Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the US for being “overconfident” while drawing a parallel between America and the erstwhile USSR. And the Chinese state media did not miss an opportunity to add fuel to the fire.
Putin’s remarks come ahead of his first-ever summit with US President Joe Biden, scheduled later this month in Geneva.
In a speech made at an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Putin did not hold back while criticizing the US’ response to the Capitol attack calling it “a manifestation of the West’s double standards”.
Observing that the US-Russia relations are at an “extremely low level”, Putin recalled the erstwhile Soviet Union’s powerful empire tendencies, adding that “the US with a confident gait, a firm step, is going straight along the path of the Soviet Union”.
Calling the US’ actions an attempt to contain and suppress Moscow, he criticized the sanctions imposed on Russian companies and derided the allegations about Russian interference in US elections and hacking attempts.
“We don’t have any issues with the US. But it has an issue with us,” Putin remarked.
Calling Out On ‘Double Standards’
Putin drew a parallel between state responses to anti-government demonstrations across the West including the US and Europe and its criticism towards Russian crackdown on anti-Kremlin protests including the recent one in Belarus.
Mocking his western counterparts, Putin used the phrase, “democratic rubber bullets”, to describe the high-handedness of police during such protests.
“They weren’t just a crowd of robbers and rioters. Those people had come with political demands,” he said on Capitol insurrection that took place in January this year to certify Biden’s victory over the former President Trump.
Chinese Media Goes Overboard
While the upcoming summit is seen as a positive sign towards mending US-Russia relations, the Chinese media has gone overboard by terming it a disaster already.
State-owned Global Times has highlighted what it sees as Putin’s diminishing trust in Biden and Washington’s “Cold War mentality” in attempting to “alienate China-Russia relations to serve the US’ interest”.
Earlier in an interview with Danil Bochkov (Bochkov), an expert at the Russian International Affairs Council, the Chinese media outlet discussed how Washington wants Moscow to pivot away from Beijing.
Amid the rising rivalry, the focus of Chinese media has shifted from what Putin actually said to ridicule the US’ declining stature in the world.
“Putin’s intent may be to send a message to Biden that the US should act as a responsible great power,” an article read. “[US] is incapable of both securing domestic stability and maintain global leadership,” it concluded.
The Russian media has also been critical of Washington since the January Capitol attack. The state-controlled media has covered extensively what it called the collapsing democratic model of the US and described the siege as the final nail in the coffin.
Putin’s comment on the US following in the footsteps of the erstwhile USSR came during a world news agency conference organized by TASS, the leading Russian news agency.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader during whose term the ill-fated disintegration occurred, earlier commented that the Capitol siege “called into question the future fate of the United States as a state”.
“The comments are likely to add to the pessimism in the Biden-Putin summit,” wrote Isabelle Khurshudyan, a correspondent based in Moscow for The Washington Post.
In an op-ed, President Biden replied to Putin’s concerns highlighting that the US does not seek conflict with Russia. “We want a stable and predictable relationship where we can work with Russia on issues like strategic stability and arms control,” he noted.
The coronavirus pandemic, climate change, arms control, and international conflicts remain the most prominent issues likely to be discussed between the two world leaders.
Interestingly, despite his criticism, Putin did use a word of praise for Biden calling him a “very experienced statesman” and “prudent”, something that brings hope ahead of the much-awaited dialogue between the two leaders.
Written by Apoorva Jain