Putin Outlines Vision of Russia’s National Identity

It is based on moral guidelines that have been passed down through generations, the president said.

The basis of Russia’s national identity is respect for the past and loyalty to long-standing traditions, President Vladimir Putin has suggested, accusing a number of states of aggressively attempting to rewrite world history.

Speaking at a government meeting on Tuesday, the Russian leader said that “the basis of our national identity has been and remains the continuity of generations, loyalty to traditions, and high spiritual and moral guidelines.”

Putin added that these guidelines were “reflected, supported, and developed” in Russia’s culture, creative spaces and all other aspects of everyday life and have even been defined on the governmental level.

Last week, Putin signed a decree on traditional values, which outlined the goal of state policy as the protection of Russia from socio-cultural threats.

The document also defines traditional values as “moral guidelines that are passed down from generation to generation and outline Russia’s national identity.” 

They include: dignity, human rights and freedoms, patriotism, high moral ideals, strong family values, prioritizing the spiritual over the material, mercy, justice, mutual assistance and respect, shared historical memory, and national unity.

The decree also lists current threats to these values, such as the actions of the United States and other “unfriendly” countries, as well as a number of foreign NGOs. The document says these countries and organizations are engaged in the dissemination of a “destructive ideology, which leads to the formation of a society that neglects spiritual values and distorts historical truth.”

During his speech on Tuesday, Putin noted that attempts by a number of foreign countries to “rewrite and reshape world history” had grown more “aggressive” and sought to “shake” Russia’s sovereignty by dividing its people and depriving them of guidance.

According to the president, the “shaking” of the sovereignty of countries begins with historical “myths” as well as the distortion of history and erosion of values. “We’ve seen this scenario play out in a number of countries already, including in Ukraine,” he noted.

Putin added that this scenario was attempted in Russia as well, but the country managed to put up a strong enough barrier in time to defend its interests.

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