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Putin Calls Sanctions “Stupid And Thoughtless” At Economic Forum – Russian President Vladimir Putin struck a defiant tone and excoriated the West over sanctions, specifically the United States at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum on Friday. 

Putin called the US a fading power adding the end of the ”era of the unipolar world” in the annual conference dubbed as “Russia’s Davos” with virtually no Western participation. Much of Putin’s comments were directed at the West and the US as he blamed them for the rising inflation rates, and food and gas prices.

“When they won the Cold War, the US declared themselves God’s own representatives on earth, people who have no responsibilities — only interests. They have declared those interests sacred. Now it’s one-way traffic, which makes the world unstable,” Putin said.

Putin tried to push his anti-American narrative to the audience, stating that the sanctions and price hikes that President Biden characterized as “the Putin price hikes” as mad, instead of placing the blame on the “US administration and the Euro bureaucracy.”

 “When I see this, I always think: Who’s this meant for, this stupidity?”  Putin said. “For someone who doesn’t know how to read or write.” 

“Their intention is clear to crush the Russian economy by breaking down the chain the logistical chains, freezing national assets, and attacking the living standards, but they were not successful,” he added. “It has not worked out. Russian business people have rallied together working diligently, conscientiously, and step-by-step, we are normalizing the economic situation.”

“If they are exceptional, then that means that everyone else is second-class,” Putin said of the United States, adding that the US treats its allies as colonies.

Putin Claims Debunked, Russian Economy Suffering Due to Sanctions

Despite Putin’s claims that the West’s sanctions are hurting those countries more, Russia’s economy has taken a big hit from the economic sanctions. “Russia is entering the approaching epoch as a powerful, sovereign country,” Putin said. “We will certainly use the new, colossal opportunities that this era is opening in front of us and will become even stronger.”

Russia’s Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said that “15 percent of the country’s GDP” was affected by the international sanctions.

Nabiullina also downplayed any thoughts of a quick economic recovery, telling the conference that the state of the economy is not positive. “it’s obvious to everyone that it won’t be as it was before”.

“External conditions have changed for a long time indeed, if not forever,” she said. Russia’s Sberbank stated that it could take a decade or longer for the Russian economy to return to 2021 levels. 

Kazakh President Refuses To Back Ukraine Invasion:

One of the noteworthy moments of the conference came when a key ally of Putin and Russia disagreed with Putin’s assertion that the “special military operation” in Ukraine, was to protect the Russian-speaking peoples of in the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk peoples’ republics of eastern Ukraine. Just days before the Russian invasion, Putin recognized the proxy separatist republics. 

However, when moderator Margarita Simonyan, from the Kremlin-funded RT TV, pressed Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on whether he supported Russia’s view of the invasion, he declined.

Kazakhstan doesn’t recognize “quasi-state territories which, in our view, is what Luhansk and Donetsk are,” Tokayev said. There’d be “chaos” in the world if hundreds of new countries emerged, he said, choosing his words carefully.

Putin sent Russian troops into Kazakhstan at the behest of Tokayev in January during an attempted coup, which the Kremlin blamed on international “bandits” and “terrorists”.

Hackers Delay Putin’s Speech:

Putin’s remarks at the St. Petersburg conference were delayed for nearly an hour and a half after the Kremlin acknowledged  “large-scale” distributed denial-of-service cyberattacks on the conference’s computer systems. 

The cyberattack that targeted and disabled the accreditation and admission systems came after the IT Army of Ukraine, a hacker group that had previously conducted numerous attacks on Russian websites, had flagged the event as a target.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the cyber attack. 

Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for over 10 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.