Enlarge image

Vladimir Putin at the meeting of the so-called World Council of the Russian People

Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev / dpa

President Vladimir Putin sees Russia back on the world stage as a "great power" almost two years after the start of his war of aggression against Ukraine. We have become stronger," the Kremlin chief said on Tuesday in a video message to the meeting of the so-called World Council of the Russian People, an organization under the auspices of the Russian Orthodox Church. He also highlighted Russia's annexation of Ukrainian territories, which was internationally condemned as a breach of international law, as a success.

Modern Russia has regained and consolidated "its sovereignty as a world power," Putin said. On the other hand, the West, which has imposed sanctions on Russia in the course of the war, sees the country as economically weakened and isolated on the international stage.

Putin once again accused the West of wanting to sow misery and chaos in Russia by striving for supremacy in order to bring the world's largest country to disintegration. Such attempts are doomed to failure. "To this end, they have also started with the old refrain that Russia is supposedly a 'prison for the peoples' and that the 'Russians themselves are slaves'," said the 71-year-old a few months before the presidential election. At the polls in March, Putin is expected to run for a fifth term. However, he has not yet officially declared this.

Putin used the meeting, which was also attended by representatives of politics, business and culture as well as other religions in Moscow, as a kind of campaign speech and presented Russia as a "champion of a fairer world order." Without a sovereign and strong Russia, no lasting stable world order is possible," he said, speaking from Sochi on the Black Sea. Putin also held a minute's silence to commemorate the dead of his war.

Ukraine, on the other hand, which has been attacked by Russia, sees the country as a "terrorist state" that wants to impose a dictatorship on other peoples striving for freedom. Putin has brought death and destruction to the neighboring country with his war, which he started on February 24, 2022.