speak only respectfully of The West, built up in him, and, increasingly, came to disturb him, and caused him to think that maybe nothing that he could do would overcome a continuing rejection of Russia by The West. Gradually, a questioning of The West’s sincerity that it — like Russia — had actually ended its side of the Cold War in 1991, arose in him, especially so in the wake of the clearly lie-based U.S-and-UK invasion and destruction of Iraq in 2003, and other instances of the U.S. Government’s failing to adhere to basic democratic standards, and even to trustworthiness — at all — in international affairs.

Finally, on 10 February 2007, at the “Speech and the Following Discussion at the Munich Conference on Security Policy”, he publicly set forth, both to The West and to his fellow-Russians, the reasons for his growing distrust of The West.

A Google search for the speech produces “About 1,010,000 results”, but (unless maybe on the thousandth page) not the reliably full and easy-to-read transcript by the Russian Government, which is at http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/24034, and which has been saved in the Web-archiving services, such as at https://web.archive.org/web/20230116012656/http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/24034 and  https://ghostarchive.org/archive/E1xji. However, Google’s algorithm does produce one of the official Russia transcripts, but it’s the least easy-to-read one, lacking any paragraph-breaks. The Google-search also produces, as its finds, loads of hostile U.S.-and-allied commentaries about the speech, such as Politico’s “Opinion | The Speech In Which Putin Told Us Who He Was”, which states “15 years ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin used the [Munich Security Conference] gathering to issue a broadside that definitively rejected the European security order many in his audience had spent years trying to build. [That’s a false statement: Putin criticized instead The West’s behaving in ways that directly contradicted The West’s own statements and promises. He was saying they’re deceitful and aggressive.] In February 2007, Putin stood in Munich’s Bayerischer Hof for 30 minutes and accused the United States of creating a unipolar world “in which there is one master, one sovereign.” He added, “at the end of the day this is pernicious.”” So, if what Putin said was true, then what’s wrong with his statement? The article didn’t address that question, but merely assumed it to be false. The article equated “the U.S.-led liberal order” as constituting “the Free World” and said that Putin had said that this “was of no intereest or value to Russia.” The article said that “what Putin meant by Russian greatness was not strengthening the rule of law and building up Russia’s economy and international stature in the world.” But, in fact, nothing even remotely like a phrase such as “Russian greatness” appeared anywhere in the speech, and not even in the Q&As afterward — the entire article is a string of Cold-War lies about post-Cold-War Russia, and especially about Putin, and most especially about the speech itself — which it failed to quote from even once. That article is typical of what comes up from a Web-search for Putin’s speech.

There are some favorable references in The West to that speech, but only on Web-sites that are suppressed or even banned by Google. The great geostrategist, and former U.S. Marine and Chief U.N. Inspector for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq (who found them all and oversaw the destruction of them all), Scott Ritter, did an interview at the “U.S. Tour of Duty” Web-site, on 11 January 2023, “Scott Ritter Extra Ep. 35: Ask the Inspector” in which he said, at 51:19 in the video, in which he said, “The speech itself was brilliant, but the mark of true genius — political genius — came in the extended question and answer period that Putin gave afterwards, where he made every western official in the crowd twitch uncomfortably in their seat because he was hitting them with the hard truth.” Since Ritter is a person of proven and enormous personal courage and honesty, and he knows whereof he speaks, that is exceedingly high praise. A listener then asked him to help her find the speech online, and since Ritter’s response (in a video, in which there is no way to provide a live link to click onto so that a reader can easily check out and examine the evidence itself, on one’s own) might not have been helpful — especially given Google’s algorithms that are used in the search — I shall here provide what I consider to be key excerpts from Putin’s speech, and from the Q&A after it, so as to represent adequately what Putin said, and the spirit in which he said it, on that occasion:

I think it is obvious that NATO expansion does not have any relation with the modernisation of the Alliance itself or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them. But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: “the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee”. Where are these guarantees? [For the answer to that, see this: GHW Bush personally instructed Helmut Kohl on 24 February 1990 that, despite Bush’s having instructed all of his emissaries to say this (that the Cold War would be over when it would end on the Soviet Union’s side) off-the-record, they will now all proceed forward to deny having ever said it and to continue the Cold war, but now against — and to conquer — Russia itself. This, however, was not publicly known yet, in 2007, when Putin was speaking.] …

It is hard to overestimate the significance of the intercultural, interreligious, intercivilisational dialogue in the formation of a stable and democratic global management system backed by international law and the central role of the UN [i.e.: NOT of the U.S. nor any other mere country or grouping of countries, to create international laws]. “The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation… it must be a peace which rests on the cooperative efforts of the whole world.” These words by Franklin Delano Roosevelt are engraved on the memorial in Fairbanks (Alaska) honouring the Russian and US pilots who flew aircraft as part of the Lend-Lease program during World War.

And, of course, we would like to interact with responsible and independent partners with whom we could work together in constructing a fair and democratic world order that would ensure security and prosperity not only for a select few [referring here to the U.S. and its allies], but for all.

Question: You talked about the danger of a unipolar world in which one sovereign makes a decision without consulting anyone else. In many people’s opinion, in Russia we are seeing an increasingly unipolar government where competing centres of influence are forced to tow the party line, whether it be in the State Duma, the regional leadership, the media, business communities or non-governmental organisations. Would a unipolar government be such a reliable partner. …

President Vladimir Putin [in his answers to this and all questions]: … I will begin with the last question about the unipolar nature of the Russian government. Today the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the United Russia Party, the Liberal Democratic Party and other political forces as well sit in the Russian parliament. And their basic positions differ significantly. If you aren’t aware of this, then just have a talk with the leadership of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and then with the leader of our liberal democrats, Mr Zhirinovsky. You will see the difference at once. If you cannot see it now, then have a talk with them. There is no problem here, simply go to Moscow and talk to them.

About our future plans. We would like to have a mature political system, a multi-party system with responsible politicians who can anticipate the country’s development and not only work responsibly before elections and immediately after, but in a long-term future as well. That is what we aspire to. And this system will certainly be a multi-party one. All our actions within Russia, including changing the State Duma election regime, the election regime in the Russian parliament, are designed to strengthen a multi-party system in Russia.

And now about whether our government cabinet is able to operate responsibly in resolving issues linked to energy deliveries. …

I will remind you and my colleague, the President of Ukraine, who is sitting opposite from me, also knows this. For fifteen years prior to 2006, as long as we did not make the corresponding decisions during our difficult talks, deliveries of Russian energy and, first and foremost, of gas to Europe depended on the conditions and prices for the deliveries of Russian gas to Ukraine itself. And this was something that Ukraine and Russia agreed among themselves. And if we reached no agreement, then all European consumers would sit there with no gas. Would you like to see this happen? I don’t think so. …

Regarding our perception of NATO’s eastern expansion, I already mentioned the guarantees that were made and that are not being observed today. Do you happen to think that this is normal practice in international affairs? But all right, forget it. Forget these guarantees. With respect to democracy and NATO expansion: NATO is not a universal organisation, as opposed to the UN. It is first and foremost a military and political alliance, military and political! Well, ensuring one’s own security is the right of any sovereign state. We are not arguing against this. Of course we are not objecting to this. But why is it necessary to put military infrastructure on our borders during this expansion? …

[Referring to another question:] “The USA are not developing strategic weapons but Russia is. Will Russia use force in the future if it is not sanctioned by the UN? Russia is developing a system of strategic weapons”.

Yes, the United States is ostensibly not developing an offensive weapon. In any case, the public does not know about this. Even though they are certainly developing them. But we aren’t even going to ask about this now. We know that these developments are proceeding. But we pretend that we don’t know, so we say that they aren’t developing new weapons. …

And now about whether Russia will use military force without the sanction of the UN. We will always operate strictly within the international legal framework. My basic education is in law and I will allow myself to remind both myself and my colleagues that according to the UN Charter peace-keeping operations require the sanction of both the UN and the UN Security Council. This is in the case of peace-keeping operations. But in the UN Charter there is also an article about self-defence. And no sanctions are required in this case. …

What bothers us? I can say and I think that it is clear for all, that when these non-governmental organisations are financed by foreign governments, we see them as an instrument that foreign states use to carry out their Russian policies. That is the first thing. The second: In every country there are certain rules for financing, shall we say, election campaigns. Financing from foreign governments, including within governmental campaigns, proceeds through non-governmental organisations. And who is happy about this? Is this normal democracy? It is secret financing. Hidden from society. Where is the democracy here? Can you tell me? No! You can’t tell me and you never will be able to. Because there is no democracy here, there is simply one state exerting influence on another.

It’s no wonder that Putin’s public statements are censored-out of U.S.-and-allied ‘news’-media and ‘history’-books. But the fact that they are censored-out and blatantly misrepresented in The West indicates far more about The West today than anything that The West itself says, indicates about either Russia or Putin. And its lies about those matters indicate everything that there really is to know about today’s The West — that it is a massive and shameless fraud.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s new book, AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change, is about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.

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