A speech and a program, by Jacques Sapir

The speech given by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin [1], during the meeting of the eleventh “Valdai International Discussion Club” which was held in Sochi, is expected to play an important role in defining the foreign policy of Russia. This is not the first time that Putin engaged in such an exercise. He had already done it in Munich in February 2007 [2]. Whatever one may think of Russian foreign policy, one should stop and try to understand what such a discourse means. It’s not every day, in fact, that an officer of the importance of Putin expresses himself about the fundamental nature of international relations. The comparison between the speech of October 24, 2014 in Sochi and that of 2007 will become even more important. Coming after a period of international tension caused by the US invasion of Iraq, the Munich speech was expressing some sort of net result. This speech showed at least recognition of a dangerous crisis in representing international relations with respect to which it was important. It is unfortunate that this speech, although discussed and widely commented on among scholars, did not have more impact. It anticipated in a surprising way the various crises that the world was on the verge of going through in coming years. The 2014 speech comes as international relations have largely deteriorated again. The Ukrainian crisis has brought Russia, supported by a large portion of countries considered as “emerging”,  face to face with the United States and its allies. Perhaps less rich in terms of principles, but certainly more accurate regarding the definition of risks and threats, this speech is also an important step in international relations.

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