Your Holiness, colleagues, friends,
It is a great honour for me to speak at the plenary session of the 24th World Russian People's Council themed “Orthodox Christianity and the world in the 21st century,” which sounds very appropriate for the moment.
The council is an integral part of Russia’s public life and an important venue that brings together representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, government bodies and expert and scholar circles, as well as our compatriots. It is a platform for discussing important issues facing our country and suggesting effective pathways to resolve them.
The demand for cooperation and creative team efforts is particularly high today. It is no secret that the US-led collective West, striving for global domination, unleashed an all-out hybrid war against our Motherland. The enemy is not hiding its goal, which is to destroy the Russian economy, to destabilise the domestic political situation and inflict a “defeat on the battlefield” on us and, eventually, to significantly weaken or even annihilate the centuries-old national statehood, which explains why the West is using “cancel culture” against Russia. Any and all restrictions on any and all actions against us have been lifted. The philosophy is that if you hate the multiethnic Russian people, you can do anything.
The West is using the criminal Russophobic regime led by Vladimir Zelensky as a lever to contain our country. We see Washington and its NATO allies ramping up the supplies of lethal weapons to Ukrainian neo-Nazis, sharing intelligence with them and recruiting foreign mercenaries to fight in Ukraine. All of that is making them parties to the conflict one way or another.
The Kiev authorities’ intrusion at the behest of and with the support of their overseas backers into a sensitive area such as religion is particularly blasphemous. The hideous campaign against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church continues unabated. The churches continue to be seized, and believers and clergy persecuted, which includes physical assaults.
In turn, Western geopolitical “engineers” are tirelessly working to destroy the Moscow Patriarchate’s spiritual ties with the fraternal local Orthodox churches. In order to discredit and smear the Russian Orthodox Church, an unscrupulous media campaign has been launched. The clergy from the Russian Orthodox Church is being openly persecuted. The leaders of various faiths are encouraged to condemn Russia’s actions. Strong pressure is being exerted on the Russian world and our foreign-based communities, including the sanctions imposed by some Western states on Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
Given the circumstances, it makes perfect sense that the people from the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics, and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions exercised the right to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter and expressed their free will by voting in favour of reuniting with Russia. As President Putin noted in his speech in the Kremlin on September 30, “We will defend our land with all the forces and resources we have, and we will do everything we can to ensure the safety of our people. This is the great liberating mission of our nation.” We are defending our legitimate interests, honour and dignity, as well as the historical legacy of our Motherland.
Washington and its European satellites’ attempts to isolate Russia and push us back to the sidelines of global politics are doomed. Today's world is not Western-centric. On the contrary, it is multipolar. The course of history cannot be reversed. In practical terms, this means that the countries and their citizens are actually free to choose political and socioeconomic paths and models. The peoples around the world want to live according to the cultural and civilisational foundations bequeathed by their ancestors. They reject the pseudo-liberal approaches imposed by Western elites, which encourage destructive behaviour and thus cause irreparable damage to moral health.
For our part, we believe that universal human solidarity should rely on traditional values that are common to the world's major religions and cultures. Russian diplomats will continue to work to ensure that communication between countries is built on the principles of international law and integrity, goodness and justice. I’m pleased to state that the overwhelming majority of the nations on our planet, which represent more than 80 percent of the Earth’s population, are supportive of this approach, which gives us hope.
We will, of course, continue to strengthen productive cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church and other traditional religions in our country. We will help advance inter-civilisational, interfaith and intercultural dialogues to promote the creation of a more just and democratic polycentric world order architecture.
I would like to close by wishing you, Your Holiness, and all the participants of today's event, productive work, every success in your endeavours and all the best.