Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the Valdai Forum, which brings together nearly all notable (and state-sponsored) "Sovietologues," I mean, experts on Russia from the West. Or, to express myself differently, for several years now, the Russian government has been inviting and hosting at a nice resort a select group of people most of whom are paid both for analyzing all things Russia and being Russia's professional enemies. The forum allows for socializing and direct access to Russian leaders in a relatively open forum.
Putin himself announced his speech as almost undiplomatically sincere, direct, and open. Judging from the reactions, US guests see the speech as confrontational and anti-American. Europeans were eager to offer more "mediation" toward ensuring Russia's pacification and de facto capitulation.
Speaking of the speech itself, what stood out in it for me are these points:
1. the US wants to finish off Russia. Not it is the time and opportunity to do it.
2. as a result, we might be on the threshold of a collapse of the world order
3. in this regard, Putin being apparently a meticulous person kept calling for establishing clear and precise rules, expressing a regret that, when the Soviet Union was defeated in the Cold War, no peace treaty (officially) was developed, signed, or imposed.
4. Putin would like to have rules ... hopefully based on mutual respect and equality, which, of course, is the last thought on the mind of the US
5. Putin's wish is to see a world in which the Empire (the US) and Russia would have "common goals, would act on the basis of the same criteria, and would strive for making real achievements together"
6. my comment: no formal rules can be a substitute for persistent, continuous political work and political, economic, information or military victories though
7. Putin absolutely supports the "complete fulfillment of the Minsk Agreements, but by BOTH sides"
8. His take on the resolution of the crisis in Ukraine is thus a full realization of the Minsk accords with disengagement of the troops followed by re-establishing economic relations between Kiev and Donbass
9. the "elections" in Donetsk and Lugans are, indeed, an idea or demand made in Minsk; but the West's and Kiev's idea was that these elections would be more controlled by Kiev; that's what Merkel also demanded in her call to Putin yesterday
10. As a result of the actions undertaken by the Kiev regime (and the NAF), "the [Minsk] agreements happened so that one can say that they did not happen"
11. Russia is like a "bear who rules in taiga and is not going to take commands from those who declared themselves the judges of the world" (close paraphrase combining two Putin's thoughts)
12. the West keeps discarding and violating international rules and norms whenever it feels like, while "forbidding Russia to defend vital interests of Russian and Russian-speaking people in Crimea--no way"
The Russian bear passage:
"Знаете, меня всегда очень радует в этом случае, и я вспоминаю все время то, что говорили по этому поводу древние. Помните замечательную фразу: «Что позволено Юпитеру, не дозволено быку». Мы не можем согласиться с такими формулировками. Может быть, быку не позволено, но хочу вам сказать, что медведь ни у кого разрешения спрашивать не будет. Вообще, он считается у нас хозяином тайги, и не собирается, я знаю это точно, куда-то переезжать в другие климатические зоны, ему там неуютно. Но тайги он своей никому не отдаст. Я думаю, что это должно быть понятно."