Russian President Vladimir Putin has harshly criticized the West for trying to “dictate” its ideology to the world, dismissing the liberal values as "obsolete" because they have been rejected by the majority of people in Western countries.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Putin said that liberals “cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades.”
He explained that the liberal idea had “outlived its purpose” as the public in Europe turned against immigration, open borders and multiculturalism.
Putin made the remarks in a clear indication to European far-right leaders, such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Italy’s hard-line Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and US President Donald Trump.
“So, the liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population,” he added.
The Russian leader said liberalism has been used as an ideological force in the West which he chastised for promoting homosexuality and gender fluidity.
“Traditional values are more stable and more important for millions of people than this liberal idea, which, in my opinion, is really ceasing to exist,” Putin said.
EU President Donald Tusk on Friday hit back at his Russian counterpart in unusually undiplomatic language, saying he "strongly disagreed" with Putin.
"What I find really obsolete are authoritarianism, personality cults, the rule of oligarchs, even if sometimes they may seem effective,” he said in the Japanese city of Osaka where he is for a meeting of the Group of 20 nations.
Relations between Moscow and the West have deteriorated since 2014, when Crimea rejoined Russia following a referendum where more than 90 percent of participants voted in favor of the move. The West brands the reunification as annexation of Ukrainian land by Russia.
In siding with Ukraine, the EU, and some other Western countries have followed Washington's lead in leveling several rounds of sanctions against the Moscow.