From Rossiiskaya gazeta, Dec. 26, 2022, p. 1. Condensed text:

The year 2022 is nearing its end. Complex, rough, dramatic. A year on the threshold of a new era, which has already been marked by fundamental changes everywhere – from the configuration of global “centers of power” to the daily lives of a great many people. Inevitable reform is in store for most international institutions that have been created over decades. They are on the decline and are deeply dysfunctional. Some of them have become purely ornamental; others are trying to preserve their former influence, but not very successfully. Some are just emerging. . . .

I will articulate my own stance on current events. I am not pretending to be impartial, since I am directly involved in them. Nor can you be [impartial] when it comes to the fate of your Motherland, [your] people and the whole world. But right now, first and foremost, all normal, sensible people, regardless of their nationality, need to maintain a sober mind and strong will; fortitude and robustness of spirit; keen vision and open-mindedness. [They need to] see the real state of affairs in the world and draw conclusions based solely on objective facts, building the logic of their actions accordingly – without falling for any falsehoods (as monstrous lies have filled all foreign airwaves), enticing promises or outright pressure under the guise of upholding “genuine democratic values.” There has been plenty of that in recent decades, leading to real, not illusory, tragedies and catastrophes. The outgoing year proved all this beyond any doubt.

The outcomes are quite clear.

Outcome No. 1: Nazism is near, but it will not come to pass.

Since last winter, the whole world has been living under the impact of dramatic events in and around the Donetsk Basin. Although, as we know, the tragedy began much earlier; it’s just that the “civilized world” pretended not to see it.

The special military operation (SMO), whose objectives were originally identified by [Russian] President Vladimir Putin, has been going on for nine months [see Vol. 74, No. 8, pp. 9‑13]. [These objectives include]the protection of our compatriots in the new territories, which became part of Russia following the referendums that were held there [see Vol. 74, No. 39, pp. 3‑6]; the denazification of Ukraine’s disgusting, almost fascist regime; the complete demilitarization of the Ukrainian state; [and] guarantees against aggression in the future.

The decision to launch the SMO in February 2022 was a difficult step dictated by circumstances. It was not only about protecting the fraternal republics of the Donetsk Basin, but also about the security and sovereignty of Russia itself. Let’s face it: [This was] about [Russia’s] survival. [The SMO] could not be delayed any longer. This became obvious in late 2021, when the North Atlantic alliance refused to provide guarantees that Ukraine would not join NATO [see Vol. 73, No. 51‑51, pp. 3‑9], and Ukrainian drug addicts [i.e., the Ukrainian leadership – Trans.] announced their intention to revive their nuclear arsenal.

The fighting in the Donetsk Basin is not just for populated areas whose names have now become symbols of the resilience, patriotism and courage of our soldiers and officers. The special operation is a continuation of our long-running irreconcilable struggle against dastardly neofascism and nationalism in all its manifestations. We are thwarting all attempts to humiliate and eliminate entire nations in selfish group interests; to rewrite history with black paint and blood; and ultimately – this is now also clear to our adversaries – to limit our development and then split our country into parts. This is the ultimate goal of all those who are opposed to us. They are making no secret of this anymore. They are saying bluntly, with no qualms: “Russia must be destroyed.”

The saddest outcome of not even the year, but of the decades that have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union is that Western countries have completely forgotten the lessons of World War II. Neo-Nazism has found support even in countries that have always declared their rejection of Hitler’s ideology, whose historical memory is full of pain, shame and anger. We could not silently look on as the odious nationalist regime of the heirs of [Ukrainian nationalist movement leader Yevgeny] Konovalets, [Stepan] Bandera and [Roman] Shukhevich, with support from its [Western] handlers, is seeking to obliterate not only Russia, but also the entire “Russian world” with which hundreds of millions of people proudly associate themselves.

We will do all we can to ensure that all of the SMO’s objectives are achieved and that the disgusting regime of Kiev nationalists ceases to exist. Right now, we are the only ones who can accomplish this mission.

Outcome No. 2: No more illusions – at present, there is much more that separates us from the Western world than unites us.

[2022] was a true watershed year. In the blink of an eye, it shattered, among other things, the last illusions about the modern Western world, which very much likes to call itself the “golden billion” [post-Soviet term referring to developed Western nations – Trans.] (for no good reason). Now it is perfectly clear that in relations between independent, sovereign states and the Anglo-Saxon world in its current configuration, there can be no question of trust, decency or of its faithfulness its word and even to its own fine principles. Alas, right now there is no one in the West to talk to, nothing to negotiate on and no reason to do so. The events of the outgoing year have destroyed the very possibility of trust-based and respectful dialogue with representatives of this pole of the world. What remains is a sense of bewilderment tinged with disgust: Do these people seriously consider themselves world leaders, laying claim to something global [and] dreaming of dictating their will to others? On what grounds, since they have discredited themselves, acknowledged their own impotence, become entangled in lies and are knee-deep in problems?

The deeds and actions of current and former Western leaders are striking in their cold-blooded and blatant cynicism. As the former German chancellor [Angela Merkel] acknowledged recently, the Minsk agreements [for a ceasefire in the Donetsk Basin; see Vol. 66, No. 37‑38, pp. 3‑6, and Vol. 67, No. 8, pp. 3‑7 – Trans.], signed in 2014, were just a screen hiding the West’s true intentions. [The agreements] were meant to “give Ukraine time to become stronger” and build up its military power. In other words, they were essentially designed to prepare for a bloody war. . . .

There is also a general crisis of trust in the so-called developed countries and the legal institutions that they have created. It turns out that in pursuit of political interests, the fundamental principles of law-based relations can easily be discarded. Such as the inviolability of private property and the rule of international law. Western politicians who have trampled on the law are trying to confiscate Russian assets without trial or investigation – i.e., simply to steal [them]. As for sanctions regimes, narrow-minded Washington functionaries and their European vassals are imposing them on us and our allies with the stroke of the pen. All this is the last signal to all other countries: As of now, it is impossible to have anything to do with the Anglo-Saxon world – as with a thief, crook [and] card sharp, who will use any trick in the book.

[We] can forget a normal relationship with the West for years, maybe decades to come. This is not our choice. We will do without them – until a new generation of sensible politicians comes to power there. We will be careful and vigilant. We will develop relations with the rest of the world. Fortunately, it is vast and it is treating us fairly.

Outcome No. 3: The Russophobia epidemic requires robust treatment.

The year 2022 and at least the eight preceding years – if we go back to the “Crimean spring” [see Vol. 66, No. 12, pp. 3‑11] – have witnessed the rise of wild, irrational Russophobia in the Western world. An acute relapse of this contagious, very unpleasant disease in the West has occurred in recent years.

It partly coincided with a pandemic of a real, deadly infection – the coronavirus; a decline in the global economy; the severance of ties between countries; a logistics crisis; [and] the exacerbation of social problems. Other negative trends, which made themselves felt even without any pandemic, had an even bigger impact. To avoid responsibility for [its] own obvious mistakes, [the West] had to reinvent the main enemy [and] consolidate its ranks to fight it, while at the same time eliminating indecisive or dissenting partners. This is precisely what the Western world did, especially since one-seventh of the [world’s] land [surface] was already intensely irritating to [the West] because of its development – growing, strengthening, ignoring “good advice” and doggedly following its own, quite successful path.

Trying to curry favor with its masters and succumbing to its own feeble-mindedness, the Kiev regime is desperately seeking not only to cut its citizens and businesses off from contact with Russia, but also to ban any “Russian spirit,” Russian culture – even things that have rightly become world classics. In Ukraine, monuments to Russian writers and military leaders are being pulled down, and Pushkin streets are being named for the thug Bandera. The Russian language is being banned in schools and everyday life, and Russian books are being pulped. What a familiar style – all we need now is concentration camps and Kristallnacht. [Nikolai] Gogol, [Mikhail] Bulgakov, [Kazimir] Malevich, [Anna] Akhmatova, [Vladimir] Vernadsky, as well as Lesya Ukrainka and Taras Shevchenko must be turning over in their graves. All this is being accompanied by hysterical propaganda convulsions and calls for the obstinate Russia to be punished by any means.

At the same time, the West has a cynical nonmedical amnesia, as well as a partial loss of hearing and eyesight. [The West] is delicately passing over in silence what the Nazi fledglings, flaunting swastika-like insignia on their sleeves, have been doing on [Ukrainian-] controlled territories, granting these lowlifes indulgences for all past and, most importantly, future tortures and murders. But what do you expect from certain European countries that at some point actually created National Socialism and fascism?! Today, they are responsible for the revival of Nazi ideology. . . .

We’ve been through that. Each chronicle has its own prehistory, especially since dirty Russophobia is deep-rooted. Speaking of that, we should recall not only the 20th century, but also the 19th century, when anti-Russian hysteria in the world was also sky high – to use [Fyodor] Tyutchev’s expression, “as if let off the leash.” Remember his prophetic words: “Russia was simply urged to commit suicide, renounce its raison d’être and solemnly acknowledge that it is nothing in this world but an uncivilized and ugly phenomenon, like an evil that must be rooted out.”

There was neither suicide nor execution in the 19th or 20th centuries. Not after World War I, not after World War II, and not after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Today, Western countries are again calling for our country to be obliterated Well, let those pathetic windbags shout until they are hoarse, until they soil themselves.

It is impossible to crush Russia or the Russian World, to split it or bend it to someone else’s will. The crooked arms of the Anglo-Saxons and other countries that swore allegiance to darkness were not long enough even in the most difficult times for us. This did not work then, and it will not work now.

Outcome No. 4: The West has put itself into a cage – let it sit in isolation.

As Vladimir Putin said recently, our world has entered a period of revolutionary transformations, and they are fundamental. New powerhouses are emerging, which represent the majority of the global community and are ready not only to declare their interests, but also to protect them.

What is happening now is a direct consequence of the systemic crisis in the West, primarily in the US itself. This is not only about a slowdown in economic growth and technological progress or a crisis of all management systems. The problem is broader: The ideological and philosophical collapse of the Western worldview, of its model of the world, is obvious. This is particularly palpable in present-day realities.

In the early 1990s, the well-known American writer and political scientist Francis Fukuyama hastened to announce the “end of history” in terms of the continuous series of wars and confrontations between the two world systems – the liberal West and the communist East. He believed that because the Soviet Union is gone, the fight is over. However, Fukuyama’s prediction failed to materialize. The West’s dreams of a unipolar world, where it can rule unchallenged and dictate its will, did not come true. What’s more, under current conditions, the West is in no position to offer the world any new ideas that can lead humankind forward, address global problems and ensure collective security. There is a curious metamorphosis. In the old days, the term Iron Curtain meant a blockade of undesirable regimes or their associations, which had to be in one way or another isolated from the rest of the global community. Today, it is clear that the Western world is gradually turning into a besieged fortress, whose entrances are being walled up (in the literal sense of the word), locked up and laid with concrete from the inside. It is putting itself into a cage – while the rest of the world is living a quiet and free life. [The West] is getting what it deserved. Let it live on a reservation.

Meanwhile, the global economic system is falling further into the abyss of uncertainty, into an unprecedented crisis. . . .

It is important to call things by their proper names: The US advocates an unbridled form of neocolonialism that would make even [Rudyard] Kipling with his “white man’s burden” blush and feel ashamed. It is still trying to pretend that the whole world is its colony, dictate onerous conditions, act in violation of law and morality [and] plunder with impunity. Look at the situation around the “grain deal” [see Vol. 74, No. 27‑28, p. 19] alone, which has made large US companies that bought up farmland in Ukraine filthy rich. At the same time, the stated goal – to prevent famine in the poorest countries to which Russian and Ukrainian grain and fertilizers are exported (with only about 3% to 5% of such shipments actually reaching them) – was never achieved. Countries where the US has sought to establish supposedly liberal and democratic procedures are in an even worse situation. This always ends in a deep systemic crisis and decline in all areas, if not in bloody coups. Libya, Iraq, Syria [and] Afghanistan are the most unfortunate victims of America’s “democratic missionary activity.” Geopolitical tensions are constantly growing.

The US has not yet kicked the habit of acting in its favorite primitive cowboy style: “If you don’t like the way the table is laid, flip it over.” But each time it meets with mounting resistance from those who refuse to obey. China, India [and] Middle East countries are strengthening their positions on the world market. Latin America and Africa are clearly not burning with the desire to submit to the US’s diktat. Russia has enough partners and like-minded associates on these continents, with whom we are currently engaged in intensive dialogue. . . .

A new world will be willing to cooperate with the West – but only based on the principles of equality and mutual respect. It will take strength and political will not to back down in this confrontation. And [this confrontation] will continue for a very long time. But in any case, sovereign states are no longer putting up with attempts to impose on them the principles of a US-led world order. This realization is yet another result of the outgoing year.

The most intense rivalry between the West and the rest of the world will continue to grow. The differences between the recent allies in the anti-Russian bloc will also intensify. A gradual change in the economic and energy patterns in these countries is imminent. New reserve currencies will emerge. Russia will have its own special place in the new world, relying on new rules of partnership and cooperation with friendly states. And [it] will do all it can to ensure its security, independence and sovereignty in key areas, from finances to science.

Outcome No. 5: There will no apocalypse – for now.

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing,” wrote the great physicist Albert Einstein, a scientist and humanist who considered it impossible to remain in the same country with Hitler’s Nazis. Being a brilliant analyst, long before the outbreak of World War II, he sensed its approach and stated that publicly. Einstein and many others were ignored at the time. Many people are now talking about a “premonition of World War III” or even its beginning (as Pope Francis did recently), as well as about the second coming of Nazism to Europe. But, alas, with the same effect.

In late 2021 and early 2022, the situation aggravated to the extreme, in effect, reaching a critical point beyond which lies a global catastrophe. The collective West, as represented by the US and its European allies, is bending over backwards to support the insane Kiev regime. It is providing it with weapons, training mercenaries [and] pouring huge resources into the budget of the unpredictable and corrupt state.

Is the West ready to unleash a full-blown war against us, including a nuclear war, using Kiev as a cat’s paw? Western politicians are averting their gaze and taking their time to give an honest answer. . . .

The only thing that is stopping our enemies at present is the understanding that Russia will be guided by the Fundamentals of Russian State Policy in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence. In case of a real threat, [Russia] will act in accordance with them. The problem is that in that case, afterward, it will be impossible to figure out whether it was a launch-on-warning or a preventive strike. Needless to say, this scares Western benefactors, who have long been trying to give the Ukrainian political rabble the illusion of invulnerability and impunity in exchange for [their] absolute obedience. That is why the Western world is balancing between a burning desire to humiliate, insult, dismember and destroy Russia as much as possible and a desire to avoid a nuclear apocalypse.

Right now, new disarmament agreements are unrealistic and unnecessary. The sooner maximum security guarantees are provided to our country, the sooner the situation will normalize. If we do not get them, tensions will remain high for an indefinitely long time. The world will continue to teeter on the brink of World War III and nuclear catastrophe. We will do our utmost to prevent that.

Outcome No. 6: Russia is not surviving – it is living, developing and winning.

The main outcome of the outgoing year 2022 are the dramatic changes that we are seeing in Russia today – in its economy and, most importantly, in the minds of a great number of [our] citizens.

Right now, almost everything depends on our people – on their fortitude and cohesiveness, patriotism and confidence in victory, mature thinking and robustness of spirit. The exogenous toxic foam that has formed atop Russian society is gradually disappearing. I will not pass moral judgment on those who have chosen to [get on] the new “philosophers’ ship”1 because I am not aware of their specific motives. Let God be their judge. Of course, this doesn’t apply to those who, amid the ongoing military campaign, wish defeat for their country and its Army. They are traitors, pure and simple. And there can be no forgiveness for them.

The main thing is that the maturation of our society is steadily progressing. And this process is irreversible. Naturally, not everyone has realized yet just how much our lives have changed, or what our priorities will be in years to come. . . .

Still, it is clear that this year has mobilized our society in the full sense of the word. Thousands of Russian citizens have volunteered to go to the Donetsk Basin since the start of the SMO. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and officers are currently undergoing combat teamwork training and are heroically fighting on the front line, liberating Russia’s new territories from the Nazis. Words of deep gratitude are due to the selfless work of volunteers, who are helping refugees, [internally] displaced persons and the families and children of mobilized conscripts, [and] who are working in hospitals and raising essential supplies for our soldiers. They are all true patriots of our fatherland, our pride and glory.

Mobilization of a different, higher order is equally important: In the face of an external threat, in confrontation with the enemy, under tough and unprecedented pressure, our country was able to unite and reach a new level of civic consciousness within just a few months. This applies to all aspects of our life. The year 2022 has changed a lot in us. It has encouraged us to bring our thoughts and feelings into clear focus. It has taught us to distinguish truly important issues from secondary ones and cherish things that are the most important for all of us: courage, mercy, mutual assistance, historical and familial memory, loyalty to duty and traditions, justice, truth [and] conscience.

Our enemies have failed to ruin our economy. Active work is under way in the economic sphere to modernize the core industries that ensure the country’s security and defense capabilities. The financial system is gradually and successfully adapting to the [anti-Russian] sanctions. [They] have failed to disconnect and cut us off from global infrastructure or to strangle [us] with bans and restrictions. The government was able to keep the foreign exchange market in balance and minimize risks. Inflation remains within manageable levels: The initial shock quickly receded thanks to the focused and professional actions of Russia’s key financial institutions. Russia’s entire infrastructure is being strategically reoriented toward the markets of friendly countries. Annual price growth slowed in October through November 2022. The state is fully meeting its social obligations. Wages and pensions are being indexed, and all [social] benefits are being paid.

The exodus of foreign companies from our market (many did this reluctantly and under direct pressure from their governments) has not brought down the consumer sector, as [they] said it would in an attempt to scare us. On the contrary, import substitution programs are being successfully implemented in the most socially important sectors. The majority of enterprises have not changed their investment plans for the next year.

Within a short period of time, we had to ramp up the production of modern arms and organize essential supplies to the battlefield and the home front. Sometimes the system had to be switched into manual control mode to ensure the effective and timely fulfillment of state defense orders. Now there is good reason to say that the Russian defense industry has adequately responded to the most serious threats to the country’s security. . . .

Issues related to the massive inflow of refugees and [internally] displaced persons from the Donetsk Basin and Ukrainian territories required special attention. Almost all [Russian] regions accepted them. At the [Russian] president’s direction, everything was done to support such people and help them return to normal life: locating their family and friends, sending their children to school [and] healing their wounds – both physical and psychological. Help was also provided to the most vulnerable categories – families with children, the elderly [and] persons with disabilities.

Our task in the near future is not only to protect the new Russian territories, but also make people’s lives there safe, secure [and] comfortable, as was the case in 2014, when the Crimea became part of Russia, returning home forever – contrary to [the will of] those who dreamed of forcing the peninsula back into another country’s borders, who threatened and intimidated [us] [and] imposed an energy, water, transport and gas blockade on their own people. We can see just how dynamically this Russian region is developing and how proudly its residents are talking about their present and their future.

Clearly, the most important thing is that the motto “We don’t abandon our own!” has become the motto of the outgoing year. We will do our utmost to make life in the large Russian family decent and prosperous. [We] will give millions of people an opportunity to gain confidence in the future. [We] will always stand up for their rights and freedoms, their language, culture, faith and hopes. Our enemies, those who are desperately and hopelessly continuing to wage a hybrid war against us, trying to pressure and intimidate us, understand this very well.

A Happy New Year to all Russian citizens! To all those who are near and dear to us, those who are ready to go through any ordeals with us. [We] bow low to our heroic Armed Forces. Russia’s enemies will be defeated! The truth will triumph! The future belongs to us!

1[The expression “philosophers’ ships” refers to several cruise vessels on which prominent Russian intellectuals were deported to Europe in 1922 and 1923. – Trans.]