Russian President Vladimir V. Putin on Friday reiterated his criticism of the United States as a failing power that treats its allies like colonies while declaring itself exclusive and “God’s messenger on earth.”
“If they’re exceptional, that means everyone else is second-rate,” Mr. Putin said of the United States in a speech the Kremlin called “extremely important” at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, an annual event. business conference once known as “Russian Davos”.
He also said that the European Union imposed sanctions on Russia at the behest of Washington, despite the damage done to its own economy.
“The European Union has completely lost its political sovereignty,” Mr. Putin said, “and its bureaucratic elites are dancing to the wrong tune, taking everything they are told from above and harming their society and their own economy.”
He also claimed that Western politicians are falsely blaming inflation in their countries for the war in Ukraine in order to distract the public from what he called the real causes: excessive Western government spending and loose monetary policy.
“We all hear about the so-called Putin inflation in the West,” Mr. Putin said. “When I see this, I always think: who is this stupidity for? For those who can neither read nor write.
Mr. Putin warned that inflation threatened to cause “starvation in the poorest countries” and said: “It will be entirely on the conscience of the United States and the European bureaucracy.”
His speech was delayed by more than an hour after the Kremlin cited “large-scale” distributed denial-of-service cyberattacks on the conference’s computer systems. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the attacks crippled the database of conference attendees, making it difficult to verify guests arriving at a plenary meeting where Mr. Putin was scheduled to speak.
Ukraine’s IT army, the “hacktavist” group behind the many attacks on Russian websites, previously marked the economic forum as a target. “The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum starts today, so let’s “visit” it online together,” the group said in a Telegram channel message.
The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, and the editor of the state-run RT TV channel, Margarita Simonyan, are also expected to appear on stage. Peskov said that Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will speak at the conference via video link.