In an exclusive interview with FT on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin touted the growth of national populism in Europe and America while saying that liberalism is "spent" as an ideology. He spoke on numerous issues at length, which we have broken down here by topic.
On the eve of the G20 summit, Putin said that the "liberal idea" had "outlived its purpose" as the public has turned against immigration and multiculturalism. His push back on liberalism aligns Putin with leaders like US president Donald Trump, Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Matteo Salvini in Italy, and the Brexit insurgency in the UK.
“[Liberals] cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades.”
Immigration and Refugees
He said that Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to admit over 1 million refugees to German was a "cardinal mistake" and praised President Trump for trying to stop migrants and drugs from Mexico.
“This liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. That migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected. Every crime must have its punishment. The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.”
On Election Interference
While Putin has been targeted in the U.S., namely for attempting to intervene in the country's elections, Putin denied it and called the idea “mythical interference”.
“What happened in the US, and how did it happen? In the US, the leading US companies — the companies, their managers, shareholders and partners — made use of these benefits. The middle class hardly benefited from globalization. The Trump team sensed this very keenly and clearly, and they used this in the election campaign. It is where you should look for reasons behind Trump’s victory, rather than in any alleged foreign interference.”