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Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
At Valdai, Putin Lauded by Sycophants and 'Realists'
7 years
Russian Soldiers Still in Ukraine; Kremlin Announces Compensation for Missing and Killed Servicemen
TV Rain Selects Most-Discussed Quotations from Putin's Speech

Vladimir Putin spoke at the exclusive Valdai International Discussion Club annual conference today October 24, surrounded by an audience of few critics, ranging at best from grudging "realist" admirers to gushing fellow travelers, all fortunate enough to get on the invitation list (The Interpreter had a preview of people Valdai Club was considering to invite, but we're still waiting to get the final attendance list.)

The Valdai Club is named for a large lake in Novgorod which is a popular vacation destination; the Valdai Club then is like something akin to the Chatauqua Society which continues to the present day or perhaps a kind of TED conference for Putin fans, but more like the Aspen conference in the Colorado ski resort with politicians -- except President Barack Obama wouldn't attend those types of events, although he would Davos.

We already had a prelude of the personality cult to come yesterday October 23 when Vyacheslav Volodin, first deputy head of the presidential administration, rhapsodized, "If there is no Putin, there is no Russia." This was then repeated later by Sergei Ivanov, head of the presidential administration.



That tone was then maintained today by having British journalist Seamus Milne introduce President Putin.

Milne is a controversial figure even among British leftists, as he is known for minimizing the crimes of Stalin, diminishing the critique of Stalin for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact or justifying looting during riots on the grounds of poverty. Now he was not just expressing an opinion independently aligned with Moscow but appearing on a platform to endorse Putin directly.
Some of the tweeted comments epitomized the sycophancy of some attendees and also provided accounts of Putin's anti-Westernism:

The last exchange was about reporter Courtney Weaver's  expose of Russian soldiers in Lugansk which we covered yesterday, which elicited in an insulting dismissal from the Defense Ministry today on our Ukraine Liveblog.