Vladimir Putin: West Loses World Hegemony

Russian President's speech at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg: “The global economy is undergoing radical change; we are ready for it”

The geopolitical conflicts taking place around the world, from Ukraine to Palestine, are very deeply rooted and go far beyond regional bilateral tensions. In a lengthy speech at the plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Western world “wants to maintain its elusive hegemonic role.”

According to the Russian leader, the world economy is entering an era of radical change, and the Russian economic system is ready for these challenges. “The world economy has entered an era of major and fundamental change. A multipolar world with new centers of growth, investment, and financial ties between states and businesses is taking shape. The Russian economy is responding to these challenges, changing and adapting to these changes,” emphasized Putin, according to whom “the Russian government will continue to support positive changes in society and the economy.”

Despite the hybrid war launched by the West against Russia, Moscow is interested in cooperating with countries that have a mutual interest in working together. “We are open,” Putin said, “to the widest possible cooperation with all interested partners, from foreign companies to international groups, associations, and countries.

Despite pressure from the USA and its allies, Russia has become the world’s fourth largest economy in purchasing power parity, surpassing even Japan and Germany, Putin said, citing a recent World Bank report: “We fully realize,” the president said, “that leadership positions need to be constantly reaffirmed and strengthened. Other countries are not resting on their laurels either.”

The pace of Russia’s economic development now exceeds the global average: in the first quarter of 2024, gross domestic product increased by 5.4 percent. “At the end of last year, as you know, Russia’s GDP growth was 3.6 percent. And as of the first quarter of this year, it stands at 5.4 percent. That means our growth rate is higher than the global average. Especially since this dynamic is mainly determined by non-resource industries,” the Russian leader emphasized, adding that Russia should work hard to guarantee “high and stable” growth rates, as well as “the quality of this economic growth in the long term.”

The development of Russia’s domestic production envisages further reduction in the country’s dependence on imports, the share of which, according to Putin, in the Russian economy should fall to 17% of GDP by 2030. Putin emphasized the urgent need to guarantee Russia’s “financial, technological, and personnel sovereignty,” as well as to increase production capacity and the competitiveness of Russian products on both the international and domestic markets.

Over the past four years, trade turnover between Russia, China, and Asian countries has increased by 60 percent

Despite all political, economic, and financial obstacles, the quintessence of which are many hundreds of “illegitimate sanctions,” Russia remains a major player in global trade, actively developing logistics, and expanding the geography of cooperation year by year. The Russian president noted that Russia has managed to reorient its foreign trade toward so-called “friendly countries,” with which it now conducts “three-quarters of Russia’s total trade.” In particular, trade between Moscow and Asian countries led by China showed a 60 percent increase between 2020 and 2023. In addition, the trade turnover between Russia and the Middle East countries doubled during this period. Trade with Africa and Latin America (+42%) is growing steadily (+69%).

Russia pays great attention to relations with “fast-growing” economies because “the future of the world economy will depend on them.” Putin added that trust in Western payment systems has been “completely undermined” by Western countries themselves. “To this end,” the Russian president said, “I would like to note that last year the share of settlements for Russian exports in the so-called ‘toxic currencies’ of hostile states was cut in half.” The BRICS countries are actively developing their own international payment system, independent of the “Western” one. “BRICS is working to form an independent payment system that is not subject to political pressure, abuse, and external interference,” said Putin, according to whom “the countries of the world are rushing to strengthen their sovereignty.” This global process takes place at three main levels: state, cultural, and economic. “At the same time, the countries that have recently acted as leaders and driven global development are trying with all their might, both good and bad, to maintain their hegemonic role,” said Putin, according to whom “the world is currently witnessing explosive technological growth that is changing all spheres of human life.”