Putin Seeks to Ignite Anti-Western Mood Among Asian Leaders

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Russian President Vladimir Putin used a speech to Asian leaders on Thursday to develop a theme he has pushed harder as Russia’s military fortunes have dwindled: that Moscow is fighting against the West to establish a more just world.

With the tightening of Western economic sanctions, Putin has gone from fighting so-called “fascists” in kyiv to confronting a “collective West” that is arming Ukraine with the purported goal of expanding its influence at Russia’s expense.

“The world is becoming truly multipolar,” Putin said. “And Asia, where new centers of power are emerging, plays an important, if not a key, role in it.”

At a meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in the Kazakh capital Astana, Putin described the West as a neo-colonial power bent on holding back the development of the rest of the world and exploiting to the poorest countries.

“Like many of our partners in Asia, we believe that an overhaul of the global financial system, which for decades has allowed self-proclaimed ‘ gold billionaires ‘, who redirected all capital flows and technologies to themselves, is necessary. live largely at the expense of others,” Putin said.

However, CICA members have their own agendas and have also become more valuable to Russia as customers for oil , gas and other commodities that the West finds difficult to sell.

The body includes several ex-Soviet Central Asian countries that regard Russia as their former colonial overlord, as well as China, India and some Arab and Southeast Asian nations, which have benefited from close trade ties with the West and Japan.

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Kazakh authorities this month rejected Russia’s request to expel Ukraine’s ambassador, chiding Moscow for what they called an inappropriate tone between “equal strategic partners.”

The phrase “golden billionaires” became popular in Russian political discourse in the 1990s as part of a theory that Western nations had conspired to exploit the resources of others, notably Russia, while keeping them poor and they brainwashed their populations.

The theory also supports Putin’s stated goal of restoring Russia’s status as a world power by opposing what he sees as a US-led conspiracy.

kyiv and the West deny any intention to threaten or diminish Russia, which they say is waging an imperialist war of aggression against Ukraine.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday described the war in Ukraine as part of a Russian “crusade” against liberal democracy.

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